Daniel Eran Dilger
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Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as advancing technology

iPhone OS vs Android releases

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

Google’s Android supplies smartphone makers with the core software they can use to sell devices that compete against the iPhone. This article is the third in a series examining how Android stacks up in comparison to the iPhone as a smartphone software platform, looking particularly how core system and bundled software is delivered, updated, and maintained.

Articles in this series:
Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as core platforms
Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as business models
Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as advancing technology
Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as software markets

Previous articles in this series have examined the underlying core technology and business models used by Apple and Google to create their smartphone platforms. This segment looks at how each platform manages software updates and delivers platform advancement in the form of new operating system features and bundled apps.

Software updates: iPhone

Apple’s software updates for the iPhone have followed the pattern of one major new reference release each summer, with regular minor updates released about every month or two in between. All updates install on all versions of the iPhone dating back to 2007. Any software features that require new hardware support are simply missing on earlier models, with abstracted functionality that falls back to work on the available hardware.

After the release of iPhone 2.0, Apple issued a final update for devices running 1.0, primarily for iPod touch users who needed to pay a nominal fee in order to download the 2.0 update. With the introduction of iPhone 3.0, the company signaled the intention to avoid any sort of backwards compatibility conflicts between app developers and the OS version by forcing all third party titles to certify their compatibility with iPhone 3.0.

This helped to cleanly move all iPhone users to 3.0 quickly, negating any reason to maintain support for the previous 2.x platform. This frees Apple from having to split its efforts between different versions, and works to keep the platform feature-progressive and yet simple. Users don’t have to think about their phone or app software versions, it all just works.

In the chart below, updates introducing significant new features are indicated in darker colors while bug fix and performance improvement releases are lighter. Apple has delivered three or four new feature updates per year, each padded by three or four general improvement updates. In its first year, Android shipped two feature updates and two general improvement updates; that’s half the pace Apple set for the iPhone in its first year.

iPhone OS vs Android releases

Software updates: Android

Once a new Android update becomes available, users will need to obtain it themselves or wait for their mobile operator to deliver it. Because mobile providers and hardware makers can make significant, proprietary changes to the standard Android software, the platform’s users don’t all have a single, simple way to install the latest version of Android.

In other words, in order to get the HTC-specific or Verizon-specific or model-specific version of the latest Android release, users will face the same issues that RIM BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile users are all familiar with: a waiting game that involves lining up the platform vendor with the hardware vendor and then rollout by the mobile provider.

Sony Ericsson just announced its Xperia X10, a new Android model it expects to release early next year, but says it will ship with Android 1.6 rather than the latest 2.0 version. Verizon’s Droid (by Motorola) and Droid Eris (made by HTC) currently ship with Android 2.0 and Android 1.5 respectively.

This is mind boggling to users familiar with Apple’s updates, but again it’s common practice among other smartphone platforms. Users who want to upgrade to Android 2.0 themselves will have to figure out on their own how to get Sony Ericsson’s or HTC’s custom user interfaces and other modifications to support their model’s unique hardware until the vendor decides to adopt the most recent version. Among other software platforms, this process can take months after an update is originally released.

Additionally, depending on the hardware specifications of a given Android phone, future Android updates that Google releases may or may not install at all, or may require hacking to scale back or drop features so that they fit on the phone.

For example, Google has warned that the original, year-old T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream doesn’t have enough built-in memory to accommodate future Android updates. Somewhere along the line, the software platform developer (Google), the hardware manufacturer (HTC) and the service provider (T-Mobile) delivered a phone without thinking about how it might accommodate future updates released within the next year or two.

Apple was criticized for not supporting video capture on earlier models in the iPhone 3.0 update, despite those phones actually lacking the processing power to deliver quality recording. Will Android users make excuses for Google once they find that they can’t even install the latest software at all?

If this sounds familiar, it should be. These kind of issues were pandemic on Windows Mobile, where the part of Google was played by Microsoft. WiMo 5 introduced an entirely new memory design that instantly made nearly all previous phones ineligible for upgrade. WiMo 6, 6.1 and 6.5 have similarly introduced hardware/software integration obstacles that either complicated or completely blocked users from installing the latest version of their platform’s software.

