Ever since Apple rejected the Google Voice application for the iPhone last year, the tech press has tried to play up a corporate rivalry between Apple and Google. Will people pick Android or iPhone? Will Apple make Bing the default search engine on the iPad? Will Google start making touchscreen tablets to “kill” the iPad? I’m sure Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs don’t get along as much as they used to, and Apple and Google certainly have experienced some overlap in terms of competing markets and target audiences. Nevertheless, for a lot of everyday consumers, the Apple/Google dynamic is more of a hybrid synthesis than a divided pledge to one or the other.
Here are a few examples:
- Me: As some of my Ubuntu-using readers are dismayed about, I recently switched my primary operating system to Mac OS X on a Macbook Pro (still using Ubuntu on the netbook, still will keep updating Ubuntu tutorials). At the same time, I have an Android phone, and I will not be giving it up for an iPhone until Steve Jobs says (in all sincerity, not as a joke) “I love Google Voice and I think it’s the app everyone should install on the iPhone!” To make the most of my Android experience, I use GMail also, even to check my non-GMail accounts (via POP3). And, of course, I use Google as my main search engine.
- My wife: She’s an Apple user through and through. She uses a Mac at work, and she uses a Mac at home. She has an iPhone. She uses Mail, not Thunderbird or GMail. Safari (not Chrome) is her main web browser. At the same time, she has a Nook (Android-based) e-reader, and Google is still her main search engine.
- My pastor: Even this Apple hipster recently traded up his iPhone for an Android phone (albeit an iPhone clone), but he plans to get an iPad to keep up his “street cred.”
- My sister-in-law: She uses a Mac Mini with iTunes and has an iPod, but she also has an Android phone and a GMail and Google Voice account.
- My boss: She uses Google for just about everything. It’s her search engine. GMail is her email. She just got started with Google Voice the other day. She uses Picasa to organize her photos. But she’s an iPhone user.
In fact, I would say, at least among my social circle, the last example is the most typical. Yes, I know a lot of iPhone users. Before they had iPhones, they had iPods. Some of them still use iPods separately from their iPhones. But Google is the main search engine. GMail is the email. Google Voice is starting to catch on. Even if you don’t have an Android phone, there may be other Android devices (like a Nook) that you pick up. Even if you love Google, you may still have an iPhone.
Who’s going to win? Apple or Google? I say both will win. In some ways, both have already won.
P.S. I do know a couple of iPhone users interested in Google Voice. Anyone with a non-jailbroken iPhone who’s been using the two together for a while willing to share the experience of using the Google Voice mobile page in Safari? Pros and cons?