Android v. iOS Part 2: Profits

by John Kirk   |   August 28th, 2012

RECAP

Yesterday we looked at Android and iOS mobile operating system market share. Today we look at mobile operating system profit and profit share.

ANDROID HAS WON THE MARKET SHARE BATTLE BUT…

On the strength of market share alone, TechCrunch has (and many others have) declared Android the inevitable victor of the mobile operating system wars.

“The latest numbers are in: Android is on top, followed by iOS in a distant second. There is no denying Android’s dominance anymore. There is no way even the most rabid Apple fanboy can deny that iOS is in second place now. Android is winning.” – Android Is Winning

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the Android victory parade — they forgot to bring along the industry’s profits.

…IOS HAS WON THE PROFIT WAR

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill

– Apple made 77% of the entire mobile industry’s profits in the second quarter of 2012. (Source) The Android operating system may be outselling the iPhone 4 to 1, but Apple’s iOS operating system is out profiting not just Android but the entire mobile industry 3 to 1.

– iOS second quarter 2012 revenue was approximately $28 billion.

– iPhone revenue in it’s five years of existence is over $150 billion. (Source)

– iPhone, by itself, is worth more than all of Microsoft. (Source)

– Apple’s stock has soared in comparison with Google’s stock since the launch of the iPhone. (Source) In fact, Apple is now worth one Exxon more than Google. (Source)

– Not only has iOS made Apple the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, (Source) but if the iPhone were split off as its own company, it is probable that it would be, all by itself, the most profitable public company in the world. (Source)

SOME QUESTIONS

— If Android has won, then why does Apple have all of the profits?

— If Android has won, then what exactly have they won?

— Which is more important, market share or profit share?

— Isn’t profit literally the bottom line in business?

MYOPIC MARKET-SHARE MADNESS

Market share is a means, not an end. Profit is the end for which market share was meant. Without profit, market share is meaningless.

Honestly, what is up with our fixation on market share? This simply isn’t that hard. Ask any business person whether they’d rather have market share or profit share – whether they’d rather sell more product or make more money – and they would, without hesitation, take the latter every single time.

Every CEO knows this. Every business owner knows this. Every entrepreneur knows this. Every mom working out of her home knows this. Every guy working out of his garage knows this. Every teen working out of his mom’s basement knows this. Heck, even the kid down at the corner selling Kool-Aid off of a folding table knows this. Ask that kid if they would rather sell more Kool-Aid or make more money and, “duh”, they’d say “make more money.”

But hire that kid to work for Google or write for TechCrunch or provide analysis of the tech industry and boom! They lose their minds. They reverse themselves and declare market share all important and profit share a mere side show. It’s as if these pundits were metaphorically drinking the market share Kool-Aid.

IS THERE MORE TO THE STORY?

If this were any other industry, the analysis end here. In no other industry does anyone seriously contend that market share is more important than profit share. However, this isn’t any other industry. This is computing and this isn’t just the sales of goods and services. Android and iOS are platforms and this is a platform war.

Clearly iOS is winning – in the short run. But in a platform war, is market share more important than profit share? Does market share lead to platform dominance, which eventually leads to industry wide dominance, which eventually leads to profits? Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at those questions and more.

Coming Tomorrow: Android v. iOS Part 3: Network Effect

Android v. iOS Part 1: Market Share
Android v. iOS Part 3: Network Effect

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?
  • def4

    The tech punditry loves Android because it literally feeds them.
    It provides an endless stream of frequent releases to report on.
    iOS makes news just 3-4 times a year so it’s not of much use for the modern tech churnalist.

    • pawhite524

      Excellent point and additional kudos for “tech churnalist.”

  • http://twitter.com/pk22901 Peter Kropf

    John,

    My Q from yesterday:

    Does it makes sense to include Andoid 2.x devices when there is no upgrade path?

    How many 2.x users will switch to iPhone as they notice the 3GS running iOS 5?

    How can you compare a highly fragmented insecure ‘platform’ to one that is reliable, focused, secure, and enterprise worthy?

    Sorry, I’m biased towards Apple.

