Do not tap or click on this title link if you hate 1700 word posts.
Some of you couldn't resist, eh? Don't blame me, I warned you.
Anyway, Congrats, Google!
No, seriously, congrats. You're making a once strong Apple fanboy (I've been unfairly called rabid many times in my fanboy career) seriously consider making the switch to an all Android ecosystem.
That said, I found myself hard press to even wonder what Apple has going for it in our soon to arrive brave new world.
So I wrote a bunch of words. Tl;Dr (or whatever phrase is...obviously I never paid much attention to it)
iPhones vs Android phones:
Honestly, there's not too many major differences as is right now. iPhones have TouchID (the only usable fingerprint scanner on a smartphone), Androids have Google Now (growing more useful, if still a bit dumb, by the day). And those differences will become less as iOS 8 will allow GNow to play a larger role on the iPhone, not to mention a larger iPhone, and as Android OEMs perfect fingerprint scanning. When it comes to hardware design, well HTC is already pretty good at it.
Apple TV vs Chromecast:
When I first saw the Chromecast, I realized the brilliance of the form factor. I said on here before (probably under my former 1 Infinite Loop account) that there's no technical reason for the ATV and other boxes to be boxes. But the feature set left a lot to be desired. Now though, it virtually matches the ATV on everything, except it also adopts an overlay UI, instead of just commandeering your TV ala ATV. Simply put, Chromecast is a better solution than the ATV as of now because of it's size and portability and features. And much cheaper too.
Macbooks vs Chromebooks:
Macbooks are the best laptops when it comes to hardware. No question about it. But they also start at $899, and include a desktop OS that many people seemingly don't need. Chromebooks on the other hand are cheaper, fully focused on the internet, and will now run a few useful mobile apps. Honestly, the only reason I need a laptop (which once led me to the Transformer looking for a solution) is a keyboard. A lot of people would probably agree, and it's the reason Microsoft created a Frankenstein of a product. A keyboard is necessary for most real work. As a writer, I simply need one. As a writer, I also only need GDocs (even if I do love Scrivener). And with Chromebooks dominating Amazon's top ten, it seems a lot of people agree that they don't really need legacy desktop apps. Just a browser and a keyboard.
But seriously, I think this will be a major decider for a lot of people. Do I need a fully capable laptop, or do I only need a non-crappy keyboard in a non-ridicolous (Surface-like, a pointless hardware form when Asus already showed a better way) form with full online capabilities and a few choice mobile apps. I think I'm going to choose the latter, you may choose the former.
I can't help but think of how Surface fans argue for a legacy desktop OS being attached by threads to an oversized tablet because they hate tableta and how soon Apple fans will be arguing for a desktop OS being attached to a mobile laptop in earnest. I think they will be separated and a desktop OS will return to only being attached to desktops for that specific work and power needed that a desktop provides (why do Photoshop or Audio work on the go?). I.E. laptops with desktop OSs only being used by a few people who really need them, the rest using light, fast, cheap laptops that work like the promised thin clients of the past connected to a fast and large cloud with long battery life and a web browser as the main interface.
I think some people dismissed my 'Apple should release a Safari book and WinRT should be Microsoft's answer to the Chromebook threat' back in the day too..
Do most people need the power of a desktop OS when compared to an iPad? The true answer was always no. Do most people need the power of a desktop OS when compared to a Chromebook? The answer is probably no.
Continuity vs Android Unified Something... ;)
Both seem to work, both do slightly different things. With Continuity, you can answer calls on your Macbook. With Chromebook, you can use Bluetooth to unlock it when your wearable is near. Both have features which will be copied by the other, I would think.
Not much of an important decision to me at least, but definitely nice to have on the Android side if you already like Chromebooks or Macbooks.
iPads vs Android tablets:
iPads traditionally have much nicer hardware than the Android tablets within their size range. And more importantly, they have the best apps too. But the simple fact is, I use both iPads and Android tablets for the same things. Media consumption. Because they suck for most traditional productivity tasks. So while Aldiko may not be nowhere near as nice as Marvin, Android does allow, um, more openness wink wink... I'm talking torrenting. And while the iPad has so many nice, beautiful apps, many made for productivity and usually designed much better for the larger screen size, at the end of the day most Android apps do look just fine on an 8 inch Android tablet, there's not much reason to using productivity apps on a tablet (read above for Chromebooks and Macbooks) when there are better options for that, and the actual useful iPad apps that take the world by storm will find their way to Android soon enough.
