iOS 6 vs. JellyBean - is there really a difference?I

Today, I posted on Facebook that I am a happy camper and with good reason. I finally got  to download Android JellyBean on my Galaxy Nexus as well as iOS 6 on my iPad. It's great to receive two major operating system updates at the same time. Since yesterday, I've  been like a kid in a toy shop, juggling my phone and iPad to figure out what's new. After several hours at play, it occurred to me that we have finally reached the horizon where there is very little to choose between the two operating systems. We will continue to have our preferences between the two, and we may become comfortable with one of the two because it is better on certain functionalities than the other, but if I were to compare now, it's really 50 of one, half of the other.

The two biggest smartphone platforms are reaching parity. Part of the credit goes to constant innovation and upgradation by both companies, especially Google, which has played a remarkable game of catch-up in the last three years. And both platforms in the drive to excel, have borrowed the best features from each other to strengthen their own offering. In the process, the defining characteristics of each have merged. 

I discovered today that iOS 6 on the iPad finally allows in-mail attachments and has done away with the need to go to the camera roll to individually share a picture. Of course, this is a basic feature that gmail on Android has always incorporated. gmail continues to be a way better email client in my opinion, but Apple's mail client has improved hugely too.

On the other hand, Google Now is representing a good alternative to Siri. Though it initially was as unresponsive as the latter to my Indian accent, on encouragement from a friend to 'keep talking' to it, I have seen it improve in its voice recognition capability in the space of a day. It cannot yet open apps the way Siri does in iOS 6, but I am sure it will in a matter of time.

JellyBean lives up to its promise of buttery smooth fastness,  rivaling the flawless Apple UI.  Google has built upon the feature set introduced with ICS and made the entire operation more swift and intuitive. More and more often, I find myself guessing the way something should work and finding that it actually does work that way. 

Apple Maps are still experimental to my mind, so I am not going to say anything about them. The fact that Apple is a serious contender in maps is a good thing - for example, that is probably what forced Google to launch Navigation in India a few weeks ago. This is one of the few areas where Apple will have to play catch up and I am sure that they will. 

I find Apple hardware to be beautifully built and of higher quality than Android handsets And things are just more reliable. Google Play store app reviews are filled with user complaints about how some app crashed their phone, force closes every time etc. Apps designed for iOS seem to do their job, leaving the user  reviews to focus  on the UX and actual utility of the app. 

With its push towards iCloud, Apple devices now receive all iOS updates OTA, doing away with the need for cables, iTunes etc. Android has done this for sometime - Google has an edge in cloud services, with seamless sync of documents, videos, pictures, browser and contacts over the air since a long time. 

I have never felt tempted to jailbreak my iPad and it's a sort of compliment to Apple - I see no need to go to extra trouble to hack something that works well, and which I accept with its inherent limitations. I am very happy that I rooted my Android phone - it gives me access to my fantasy list of features and upgrades and is a testimony to the high potential of Android to transform your smartphone experience into a much better one, and one that is customised to your preference. In exchange for this, I am willing to invest time and put up with occasional crashes and bugs that are part and parcel of experimentation.

In short, at this stage, I could interchange devices from either platform and use them without a sense of loss, frustration or regret.

It's a good time to own either a great Android smartphone or an iPhone. And that is only good news for all customers. 




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