Have you noticed the inane babble about mobile devices happening online lately? You see it on technology discussion forums, but also on Facebook and other social media. It’s the dreaded “iOS Versus Android” battles.
Ever since the release of the iPhone and subsequent release of Android phones, there have been battles happening as partisans of one platform attack users of the other. On and on it goes, with neither side ever giving ground.
And all this over mobile phones and tablets? Sheesh. Get a life, folks.
Not Just Online: The Battle in Meat Space
Unfortunately, the Android versus iOS battles aren’t just happening online. The mobile OS partisan fighting can be found wherever you have groups of people using one platform or the other.
Not All Gay Guys Own iOS Devices
I’ve seen this first hand with some of the guys I hang out with. A lot of them are gay, and guess what? They don’t all own iPhones or any Apple products at all. I know this will come as a shock to a lot of people who view Apple as synonymous with gay, or vice versa.
In fact, I think the gay Android users outnumber the gay iPhone/iPad users among those I know. Of course the two groups clash frequently at parties. There’s nothing that will get an argument going faster than booze and consumer electronics among gays.
I’ve learned to mostly avoid participating in these kinds of stupid arguments at parties. I don’t drink when I’m out so I’m not juiced up and ready to go when the topic of operating systems comes up. You can usually tell that an Android versus iOS drama scene is starting when voices get raised and a group of guys is standing in a circle gesturing to or with their phones.
It’s rarely a polite battle, with one side trying to talk over the other as they make this point or that point about Android and iOS. New software features are pointed out, new hardware releases are mentioned. Even the rumors of new this or new that will get thrown back and forth by both sides trying to score a point off the other.
Eventually, most people in the circle get tired of it and drift off to get another drink, more food or whatever. It usually comes down to two die-hards that use iOS and Android. These two will not give up or back off. They keep blabbing at each other until they finally realize that most or all of their audience is gone. It’s hard to keep fighting for your mobile platform when it dawns on you that nobody else cares about it.
The Android Partisans
The Android partisans usually have a visceral dislike for all things Apple. They feel that Apple is a giant corporation that tries to control what people do with their devices. So these guys choose to use Android, a product made by Google…another giant corporation.
The Android users insist that by buying phones and tablets that use Google’s operating system they are “free” and all of the iOS users are in some sort of Apple prison. Of course the Android users also have their mobile phone/data accounts with companies like AT&T, Verizon, etc…more giant corporations.
Freedom: Viruses and Malware
Android users take great delight in telling iOS users that there are no limits on the apps you can install on the Android platform. There’s no “big brother Apple” around to block apps from being put on Android devices. Woohoo! Take that, iOS users!
Alas, the Android partisans never seem to mention all of the malware and virus problems happening on that platform. For some strange reason, it never comes up when they talk about Android. Must be some sort of collective amnesia among Android users.
The Macho Ducks
There’s also the macho duck Android users. These guys seem to feel that Apple’s devices are “girly” and that Android (along with Windows) is “manly.” I noted this in an earlier column a while back that examined the issue of Macs, Gays and Manliness.
Is it me or does it seem odd that some people would partially define their gender identity based on a consumer electronics device?
Well, what the heck do I know? I’m just another “apple fag” to these people anyway.
The iOS Partisans
As shortsighted and silly as Android users can be, there are few things more annoying than a hyper-partisan iOS user. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. These are the Apple cultists who believe that their favorite company can do no wrong.
The Great Google Theft!
Some of these folks don’t just dislike Android, they regard it as stolen goods and this fuels deep-rooted venom and anger on their parts. Yep, Steve Jobs himself thought that Google had ripped off every good idea from iOS and stuck it in Android. He had an enormous amount of anger at Google for doing this and Apple is presently suing Google. So it’s no surprise that some Apple fanboys are disgusted at the very thought of using Android.
Of course these same iOS users seem to forget that Steve Jobs also borrowed a few good ideas here and there over the course of his career. I don’t recommend mentioning this to them though or you may get an iPhone upside the head (most have Apple Care on their phones so they might sacrifice a phone to hurt you, knowing that the Apple mother ship will replace it for them for free).