Today’s Android phones are typically the same devices running a free alternative operating system by a vendor that exercises even less control over the platform; the Motorola Droid, HTC models, and Sony Ericsson’s Xperia were all originally developed as Windows Mobile phones.

Google’s Android software platform is more modern and capable than Windows Mobile (which was originally developed to run simpler PDAs), but the core problems facing Windows Mobile aren’t particularly due to technology limitations; they’re linked to its fractionalized, poorly integrated hardware and software model, where apps aren’t guaranteed to look good or perform well and different form factors, hardware specifications, and OS versions introduce complications that are simply difficult to manage. Android’s better operating system technology at less cost and with greater licensing freedom does nothing to solve these these core problems.

Platform advancement: iPhone

In addition to the problems of users just obtaining the latest updates, Android also lacks Apple’s integrated business model which provides a strong motivation for delivering compelling new features. Apple’s regular major updates are designed to sell hardware and keep user satisfaction high. Apple makes enough money from hardware sales to reinvest considerable efforts to keep its software platform fresh and innovative, just as it did with the iPod.

Progressive software updates were so core to Apple’s business model that it changed how it accounted for iPhones in order to ensure that its planned software updates would be quickly adopted by users without any cost barriers. The result has been a rapidly advancing platform that introduces novel features and quickly matches new advances appearing on other platforms.

Even in areas where Apple has chosen not to support a particular technology, such as third party background apps or Adobe Flash Player, it has introduced alternatives that blunt the impact of those missing features, such as its centralized Push Notification Server or support for H.264 YouTube streaming.

Again, Apple’s centralized control over the iPhone platform allows it to introduce new features that work across all iPhone models and then push these out to all users quickly, ensuring that new operating system features are broadly available to developers. That results in a cohesive, advancing platform that can quickly shed legacy issues while rapidly deploying new system-wide functionality.

Platform advancement: Android

Android lacks the same financial motivation. Google only wants to give phone makers and providers enough code to allow them to deliver their own customized, distinguished products so that it can continue its core business of selling ads and paid search to mobile users. Those partners actually want to have control over differentiated, compelling features that they can use to sell their Android phones in competition with other Android makers.

So rather than Android being a platform being pushed forward by Google, it will largely be advanced by Motorola, HTC, Sony Ericsson, and other makers who all have a history of making dozens of phones with terrible user interfaces and bizarre bundled apps and hardware features that are poorly implemented.

The commonality between these devices will be that they all run Dalvik bytecode and have an open source kernel, something that few Android users will care anything about. Essentially, Android isn’t Google’s phone platform, it’s an open alternative for failing hardware makers to use in place of Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Linux to create the same type of convoluted, fractionalized, and poorly integrated products they’re already making. This is also why Symbian, Windows Mobile, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson are all failing commercially.

Google’s primary and most significant contribution won’t be any major innovation in the core Android platform but rather in its own bundled apps, where Google plans to earn its revenues from via, to put it bluntly, adware and spyware. It should not be a surprise to see that Google is motivated to do things that advance the company’s profitability rather than create free value for other companies at monumental expense to itself.

Google has no interest in making Android phones work well with a media app like iTunes because it doesn’t have one; it has no motive to develop hardware integration with home theater or WiFi products because it doesn’t sell them; it has no need to line up major software vendors or games developers for Android because it doesn’t make any money selling hardware, and there’s really very little money involved in creating and maintaining a third party software store.

This all happened before

This was the same issue with Microsoft’s PlaysForSure strategy, which similarly hoped third party MP3 hardware makers and music store vendors would contribute major efforts to create an ecosystem around it so that Microsoft could then tax the platform as its core software vendor.

The problem was that there wasn’t much money involved in running music stores and the margins on hardware were impacted by Microsoft’s licensing fees. The only difference in Google’s case is that the company isn’t planning to levy a software tax for the platform itself, and instead will only try to make money from ads and paid search. But those sources provide even less revenue that can be used to advance the platform.

