Tech Predictions: The inevitable convergence of iOS and Android

Nerds love arguing. I say this as someone who loves arguing, and someone who lovingly self-identifies as a nerd.

So it is no surprise that nerds continually argue about whether the iPhone or Android is a better device. And while there are good points on both sides of the matter, both sides are missing a larger picture. The differences being argued about are either so large and abstract that they have little effect on the actual device and experience, or so small that they are likely insignificant.

Lets face it, both iPhones and Android phones do everything that the vast majority of people want to do with their phone, and they do it in relatively the same way. They both make calls, send texts, send emails using interfaces that are just slightly different. Both phones hit the same internet with a browser experience that, today, is very similar. Most of the major apps are on both devices and have roughly the same look and feel.

How this came to be is due in large part to stealing. Say what you will about theft, but in the tech world, two or more companies that are constantly borrowing the best of each others ideas make them all stronger. And this is exactly what has happened between Google and Apple. This is why the two experiences are converging. This is why the good features from one are copied into the other.

My prediction: there will not be both Android and iPhones in the future.

The actual way this occurs is not a prediction I can make. Maybe one company will get out of the phone business, and their users will flock to the other, similar device. Perhaps one company will buy the other (crazier things have happened, I guess), or maybe just their phone division. Maybe a new technology will disrupt the phone market and put pressure on these companies phone departments to work together.

And then, there’s a small bit of insight from The Woz. Steve Wozniak, beloved co-founder of Apple, was recently quoted as saying “‘There’s nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market’”. This has been misinterpreted a few times, and I hope I am not doing the same. But can you imagine how many android phones a company could sell with the amazing design and quality of Apple?

What if Apple puts out an Android phone to pull over the people who want Apple’s quality with the Android user experience and openness? Apple would then use this as an opportunity to give the Android-entrenched user a way to switch. And eventually, the vast majority smartphone owners move over to either the full iPhone experience, or stick with the Apple iDroid.

Again, crazier things have happened. Whether that is the outcome or not, time will tell. But one thing is certain in life: change is inevitable.

Tech predictions makes simple, genuine predictions about the future of technology, with tendencies toward the author's own desires. Make decisions based on these crazy theories at your own risk.