Seriously, using a mini Android tablet is not a horrible experience unless you're looking for a horrible experience so you can blog about it. And when it comes to screen quality and battery life, Android tablets can be very competitive. Price wise too.
That said, considering how good Google's services are on iOS and how much better they probably will be when iOS 8 and 9 and 10 hit, along with Chromecast support in some iPad apps, well an iPad can fit in pretty well in an Android ecosystem. This can really go either way depending on what you want and need, but this may be the only survivor in a possibly Android only future for me.
iBeacons vs Nothing yet:
Who cares yet? And this being a pretty open BLE standard, Google has all the time in the world to come out with an official solution.
Carplay vs Android Auto:
Both do pretty much the same thing from what I know. So this basically comes down to Siri vs GNow and GNow is more useful when it comes to traveling info and reliability (GMaps).
Android Wear vs....:
Honestly, I'm going to wait to see if the iWatch or whatever comes is mind blowing as I so want it to be. The Moto 360 is very nice and exactly what you expect a smart watch to be... But is there more to it? Is there a product that isn't obvious, yet obvious when you see it? Nothing about the 360 is surprising, is what I mean. Not even two years ago. So can Apple once again blow people away? Maybe, maybe not. If it's just a slightly nicer Moto 360, then I don't care. Even if it has curved glass and Ive's fingerprints on it.
Of course both are opening up and adding APIs that will allow third parties to make their own awesome devices and with Apple's legendary third party support, well we will see. And of course their health initiatives 'seem' more mature at this point, but once again we will see how things truly work outs (forgive me) later this year.
Honestly, with both feature sets being so close and similar, it becomes the job of the less open, more restricted ecosystem to justify itself. A week ago, that was easier for me to do. Better UI, Consistent UI, Carplay, Preparation for Wearables, Apps.
Of course, history is important too. Apple has a history of creating products that work as advertised and worked well together. Google has a history of dropping that ball and making bug fusses out of ugly crap likes Glass.
So for me the question is Has Google learned how to truly make magical products. And until it's been proven, not with APIs that few companies may actually use, but with actual products that do work together as magically as advertised, an updated platform that actually encourages iOS developers to jump in and make apps as good as those on iOS, a serious focus on security and maybe even privacy (at least when it comes to the Feds), an ecosystem that goes toe to toe on features with Apple's own ecosystem while also offering a new and better ways to do some things (Chromebooks) and being more accessible to the vast majority on this planet, then once again we can only wait and see.
But I can't help but ask, what does iOS have going for it, besides TouchID, traditionally beautiful hardware and traditionally easy to use software, and a desktop OS that people may start to move away from as online and mobile apps fill a lot of people's needs? You know, once all this crap is actually released.
Beats vs Glass (for fun):
Beats of course is a design focused company with strong, very strong ties to modern day culture and what a cool right now. Glass is ugly, will always be ugly since it requires a battery on the side and forces you to wear glasses on a daily basis when most people choose not to, even many who are required to. It was designed by Star Trek (not the freakishly good movies, but the crappy TV series) fan out of touch with reality and what's cool. People who think that just because it does something, whatever that is, that sane, normal people would slap it onto their faces. It is loved by geeks who have no sense of fashion at all and yet expect people to wear it even though it's functionality is mainly limited to taking creepy pictures and having short battery life lest it becomes even uglier. It's crap. And no, the 360 doesn't show Google has acquired wearable design chops. The 360 has hundreds of years of good looking watches to rely on. So does Glass actually, but Glass isn't capable of fitting into nice looking glasses the way a dumb phone is of fitting into a watch.
Whereas Apple just bought a company that makes wearables that people want to wear. Ijs.