In effect, with the iPhone Apple acts like a club promotor funding a party for which it collects a cover charge from people who want to attend; Google has invited companies to pay for various elements of the party, each collect their own cover charges, and manage all the promotional elements among themselves even as they each compete for credit and customers and revenues. That’s not going to result in a very well orchestrated nor popular party. Additionally, because Google also wants its same apps on the iPhone, there won’t really be anything unique about the Android experience compared to the iPhone.

Bundled Apps: iPhone

Apple shipped the original iPhone with a series of bundled apps and no provision for third party software. Apple’s own apps set a high standard for iPhone software, astronomically higher than anything that had ever existed in the mobile space before.

Rather than trying to be a small desktop computer (like previous attempts by Microsoft in its Handheld PC, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, and UltraMobile PC offerings), the original iPhone presented a series of functional but simple apps for primarily viewing local and Internet data, including a new gold standard for the mobile web browser, a central Maps app based on the Google Maps service, a universal YouTube player, a universal QuickTime player, Office and PDF viewers, a rich email client, and the typical organizer apps: Contacts, Calendar and widgets like Calculator, Stocks, and Weather.

Apple enhanced and expanded its bundled apps over the first year, incorporating support for Skyhook Wireless’ WiFi geolocation in Maps and direct media downloads from the iTunes Store. With iPhone 2.0, Apple added official support for third party apps; it has continued to bundle its own new first party apps in releases since, including push features for Exchange ActiveSync and MobileMe, the addition of Nike+, Google Street Views, and iTunes features such as Genius playlists.

iPhone 3.0 introduced new bundled apps including Compass, Spotlight search, Voice Memo and Voice Control and broadly upgraded all the existing apps with multimedia copy/paste, video recording, and accessibility features. Bundled apps are updated in the same software updates as OS releases, because they all come from Apple. There’s no interference or delay from the service provider, and of course, there’s also no variety in hardware makers to manage.

In most cases, Apple has advanced bundled app features ahead of Android, simply because the company started more than a year earlier. However, Google has also demonstrated unique new Android features in advance of Apple. Last year, it showed off compass-activated Street Views on the T-Mobile G1, a feature that was rolled into the iPhone 3GS.

This year, Google debuted Maps Navigation, a turn by turn directions enhancement to the company’s Maps. This feature will be even easier for Apple to adopt on the iPhone, as it does not require hardware upgrades. Because Google is advancing its new features to sell search rather than its own phones, there is no reason for the company to deliver unique features exclusive to Android phones, and it has shown no desire to do so.

On the other hand. Google has tried to release features that aren’t supported on the iPhone, such as a native Latitude app that allows users to constantly report their location to Google. Apple doesn’t currently allow third party developers to install listening or reporting software in the background. Apple also blocked Google Voice, an app that takes over the iPhone interface to supply an alternative, ad-supported phone service that competes with the iPhone’s subsidizing mobile partners.

This indicates that Android users will have unique feature access to certain types of apps that Apple blocks third parties from delivering, even in cases where Google would like to make them available to iPhone users. The next segment on third party apps will look at this issue in greater detail.

Apple also offers additional apps that are available alongside third party apps in the App Store, including the free Remote and iDisk, and the $5 Texas Hold’em game. All of Apple’s bundled apps are closed and proprietary. All bundled iPhone apps also run on the iPod touch, unless they require some hardware feature unique to the iPhone. Service providers are also capable of offering their own third party apps via the App Store, but can’t push software directly to their subscribers.

Bundled Apps: Google

Google similarly delivers a series of closed, proprietary apps for Android. These are an optional install for hardware vendors and service providers, so these may or may not appear on Android devices. If they do, they can’t be modified under the terms of Google’s license, or distributed without Google’s permission for use on unauthorized versions of Android firmware.

Essentially, Google’s bundled apps are to Android what Office is to Windows: it may come bundled on a new system, but it’s not part of the core platform. When Android is described as “free and open source software,” this only pertains to the core OS; much of the value Google offers to Android comes from its bundled apps, which are not free and open source. These bundled apps are referred to as the “Google Experience,” and include Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and its Gmail client. When an Android phone is advertised as “with Google,” it means that it is bundling these apps.

