A tale of two OS updates: iOS and Android

Apple and Google love their mobile operating systems. They do their best to convince users that their way of implementing features is better than the competition. Of course, therein lies a fundamental difference. Apple uses iOS on its own handsets and iDevices but Google practically gives away Android to hardware manufacturers -- to every company which wants to utilize and modify it.

It's no secret that Android is a fragmented operating system and some even call Android's status quo device fragmentation. This has serious implications for accessibility. Apart from manufacturers' attempts to replace Google-branded apps such as Contact and Clock with their inaccessible ones, future updates of the OS which might enhance access reach users with huge delays. And while that's a big issue for the first major update after one purchases a handset, it's not clear at all if the cellphone will even get the second major update after that.

The following might serve as a good example. This post indicates that only 14 days after iOS 5.1 was released, 61 percent of users had upgraded to it. And this is not even iOS 5.0 which has kept about 18 percent of iOS users. However, with Android 4 (ICS) we get a different ppicture. Today and more than 3 months after its release, only 2.9 percent of those who have activated their Android handsets have received ICS, and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) vastly dominates the world of Android with a 63.7 percentage point. What I can conclude from all of this is that Android's flexibility comes with a heavy price tag both for developers and for visually impaired users. It remains to be seen how Google wants to tackle this Pandora's box.

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Let me ask you this.
Apart from bashing Android and rehashing facts that have been known for years, what exactly does this have to do with iOS accessibility?

No bashing at all

Florian, First and foremost, this is a blog post not an app review so there's nothing bad about bringing up the most recent iOS update stats as the word "discussion" in the site's motto also hints. Second, using objective facts and stats to outline a discussion isn't bashing -- Android is great for whatever it's done, but acknowledging flaws in its update delivery falls short of bashing it. Third -- and perhaps above all, as a visually impaired iOS user it's very important for me to know that with selecting Apple's products, future and timely access to iOS updates with potential VoiceOver enhancements is guaranteed. Imagine how many new and undecided phone buyers might come to this website and how reading occasional posts like this might affect their final decision. App reviews are good but they might not be convincing enough in that regard.

Agree with poster, very valid points about Android and IOS

Well, How can something be bashing if its true? I'd love to be able to use an android phone, but I really can't with ease because of the fragmented accessibility and usage from phone to phone. Icecream Sandwich is a good basic effort, but without its implementation onto all phones, the accessibility might not end up being there.

Many service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint are utterly amazed that the iIPhone has such accessibility features. When I purchased my Iphone 4, before triple click home became the standard to turn voiceover on, I required an AT&T rep to turn on the feature. They first stated that there was no feature on the phone and he didn't understand how a blind person was supposed to use a touch screen. After explaining Voiceover to him, he continued to deny that such a feature existed because nothing like that was on Android. When I politely enforced my claims and suggested that he go into the settings and let me show him, he rolled his eyes and agreed to at least try.

When Voiceover came on, his jaw dropped and was amazed. He wondered why something like this wasn't advertised more and why it didn't exist on Android phones. When I bought an IPhone 4s, I turned voiceover on my own at a Sprint store and again, the rep that activated the phone was blown away.

There's something satisfying about having something accessibile as soon as you turn it on. Even Windows can't claim this as the initial setup of any windows based computer requires sighted assistance (Jaws can only be installed only after the user has gotten to the main desktop screen). However, Android does not yet have this. It Has implemented a basic screenreader in ICS, but from the reviews I've read, its nowhere near the level of usability in Apple products; The screenreader still has massive issues with the android web browser.

As more and more android phones come out, ICS will be the standard, then google will release fudge brownie or choclate chip pie or turtle eye cookie or whatever they want to call it. Hopefully, that will mean more accessibility and eventually more developers will become aware of how to make their apps work with the sr.

When apple first announced voiceover, they did so as a key selling point with all of the other main features of the iphone 3gs. They took about 20-30 minutes to show how it worked and it blew everyone away. Wen did Google ever do so with their accessibility sr? I only found out that ICS has a built in screenreader last week and only through another poster on applevis.

My point is that Google made it a little more difficult to implement guidelines for accessibility because of how phone manufacturers individually perceive the use of Android. Everyone has a different basic skin overlaying the OS. and they each use different coding methods. Apple, has a basic guideline and basic premise of how things should look. Because ofthis, a greater number of apps can be made accessible without too much fuss.

