Why does Apple make everything so complicated

Apple, Google and the updates: Simply complicated

The neighbour's grass is always greener, the car is faster and the television is bigger. No wonder that many Android users look enviously at Apple fans when it comes to updates. But sometimes it makes sense to take a closer look, because it cannot be described as strikingly as Apple is drawing the situation.

iOS 12 is here, at least the developer beta. In the course of the presentation, Apple naturally also spoke about updates at the opening keynote of WWDC 2018. All Apple devices that are currently using iOS 11 will be offered the update to iOS 12. And there are many, because the current iOS 11 runs on an impressive 81 percent of iPhones and iPads.

That sounds pretty impressive - as always with Apple - especially for the update-plagued Android fan base. 81 percent market share for an operating system that appeared last year? Good heavens, there must be magicians at work! Android 8.0 and 8.1 Oreo together currently achieve 5.7 percent, Android 7 Nougat achieves 31.1 percent.

The updates are split on Android

So go ahead, put out pitchforks and torches, we storm Google headquarters and finally get these updates! But always slowly with the young horses, because the comparison lags tremendously. At Apple it is only a number that corresponds to the software version that is to be compared. There are three on Android smartphones: the Android version, the security patch level and the manufacturer's firmware version.

At Apple there are - apart from app updates - de facto only "large" updates that count up the version numbers. With Android you have to differentiate, and at least the important security patches are delivered by most manufacturers for at least two years. Still not long enough, but many times better than its reputation. There is therefore not one number that alone tells how well a smartphone is supplied with updates.

Modular updates are an important building block

For some time now, Google has also been delivering important updates for its own functions directly via updates to its own applications or Google Play Services. This type of modular updates will be expanded with Project Treble and is part of Google's long-term strategy to improve the update situation.

Project Treble is also helping Google to shake off a block that makes it much more difficult to deliver updates compared to Apple. At Apple, there are ultimately only two parties involved in the update process for iOS: Apple and the end devices. With Google, there are three or even four of them: Google, the respective device manufacturer, possibly a provider and then finally the end device.

The more places that have to determine the update process and check the updates, the longer the entire process takes. And even a large manufacturer like Samsung cannot promise its customers that it will supply all devices with new Android versions for five years - if Google no longer offers anything for the hardware used, that's it.

It's a little more complicated with Android

Last but not least, Google is jealous of the fact that Apple only has to serve a handful of different hardware platforms that they have also developed themselves. Android cannot be so universal, it has to work equally on countless configurations. The curse of the open system and the fact that Android has long since become the omnipresent egg-laying woolly milk pig.

None of this should be an excuse for Google, Samsung, Huawei and Co. Of course, it's a shame how neglected Android updates are. If you read stories about how manufacturers avoid Android updates, it inevitably makes you blush. Even announcements like "Update guarantee for two years" are ridiculous in comparison.

It is not for nothing that the iPhone is so popular with companies because you can plan with updates over a long period of time. It is obvious that there has to be an improvement. Both device manufacturers and Google have to work on this. But the situation at Apple and Google cannot be compared one-to-one - as much as Tim Cook and Apple fans like to do that too.

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