Google also develops additional apps that are available alongside third party apps in the Android Market, and often also ports these apps to the iPhone App Store (although Apple has blocked features or complete apps on occasion, from background updates in Google Latitude to the entirety of Google Voice). This means that the majority of the core value that Google delivers for Android is not unique to Android. The only features that are unique to Android and not the iPhone are those few Google apps that Apple does not approve for the iPhone.

In addition to Google’s “experience” apps that are optionally bundled with Android, hardware makers and mobile operators may also install their own closed, proprietary apps (or may include FOSS apps of their own or from other sources). These can be used to replace or augment Google’s experience apps, creating flavors of Android phones that have next to nothing in common apart from their underlying platform.

If Google’s apps are Androids’s “Office suite,” this mobile provider or hardware maker software is the platform’s “preinstalled junkware,” although Android phones have yet to establish their reputation for being loaded up with bloated adware, trialware, spyware and other efforts by various parties to cash in on having some control over the user’s experience.

The last decade of Windows PC makers’ experiences in trying to differentiate themselves before the sale and then to cash in on having claimed the eyeballs of their customers after the sale should provide plenty of evidence that Android hardware vendors will do the same kinds of things. The only difference is that Microsoft attempted to strictly limit what OEMs added to their own Windows PCs; Google is wide open to finding out how far its partners will go to load up their smartphones with advertising revenue potential.

Third party software solutions

These out of the box issues related to the business models of Apple and Google are already evident. The iPhone ships with a full complement of bundled apps that are optimized for the device, and along with the iPod touch, all devices from Apple ship with the latest version of all bundled apps and core software and can update to new versions as they become available.

Android phones such as Verizon’s Droid by Motorola ship with apps that don’t consistently take advantage of core operating system features (such as multitouch gestures), and don’t look right on the device’s unusually high resolution screen because they were designed to run on Android phones with a different display.

Droid’s camera has impressive software and hardware feature specifications, but it doesn’t take good pictures because the hardware and software weren’t optimized to work well together. Verizon’s Droid Eris, which is made by HTC, ships with an entirely different platform version: Android 1.5, with different features and fewer bundled apps. It’s not clear how, when, or even if older or cheaper phones will be able to be updated to the newest Android releases.

Beyond these integration issues related to the differing business models and development motivations of Apple and Google, the two platforms also have an array of third party titles available through their mobile software markets. In both cases, the expandability and forward utility of iPhone and Android phones will be impacted by how rich and diverse and interesting their third party offerings are. The next segment will take a look at how the two mobile platform’s software markets compare.


1 gus2000 { 11.11.09 at 1:07 pm }

It’s odd: the only people I know with an Android phone have “jailbroken” them to install alternate software and circumvent the limitations. It really is the platform of choice for hackers.

I use an iPhone but that doesn’t mean I lack ‘1337 5ki11z. I simply reserve those skills for things that are important, like cheating in online games.

2 ChuckO { 11.11.09 at 1:49 pm }

So what your saying Dan, is it’s about time for Graham Chapman to walk out in British military drag and shut Android down for being too silly.

3 talonhawk { 11.11.09 at 2:47 pm }


Dan, with http://www.macworld.com/article/143773/2009/11/tablet_reader.html?lsrc=rss_main as the background, would the iTablet be a possible stepping stone for Apple to “port” the App Store to more traditional Macs as more of their customer base becomes familiar with adding new software and content to their Apple Device by this method?

It seems to me that if the iTablet sits between the iPhone/iPod Touch in form factor, price point and function, and considering Apple’s history of cross-pollenating OS features between Mac OS flavors (iPod OS, Mac OS and the possible iTablet OS), then your proposal to use a Desktop App store seems to be much more tangible. Thoughts?

4 dallasmay { 11.11.09 at 8:38 pm }

I’m sorry that I’m becoming the local Android apologist -in truth I have an iPhone.

