When I compared Apple and Android

Four years ago, I suppose, there were still undecided people. Were you an Apple person in 2015? Were you an Android person? Have you switched since?

Back then I wrote a longform piece designed to help people decide which phone operating system to choose. Today, the choice has become easier and harder.

Is there really a difference today?

Today, Android rules the smartphone world with something over 90% penetration. However, Apple still has a bit of that residual cachet. Comparing both on their merits, there isn’t much of a difference. Google has made great strides in securing its app store so that it’s roughly as secure as Apple’s. Apple still rules in the way it lets you move data seamlessly between its branded products, but of course you need to commit yourself to computers and streaming devices that cost four times what the competition charges.

So, when it comes to Apple vs. Android there’s really only one question to ask.

Are you over 50, or did you get a free phone from someone over 50?

These days when I see a young person with an iPhone it’s usually a hand-me-down from a parent. Middle-agers and seniors still cling to iPhones. They’ve spent the last decade building their iTunes libraries and contact lists and they think moving to Android will be a pain. They love iMessage because it actually tells you if people have read your messages. For the most part, younger folks don’t sit around waiting to see if a message is read, but their parents do.

For its part, Apple has embraced this move up the generational trail. While its advertising in the 1990s and 2000s showed how hip and exciting it all was, its most recent ad gives a different image:

Instead of a hip and frenetic dancer, today the message is that the iPhone will let you check your texts and get back to your nap.

Apple’s watch has finally found a market too– thanks to a heart rate monitor and fall detection, it’s found more on senior wrists than anyone else’s, and its ability to be used as a handsfree phone makes seniors feel more comfortable being active. It’s basically a more expensive, hipper, version of the 1980s LifeCall.

Folks that never would have worn a device like the LifeCall are happy to wear the Apple Watch for the same reason.

Android? Does Android advertise?

Android itself doesn’t advertise but its biggest manufacturer Samsung does. Samsung wants to occupy the tech-focused space that Apple once dominated, and it does pretty well whenever their phones aren’t catching on fire or falling apart. Besides, with almost complete market penetration, neither Samsung nor Android really need to advertise.

If your mind’s not already made up…

For the five of you who read this blog but haven’t decided what to buy, the best choice is, and has always been, to ask the person who is going to help you set it up. If you’re a new phone user you’re going to rely on a friend for free tech support for a while. Getting that support is the most important thing to consider.