    • Eric

      from what I’ve heard from a lot of ppl is that running recent iOS versions on older iPhones is not the greates idea someone could have and it ruined their experience because it gets slower etc. I’m not sure if this is helping iOS…in fact some might say they would want to go back to the older iOS version…

    • itit

      Isn’t the Gingerbread “fragment” bigger than the entire IOS base?

      • FalKirk

        No. Gingerbread is approximately 60% of Android now. The user bases of iOS and Android are roughly equal. Apple announced 410 million iOS users in July. Google doesn’t announce totals but it’s believed that Android is now somewhere north of 410 million users. (If you find better numbers, let me know!)

        • Marvin Nakajima

          The smaller share of GB is partly due to some of the smartphones gaining upgrades from Gingerbread (v2.3) to Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0) as well as newer phones already coming with ICS installed.

    • FalKirk

      “My Q from yesterday…” – Peter Kropf

      That’s the problem with writing a series, Peter. It takes a little while to unfold. I’ve noted your question and I’ll try to address it later this week.

  • itit

    market share is important because it translates to relevance. apple died in the eighties because no they had no apps when pcs run 90 percent of the market. same here with iphones when Android continues to increase the market share gap.

    • Jeremy Taco Patterson

      Using your OWN logic, based on Apple’s current App Store’s being leaps and bounds better than Android’s App Market, then ANDROID is the one that is done for.

      Personally, I don’t think that is the case, but I don’t use your logic either.

      I don’t think this “battle” will end because of the HUGE “fan base” each platform has, and while there is some back and forth, I believe both will remain healthy competitors for each other, and as little as i like Android, competition is key for advancement of technology.

      • itit

        My logic is what is exactly happening. Android is the IBM of today that wiped out Apple before. As little as you like Android, open source is what drives innovation at competitive prices that delivers what people what. The last quarter results was about 70% to 20% in favor of Android. I don’t even see it as a “battle” anymore. Odds say Android will continue to expand and widen this gap!

        Look, Apple is great at opening up new markets (macs, ipad, iphone) but eventually it *always* lose to open platforms that can do it faster, cheaper, and better. If you take a look at Jelly Bean on an S3 or HTC One, it completely obliterates the 4S. In smartphone it is Apple who is now catching up technologically. Apple’s closed development system just can’t catch up and will fall farther and farther behind. You know what I mean, one phone a year. In your heart do you really thing the iphone5 will be any better than the top of the line Android phones that was released back in March?

        Anyway, this 70-20 “battle” as you want to claim is already over. Android is currently moving into tablets, tvs, home appliances, cameras, and even space satellites. This scale is something Apple is not capable of. Think about it, when all electronic appliances (not just tablets and phone) are Android integrated, where is Apple going to be?

        • FalKirk

          “Android is the IBM of today that wiped out Apple before.”

          You need to learn your history before you try taking lessons from it. IBM didn’t wipe out Apple. They, themselves, were ousted from the then nascent computer markets because they kept they hardware and let Microsoft remain in control of their software.

          “I don’t even see it as a “battle” anymore.”

          Then you’re ignoring the profit numbers that I posted, above.

          “Apple will *always* lose to open platforms that can do it faster, cheaper, and better.”

          Have you ever heard of the iPod and the iPad?

          “If you take a look at Jelly Bean on an S3 or HTC One, it completely obliterates the 4S.”

          User satisfaction numbers say otherwise.

          “…when all electronic appliances (not just tablets and phone) are Android integrated, where is Apple going to be?”

          On the top of the world counting all of their money?

          • itit

            Apple will continue making boatloads of cash if people continue to pay for their overpriced products. Take the smartphone market for example, people are waking up to the fact that Android is just a more advanced OS, better selections, at better prices. If anyone keeps an open mind and try out both systems its like using a real computer vs. an simple airport kiosk.

            Personally I’m not fond of companies who overcharge customers because their closed business model is unable to keep costs down. Its even more rediculous for people who are willing to pay more for less.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            I hate to tell you, but it is 2012. Apple has phones ranging from free, $99 and their flagship model is $199, That’s over priced. There is no tablet on the market with a better screen for a better price than the iPad and you can still get last years flagship cheaper than any other tablet with comparable features.

            You utter these opinions of yours like fact. Why? Apple has more apps, better support, more third-party peripherals higher resale value with much better security and almost no malware.