Nobody Likes Cultists
The iOS fanatics don’t seem to understand that their nutty cultish behavior ends up driving people away from Apple’s products. Maybe some of them realize this but they can’t seem to shut up despite knowing it. Even Steve Jobs was irritated from time to time by the behavior of the Apple faithful.
Hey, iOS users…remember that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Every now and then I come across a traitor. You know who these folks are, don’t you? They are the people who have switched from iOS to Android or vice versa.
I’ve noticed that some of them are afraid to even mention it. They seem terrified that their previous faction will turn on them and devour them for switching platforms. How very sad that they have to live their lives in fear, hiding their phones or tablets while they are with their friends.
If you watch carefully, you can always tell who a traitor is at a party. When the iOS versus Android thing comes up, traitors will stop breathing for a few seconds. Then they’ll try to desperately edge their way out of the current group and make a break for some neutral people who are talking about something else.
If you know somebody is a traitor then you might want to have some fun with him or her. Suggest that they tell you their opinion about Android versus iOS, and ask them to show you their phone. Some of them will go into an outright panic and mumble something about “needing to use the bathroom” as they frantically try to get away.
Everybody Shut Up & Use What Works for You
My take on all of this is that people should simply use what works for them. If your preferred platform is iOS or Android, great. Good for you. If it’s something else like Windows Phone or whatever, that’s fine too. Just don’t try to push your choices on me, okay? I have no interest in listening to your religious computing rants, any more than I would want to listen to somebody pushing their spiritual religion on me.
Dealing With Fanatics
Unfortunately, I’ve had to politely and firmly remind people of this from time to time. I was over my friend Kevin’s house one time and there was a guy there who seemed to take offense that I was quietly sitting in a chair, using my iPad. I never mentioned it to him, but he insisted on telling me loudly that he “only needed my phone, tablets are so stupid!” He wouldn’t shut up about it and kept babbling to me (incidentally, he happened to be an Android user…remember what I said about them hating Apple products?).
I finally had to tell this annoying buffoon that I was not competing with him, and that I was glad he was happy with his phone. I pointed out that if his phone worked well for him, great. I wanted a tablet so I got one. I did not seek to push it on him or compare it to his phone. His boyfriend seemed a bit embarrassed by this and tried to gently get him to shut up.
Fanaticism and Ereaders
Of course, you see fanaticism like this with other platforms as well. One time I made the terrible mistake of chatting with another of Kevin’s friends about ereaders. He has a Sony and regards the Kindle as some sort of corporate demon-spawn that deletes all of your books when you least expect it. Oops! Big mistake telling him I owned a Kindle and liked it.
Then the topic of tablets came up, and he loudly proclaimed that “no one can read a book on a tablet!” At this point I decided to simply humor him and said something like “oh, well that’s a good point.” I didn’t bother to mention that I’d read books on my iPad via Amazon’s Kindle app and also iBooks. He had a huge stick up his rear end about tablets so it was best to just end the conversation by moving on to chat with less prickly people.
Learn From the Past
It used to be that system partisans focused more on Windows versus Mac, or even Linux versus Windows, etc. I even remember the days of OS/2 versus Windows back in what seems like the age of the dinosaurs. It was always Microsoft versus Apple, or Microsoft versus IBM. Now it’s Apple versus Google.
Of course, nobody ever really got anywhere with these old feuds either. Newsgroups and discussion forums were filled with flames and attacks, back and forth between various partisan factions.
While it could be fun to read or participate once in a while, it also got old very fast. And that’s where the iOS versus Android feud is now. It’s getting very old and very tired. I’m sick of hearing it from both sides, and I’m sure it will end up just as fruitless as the old Windows versus Mac arguments.
You’d think people would have learned from the past. I guess not. Damn fanatics.
What’s your take on iOS versus Android? Are you a partisan or a normal person? Share your thoughts in the comments below.