android-vs-iosWho is the leading mobile company for consumers?  Is Apple still the biggest force in the industry?  Short answer for both questions:  not sure.  Now, more than ever, it’s unclear who has the competitive advantage between Google and Apple.  Apple’s iPhone used to be the “coolest” phone available–it became an accessory that everyone needed to have.

That’s until Google took the driver seat and started innovating.  With bigger screens, faster processors and cool OS names like “Ice Cream Sandwich,” Android devices are becoming a serious threat to the iPhone.  Early adopters are becoming Android curious (at least at SXSW) and even some of Apple’s “loudest” fans have made the switch to Android.

What does Apple need to do?  They need to kill it with IOS 7!  These are the key areas Apple needs to make improvements in for the next iOS:

  • Basic iOS Functionality - All phones will soon look the same and consumers will begin to make buying decisions based on operating system.  The iOS has become stagnant and boring.  Give us the ability to customize, create apps on the fly and reinvent how we use phones.  Take some notes from your Mac iOS and bring that experience to the iPhone.  
  • Siri - Siri created some initial buzz, but by now its gone.  Siri = Apple; no other device has it.  Turn this into an opportunity to make Apple a leader in technology again.  It’s not just voice recognition, but how can Siri improve online shopping (a billion dollar industy), everyday chores and even our professional lives.
  • Passbook - I love this app, its cool, different and easy to use.  But, its currently limited with the number of apps I can use it with.  Expand Passbook and let me use it for everyday purchases.  Department stores…who has a department store credit card?  I don’t but I do want a Passbook Department Card–make it easy for me to make purchases and manage spending + give me rewards.
  • Maps - Regain faith with the Maps app.  It’s a MUST.  I’m not saying we will all switch to Apple Maps instead of Google, but at least we will feel confident that Apple can create apps that will work–for now, I don’t have a lot of trust in Apple.  Trust is important.  I trust Google.
  • Look & Feel - It’s time to give the iOS a face-lift and make it “cooler.”  Android devices with retina screens look beautiful and I’ve seen what Apple can do with their desktops/laptops–let’s figure something out Apple.  Make something nice to look at.
  • Take Note From Jailbreakers - The jailbreak community has been cooking up some great apps/tweaks that Apple should look at.  There are a lot of lessons to be learned and instead of back lashing against the community, maybe there’s an opportunity to work together.  If users are taking the time to tweak their devices, it means they’re happy with Apple; why not learn from them?

The last few iPhone product launches (4S and 5) have lacked the buzz and excitement we became accustomed to.  Yet, Google keeps innovating and Android devices are slowly becoming the cool accessory.  Looking at all the leaked photos of the Samsung Galaxy S IV, I’m now curious and willing to give Android a try.

But, I’ll wait a bit on Apple, hopefully they get back to being cool again.