            You may not be personally fond of Apple, but you shouldn’t let your personal feelings cloud objective data. Even your analogy is forced. I’m anyone. I am a professional software developer with over 17yrs experienced writing applications in java,c/c++, c#, visual c++ on both Unix,Linux and Windows with experience with a variety of RDBMS(Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Hypersonic, Postgress) and tools and frameworks.

            iOS is nothing like using a kiosk. Your example is “rediculous.” ;-)

          • itit

            Being such an accomplished IT professional then you should know the limits of Apple’s closed system. Here are some facts, Apple had a head start but it took Android a measly 1.5 years to catch up in market share. It is trouncing iOS with the ~70%-20% that is today. Any IT professional should also know that open platform has faster release cycles, and is intrinsically innovative from all the top worldwide developers than the once a year updates from the limited resource Apple developers. Its fairly obvious isn’t it? Do we really want to do side by side functionalities between Jelly Bean and iOS6?

            “Apple has more apps, better support, more third-party peripherals higher resale value with much better security and almost no malware.”
            - Yes but its a smaller and controlled world. Step outside of the 20% Apple’s draconian ecosystem and take a breath of free air. The market has spoken loud, profit margin or whatever.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            I know full well the limits and I know, itit, that exaggeration is not a good way to prove a point. It makes one question how accurate you are with respect to the rest of your statements.

            I work with open source every day and anyone who does work with open source knows its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Do code with open source, btw?

            Your very argument is flawed in so many ways, I don’t think you do. Starting with the fact that open source releases are inherently faster. They aren’t. In fact, they tend to be slower unless backed by corporate funding. The releases are sporatic, to documentation nearly non-existent and the quality lower.

            I would have no problem doing side by side comparisons of jellybean, an OS with a GUI so slow that it takes a 4 years, a manhattan-project type development effort, a code name “butter”, three threads and twelve cores just to scroll as smoothly as iOS did from day one five years ago.

            And don’t get me started about how even non-developers can grab apps from Google play and infest it with malware.

            The question is: do you want to do a side by side comparision?

            The market has spoken in the only way that matters: with their wallets. iOS makes more money for its develpers. iOS has paid out in the range of $5b to its developers and as a DEVELOPER, not a generic “it professional”(not sure what that is), I can assure you that we need to eat and don’t care about your abstract “breath of free air”. We care about money. We care about making a living and supporting our families.

            Only someone who doesn’t have a dog in the fight, who doesn’t actually make a living from software thinks as you.

            So you go about thinking and carrying on in the abstract while people with real concerns, needing to do real work get their better apps, timely updates, better security, better peripheral and better resale values in their “controlled” world. What nonsense.

          • itit

            Your post has tons of flaws as well.

            1. Open source (Android), open platform (Android based devices) do have MUCH MUCH faster release cycles than Apple’s once a year release. The open platform allows manufacturers to focus on the component they do best and innovate in that area to bring the platform as a whole to new levels. This is not possible with Apple’s do it all approach.

            2. Lets see what Android has been offering for about a year now that iPhone still lacks: 4G support, NFC, Android notifications runs laps around iOS, mounting the phone to the PC, getting files on and off easily from the device, integration and sharing with Facebook and all Google services. Apple is shooting themselves in the foot by excluding Google services in iOS6, are they so arrogant that they think they can compete with Google in cloud based services? Talk about not giving the customers what they need..ha!

            3. Jelly Bean is incredibly responsive. I don’t feel it any less than my friend’s iOS where there are also lags. You might be the first I’ve heard that claims its slow. Project Butter is probably the dagger than sinks iOS.

            4. I see your point about making more money as a developer on iOS. But as a customer buying a new phone in 2012 I’m not willing to dole out the premium that Apple charges for when I can get more features on a nicer looking quad core HD screen device for a much better price. Sure you want to make money as a developer. But as a phone shopper I want to pay as LESS as possible. Yes that is my REAL WORLD concern. I do have a dog in the fight and that is my wallet. Paying more for older lesser technology for a brand name that is shrinking in market share is not smart to me. This my friend is why Android’s ~70% blew away Apple’s ~20% in unit sales last quarter.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            1. You can keep saying this, but you have yet to offer proof. I see one version of major version of Android every year and one major release of iOS. And open source isn’t some magic panacea that automatically makes releasing software faster. Do you write software?

