The Apple vs Android debate has caused one of the biggest first world problems of our time. Your phone is no longer just a device on which you make a phone call…it’s a lifestyle.

The ‘Great Debate’, as it has been dubbed, has grown to epic proportions with the Apple and Android brands seemingly having developed personas along the way. With Smart Phone Camera ‘Shoot Outs’, ‘smack downs’ between Google voice search vs. SIRI and reports of SIRI and the iPhone 5 vs the world – things seem to be getting a little over dramatised and out of hand. In this weeks reading, Andy Rubin himself said that the Android device ‘would have the spirit of Linux and the reach of Windows’.

So apparently technology now has spirit… has society forgotten that we are discussing electronic devices?

The two companies have taken entirely different approaches to the mobile war, however in my opinion, people are buying into the brand, as much as they are into the technology. Apple’s iPhone’s allow only Apple-approved applications (apps) on the handset. By contrast, now that it has moved into the phone business, Google gives Android away—it does not sell it—to be installed on dozens of phone models made by a host of phonemakers, including Sony, Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and others. Android’s code is open, and the phonemakers can tinker with it to suit their needs (though Google tries to maintain a basic set of standards, so that an app built for one Android phone will work on another). Anyone who can create an Android app can get it into Google’s Android Market, the equivalent of the App Store. Apple is renown for its sleek sophisticated and trendy style, but far more sealed and controlled.

Appleism isn’t quite a religion, but it features almost a God-like leader, the late Steve Jobs, who millions of individuals praise every day. On the contrary, the ‘Googlers’ or ‘Droids’ of the world worship at an entirely different alter, and I am sure, wouldn’t have it any other way.

I myself, am a fence sitter. I have found myself caught somewhere between the ‘smack downs’ and ‘shoot outs’ of this first world problem and will either have to ‘Google’ or ask SIRI how to get out.


Roth, D. (2008) ‘Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web’. Wired, June 23. [URL: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/16-07/ff_android]

Image sourced from: http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/26682592.jpg.



  1. Your opening line is spot on, I could not agree more!! I was only talking to a friend the other day who said he had just upgrading to the new iPhone 5, although it had cost him $300 to get out of his previous contract, but those exact words from his mouth, “first world problem”. I think I have this Appleism belief, I live apple, phone, laptop and ipad, and I don’t think I woul dhave it any other way, not only to I find them easy to use, but the cohesion between my 3 devices is much easier.

  2. It’s definitely a first world problem, but that doesn’t mean that its not a big problem, or philosophical issue to be debated. The functionality and “Lifestyle” that come with the phones are essentially the same except Apples only talk to Apples, and they do it really well.
    I tweeted about this earlier in the week, but what happens when Apple decides to change something about their products, loosing some functionality or forcing you to buy more Apple products?
    A basic example is that they decided to use an entirely new plug for the iPhone 5, forcing users who wanted to upgrade to update all their cables as well. Not the biggest deal in the world but with patents to disable functionality based on location being granted to Apple, I don’t like where their closed system is going.

  3. The title of your post perfectly summarises my viewpoint on this particular topic. From what I understand, Apple make cool looking devices and Android seem to make smart phones. It was surprising to hear in the lecture that Android has 68% of the market. I guess that makes sense since they are given to a range of phone carriers but even then I can’t think of anyone who owns any of those brands.

  4. We are a society driven by consumerism and materialism. Our first-world problems exist with what brand of computer we bring to uni, and what held-held pilot of intelligence we talk on. The Smartphone as it is commonly now known has been swallowed up my two dominant companies in the market. Apple vs. Google. Your statement on the desire for all things ‘Apple’, aka ‘Appleism’ is almost nothing short of being deemed as a religion by some. Working for a telco provider myself I have witnessed first hand this obsession in action. On the launch day of the iPhone 5 people were lining up since 4am outside the Wollongong Telstra shop. The store didn’t open till 8! Advocates of the brand hadn’t even seen, touched or used the device; yet knew if it had that shiny silver apple logo on the back of it, somehow everything would be A OK!

  5. The Apple vs. Android war has gone from healthy competition to high school cat fight. And we, the consumers, have to pick sides. And we do. Popularity and convenience turns quite a few to Apple. But there are those who fall under your category of ‘Appleism’. The consumers who upgrade their iphone every six months just so they can get the tiniest of differences and stand ahead of the rest of the population. I have an iphone 4 with my third cracked screen, a broken lock button and a screwy home button, yet #firstworldproblems I can’t afford the new iphone 5 but not only that I know they’ll bring out an improved model in six months time.

