There’s an App For That, But is it on iOS?


iOS is losing it shine when it comes to creativity.

there's an app for that?

Guess what? If you are in to a really cool app – one that changes the world – has some new interaction paradigm it plays with – requires access to some low level features – iOS probably isn’t for you.

Once upon a time, some 4 years ago, Apple came up with the app. Or more accurately the app store. And the main concept? “there’s an app for that”:

But is there?

I think that a trend is brewing, where companies are trying to bank on their innovation elsewhere. And why shouldn’t they when Apple just doesn’t let you do some stuff on its phones?

The last example of it is Facebook Home:

An app that replaces the home screen of your smartphone and centralizes your interactions on it around Facebook. On the announcement day, it already had AT&T as a first operator with hints of EE and Orange. On the devices front? There’s HTC as a forerunner, with Samsung, Huawei and Sony next in line. All of this is Android based

Apple devices anyone? Highly unlikely

And Facebook isn’t alone here: companies looking for Wi-Fi apps usually can’t get to the same level of integration on iOS that they can on Apple. Remember the Instabridge post I published a while ago? They are Android only at the moment for that specific reason.

There are apps that can get the best results only on Android – iOS for them comes second (if at all).

WebRTC anyone? Now that Google has forked WebKit and moved to its own HTML visualization engine called Blink – where does that leave WebRTC on iOS? Not even the Chrome browser there will be able to support it – at least not the one using Blink as it isn’t even allowed in the app store if it won’t be using WebKit. You might think that this move from Google was to force that issue on Apple to begin with.

So there’s an app for that, but it will probably be easier to find it on Android than on iOS in the near future.


Doron h says:
April 10, 2013

From customers point of view I don’t want any app to replace my OS home page or to able to go so deep to my phone (it is also used as a phone …). Android apps are full of crap that are killing the battery and the overall device performance.

    Tsahi Levent-Levi says:
    April 10, 2013

    I actually love Android with its openness and apps. There’s definitely crappy apps, but then there are great ones as well.

    As for customers, who don’t really care what OS they are running, they are going to get a Facebook phone from HTC – what can be better for them if their worldview revolves around Facebook?

    Kdoc says:
    April 19, 2013

    Do you realize that it is very helpful, if you have some basic understanding about how a computer works (if you are ignorant of such things, or don’t care if you can control things like the profoundly retarded way that iOS ‘syncs’ with multiple PCs then by all means follow the iPhone sheep).

    I.e. if your old PC dies and you try to sync with the new one chances are you will wipe out all your music, books, video, pictures and apps when you try to ‘sync’ with the new PC–what Apple calls “sync” is really just copy from PC to iOS device–not synchronization as it has been known in the PC industry for decades).

    If you actually want some say in how the software on your device runs, or want to do something creative (e.g. you can run a web server off an Android phone using Jetty and H2) or have a fully functional computer (you do need to root your Android and probably put in one of the great mod updates) you can turn your phone into a multifunction device with a huge range of utility.

    As far as battery life–are you aware that the Android phones tend to have a lot longer talk and standby time than an iPhone? You can drain either by doing turn-by-turn navigation or heavy web-based media (except Flash–that just doesn’t work on Apple, whereas in Android you can choose whether or not to use it).

    Having the CHOICE to change your home page gives people options. You may be happy with the standard Apple list of random apps. I personally like having my “to do” list, daily calendar, time/temp/weather, and summary of my inbox shown on my home page as well as being able to replace the soft keyboard with something useful (you have to admit the one which comes with iOS sucks).

    I have had iPhone 4, 4s, and 5, as well as two Android phones (G1 and Droid 2) and an Android tablet (ASUS transformer) and an iPad 5. I have used these extensively for work and play.

    My take: as long as you only want to do what Apple decides you should do, and don’t have any need for advanced functionality, then Apple makes solid hardware and does a nice job of integrating their own software. Except for the software which doesn’t follow the rules, having a single settings location is handy.

    If you actually use your phone/tablet to do work, esp. if you use >1 app to edit a file, then you are hosed on iOS, unless you depend on a 3rd party cloud service like DropBox (and even then I am not sure) or having to email the file from one application to your inbox and opening it up with another. When you sync an Android, it does a real sync, i.e. looks for changes and negotiates differences to keep the PC (or cloud) and device with the same data (v. iOS which will erase everything if you try to sync it with a new PC without some rather elaborate workaround).

    Don’t pretend to speak for “customers”, Doron, speak for yourself. Many Apple customers are really pissed at the lack of control and lack of choice they impose upon their device. Henry Ford said you could get a model T in any color you want as long as it is black. Apple has the same “my way or the highway” view, except you get a choice of black or white. Android is a wide open platform, with a huge diversity of handsets (many of which have features which are glaring problems with iOS like a SD card slot so you can turn your 16 GB into 48GB device for $30.