The battle days are not over yet, Apple and Android go head to head in the fight to win over consumers. The ongoing tension between the locked appliance and the generative platform is fuelled by the dynamics of technological convergence. Now, more than ever mobile web trends are increasing around the globe. We have the internet to thank, for allowing us to be connected with everything, anywhere and at any time. In 2010, 6.8 billion people inhabited the world and 5 billion of them were mobile phone users. The shocking statistics show we live in a society addicted to mobile phones. Hence, Apple and Android will go to any extremes to empower their users. Are we better off in a permission culture or open culture?
Apple is a locked appliance that thrives on owner empowerment. However, Zittrain (2008) explains this was not the case with Steve Jobs first invention Apple II, with its functionality being drastically different from the iPhone. The Apple II was a generative platform that invited innovation by others. On the other hand, the iPhone device is preprogrammed and is linked to a network of control. Accordingly to Zittrain (2008) “The iPhone is a product of both fashion and fear” and I believe to a certain extent this is true. Although the iPhone device is a revolutionary mobile phone, that has an astonishing high quality touch screen and superior internet access. The locked appliance has many restrictions that may overwhelm the benefits. Does Apple have good intentions for its consumers, or are they only locking our options to have ultimate control?
Due to technological convergence moving at a fast rate, it has resulted in an outburst of increased concentration of media ownership. Apple is a power house company that has complete control over its App store, iOS and developers. Even though Apple may provide their consumers everything that they need under the same roof, the user is limited to customising there device and having freedom of choice. With Apple having full control over its users, consumers are becoming more curious and want to experience the unknown. However, are you ready to take responsibility for your own choices?
Incomes the first Android phone in 2008, it represents everything that Apple isn’t. Due to Android being an open platform, it allows for the independence of the application market. Convergence provided an opportunity for Google’s Android to expand its market and to reach across other platforms. Accordingly to Steve Jobs he states that, “Android hurts them more than it helps them.” (2008). Clearly, Android is taking risks that may lead to the destruction and division of their market. However, Androids popularity hit an all-time high in 2010, which resulted in an increase growth in the Android market. This resulted in consumers being empowered by the variety of options available to personalise their smartphone devices. The Android platform allows consumers to play a much more active role in their device compared to Apple. In doing so, consumers are embracing the freedom of choice provided by Android.
Jenkins sums up media convergence by stating that, “Some see a world without gatekeepers; others a world where gatekeepers have unprecedented power.” (2004 p. 34). Evidently, Androids success is due to it allowing the control to be in the consumer’s hand. At the same time, Apple is still continuing to dominate its users. I believe Android has the upper hand at empowering users, but yet again Apple is full of surprises. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Jenkins, Henry (2004), The cultural logic of media convergence, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Volume 7(1):33-43.
Zittrain, J. (2008) “Introduction”. In J. Zittrain The Future of The Internet And How To Stop It (pp 1-5) New Haven: Yale University Press. http://yupnet.org/zittrain/archives/6
BBL, 2012, Wallpaper 25, image, Best Free Web Resources, viewed 27 March 2013, http://www.bestfreewebresources.com/2012/01/30-most-beautiful-android-wallpapers.html
Eric Johnson, 2012, Android vs iOS, image, All things D viewed 27 March 2013, http://allthingsd.com/20120820/boxing-game-brings-html5-to-the-center-ring-and-punch-out-to-campaign-2012/