            2. NFC? Who’s asking for this? Most Android phones don’t support it. Mounting? Dropbox or any number of wireless solutions.

            3. First, I didn’t say it was slow. I said “I would have no problem doing side by side comparisons of jellybean, an OS with a GUI so slow that it takes a 4 years, a manhattan-project type development effort, a code name “butter”, three threads and twelve cores just to scroll as smoothly as iOS did from day one five years ago.” Reading, my friend. Leave your extremely bias and apparently under-informed opinion at the door and let’s try to stick to the facts.

            4. I’ll bet you want that quad-core cpu. You need it just to run Jelly bean with any kind of responsiveness. I guess we just are different. Buying the phone is the end for you, but the beginning for me. I suspect a lot of people feel the same way which is why Apple sells more apps. To me, value is dictated by support, by ecosystem as well as by price. My iPhone 3GS that I gave to my daughter runs iOS 5. There are no 2009 era Android phones I know of that can make that claim. I guess because they don’t have the 4 cores needed to scroll.

            Well, this isn’t going anywhere. You’ve tried to make it an issue of technical savvy, of pricing, of ecosystem. I’ve answered them all and you respond with “but I say”. Well, Android can keep giving phones away with free haircuts at Supercuts, when when it is time to make real money to earn a living all roads lead to iOS.

          • itit

            >> NFC? Who’s asking for this? Most Android phones don’t support it. Mounting? Dropbox or any number of wireless solutions.

            Well this is the same response from all Apple fans isn’t it? When I tell them about 4G, NFC, quad-core, HD screens. Its all the same response to hide their frustration and envy. “Oh I don’t need that, what would I need that for?”

            >> I would have no problem doing side by side comparisons of jellybean, an OS with a GUI so slow that it takes a 4 years..

            >> Well, Android can keep giving phones away with free haircuts at Supercuts,

            Umm Android doesn’t give phones away for free, neither does Samsung, HTC, or other manufacturers. Google does not tell them what to charge (except the Nexus line) so I’m not sure what you mean by this.

            You did claim Jelly Bean is slow. Give it a try, its just as smooth as 4S/iOS. Yes it took a while to smoothen things out but keep in mind Android needs to accomodate for all hardware. I may not be a professional coder but seems much easier to code specifically for just a couple of resolution and Apple hardware. Either way, the lagging issue has been addressed by Jelly Bean.

            Well I can where my perspective is in the interest of the shopper and you are in the interest of making money as a developer, which is fine.

            As a shopper I couldn’t care less about what kind of profit Apple or developers are making. I care about getting the most for my money and that is Android. Yes I do care about “fresh air”, after using an iPhone I truly know the feeling of being restricted and will never use it again. The first time I used an iPhone it will not let me tether because restricts access to only other Apple devices. My Android devices allows anyone to tether. Sorry just not going to pay more for less.

    • steve_wildstrom

      Apple actually did very well in the 80s. It almost died in 90s because it was turning out wretched products with even worse execution (For example, a multiyear project to replace an increasingly creaky operating system rooted in the early 80s was never able to get a product out the door.)

    • FalKirk

      “market share is important because it translates to relevance.”-itit

      Did you look at the numbers I posted? I would say that 77% profit share and hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue and being the biggest public company in the world, by far, makes iOS pretty “relevant”.

      You’ve got it backwards. Market share without profit is what makes many companies “irrelevant” (and bankrupt).

      • itit

        Apple made their money mainly on smartphones and tablets. But that just doesn’t scale the way Android does. Eventually the interoperability factor of a range of electrical appliances running Android will make Apple less and less relevant. A 70-20 quarter in market unit sales is headed that way.

      • Marvin Nakajima

        77% profit share is yes very impressive, however with the growth of Android into many more platforms and ever increasing integrated uses the sheer number of devices may at some point reduce that profit share to something MUCH smaller. To give a simple example say the market was about even at say 1000 representative units of each OS. Apple is making 77% and lets say Android is making ~16%. I would find it not that difficult to imagine in the near future that Android devices outnumber iOS devices 5-to-1 making the profit share roughly half for each OS. Extrapolate over a few more years and iOS profit share will drop quickly. At that point only a small percentage of Android owners need to make a single purchase to creates differences in profit share. It is for this reason that I believe iOS will be reduced in significance when compared with Android. I’m not saying that they will disappear altogether but they will no longer be able to lay claim to any advantage over Android as a whole.