I see one problem with your assessment here. Apple’s current system of upgrading every iPhone’s OS at the same time has worked out for them recently, only because the iPhone 3Gs is really not all that different than the iPhone 3G. Really, what hardware does the 3Gs have that the original doesn’t? A better camera? A compass? A faster processor? These are not likely to up sell many people to a new phone. Apple made their fortunes on the iPod by perceived obsolescence. Every year they came out with a new one that was just enough better than the old one that a consumer wanted to upgrade. So far, Apple has not felt that they needed perceived obsolescence to sell their phones. While I don’t pretend to know Apple’s game plan here, I have to assume that if perceived obsolescence doesn’t eventually cause Apple to break the iPhone’s OS up, technological obsolescence will. These phones are adding more features and getting better and better every month. Eventually Apple will have to either stop selling apps to old phones or break the OS into pieces and sell apps to various phone shapes and sizes and features.

My point is this. While Apple has been able to slide past the problem of selling apps to a bunch of different phones with a bunch of different screen-sizes and features, that won’t last for long. Soon their new phones will be so different from the Origional iPhone that developers will have to write multiple apps to support the different iPhones. Then the playing field will be level.

5 danieleran { 11.11.09 at 9:08 pm }

@dallasmay – Thanks for offering a dissenting opinion with class.

Yes, the iPhone is going to differentiate, and probably get higher resolution screens and faster cpu/gpu cores. The iPhone 3GS can already do graphics earlier iPhones can’t, and represents a target for developers to consider (aim for the new or aim for the broader market?).

However, that’s a far cry from having a dozen different manufacturers each making different devices in desperate attempts to stand out. How many of the 10,000 Android apps look good on the Droid’s high resolution display? What can Motorola do about it? Very little.

Apple has the ability to push developers to the latest OS via the App Store, something that’s never really been done before on any platform. It can also abstract away a lot of hardware differences in the OS, something that Mot/SEricsson/HTC can’t really do. It has more control over making resolution independence actually work.

And look at Apple’s product offerings: one new iPhone and a new touch every year. Every other vendor is trying to pump out ten+ new phones a year, each slightly different with missing features and different this and that. And each one is named something different in different markets and on different provider, so users have no idea which are which.

It’s clearly getting to the point where Android is being buried by fractionaliztion and the platform has barely arrived. Symbian and WiMo provide some telling harbingers of Android’s ability to rope all this back together. And Google doesn’t seem at all interested in being an Apple or even a Microsoft. It seems happy being a big corporate version of Richard Stallman.

I don’t start writing with an idea in mind that I want to propagate (usually!). I start writing up a subject and the story unfolds itself.

And I end up looking opinionated because I’m usually right in observing what is going on, while all the pundits are trying to advance some idea or ideology that really doesn’t make any sense.

And as much as I’d like to look less like an Apple apologist, there’s a reason why Apple is doing really well in the market while Mot/SEricsson/Nokia/WiMo/Symbian are all struggling to remain relevant. It’s not for a lack of propaganda behind them, it’s that they’re doing all the wrong things. If Apple were failing and I were wishing it all away and making excuses, then I’d deserve being called out as a nutter. But that isn’t happening. Which is why I get to call out the ideological nutters behind Symbian/WiMo and yes, Android.

6 gus2000 { 11.11.09 at 11:28 pm }

I must respond to dallasmay and will try to be just as respectful.

There are few products that can sell for decades without any major changes; the VW Bug comes to mind. Most products must keep swimming or drown. I therefore take exception to your assertion that “Apple made their fortunes on the iPod by perceived obsolescence”.

No, Apple sold iPods because they were an elegant and integrated solution that made everyone else’s products look like utter crap.

I’m sure there were people who ran out to immediately get the 8GB Nano to replace their 4GB version, but most iPod sales are to new customers. (In their latest quarter, Apple said that 50% of iPod sales were to first-time buyers, even though the DMP market has matured substantially since 2001.) I assure you that any iPods in the landfill (and/or sent for recycling!) are there because they’re broken. A quick trip to eBay reveals that iPods hold their value quite nicely.

