Tag Archives: iOS

Choice, its a good thing.

I have a thought on why app retention for iOS is so high.   The development tools given to ios App makers are so limited and crippled in what parts of the system they can access and how they can use those resources, leading to lackluster apps.  You don’t even get the option of changing the default program for a defined action.  Case and point Chrome, amazing everywhere else, hamstrung by iOS limitations.

iOS apps hit the ceiling with what they can do very quickly.  No innovation can happen past the 3 or 4th version of an app.  There is no competitiveness between apps over features or speed, its just first one to the finish line of a good UI.  Also in the case of a browser, mail client, launcher, keyboard, etc, iOS users don’t  get a choice.  Click a link in iOS, it will open in safari, never in a browser of your choice.

Android I haven’t even decided on a default launcher. Apex and Nova keep outdoing each other and I switch back and forth.  Both are much better than the default launcher, which is also great, and luckily I have the option of a choice.

If you chose to switch, it doesn’t mean what you are leaving is terrible, it just means that you made a choice

TL;DR Choice is good, iOS apps are crippled

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Deceptive Numbers

Let this be a warning to everyone.  Don’t rely on what the media says, check the source material.  One word makes a huge difference.  A company named FreeWheel released this market study.  The Blog-o-Sphere and main stream media got a hold of it and publicized one statement.

In comparison to wired video viewing, consumers viewing video on their mobile devices is small and is currently driven by Apple devices, which make up 80% of all video views between iPhones, iPod Touches and the iPad. This majority reflects the number of these devices in market and their early dominance in the smart-device sector.

The report clarifies this statement further as

80% of wireless video views on FreeWheel systems take place on Apple platforms

But that media didn’t quite get to the clarification that this report is talking strictly about content made and distributed by FreeWheel clients and not the Internet as a whole.

FreeWheel provides technology to their clients so they can manage advertising sales rights as they syndicate and distribute their content across sites and devices.  They have a large list of clients.  Noticeably absent from this list are bandwidth champion Netflix and 3rd place YouTube which account for ~35% of all internet, mobile and wired, usage.

I contacted FreeWheel and a representative stated

This report was written based on 10B video views for the quarter, so you can safely assume we’re reporting on about 100M mobile video views of professional content in Q1 2011 (again, just professional video content, not user generated).

[The Report] states in both the overview in the beginning and the note about data at the end.  And is reflected in our customer set, all of which produce or distribute professional content.

we don’t touch Netflix

While the FreeWheel report does have a massive sampling of videos it is not a good representation of what sort content is watched on mobile devices.  Allot Communications released a Global Mobile Broadband traffic Report in which stated

YouTube continues as the single most significant website for video streaming and sharing, now accounting for 45% of the overall mobile video streaming traffic and 17% of the total traffic on mobile networks

With the massive gap in audience from YouTube,  Netflix, and all user generated content you can’t make the leap from what the FreeWheel report clearly states as

80% of wireless video views on FreeWheel systems take place on Apple platforms

to what the New York Times states,

the vast majority of video views that occur on mobile devices happen on Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Its just not a leap one can make.  Bad New York Times, bad.

Firmware Confusion

With the advent of the smart-phone and other consumer technology firmware updates have become something that the common user has to know about. Android handles its firmware upgrades completely different from it iOS cousins, to the point where I don’t think you can actually classify them together.

iOS downloads a huge file, 666.2MB at last check Through iTunes the device is backed up and the OS and core apps; mail, calendar, safari, maps, etc, are updated. This method is dependant on large downloads, long tethered updates, even in the event that there is only a small change. This and the necessity to activate the device through iTunes after every update put hindrances on over-the-air (OTA) updates which iOS doesn’t support presently. The biggest issue I have with this method is that all the core apps are tied to these updates. To get an update to any core app, mail, appstore, calendar, maps, youtube, stocks, weather, itunes, it has to be through a firmware update. Its like needing to rebuild you house every time you get a new couch.

On the other hand, Android has several ways to update. The first, and worst, are the carrier OTA updates. These a plagued with carrier addons, manufacture UIs, and delays-a-plenty. These are still great for the everyday user, just not for me. Secondly some manufactures/carriers let you download the update to the phone through desktop applications and then just restart the phone with a file on the SD card. And third and best of all, you can use any ROM being maintained by developers, Cyanogen being the most prominent, and update whenever a new build is pushed through a variety of portals. These updates can be download and installed without the use of a computer.

In all these case the updates can range from 80-150MB in my experience. The best part about these updates is that they are for the most part system upgrades. They add features at a core level like, pinch to zoom, multitasking, flash support, speed/battery improvements, and the like. The average person probably wouldn’t notice any difference in these improvements, but the techno-person does.

Androids core apps, gmail, youtube, maps, navigation, Market, etc are handled like applications. They aren’t tied to the firmware and can be upgraded through the market in mere seconds when ever you want. it also allows you to have the latest version of the app without having the latest version of the firmware.

These differences on how the firmware is handled make direct comparisons of Android and iOS updates nonsensical.