In this episode of The PE Geek podcast, I discuss the famous iOS vs Android question from the perspective of a PE Teacher or school looking to introduce one of the platforms into their practice. Before we decide the ultimate winner, we set the battle over a variety of categories including;
- Affordability, interface, and apps
- App store usability
- Battery life and management
- OS Updates
- Voice assistants
- School Management
- PE Apps
- PE Training
Press play to listen to the episode below or listen here. Alternatively, download a full episode transcript here
[00:00:28] Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to episode number 95 of the PE Geek podcast and as always, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you here. You’re probably sick of me saying it but I really do appreciate, we’re getting very close to episode number 100 of this podcast and I look back when we first launched episode number one and I probably didn’t imagine that we would be here, we would be having people emailing us because they enjoy the podcast so much
and in some cases, the podcast being the very first thing they’ve ever listened to or learned from that is about technology and physical education. And as you probably know, we’re very passionate about that. Now, this particular episode we’re going to be diving into a common question I get. Now, this question is something you have maybe considered yourself as you go down the path of
technology introduction into your PE program. And the very question is if you had to choose between IOS as in iPhone and iPad and Android devices what would you pick? And quite commonly this question gets floated at me and I’ve answered it so many times that I have a nice reply that I tend to pass on
to people in this particular instance. And in some cases, people obviously have such an allegiance to one or the other they would never consider it. But, I want to sort of outline some of their inherent strengths and cons with each of the platforms and present a bit of an argument for each of those. And then tell you which I think is the most preferred and the best suited to what we do in physical education.
Now, I’m going to start by saying that personally I don’t have any allegiances. I have both platforms. I own Android tablets and phones, I own iOS phones and iPads. And I tend to operate mostly in the iOS space, but in saying that I have to be listening and paying attention to Android in the line of work that we do, so that we can help people who are using Android in their practice.
Because of that, I get to chance to play with both worlds, build apps for both worlds and have seen the inherent strengths and weakness that come from each platform in a PE setting. So, let’s dive into it, the iOS versus Android smackdown.
Alright, now to help me with the comparison I’ve gone and produced a number of different categories that we’re going to complete the comparisons around. The reality here is
that some of the early categories are very sort of tech centric, we’ll look at things like battery life and usability and so on. So, that’s non-PE specific stuff. But then in the later categories, we’ll look at some more PE specific things. And I’ll throw in there some of my thoughts around the winners in those categories.
So, to start us off, we’re going to look at the affordability of devices. And affordability for this particular situation is a critical important thing.
I get ask this question a lot and quite commonly people will say listen we have X amount of money what do you think is the best use of our funds. And I often need to give advice around that scenario where people don’t have a lot of funds. So, they’re trying to purchase what might be most valuable for this situation and they end up with one platform or the other. And it’s quite common that people might say
I can get two iPads with this fund, or I could go ahead and get a couple of Android tablets or three Android tablets or maybe a little bit more than they could get on the iOS. So, the winner of the affordability category is most certainly Android, Apple don’t make budget devices. They don’t really do that, they’ve got a premium position, they build stuff at a premium level. For Android they’ve taken a variety of different approaches. They’ve gone and produced
the low-end devices that are accessible and they’ve produced high-end devices that are accessible. And that’s an approach that has meant that they’ve got 2 billion active devices installed compared to Apple’s 1 billion active devices. So, when it comes to pure affordability, Android is going to be more affordable. However, as we go through the rest of the categories there’s so much more to consider than just price.
Now, in the next category we’re going to look at the interface, and the interface essentially is how well it is suited to users being able to use whatever the platform is that they’re on. So, how usable is the iOS platform versus how usable is Android. And both of the platforms have really moved towards this minimalist, flat design which is very common across
basically, anything that’s on the web and software these days. And however, I would say that the most usable experience would be iOS. The reason is that most Android phones don’t tend to run stock Android. Every phone manufacture and so on they can modify and tinker with it to make it suit them. But, iOS is the same standard on every single device, iPhone/iPad. So, the experience is very similar and they’ve build up
very usable technology that is the reason why it became as popular as it did. And in many ways, regardless of whether you like it or not, it’s such a usable experience that the masses have adopted it and it’s obviously the most, you would say, the platform that took this into the popularity. Whereas Android users tend to be people who like a little bit more customization and not quite as clean
an experience as the iOS platform.
