Some things never change. Other things never stay the same. Take the iPhone and Android. The iPhone is an iPhone is an iPhone. Android? It went from being the ugly stepsister to the belle of the ball.
No, seriously. Once upon a time, Android was the young scrappy upstart that stayed invisible for nearly a year. It was trailing Blackberry (ew) and Windows Mobile (double ew)! Hah! But looking back on those early days, it’s easy to see why. Android was fugly. It’s completely different now because every ‘Nexus’ phone and every OS update have brought dramatic changes: Android 1.x was awkwardly well-intentioned, Android 2.0/2.1 was something worth using, Android 2.3 found its polish, Android 3.0 launched tablets and the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is the futuristic realization of it all (no buttons, honeycomb-esque lines etc.). Change, of course, is even apparent outside the Nexus line; there are a million and one different form factors that fill in every nook and cranny of the smartphone space. Android is change.
In comparison, the iPhone is the same app-launching slate of a phone it was back in 2007. For better or worse, Apple has resisted overhauling the system, only choosing to add features at a steady pace. That first iPhone was barely a smartphone but the big-picture growth of the iPhone always sort of seemed to make sense: introduce it with 1.0, App Store with 2.0, fill out features with 3.0, multitasking with 4.0 and notifications with 5.0. Like it was all following a plan. Like Apple knew what was coming tomorrow, four years ago. Each iPhone is different, but the same.
The thing is, I don’t know which method is better. Is it Apple? Steely focused and steadfast about their plan, consistently cool yet coolly boring. Or is it Google? Always willing to try anything new, unafraid to overhaul their very core but and fortunate in its lack of direction. Cutely clueless. I don’t want to oversimplify Android and the iPhone (though I sorta am); I’m just glad both exist. Apple might’ve nailed what everyone wanted in the beginning, but Android is figuring out what everyone else wanted along the way.