In his post summing up thoughts after Google’s I/O conference last week, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber made clear that it’s hard to view iPhone vs Android as anything other than an ‘all-out war’ now. He also says we’ve now got an epic rivalry on our hands. I think that sounds about right – the two […]
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Recommended: Daring Fireball Points Out Where Android Is Superior to iPhone

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In his post summing up thoughts after Google’s I/O conference last week, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber made clear that it’s hard to view iPhone vs Android as anything other than an ‘all-out war’ now. He also says we’ve now got an epic rivalry on our hands.

I think that sounds about right – the two platforms obviously have starkly different approaches in several areas, but they also appear to be the two mobile platforms with the greatest momentum and potential. I also think Gruber really nails one of the biggest weaknesses of the iPhone platform when compared directly to Android.

It’s not the lack of Flash support.  Or the (currently) lower hardware specs compared to some of the latest droid models.

It is Apple’s weakness in the cloud and in OTA features

It ‘s obvious that iPhone OS and Android devices are paving the way to a post-PC future, where by ‘PC ‘ I mean both Mac and Windows machines. The simplicity of these mobile devices is their core strength, but it also means that they can ‘t do everything a PC can. iPhone OS devices rely upon a PC, iTunes, and USB syncing to manage this gap. Android devices rely upon servers in the cloud.

Relying upon a PC is ipso facto not ‘post-PC ‘, and the challenge for Apple is that they ‘ve never demonstrated the sort of expertise needed to do this via the cloud. Over-the-air syncing, backup, and system updates need to be something that ‘just happens ‘.

Great points.  I think Mobile Me was / is supposed to address some of these areas – but so far I find it a very lame and unattractive service.  The only reason I keep it is the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature. I don’t use it for cloud storage, because Dropbox kicks its ass.  I don’t need it for mail, because Gmail wipes the floor with it.  I don’t really find any of it compelling.

I also hate, hate, hate having to connect via a cable in order to sync or backup.  I use the jailbreak WiFi Sync app to avoid this, but it only works over a local WiFi network and an OTA solution would be far superior. 

Backup has long been a farce on the iPhone as far as I’m concerned.  I wish they’d let some third party devs have a crack at it.  Again though, a cloud-based service might be even nicer than an app. Having a chat with the Dropbox team would be a hell of a good idea I think.

My impression is that Gruber is one of the Apple experts that Apple actually pays a lot of attention to – so here’s hoping that this is either an area Apple is already going great guns on or that his post serves as a nice little reminder of a major Achilles heel for a great platform.

Check out Gruber’s full ‘Post I/O Thoughts’ post here:

http://daringfireball.net/2010/05/post_io_thoughts

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