  • Eric

    well…what does profit tell about the quality of an operating system? isnt it a measure of who can grab the better margin (and in the end rip of ppl a little more than others)? Apple certainly lives from the fact that they got the foot in the door first and ppl that enjoy the Apple experience will stick to it when they buy a new phone or tablet…plus the fact that ppl tend to buy what others recommend…which sure boosted iOS sales…and some other things ppl might think they can only find in an Apple device (inovation and a cool gadget as Apple knows how to sell this to ppl like nobody else around).
    In fact I believe that Android is going to make it in the long run…the devices are cheaper…and a lot of ppl are not willing to spend massive amounts on phones that are not considerably worse than whatever costs twice the money…what can apple do about it? reduce the prices…and reduce the margin…and profit…and all of a sudden they lose something that made the iPhone special…its prices which adds to the “the iPhone is special”-idea that certainly exists…new features and functionality is something Apple also hast to be careful about…SIRI was meant to be a selling point for the 4s but honestly…its not really a big feature…if they dont deliver something proper ppl will think twice next time they upgrade…but I’m sure Apple will be aware of this…
    Even if Android will become the broad mass mobile operating system I’m sure Apple will be around for a very long time…just on a smaller market share…keeping their advantages as a selling point (well maintained system with a reduced number of devices)…

    • therealciviczc

      I think you hit an important point. Apple got in early and that has been huge for them. Clueless people don’t even know there is an alternative. My kids think every phone is an iphone. My father-in-law had never heard of an android tablet when he saw ours… two weeks ago. Apple has hooked the masses… but as the long term plays out, android being cheap may win the race. At this point I’d argue that Android 4.1 is leagues better than iOS, and cheaper. Even it if was slightly worse than iOS, its cheaper… people are cheap. Apple is about to release a 7″ tablet to try to compete with the $199 android 7″s. Eventually Apple is going to have to let go of those staggering profits, invest more in to the stagnent OS, and come down to android’s level in terms of price. I hate to resort to the auto industry comparison, but Mercedes couldn’t sell a single car if GM cars were just as nice. They sell a premium product and make a huge profit on each one. If suddenly a chevy cobalt was as nice as an E class, yet cost much less, eventually Mercedes would have to lower prices.

  • Rich

    John, your way of looking at it is logical in business terms, but people aren’t necessarily logical and unless they’re running a business, they probably don’t have a profit-oriented view of the situation. I think people focus on market share because it’s like a popularity contest in high school. Who’s the most popular? The person with the most friends, so if Android has the most friends (i.e. greatest number of phones), they win the popularity contest. I believe it’s as simple as that.

    • FalKirk

      All true, Rich. But the Analysts and the pundits are supposed to be professionals. What’s their excuse for promoting market share over profit?

      • Rich

        Click rates?

        • FalKirk

          Great point. On the agenda.

      • benbajarin

        John, my opinion on the matter and it may just be a psychological evaluation is that many expect history to repeat itself and the open horizontal model that Google is using and Microsoft, etc., is destined to win.

        So its like the market share obsession is simply because people expect this and perhaps root against Apple and therefore are waiting for their demise.

        This of course will not happen but as we know there is quite a bit of stupid out there.

  • Ian Thomas

    I would argue market share is infinitely more important for a company like Google. Apple needs high profit because that is its only business. Android does not provide Google with direct money, it provides Google with indirect revenue caused by ingraining their products into users daily lives. Additionally, as I watch commercials on YouTube mobile from my Android device and see advertisements in my mobile Google searches, I find it hard to believe that Apple is really ahead in profit and if they are, it can not be by much.

    Bottom line is market share is every bit, if not more important as profit for Google.

    Your argument would hold true however if Google was like Facebook. By that I mean Facebook is essentially incapable or too incompetent it seems to profit on its infinite user base when compared to real advertising companies that do a lot more with a lot less.