Now, the next category that we’re going to consider is the App store itself, or the availability of mobile applications and the different things that they can do for the device that you choose to install them on. And realistically Android and iOS, once upon a time, Android was well and truly behind. However, in recent years, it has
turned the table a little bit more so, with more higher quality mobile applications appearing. But still, the winner on this front is the iOS platform because it still is far more lucrative platform for developers to build on and it’s much easier to do so. So typically, newer apps such as the newer PE apps and a lot of the things that we talk about on this website they end up on iOS platforms first
and then might end up in the Android spaces. But, this has started to change. Typically, these days we start to see if an app is really popular and really successful it will appear on Android or if someone is trying to really transform how we do something they will be available on both. But there’s a lot of brilliant applications in the PE space that simply have no Android equivalent, or the Android equivalents that they have are
simply not quite as powerful.
Now, in terms of the app store usability itself, being able to search and find and locate mobile applications, the clear winner here is iOS, it’s a much better user experience to sift through and find applications that suit what you’re after. Google’s environment on the Google Play Store is not quite as smooth, it’s a little bit more difficult to search for stuff and it’s just because of
the fact that it has been a lot further behind when it comes to this world in the years gone by.
Now, the next category I want to share with you is to do with something which you may not think of as being important to the phys ed realm but it absolutely is and that is battery life and management. Obviously, this is a huge thing if you’re going to be carrying around a device and trying to use it, your students are using it. You want a device that has
battery life that’s going to last. And typically, I would say that Android devices win this battle. There’s so many devices that have terrible battery life on the Android platform, but the flagship devices, the sorts of devices that you probably would have rolled out into your classes if you were going to use Android would have better battery life than the iOS devices on iPhone and iPad.
And that’s probably one of the biggest problems that I personally have with the iOS platform is the battery life and you probably know it yourself if you’ve got an iPhone, you’re doing different things, the battery does run out pretty quickly. It’s probably better on the iPad and I’ve noticed that I can get a whole day very easily. But, the reality is that if you were to compare one purely on the battery life I would say that Android takes the cake.
The next one
I want to consider is the operating system updates. Now, this is, doesn’t seem important to a phys ed teacher, but if you’re going to be leveraging devices you want the latest installed so that you get to benefit from those new features, the security, and so on. And this isn’t even a comparison, Apple win the game here with the iOS platform. Every single update that they do ends up having more than 80% of
the install base very quickly on the latest update whereas just out of an example the latest Android release is only currently on around about 18% of the install base running the latest version. That’s concerning because not only does it mean that your device is less secure, but it means that your probably not able to leverage a lot of the current applications and current things
quite as easily. And it’s probably one of the inherent reasons why Android platforms aren’t quite as usable, typically. It’s harder to update, it’s usually the case with the Android platform outside of some of the bigger flagship devices.
So, the next thing that I want to consider here is customization and this may not be important for you as a phys ed teacher, but the ability to customize things is clearly the Android
path. It’s got this category locked up. You really can’t customize iOS all that much. You can absolutely do it with Android, you can have it doing any sort of thing that you like and that might be good, it might be bad and it probably speaks to this, the very different world they occupy. iOS is very rigid, it’s very usable because the experience is always the same, and that’s great for education because you can understand
the experience that your students are going to use. But for Android, it’s usually a bit more custom, it might be different on every device, and people like that if they are in that sort of space to want to change features and functions. So, customization-wise Android absolutely wins.
Now, the next category that is very relevant to phys ed here is peripherals. Now a peripheral is any sort of thing that you can attach to your device
to give more features and functions. So, it might be a battery pack, it could be a zoom lens for your device, it could be a projector or anything like that that is usable, that leads to enhanced features. And typically, in the PE space people are using things like heart rate devices and blood pressure devices and lots of these different things. If you were to compare one versus
the other, it would absolutely be iOS hands down because while Android does have the flagship devices being very peripheral friendly, a lot of the previous generation Androids and the cheaper Androids just simply cannot do the things that iOS platform is going to guarantee that you can do with these peripherals. If you ever want to look at some of the stuff that you can do, then just search into the
blog and look for top gadgets of 2017 for example and you’ll see some of these things that you can purchase and connect with relative ease.
Now, the next category I want to compare is the voice assistance. So, voice assistance is something that I use a lot with my day to day and just any sort of reminders and so on that I need to remember and typically on the iOS you’ve got Siri and on
the Google platform/ Android platform you’ve got Google Now. And the winner here for me would be Google Now. It’s much superior to Siri, you can ask it pretty much anything, you’ve got the backing of the greatest search engine and analytics that you can think of in Google and it means that you can ask all sorts of questions and get answers and it’s a little bit more guaranteed that you can go outside of these typical simple types of questions.
