Come on Apple. Just stop with the comparisons and I might like you a little bit better.

This is the season for developers' conferences - big events at the Moscone. Starting with Apple's WWDC 2014, keynote address this morning in my timezone.

As usual, I didn't stay up for Apple conferences. Simply not a big fan. Plus streaming requires QuickTime, which is pretty useless besides the streaming itself. So I waited for the whole keynote to be available on Apple Events, installed QuickTime (really Apple?), sit back and enjoyed.

And it was a pretty enjoyable keynote. Craig Federighi certainly knows how to crack people up with OS X naming. The whole Handoff setup is absolutely brilliant. And of course let's not forget Swift. (Makes me immediately think of Taylor Swift. No big deal.)

Except the comparisons.

Seems like they do it every year without fail. When they talk about OS X, they compare with Windows. When they talk about iOS, they compare with Android. And they only, and always, talk about latest version's adoption. OS X Mavericks vs Windows 8. iOS 7 vs Android 4.4 KitKat.

They don't realize how advantageous they are in that matter. Or they realize, but they choose to ignore.

Tim Cook said Apple is the only tech company with the capability to create a seamless experience over their platforms. Could not be any more true. Apple is the only tech giant that produces a complete ecosystem - hardware, software & services. Look at their competitors in relation to the platforms in comparison: Microsoft & Google are not exactly hardware makers. Both of them have hardware devices running those platforms, but these do not represent a major portion of their install base: the Surface line of devices, which only recently produces a Surface Pro 3 worthy of mention; and the Nexus line of devices, which fares relatively better than the Surfaces, but technically does not come out of Google. Windows and Android are software & service platforms, on top of which OEMs build devices for. Compare this to Apple, which is their one, only and own OEM.

So a direct consequence of this is every Apple release is tested against every generation of Apple devices available, a limited number. While every Windows or Android release is only tested on "reference" hardware that does not very well represent the sheer range of potential devices running those platforms. Kind of explain the extremely high adoption rates of new Apple releases? While Microsoft and Google "try" their very best in ensuring devices can run the latest version well, Apple has a much easier job. Quality is only one part of the problem. Since there are so many OEMs making devices for Windows and Android, and often they make modifications to the vanilla platform, the actual process of platform update is complicated as they also need to take those modifications into account. Different OEMs have different modifications that take different amounts of effort to integrate into platform updates (somewhat Windows and Android's fault for being so mod-able. Oh well.). Apple doesn't have this "lag" obviously thanks to the "one, only and own OEM" model. Results as shown in Tim Cook's comparisons: 51% OS X Mavericks vs 14% Windows 8, 89% iOS 7 vs 9% Android 4.4 KitKat (8.5% to be exact. Google just released the Dashboard for May.)

But then isn't the difference between these platforms kind of make the basis of comparison (latest version's adoption) invalid? And they just compare for the sake of comparing, to make Apple's platforms somewhat of a ground-breaking success?

Why don't they just compare something else? Like actual real-world performance? Because they can't make their platform look good in those benchmarks?

Coming from a Windows & Android background with experience tinkering with devices running both, I would say Apple devices can handsomely come out top in many aspects of user experience - smooth scrolling for instance, and they can fare well on benchmarking schemes. But the sheer unexpected, error-prone nature of these results would probably render this choice useless for Apple engineers. Similarly, UX surveys could work against Apple.

In the end of the day, as experienced users, stats like this don't really affect your buying decision - Mac or Windows PC, Android phone or iPhone. It boils down to personal preference. For instance, as a long-time Windows and Android user, I will continue buying their devices. And definitely people locked in Apple's ecosystem of hardware, software and service would continue to buy Apple devices.

Like how my iPod won't work without iTunes. Or is that slightly out of point?


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