    • FalKirk

      “(Market share provides Google with indirect revenue caused by ingraining their products into users daily lives” – Ian

      In October 2011, Google projected mobile revenues of 2.5 billion from all their mobile services. Company officials later testified that over two-thirds of that income came from iOS. In other words, Google is projected to make less than a billion dollars from Android this year. Meanwhile, Apple makes 500 million a quarter or approximately two billion dollars a year from the sale of iPad covers alone.

      How can that be considered a good business model for Google?

      • Marvin Nakajima

        Just as you have stated in the first part of this series, The competition is between the OSes. The 2nd part I believe you are comparing how much profit each OS makes, thus it would be prudent to include all participants for those area. When you consider profits for Apple you have profit from Apps, media, advertising (I believe Apple has their own brand of in app ads) and the actual Hardware (since they are the ONLY manufacturer). In order to give a fair comparison you must also do the same for Android. Add profits from hardware sales (ALL of it not just to Google), App & media sales (Google Play, Android Market, etc.), and advertising. Otherwise you would be repeating the earlier iPhone vs. Android OS comparison.in another form. Perhaps the Apple to Apple comparison here is Apple ecosystem profit vs Android ecosystem profit. I would think that would be the best balanced comparison for which OS is ‘winning’.

        • melci

          The 3rd party hardware ecosystem for iOS devices is far larger than Android. Just go into any store and what do you see? Shelf aft shelf of iPod, iPhone and iPad Covers, cases, docks, adapters, car mounts, GPS amplifier docks, clock radio docks, hifi stereo systems with built in iOS docks, audio mixer docks and DJ sleeves and docks, bike cases, waterproof cases, clip-on insulin meter docks, clip-on Osciloscope docks and on and on.

          The third party hardware ecosystem around iOS is far larger than Android even with the enormous sales of NASA Android satellites. :-)

          • Marvin Nakajima

            I can give you that but perhaps I should clarify. The comparison was uneven in the sense that Apple makes ALL iOS hardware and that was included in their profit calculation. My point was that if you include profits from those tablets and phones (collectively hardware) into the iOS profits it would only be fair to include similar profits from tablets and phones for ALL Android tablet and phone manufacturers. I didn’t include 3rd party hardware, though I suppose that could be arguably added since Apple DOES make and sell such products.

  • Blackdisk

    This isn’t a logical view at all, Apple makes a nice profit for sure, but their not focusing on innovation they are fighting for the status quo. As everyone knows that leads to the eventual downfall of a company. Apple puts millions of dollars into creating the next iPhone and spends all of this money creating tablets they have a huge supply chain to deal with, so many products to keep track of and ensure compatibility for. Google on the other hand has a single product that only increases user access to their content and revenue sources, Android. They have hundreds of other companies doing r&d to ensure the greatest user experience and they just create the OS. By making Android open it also ensures that Google will be on the ground floor of markets they never dreamed would exist. For example the camera, tv and tablet market. The manufacturers did much of the leg work for them in these markets but now Google is entrenched. There is no way that the current situation is good for the future of Apple.

    • FalKirk

      “(Apple has) so many products to keep track of and ensure compatibility for. Google on the other hand has a single product…” – Blackdisk

      This might be one of the most counterintuitive arguments that I’ve ever read. From top to bottom Apple basically has four products: iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macs. You can put every product they make on a single table. And they have 3 iOS products (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad) with a total of two screen sizes. And you’re suggested that Apple is…fragmented?

      • TheEternalEmperor

        We haven’t even discussed Android utter failure at updating its own devices.

        • Marvin Nakajima

          You mean how carriers have failed in updating Android devices. There is no reason for Google to withhold any upgrades to a newer version.

          • jyjy

            Apple is limited to its products (phones, tablets, computers) while Android’s scope and ambitions are far greater than that. Google’s vision is turning any electronical device into smart devices running Android.

      • Marvin Nakajima

        I’d say ‘trending’ towards fragmentation, albeit not even touching the extent it is for Android. iOS now has 2 (will be 3 with iPad mini) screen sizes, 2 (will be 3 with iPhone5) resolutions and several legacy hardware configurations that do not receive the ‘full’ list of features of their younger brethren. As I understand it with the last resolution change app sizes for Apps supporting the retina display increased, in some cases quite dramatically. Due to the nature of iOS products having a set amount of memory determined at purchase. Those users that had filled their devices had to decide which apps to ‘leave out’ since they all would not fit within their devices anymore. The same thing may happen if there is a single App to support all 3 resolutions going forward.