I guess you struck a fanboy nerve because “we” are frequently accused of being pretentious trendwatchers that just want to own “cool stuff”, which is simply not true for most of us. Your assertion also implies that Apple either made meaningless changes to the new hardware, or actually held back features so they could use them later to artificially create obsolescence. I find it hard to believe that Apple is holding back development while simultaneously keeping well ahead of the competition.

7 uberVU - social comments { 11.12.09 at 4:24 am }

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by iPhoneWonder: Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as advancing …: The only difference in Google’s cas.. http://bit.ly/fDrRx

8 ChuckO { 11.12.09 at 7:43 am }

Maybe my standards have been eroded by the nonsense out there but I think the folks that comment here are pretty respectful. I don’t recall any posts that were mindless flaming based on a dogmatic ideology. A couple of regulars seem to fault Dan occasionally for what they seem to feel is him “not being nice” to Android but this site seems like a really good example of what an online community can be.

9 luisd { 11.12.09 at 9:07 am }

Dan, gus200 and dallasmay (post 4, 5 & 6)

Discussions like this are what make RDM a great blog to come back over and over again. Well reasoned, no personal attacks, and intelligent opinions.

I love this site!

10 mysocialbrain: 12-11-2009 : protagonist { 11.12.09 at 11:24 am }

[…] Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as advancing technology third in the series of just making sense of android […]

11 daGUY { 11.12.09 at 2:48 pm }

Excellent article! Android to me seems to have all the same core problems as Windows Mobile (and Windows on PCs, for that matter) – it runs on a million different devices, each with their own capabilities, specs, dimensions, and input methods. There’s no single Android “experience.”

This is a huge problem for software development, as Dan pointed out. If you design software that takes advantage of specific hardware features, it won’t work on all Android phones; conversely, if you design a “lowest common denominator” solution, it’ll work everywhere but won’t offer anything beyond the most basic abilities.

Yes, the iPhone has this issue too, but it’s largely mitigated by the fact that Apple doesn’t change vital parts of the device with every iteration, like the screen size/dimensions and the input method. In addition, every model of the iPhone can run the latest version of the OS. So developers can simply target a single platform, and the OS will smoothly and intelligently revert to fallback solutions on older devices that lack specific hardware support for certain features (like substituting Skyhook for GPS if the app requests location information). That lets them constantly push forward every year without heavily fracturing the market.

12 bchristian { 11.12.09 at 3:02 pm }

“Essentially, Android isn’t Google’s phone platform, it’s an open alternative for failing hardware makers to use in place of Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Linux to create the same type of convoluted, fractionalized, and poorly integrated products they’re already making.”

Boo ya! This is the nail in the coffin…

“In effect, with the iPhone Apple acts like a club promotor funding a party for which it collects a cover charge from people who want to attend; Google has invited companies to pay for various elements of the party, each collect their own cover charges, and manage all the promotional elements among themselves even as they each compete for credit and customers and revenues. That’s not going to result in a very well orchestrated nor popular party. ”

This kind of insight is why I turn off adblock on your site, Dan. Thanks for sharing! You truly have a unique way with complicated tech issues.

13 The Mad Hatter { 11.12.09 at 6:27 pm }


Some interesting information.

14 The Mad Hatter { 11.12.09 at 6:39 pm }

Some more information.

BTW, I have an IPhone 3G. I spent a lot of time driving store employees nuts, and my next choice would have been the Palm Pre, even with the shitty keyboard. Third place was Blackberry Storm.

None of the Android phones were anywhere near as good as those three. I rate the phones like this:

Apple IPhone – 4.5
Palm Pre – 3.5
Blackberry Storm – 3.0
Palm OS Treo – 3.0
Keyboard Blackberrys – 1.0 to 2.5
Android Phones – 1.0 to 2.5
Windows Mobile Phones – 1.0 to 2.0

It all comes down to the hardware/software integration. Its surprising how well the aging Treo shows up against the current Android and WinMob phones, and the far newer Storm, even though it’s somewhat clunky, and is definitely showing it’s age.

