Everywhere you look, Apple’s iPhone pops up. Half the world seem to use one and months after being launched, Apple’s “Best Ever iPhone” posters still litter tech stores. The iPhone has exerted a considerable influence on popular culture, from forcing mobile System-on-Chip designers to redesign chipset technologies every year rather than every other year, through to scores of iPhone-holding, duck-faced, selfies using a mirror and the rear camera despite Apple inventing the front facing camera in 2010. And when somebody of importance to the smartphone industry is caught using the “wrong” device for their assumed preferences, this makes headline news. Today’s news story concerns Eric Schmidt, Alphabet’s executive chairman, admitted to owning an iPhone at the Startup Fest in Amsterdam. Eric alluded to his iPhone ownership during a conversation with CNBC in addition to a Samsung Galaxy S7. He said that he prefers the Galaxy S7 because it has better battery life, stating: “It has a better battery. And those of you who are iPhone users (know) I’m right.”
The supposition that Eric would not own or use an iPhone because he works for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is a very two dimensional way to think. Putting aside Apple’s claim to go thermonuclear on Google’s Android back in the day, Google may own Android but their business is about advertising revenue and ultimately the Android platform is one means of encouraging customers to use Google’s services. Google have developed many apps for the iPhone and iPad to work with its services, and by and large these are good quality applications too. Ultimately, Google doesn’t need to care so much how a customer is using their services, just that they are. Developing good quality applications to connect to the Google services for different platforms, be these Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows, BlackBerry, LINUX, Samsung’s Tizen… whatever the platform, it does not matter.
And finally, Apple get an awful lot right with the iPhone. Their control over the platform means that they are able to very tightly integrate the software with the hardware, which gives customers a good experience. They have successfully pushed carriers to the side when it comes to software updates and circumvented any meddling with putting third party applications onto the device: the iPhone is not too dissimilar to the Google Nexus in that it only comes with the operating system’s core applications (although we would note that on the Nexus, some applications maybe uninstalled whereas on the iPhone they cannot, so are usually relegated to an obscure folder hidden away). Most iPhones are updated to the latest version of the operating system shortly after launch. The devices are generally and eventually well made, at least after the first few weeks after launch – you did spot that Apple modified the iPhone 6 Plus to stop it from bending, right? Ultimately, there are far worse ways to access Google’s products and services than something running iOS.