        • steve_wildstrom

          First, Apple has done an extremely good job of making the different screen sizes and resolutions manageable for developers. Basically there are two form factors for developers to worry about: iPhone and iPad (the new iPhone and probably iPad mini may add new challenges, but I suspect Apple has them figured out.) Android is a more challenging environment and in particular has been plagued with tablet apps that are simply scaled up from phone versions.

          The increase in code size for retina displays was due almost entirely to the swelling of pixel-dependent elements, especially bitmaps. It does not, however, seem to have caused any extensive problems. Higher resolution video is more of an issue, but that’s the tradeoff you get.

        • TheEternalEmperor

          “As I understand it” tends to mean “I have no direct knowledge of or experience with.” which explains how the rest of your posts.

          Any device with limited space requires the user to make decisions about what is installed. It is an interesting tact to attempt to twist this into an iOS specific problem.

          • Marvin Nakajima

            Quite right, I don’t have direct knowledge/experience with iOS devices. Just friends, family and acquaintances that have bought either an iPhone or iPad. I am simply summarizing some of their surprise and disappointment. As you state any device with limited space requires the user to make decisions about what is installed. I don’t think some expect the very apps they already chose to install taking up significantly more space on the next update. It is possible that most people don’t hit the limit of the memory they have on their device. Some like my co-worker had half his storage filled with Apps, the rest (save a 1-2MB) was photos and videos of his family. When the app updates for the new retina display started appearing he had to decide what to remove. i was simply comparing that to smartphones that have methods to extend onboard storage via removable storage.

            As the new iPhone5 will require a new resolution to support (iOS API does NOT have scaling functions) depending on how the OS and/or developer support the extended height of the display (the width as far as I can tell seems to be the same) this may require deciding among a separate app for the iPhone5 screen resolution, a possible increase in app size to support a 3rd resolution or maybe just dealing with black bars toward the top/bottom of the display (in portrait mode).

            As for being an iOS specific problem, the part where existing App sizes grows significantly with a resolution change IS an iOS specific problem. This is partly due to the developers making a choice to NOT have a separate App for the new resolution. Making choices for a device with limited storage is not.

    • TheEternalEmperor

      I’m not even sure where to begin, this post is so wrong. Apple has 3 phones and they all run the same iOS. Apple has two tablets(possible soon 3) and they all run the same iOS. Apple has the iPod Touch. Those 7 products all share the same OS, CPU, in some cases screens.

      Each and every mobile vendors has at least 10x the number of products that Apple has with respect to mobile and they are ALL dependent on at most two companies: Google and MS. It is so bad with MS that because Apple makes all the money with PCs, no other vendor in the world has that ability to innovate new form facts. Intel had to offer up $300 million to spur the Macbook Air clones known as Ultrabooks.

      How is that Google on tablets and tvs working out. Logitech lost $100 million dollars on Google TV and no one is selling tablets in any numbers.

      HTC is contracting. Motorola wasn’t even trusted enough buy Google to create Google’s own tablet.

      I’m interested in any theory that suggests that the company making all the money and is posting year over year sales has a bad future, but the companies that are losing money, are contracting, are failing have bright futures when utter dependency on a single company and ad-based one at that.

  • Brianjustme

    Android will win all around the world Except maybe in the US which exibiting a kind of protectionism on Apple. Hard luck, Americans will pay much more for their Smartphones.
    Google relies on advertizing for it’s revenues. I suspect they’ll bring out an app where local businesses only pay about 5 dollars a month to advertise themselves.All available from an icon. Anyone know where a good restaurant is in Sydney Australia?

  • copy_editor

    I have a hypothesis that too much market share is a bad thing for Apple. I don’t know if it is true, however — would love for someone here to address this. It seems Apple’s underdog position in the PC market allowed it do something — extreme vertical integration — that Microsoft was unable to do, even if it wanted to, given Microsoft’s monopoly position (MS is apparently still addressing the Netscape vs. IE issue over a decade after it began). Apple now enjoys a large (the largest?) profit share in the PC world. It seems they have applied the lessons learned in their PC underdog days to their production of iPod/Phone/Pads. Perhaps Google/Android having a greater market share of phones/pads is good for Apple because it masks the fact that Apple enjoys a huge profit share, thereby allowing them to continue to vertically integrate everything and increase this profit share even further. Is Google the paper tiger competitor that Apple can always point to if the FTC were to ever come sniffing around?

