With new versions of iOS and Android due this autumn, we’ve decided to compare the two.
In June, Apple announced iOS 9, the next-generation of its iPhone and iPad operating system. It will go head-to-head with Google’s Android M at the top of the Android phones and tablets market, so we decided to compare and contrast the two leading mobile platforms.
We now know definitively that both iOS 9 and Android M are in the works. What we don’t know is when exactly they will launch. But we can make some good guesses: iOS 9 will launch in ‘Fall 2015’, according to Apple. It wasn’t specific because it doesn’t want to give away the date of the next iPhone and iPad launches, which will likely be the same day. But expect a new OS in September 2015.
Meanwhile, at I/O 2015 Google unveiled an Android M Developer Preview, confirming the existence of the next flagship Android OS. The final version of Android M will launch with a new Nexus phone in October or November this year. But unlike iOS, we won’t then see a rapid roll out to all compatible devices: Android M will appear first on other Nexus devices, and within a few months make the move to flagship phones and tablets made by third-party OEMs such as Samsung, LG and Sony. Unless you are a Nexus guy, don’t expect to get Android M on your device until late 2015 or even early 2016.
For the first time I can remember, Apple is running a public beta of its iOS update. You can try out the iOS 9 beta in a few months, but you can sign up now by signing up at beta.apple.com. Developers can download the first beta of iOS 9 immediately, though.
Similarly, if you want to get your hands on Android M now, you can download the Android M Developer Preview, but only if you have a Nexus 5, 6, 9 or Player. As with the iPhone equivalent, it should be said that developer preview software is really only for, er, developers. Expect bugs and frequent updates, as well as missing features.
This is one of the fundamental differences between iOS and Android. Because Apple makes both software and hardware, it rolls out its new software in a quick and efficient manner. Thus every iPhone and iPad that now runs iOS 8 will be able to upgrade to iOS 9, the day it comes out. And unlike previous iOS updates, Apple promises that this time around, the update file won’t be as big as your iPhone’s available storage. Older iPhones won’t all get some features, though. (If your phone doesn’t have an NFC chip, you won’t be able to use Apple Pay, for instance.)
Android M’s compatibility will be more scattered. Because Google can make the software available to its OEM partners, but they are not forced to push the upgrade out to end users. So while Nexus devices are pretty much guaranteed an over the air (OTA) upgrade to Android M, those with phones made by other people have no guarantee. However, if you have a flagship phone from 2014 or 2015, it is most unlikely you won’t get the upgrade at some point.
Apple Pay vs Android Pay
Both iOS 9 and Android M share one major new feature: NFC-enabled contactless payments. With Apple Pay and Android Pay, you will be able to use your phone like a