I’ve always personally thought of the divide between iOS and Android as a cousin of the PC/console gaming divide. Or even, the split between a MacBook running MacOS, and a custom-built Linux machine.
One is a polished hyper-design prioritizing user experience over literally everything else, and the other is just a short click away from spilling its tech guts all over the table so you can rip them out and replace them however you’d like. They both aim to provide the same “top level” experiences. They’re both phone operating systems that allow phone apps to run, and the average user might never need the extra oomph that Android provides in the “power user” department.
I’ve had the privilege of growing up around both PC and console games over the last 35 years I’ve existed, and I’ve noticed that, perhaps because of this, my mood is never totally served by one design camp or the other. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a “push button and go” type of fun, and other times I want to be elbow deep in a PC case swapping out components.
As I’ve aged, I’ve tended to prefer the “console-like” experience more often than not. And in a phone platform, that sort of thing is especially valuable since it needs to leave my pocket and immediately do the thing I want it to do. I’m not saying that Android can’t offer that same sort of ease, but rather, that it has more potential hurdles that come along with its extended flexibility.
It’s not so much that I was reticent about missing something, but that I’ve come to realize I value a closed platform in a phone. And the benefits it provides to developers help on the app side too. Apple’s API optimizations, iOS memory management (perhaps the secret biggest difference between the platforms!), and a limited number of screen resolutions and hardware packages to target means that app development, and app performance, are both generally better.
To belabor the gaming point, I’ve always had better gaming experiences on iOS, as far as raw framerate, frame pacing, load times, and control latency are concerned.
There’s no denying that I loved diving into developer mode on my Galaxy S8 and fiddling with stuff. It was super handy when I reviewed a lot of Bluetooth headphones to be easily able to change the compression codec. Having true file management was great for doing some quick work on the go. And I was always tempted to just load my own custom OS installation and get rid of Samsung’s default…though I never did.
If I don’t at least make a token mention of the underlying philosophical differences between the two platforms, someone will always show up to remind me of them. So that’s the other secret reason for that sentence. :)
Thanks for the thoughtful question, and for reading!