Apple killed him this year, and Android needs a shot in the arm

Apple EOY 2020 logo

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Posting an opinion by

Robert Triggs

We all like Android, but come on … Apple killed him this year.

Cupertino hit the ground running with the updated iPhone SE earlier this year. It showed Android manufacturers how to combine state-of-the-art performance, flagship features and an affordable price into a winning formula. It’s hard to name an Android equivalent that is equally good for all three. Not only did the phone review do very well, but it also set the reference year for an incredible value.

The Apple iPad update, the Watch 6 series and the iPhone 12 series are all predictable hardware components. They refined what we expected from Apple products over the years. Cupertino certainly knows how to produce and market state-of-the-art products, helping to keep Android tablets and smartwatches at bay. The company has also shaken up its various subscription services, combining them into the Apple One package at more competitive prices. As a result, it is a weaker and more competitive force in the steamy race of the media, which certainly does not affect Apple’s wider ecosystem.

Apple ended 2020 with the biggest change in years. Macs based on custom Apple silicon arms will eventually end the company’s dependence on Intel processors. This ushered in a new era of hardware and ecosystem control, from processors to operating systems. A closer combination of hardware and software will pay dividends for future products in terms of performance and features. Switching to Arm-based computers unifies the processor architecture with the iPad and iPhone platforms as well, blurring the lines between PC and mobile. Apple now has enough control to drive performance, photography, gaming, security and other features across all its platforms, in whatever way it deems appropriate.

The very fast Apple M1 chip will upset the MacBook and laptop markets, as well as Intel. However, in the short term it is likely a headache for developers. Perhaps more importantly, the long-standing “Wintel” paradigm is also under increasing pressure. Windows on Arm, which is currently powered by Qualcomm silicon, could receive a faster takeover from Microsoft hardware partners if Apple’s move to Arm produces enough dividends for consumers.

Apple is certainly on the rise as 2020 draws to a close.

Not all of them were roses

iPhone 12 Pro Max back with neon 1

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

It would be wrong to characterize this year as an impeccable victory. Apple has generated its fair share of controversy in 2020 as well.

The company faced Fortnite publisher Epic Games earlier this year in terms of a 30% reduction in revenue and publishing conditions. Apple has ended up removing Fortnite from the App Store. It also moved to end Epic access to developer accounts and tools. This saga has not helped calm feelings that Apple is not very suitable for developers. Nor was the company’s argument with the e-mail subscription service Hey for a similar subscription dispute. Damage control caused Apple to drop the 15% free app for smaller developers.

The hardware wasn’t a slam dunk this year either. The AirPods Pro Max headphones came for some flak for their exorbitant $ 550 price tag. Especially since rivals like Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 come much cheaper. If annoying gamers and audiophiles weren’t enough, Apple also managed to irritate virtually all of its iPhone 12 customers by giving up chargers.

See also: The iPhone 12 without a charger is not as environmentally friendly as Apple wants you to think

Although there are arguments about green waste on box chargers worth considering, Apple does not win any goodwill for its decision. Switching from a Lightning to USB-C cable means that some customers can’t charge their new iPhone 12 with older iPhone chargers. Having to buy a new USB-C charger undermines the waste argument, as does the potential long-term transfer to the patented MagSafe standard. Even so, I would encourage customers to consider picking up a single USB-C charger for their phone and laptop needs.

Apple has certainly not improved its reputation badly enough for unfriendly consumer and industry practices this year.

Android has won a few victories, but the ecosystem battle is to be lost by Apple

The best 3 EOY 2020 smartphones

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Despite several PR failures, Apple’s hardware and ecosystem launches have left the company in a stronger place than at the beginning of the year and with a clear vision for 2021. It’s harder to say the same for the Android ecosystem.

In 2020 came the arrival of some very interesting Android phones at more affordable prices. Cheap 5G phones, such as Google Pixel 4a 5G and OnePlus Nord, have made state-of-the-art networks more accessible than ever. Android caught the price and performance this year. There was also a familiar assortment of powerful Android flagships, which are as good as the latest, if not even better, iPhones. However, state-of-the-art products do not shake the industry alone.

Related: Does Google have an answer to Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

Apple is moving towards a unified platform for smartphones, portable items, TV and now for PCs. Cupertino is strengthening its ecosystem to ensure that all its devices and services will play well together in the future. The premium market is geared towards extensive ecosystems that meet all your technological needs. Android manufacturers do not have this luxury. It relies on Google, Microsoft and others to connect and discuss different devices together.

Samsung is perhaps the only Android brand with a wide enough product range to compete with Apple. Tizen-powered smartwatches are closer to rivaling the Apple Watch than their Wear OS counterparts. The company also has a wide range of smart devices and audio products, although its selection of tablets – especially the iPad Pro Galaxy Tab S7 Plus – is a case study from Google software that otherwise impedes good hardware. By comparison, Apple’s iPad range takes advantage of a unified approach to premium hardware and software. That being said, Samsung still doesn’t have a strong platform for PCs or stakes in the streaming market like Apple. Meanwhile, Google seems to be a competitor to Apple, but is barely registering in terms of product deliveries.

Android manufacturers cannot exercise the same control and influence over their wider product ranges as Apple.

While the long-awaited update to Google TV for Android TV has provided some much-needed ecosystem improvements on the streaming front, Chromebooks in their current form will not unite Google mobile and PC platforms. Not the same as Apple’s Arm-Macs. Google Assistant and services are still great to use on many devices, of course, especially in the car and smart market. But currently there is no vision for unifying applications on these platforms and PCs. This is something that the company’s customers will consider even more than new typical consumers. Likewise, TV initiatives, portable devices, and Google games are still disjointed and underdeveloped.

So, I personally agree to the Apple Award this year. The company has a clear and captivating vision for the next few years. By comparison, 2020 was largely a normal activity for Android and Google. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve seen a lot of good phones this year. However, Android and Google appear less anticipatory than their biggest rival. For now at least.