  • Kabadiwala

    Bottom line in this thread looks like Apple fans emphasize Apple’s profitability, whereas Android fans emphasize wider Market Penetration, more features for less money, greater freedom (VERY IMPORTANT tethering capability Android for example). In short, Apple fans are saying “Good for APPLE”, “Good for Developers”, whereas Android fans are saying “Good for the buyer”. Who will eventually win ? My personal, but possibly incorrect (current) opinion is that, the one who gives the buyers more for less will eventually win, unless Apple starts competing with more features and freedom and taking advantage of, and integrating, Google services instead of preventing buyers from using Google services (thereby limiting them).

    I’m an old timer software developer working in the industry from 1981 (32 years ). I remember the old Apple PCs, the Apple 2e’s, 2c’s, or other systems like the Amigas and Ataris, running motorola 32 bit way back then. They were so much more fun than IBM’s brain dead memory segmented, 16-bit, limited architecture. Even though I admired Apple products, Amigas, Ataris, etc. I had to start work on PDP 11s, IBM mainframes, Sun systems, Digital Vax systems, Unix, VMS, etc. etc. and eventually, the brain numbing DOS architecture (1984) and Windows 3.x (1986 onwards) on IBM style PCs. Eventually, I became more of a Win32 programmer for the longest time. Then from 2005 onwards I’ve been into Linux and Mac OS X quite a bit and now I’m getting into iOS and Android.

    So, I need a lot of incentive to keep up my iOS learning because I don’t want to spend all that time only to see opportunities fade away. I also spend time learning the Android SDK and Java, but less. You can say I’m sitting on the fence learning everything preparing to fall off on either side. I spend more time on iOS because, as one of the posters here mentioned, it’s known that that’s where there’s more money (I’m a self-interested developer). Still, I don’t want iOS to fade away and all my Objective C learning go waste. So, I really hope Apple can turn the Market penetration tide, because even though they are making money now ( and I may make a little with iOS development), if most users gravitate to the Smart Phone that gives them more features and flexibility, then Apple and developers will lose.

    I myself went out and bought an Android Galaxy 3 for my wife and an Android note 2 for myself. Our main reason ? TETHERING !!!!! We WANTED to buy iPhones (or at least one of us could use and iPhone and the other an Android), but the lady at the Verizon booth told us there was very restrictive tethering with the iPhone, so we didn’t buy it. Apple should really grow up and become more open than exclusive. Imagine ! we went out wanting to buy an iPone and came back with an Android just because of the Tethering feature. Also, Google maps was disabled I think, which put us off. Apples mapping I heard had inaccuracies (which may have now been fixed), but we WANTED Goolgle maps because that’s what we use on our PCs. PLEASE APPLE give all users what they WANT to use and don’t restrict us to the Apple Exclusive Club. Don’t get me wrong, I have a top of the line iMac and a Macbook Pro Retina too and love them, but I want tethering to work for ALL my laptops, which includes my our Windows Laptops whenever we’re not near our residential WiFi.

    • steve_wildstrom

      I.m a little confused by your post. The iPhone has provided for tethering–assuming that you really mean allowing the phone to serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot–for a long time. But whether tethering is permitted on a given device is a carrier issue, that is, even if a device is capable of tethering, the carrier may block it unless an additional fee is paid. This is true on iOS, Android, WP, and BlackBerry. I use my iPhone as a hotspot frequently.

      Apple also does not disable Google apps. The old Maps application that used Google maps wan Apple app. After Apple replaced Google maps with its own, Google developed a pure Google Maps app for the iPhone. The Apple app, unfortunately, is locked in as the default mapping app for other apps that use location services, but the Google app works fine.

      I see no evidence that “freedom” is a very important reason for customers choosing Android phones outside of a very small, very tech savvy, segment of the market. In fact, all the evidence suggests that consumers are generally very happy to accept Apple’s restrictiveness in exchange for the security it provides. This is a real tradeoff, and I think a lot of people are making informed choices.