While the Pre has it’s issues, its solidly in second. Yes, it’s limited compared to the IPhone, but it is far better than anything else on the market.

15 jdeep2901 { 11.13.09 at 2:12 pm }

Looking at what may happen to the iPhone’s hardware and OS – yes, both may change to something completely different from what they are at present. This would definitely get the question of ‘what/which to support’ in the minds of most developers, and ‘should I get the latest or stick to this one’ in the minds of most buyers.
And as daGuy pointed out, the OS’s so far have been seamlessly integrating with all models, automatically taking care of the the hardware compatibility. So at some point, it will be the user’s decision whether he wants to shift to the latest model or stick to the one he has, with little but flawless support as far as Apps and other hardware features are concerned. Apple will still continue to support both of the above scenarios, and safely stay out of the problems being currently faced by Andriod or Windows platforms based mobile devices.
Excellent article Dan!

16 David Dennis { 11.13.09 at 4:42 pm }

I would love to see a higher resolution iPhone, but it would be very difficult to move existing apps to the higher resolution.

Any ideas on how the improvement could be made seamlessly?

Developing for WebOS and making both the Pre and Pixi resolutions look good was not easy. I eventually did it, but it took a lot of thought to get right.


17 JohnWatkins { 11.14.09 at 8:17 am }

So what is the state of “Resolution Independence” on OS X these days? There was quite a bit of work being done on it for a while (icons are now hi res and scalable, preview is up, etc.) but it seems stuck in quiescence at the moment (or at least on the back burner.) There were a lot of details to get right, but I can’t imagine that they’ve given up on it. More likely they were waiting for various compelling and synergistic reasons to make the move. Well the parts seem to be in place now so I would expect to see a final push to implementation soon.

18 humann { 11.15.09 at 12:47 am }

another great article by DED/PML marching stoutly in the opposite direction from the rest of the tech media. what’s got me most curious about this one is the graph’s color scheme. Trying to figure out why some revs were darker than others gave me a headache. Maybe it’s the graphical equivalent of the legendary typos around here or maybe someone will explain it to me. Just don’t say that the dark colors are .1 point revs and the lighter ones are .01 revs. If that was the plan then why are iPhone OS 1.11 and 1.13 both dark? And what were the particulars of the 1.15 and 2.02 overlaps. This represents different revs’ simultaneous availability to download through iTunes?

19 JohnWatkins { 11.16.09 at 7:10 pm }

The dark ones are substantial revisions while the light ones are bug fixes. See the paragraph above the second image.

20 Stephen { 11.18.09 at 3:48 am }

Slashdot is “reporting” an additional wrinkle – phone manufacturers who use Android get a cut of Google’s ad revenue. So not only do the phone manufacturers achieve immediate cost savings because they don’t have to maintain OS development infrastructure, they actually get a positive revenue flow from Google. Contrast that with Microsoft’s sales pitch – “Buy a Win Mobile license fee for each handset, and get, um….”.

21 The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs : Rabid Fanboy: Guest blogger Daniel Eran Dilger on why Android will fail { 11.18.09 at 3:47 pm }

[…] articles. Following are links to Part One: The Platforms, Part Two: The Business Model, and Part Three: Advancing Technology. Parts Four through Fourteen will follow over the coming […]

22 The Mad Hatter { 11.19.09 at 8:23 pm }


23 garnercx { 12.04.09 at 9:21 pm }

Apple is global, Roughly Drafted is global, BUT summer is not.

Major new reference releases for the iphone come out each winter for us here in Australia. Don’t forget how far and wide your audience is Dan!

Love (*love*) the articles. Sorry to hear Google got to you!

24 The Mad Hatter { 12.04.09 at 10:29 pm }


Yeah, right. It might as well be summer year round down your way. You don’t get snow.
Guess it was about 15 years ago, I tried to order a forklift from Australian manufacturer Omega. They didn’t offer one, and didn’t know where to source one. They were more than happy to install air conditioning though. Sigh.

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