Apple and Google are in a battle for dominance in tablets. For now, the iPad is winning in most countries around the world, while capable, appealing devices like Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, and Google’s Nexus tablets are, en masse at least, providing a measure of competition.
But head to head, there’s really no contest. In the second quarter, Apple owned 32.4% of the worldwide tablet market, beating second place Samsung’s 18% share.
On the software side, however, it’s a much different story. According to IDC, Android was the top tablet operating system in the second quarter, accounting for 62.6% of all worldwide shipments. Google’s platform saw its shipments grow 163%. Apple’s iOS, meanwhile, was down 14.1% to 32.5% market share during the second quarter.
Third quarter data is not yet available.
Perhaps the big story behind those figures is not that Android is so popular, but that it’s come on strong in tablets. During the second quarter of 2012, for example, Android owned just 38% of the worldwide tablet market. Apple’s iOS had 60.3% ownership.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Amazon will soon launch its Kindle Fire HDX that is getting some great reviews ahead of its upcoming release as more than capable competitor to the iPad mini. And with companies like Samsung continuing to put pressure on Apple’s flagship tablet, the number of people that are at least considering switching from iOS to Android appears to be on the rise.
But if you're one of those people, I'd like you to realize something - switching from iOS to Android is a bad idea. As nice as Android might be and as appealing as slates running the operating system are, there’s no reason to have buyer’s remorse if you own an iPad.
Read on to find out why:
1. The cost of switching is huge
If you've been an Apple device user for years, like I have, you've probably been investing in Apple’s content for longer than you can remember. You've bought songs on iTunes, apps from the App Store, and movies for your many iOS devices. Your credit card information is stored in the iTunes Store. In sum, you’ve taken a bite of the forbidden Apple and there’s no getting out.
Okay, of course I've dramatized this a bit to make a point: Apple’s digital strategy has always been to lock its users in. Apple wants to make it as seamless as possible to get songs and movies and books and podcasts onto its products, and about as difficult as possible to get them off and onto other devices.
There’s a reason behind Apple’s desire for control and it has everything to do with keeping its customers using its products and not jumping to Android. That’s not to say that switching entirely to Android is impossible or going with a hybrid setup featuring both iOS and Android is a bad idea, but after realizing just how big of a pain it’ll be to get everything one owns to another platform, you may well decide against it.
Trust me, I’ve tried – and failed.
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2. Security is a major concern
At what point will we all wake up and realize that Android is the next frontier for hackers and we’ve already been overrun?
In August, the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice jointly released a study that found that 79% of all mobile malware targets were Android-based devices. That study came just days after research firm Gartner said it believes 90% of mobile malware samples are aiming to take down Android.
As if that’s not enough, Android has officially become the top destination for malware attacks, according to security researchers, and some of the techniques used by crooks to target Windows are now being brought to Android.
Call me crazy, but doesn’t this seem like Déjà vu? For a long time, we turned a blind eye to the idea that our computers could be causing us all kinds of grief until finally, we held Microsoft’s feet to the fire. Now it’s Google’s turn and by the look of things, only security researchers seem to care. The average Android user gleefully taps away at his or her touchscreen not realizing that they’re being targeted more heavily than ever.
As recent iOS 7 exploits have shown, Apple’s operating system is no prize on the security front, either. But it’s doing a much, much better job of keeping people secure – both through some enhanced sandboxing features and the fact that hackers love targeting the biggest operating systems. Going from iPad to Android is a bit like moving to a less expensive house in a more dangerous neighborhood. .
3. There’s something to be said for the all-in-one experience
If Apple has excelled at anything over the last several years, it’s melding its hardware and software into a single, effortless experience. Apple’s iOS works extremely well with its hardware, and the company’s iPad complements its software well.
On the Android side, things are much different. Although Google and Amazon are getting closer to delivering a true all-in-one experience with their hardware and software, they’re still years off. Google’s Android is too generic to work as well with the hardware as it could and FireOS, while quite different from the standard Android, is still a hybrid of what Amazon would like and what Google has delivered.
Elsewhere around the Android marketplace, things are even worse. Google’s operating system has been shoehorned into hardware in far too many cases, leaving customers with a desire for something a little more functional.
Apple’s iPad delivers that all-around functionality without sacrificing performance. Apple’s current iPad owners take that for granted, but as soon as they head over to Android and try out other tablets, they’re surprised by the odd complexity.
The latest versions of Android make for a nice operating system and there's some great hardware out there; they just don’t play as nicely together as they should.