So, for me, Android wins.
Before we move into the next category, we’re going to look at security, obviously security is an important thing particularly in the school space. I would say the winner here is iOS, the fact that Android is malware friendly, it can have viruses and all of those sorts of things is probably a little bit exaggerated. But, the truth is that you can absolutely encounter viruses
and so on in Android and pretty much it’s impossible to do it in iOS. The reason is that Apple review every single app that gets sent through their system and they check for these sorts of things and the issue patches much more readily and Android is much slower. There’s not as rigid review process and it means that viruses and so on end up on platform. So, in a school setting where security is particularly important, you want to make sure that
devices are secure then. There really is only one winner in that scenario, and that is the iOS platform. And it comes back just to that first one which was updates to iOS where it was so much more difficult to get your latest Android version up to date, that’s the opposite in iOS, it is up to date, it has the latest security, and it makes it almost impossible for you to have any of those sorts of things take place. It won’t be your device that has the security breach, it will be
you who’ve, whose give someone your pin code or lost your phone and therefore you’ve lost the ability to keep your data secure.
Now, we’re going to move on to more PE centric categories now. I’m going to start with the camera. Now, the camera on devices obviously is one of the major reasons why you might use it in physical education, the ability for you to take photos or videos of students, utilize those for records and analyze
students and so on. The reality here is that the winner by far is iOS. Apple have taken the game on this here because they’ve made it an absolute focus, 12-megapixel camera inside of the iPhone 7 era has really surpassed most of the devices that are available on Android bar some of these high-end camera type, more heavy Android phones that have maybe
more megapixels. But, the fact that iOS is so prevalent, most people have the high, just the standard iOS iPhone, etc., and the camera on those is incredible. So, in a PE context where we’re taking photos and pictures and so on, the winner is without a doubt iOS.
In terms of simplicity, what is the winner in this particular battle? I would say without a doubt the winner is
iOS. It’s so much more simple to utilize the apps and settings and features and so on that is part of it. Android tends to pride itself on doing the opposite which is giving you more customization. It’s not to say that it’s not intuitive, but it typically tends to follow that path of customization over simplicity. Now, that’s probably what Apple say as one of the biggest downfalls is of the iOS platform is that you can’t customize it. But really, what it means
is that Apple understand what the best user experience is and they’ve tailored it to suit that environment. It means that you can pick up any of the devices and have the same user experience, very simple, it’s designed to be intuitive and without you need to think about or have a manual or any of those sorts of things, just pick it up and use it and that has a massive level of importance when it comes to me picking a device. It needs to be simple, we can’t have
complex things in education because obviously they take away from time spent doing whatever it is that we’re doing.
Now, the next three categories I would say are more relevant to education than maybe some of the others. But school management is an incredibly important thing to think about. If you have a fleet of devices at your school and you want to be able to provide a situation for those to be managed, the
winner here for me is iOS. They’ve gone and done a lot of work recently with making classroom, or Apple classroom as it’s called where you can have shared devices and kids have a log in for the iPad so that they can get their work and store it separately from the other student work because typically iOS devices and Android devices are seen of as individual owners. So, having shared devices is
always been a big problem on these sorts of tools. And a lot of schools do that. They get a fleet of iPads and they try and hand them over to kids and they realize that the management of the content on that is a huge problem. And that’s why these, this Apple classroom environment has been hugely popular because it sort of makes that a thing of the past, where you can set up Apple Classroom, your
students obviously then get the ability to be able to be in a class and you’ve got particular apps that you can guide them through, you can lock down certain apps, you can see the screens of what people are working on and what they’re meant to be doing as opposed to what they’re not doing. You can assign shared iPads to students and focus and pause student work, get their attention, receive documents and send documents and
integrate nicely with Apple TV. So, it used to be difficult, but now it’s so much easier to facilitate Apple devices in a school if you’ve got multitudes of devices then you can have them bought from one master account and then the devices roll, the apps roll out to all those sub devices whereas previously it was a mess. So, the winner here now is absolutely iOS. Android has some similar opportunities with delivery of apps so that you can
install an application on a master account and it goes out to all sub accounts. But, you’re required to have Google apps for education then and it’s just not quite as seamless as the iOS version. So, if you wanted a system that was super simple for kids to manage then you would pick the iOS platform. However, in saying that, if your students are coming to school and they’ve got their own devices, and you’re not
managing them then it’s probably not as important. So, it really depends on the approach that you take, whether it’s school owned issued devices and you wanted to manage them, whether it’s more bring your own device and you’re just going to bring that into the classroom and it can be whatever platform you like.