  6. I’m a bit of a fence sitter myself, I only have the iPhone. But I absolutely loved your point about Apple people worshipping Steve Jobs like he’s a god, it’s so true! And I agree that we have all over exaggerated this ‘debate’ between Apple and Android to be a first world problem. I’m a little embarrassed by this but a huge factor for Apple’s advantage over Android for me is the trendy styles, they’re hard to resist!

  7. Hey, Nikki. I really engaged with this post and really enjoyed the metaphors that you created. I am a fence sitter, like you, having no real thoughts on this first world problem. I have an iPhone, but I think I was persuaded by the fact that all my friends have Apple products, and at the time I wasn’t even really aware of Android products. It is quite comical to see how fierce and passionate these debates can get, and it appears that Android is gaining ground. Apple products, as you mentioned, are refined and Android (Google) is quite open. The refined aspect is part of Apple’s charm, but will is it both a blessing and a curse and bring about Apple’s demise? Only time will tell, with the battle just getting interesting now.

  8. I’m a fence sitter like you. I have apple products but my phone is android.
    I feel that although Apple brings in customers due to it’s exclusiveness, it may be the driving factor as to why many are switching over to Android.
    This fight even spilled out in public between two of my friends, one is an avid Apple lover and user, the other uses Apple also but was getting tired of how it was continually failing her. They broke out into a fight because one couldn’t believe how the other was so willing to (in her words) “abandon” Apple for Android. My friend that was considering the change did eventually switch and unfortunately I had to show her how to work the Google Play store which frustrated her more because her knowledge was so limited and “exclusive” from the iPhone.
    To me it is essentially a fight over brand names. But then again I do love my Android…

  9. I think the reason everyone (including myself) is fence-sitting, is because there really is no point in taking a side. It’s exactly as you said, a first world problem. We’re talking about smartphones here.The beauty of business competition is that it facilitates not only innovation, but also differentiation. It’s not like there’s a ‘right’ way to innovate. I think everything has already been said about the advantages and disadvantages of Apple and Andriod in this weeks blogs posts. I guess we just wait and see how each approach to innovation plays out.

  10. I have used both a Samsung Galaxy S and now I’m using an iPhone 5. I used to swear by Android, constantly arguing with my friends over the issue. But now I’ve decided to give the Apple product a try and I’m loving just as I loved my Galaxy. I think though that the argument between the two brands is a good thing as Android’s rising popularity helps ease Apple’s chokehold on the industry.

  11. You nailed it here here Nikki – major FIRST WORLD PROBLEM! And I think you are completely right when saying that people are buying into the brand as much or even MORE SO than they are buying into the actual technology at hand. I know when I had the choice of buying a new laptop I knew without hesitation that I wanted a Mac – not because of the good price or the technology on offer, simply because pretty much everyone I know at uni has one. I genuinely believe people buy into Apple because of the exclusivity held with the brand. However, do you think the need to buy into the brand is more a case of appearance or more to do with trust – eg; if so many people have this product it must be good? I encourage Smartphone-buying-fence-sitters to go with Apple because its easy and well known, but then again I’ve never tried an Android so who am I to judge?

  12. “Appleism isn’t quiet a religon”. Think again Nikki. According to geek.com (http://www.geek.com/articles/apple/apple-fanaticism-similar-to-religious-devotion-according-to-scientists-20110519/) “A recent BBC TV documentary has uncovered that Apple imagery activates the same parts of the brain in Apple customers and brand loyalists that religious imagery does in followers of that religion”. How crazy is that! Although this might disagree with you on the religion side of things I think this idea definitely supports your notion of people buying into brand personality as much as they are technology. Do they really want that new iPhone, mac or iPad or are they just looking for the half eaten bit of fruit on the back?

  13. This is one of the biggest first world problems I have seen in a long time. Apple vs. Android is a loosing battle. Neither company will ever win, so they are essentially wasting their time. As I discussed in my post, it isn’t who is better, it’s who can market better. And, in my opinion Apple has created a culture that I don’t believe the Android market can ever overtake. Apple has the advantage of a wide range of devices, where Android are only phones made by various companies. So, how can they compete in the market? They cant. Apple has created such a cult following that, in my opinion regardless of what they bring out people will buy it. Sad but true, the technological era is being based around how well can a company market a product and create a culture. This monopolistic nature has hindered the technological evolution.

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