Between Apple and Google, I can't tell who held a better launch this yearAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Within the past two months, the mobile industry has been nothing short of hectic with phone releases, two of which most notably come from the most popular phone companies in the business. Back in early September we saw the release of the much anticipated Apple iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and the arrival of iOS 7. On the last day of October, just one week ago, Google released its newest Nexus device, the Nexus 5, along with Android version 4.4 (KitKat). With these being some of the most anticipated device and software releases of the year, it's hard not to compare the two when it comes down to who managed to pull it off better.
But despite both companies having such largescale and similar launches, the way each company goes about a launching their product is still vastly different from one another. There are things I enjoyed about both launches that makes it hard for me to say which one I truly enjoyed more.
First and foremost I was more excited about what Apple had to offer before I ever got excited about the Nexus 5 or KitKat. Despite the fact that iOS 7 had been released in early September, the developmental beta testing was known about and took place several months back. App developers got an easy in for free, but even if you weren't an iOS app developer, it wasn't exactly hard to hop on the beta train if you really wanted to. For a $99 yearly fee, you could have had access to iOS 7 beta ahead of its official release. Of course, this all depended on just how much you were willing to pay to work with a pretty much guaranteed buggy software. Even if you didn't feel like paying the $99 yearly upgrade fee to check out iOS 7 for yourself, it was only a few short days before reviews, screenshots and video of the new interface were put on on tech blogs and forums all over the web. We knew what to expect of iOS 7 for months.
That's one thing I do like about Apple, is that they come across as being organized and timely. I like that a lot. You pretty much always know what to expect from them. Along with letting you know pretty much all you needed to know about the changes in iOS 7 before the release, they're also good about sending out invitations about a week prior to whatever event they are hosting. This allows us to mark our calendars and set aside some time in order to listen to the event. Timely and punctual, that's our Apple.
But it makes for a dull launch. You already know what and you already know when with Apple. The iPhone 5s was something I expected Apple to launch, and an iPhone 5s is what we got. On the other hand, you have Google, where you pretty much don't know anything. You think you know things, but you don't really know things. They're vague, they're cryptic, and it's very questionable whether that's right and what's wrong up until the actual release of a product.
The Nexus 5, for me, was actually both frustrating and exciting. I'm the type of person who doesn't like surprises, and I also try my best not to let leaks fool me into thinking that they're the real deal - no matter how legit they may seem. And although KitKat had been announced for some time before its release as well, it was still unclear as to what the feature list really included and what the vague description of the software update really meant. Unlike Apple, Google was fairly closed off about KitKat and all we had to work off of was educated guesses from what we hoped to be trustworthy sources. Fun to scope out, but at the same time always had to be taken with a grain of salt.
Even the release of the Nexus 5 was kept secret until the day of, where it arrived in a very "Ta da!" fashion. I'll admit, after weeks and weeks of speculation of when the device and the new software would come out, I think I had pretty much given up hope of ever figuring out when it would really, actually come out. Then again, I could have used some common sense to figure out that duh, KitKat is a candy bar and people get candy on Halloween. Either way, I wasn't really thinking about it all that deeply anymore after so many missed guesstimates of the arrival, so yeah, the Nexus 5 and KitKat caught me off-guard. Even a week into November, Google continues to surprise us with major application updates through its stock keyboard and Hangouts, which now integrates SMS. Word on the street is that Google still has more in store for us throughout the month of November, but again, it's all pretty much a mystery at this point as there doesn't seem to be a clear roadmap given to us by Google at this point.
It seems like Apple is more of the company to throw a formal ball type launch that takes months and months of preparation to make sure everything is perfectly and strategically planned, and Google is the type that throws a spontaneous, month long, never-ending frat party type launch that could be about as predictable as the stock market. Both have their perks, and both are equally fun in their own way. Now that both have hit the market, I think it's safe for me to say that there isn't really one that I prefer over the other. Apple's launch might have been predictable, but sometimes it's nice to know what to expect; Google's might not have been, but sometimes it's nice to be surprised. It seems to me that both companies kind of complement each other when it comes to launches.
But what are your thoughts, readers? Did you have a prefence in which launch you liked better? Were you a bigger fan of Apple's iPhone and iOS 7 launch this year, or were you more intrigued by Google's surprise KitKat and Nexus 5 launch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!