Now the next, the next category is PE apps in particular and which platform has more PE apps that are friendly for what we do here.
There is no, there is no real competition in this, it is iOS. You probably knew that already before we started this. But, if you’re buying a device so that you can leverage the PE apps that are available you’re going to find that there’s just so much more on option when it comes to the iOS platform. That’s not to say that you can’t do anything with the Android platform, but thinking back to what we spoke about earlier, usually the really popular apps
end up on both, but that’s not a guarantee. I can think of a ton of applications that are on iOS that are fantastic, that are not available on Android and as much as I’d love to be able to use them, I sort haven’t promoted them as much as possible because of the fact that they don’t have their equivalents in Android spaces. It’s difficult, like the greatest example I can think of is iDoceo it’s a tremendous record keeping tool, doesn’t have an Android equivalent, I don’t know if it ever will.
That’s the same for many apps. Some of the apps that we built for our own app development company they also don’t have Android equivalents. It’s not because we didn’t want to build them for Android it’s because it’s not quite as lucrative to do so and it’s quite expensive to do so and the user base isn’t quite there and it just is a perpetuating sort of problem because when there’s less apps then people invest in one platform and it becomes more
enticing to build on that, and then obviously it breeds even less and less. So, obviously, it has changed, once upon a time I would even never recommend Android because there was nothing, but there is now. Some of the most common apps that we use in our workshop have direct Android comparisons, so if you’ve ever been to a PE Geek workshop you will probably notice that all the apps that we use they’re pretty much available on Android and that’s great, you can get a lot of stuff done. But, if I had to pick one purely over
the PE apps it wouldn’t be Android, it’d be iOS.
And this leads into the final category before I make my decision and PE training is a super important thing. Obviously, if you’ve got all of this content flowing through and you’ve got all these different ideas and apps. You need training around how to use those things and you’re at the right place for that, because that’s all we do, help you utilize technology in phys ed. But, in terms of picking
a device over the availability of training it would be iOS again. Obviously, you can come to the PE Geek Workshop regardless of whether you’ve got an Android or an iOS platform. But, as I look around all the list of other things that are offered and what people talk about and the videos they make and the different conversations that are being had, is an overwhelming support for one platform and that’s iOS. There’s only a handful of people that talk about Android.
We’ve got some webinars and so on that are webinar friendly and we definitely make Android content and as I said our workshop has Android. But realistically, I would say 70% of the training and work that we do is iOS friendly and about 30% of it would be Android specific. That really sort of reflects what I believe about the winner in this scenario and it’s probably no secret,
it is iOS. Now, there’s a few caveats here. If you’re looking for the ultimate phys ed device then there’s really only one outcome in my mind and that is to pick the iPad, iOS platform and use that. But if you’re looking for a general purpose device and you’re going to use some PE scenarios and PE apps then an Android is totally fine. But I would only say that you should pick the higher end devices, don’t go
for the cheapest because it’s the cheapest and you can get more. I’d rather have two or three devices than ten devices that cost nothing and do nothing. So, it really sort of depends on your situation. If you want to be specialist PE and using all the PE apps that we talk about and getting the benefit of the management and the simplicity and the cameras and the training and so on then you’re going to pick the platform that that makes the most sense with. But, if you want to sort of have a platform that works well in
general education and then some PE examples then Android’s probably going to be totally fine for you to do so.
So, hopefully that’s been useful. We’ve gone through a whole host of the different categories and things that you should think about when you’re thinking about these things and hopefully you’ve got a framework to compare and contrast the two different systems, and hopefully from this you’ll be able to pick out and identify the platform that works before you. And I think that’s
a really big important lesson. Obviously, I am very iOS heavy, I still absolutely support the Android platform and keep an eye on it, but at the end of the day you might have a completely different outlook and Android maybe it, it might be the thing that resonates with your school, maybe your school wants kids to do something that’s only available on the Android space, that does happen from time to time too. But, from my experience working with people all over the globe, most of the best practice
is coming from a different place altogether and that’s the iOS space. And by best practice I mean most of the innovative apps, most of the first time for them to come out, the best management, the best training and so on is coming from that space. I don’t see it changing any time soon.
So, hopefully this has been useful. If you want to get the show notes then you can head to thepegeek.com/95 for episode 95 and as always, I look forward to seeing you again in
our next episode. Speak soon.
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