Right now, its like a blind person trying to use an ATM machine; None of them are ever the same and none use the same instructions or methods of conveying information. For example, All bank of America ATM Machines have a similar layout and method of accessibility. You go to the machine, plug a pair of headphones and when it begins speaking you use the star key to go back and the pound key to move forward. when you have gotten to the option you want, you press enter on the key with the circle to to right of the number three key. Tere is not really much of a problem with this and an individual can get their money quickly and easily.

On the other side of the specturm, you have a Chase ATM or Wells-fargo. They use an entirely different interface and for some people, it may be more different to have to relearn new key commands. This might even differ from machine to machine because a bank might use different ATM Machine manufacturers dependin on location. If there is no standard, How can anyone decide on a basic set of rules for accessibility? Moreover, how can a visually impaired or blind individual expect similar experiences with accessibility?

Android

What I mean to say is:
You are saying Android is fragmented. You are also comparing the number of activated ICS devices as well as the iOS activations. You are rehashing things that have been known about Android for years.
The way you have written this post, I'd publish it on an android accessibility-related blog. You hardly mention iOS, except to show how great it is and how Apple uses it solely on their own devices, thereby negating the fragmentation.
This website, I assume, is primarily about Apple. I just don't see why this blog post needs to be there. The info here can be found in 200 varieties on other blogs or websites?

Perhaps in 2,000 varieties but that doesn't make a difference

Again, the point is that many of those who might want to make their handset purchase or sign a new handset contract might not know the difference (I mean as of this writing), so there's nothing bad about adding a new variety to those 200 or perhaps 2000 forms you mentioned. AppleVis can rightly mention the benefits of iOS and talk about the pestering fragmentation issue on the other side the way Android-related email lists and sites love to talk about the proverbial "walled garden" -- I'm sure you've read that in 200 forms. BTW, did I hardly mentioned iOS? I don't think so, but perhaps that was because no more mentioning was required.

Excellent points, VRein

This can become an excellent post in and out of itself! To be fair, though, the screen reader in Android 4 can now be turned up at the time of set-up by drawing a rectangle on the screen. Drawing that especially at set-up time isn't something everyone can do comfortably and I don't know how one can re-activate it after set-up if it crashes for whatever reason. Apparently nothing like the triple press of the Home key has been implemented in Android's model of access.

Education

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I must have to back up Amir blog posting in being justified for this site. Basically, this may be widely available on Good and such. However, this is educating everyone that comes to this site. Perhaps, to see what is a viable in regards in sites that offers reviews and such for the Apple brand as we do. I do not know but there might be an Android such like AppleVis somewhere out there. This allows people to make decision on what to purchase if they have done so. I think this is critical that we have blog in these manners only to educate for those seeking for a smart phone and do not know which to choose. Amir has his set of ideas and is just expressing his thoughts. That would be your choice wither to accept that or not. I hardly believe Amir is bashing Android by any means. If his thoughts are wrong or different then that is why we allow each person on this site in able to comment to this blog. It is called Freedom of Speech and here at AppleVis as long the topic is related to the IOS device such as this blog. I have no problem in these kind of posting. Regardless, if this well known in thousands of other places. It hasn't been done here. Now Amir has made that statement here easy access to those in the vision impaired community can come here and have the thoughts of an actual blind perspective. Not all site can do that. ;)

I don't see the problem

I'm not quite understanding what the problem with the blog post is. Unfortunately, with android this is the norm and not the acception. What he said isn't bashing android at all. It is simply providing people with information so that they can make an informed decision on the phone that's right for them. Not everybody is willing to deal with the fuss that is required to use an android device. For me, unless thingns get way way better I wouldn't even consider looking at android.

Disagree with post

I have heard of apple vis and got this article from flying blind and I'm not sure I'll be returning to apple vis after this very misinformed posting and all the comments not backed by any research or experience. You see, I am a technology specialist and work with iOS devices as well as own android devices and so I feel that I am able to objectively analyze both platforms. Apple _does include accessibility out of the box (and it's about time for the tripple-click home!!) I mean, how long have they had to get their accessibility right compared to how long Android's been around? Anyway, so does ICS. In ICS you can draw a rectangle on the screen to enable accessibility. I don't think just accessibility communities are frustrated by the fragmentation, however fragmentation does not have to affect accessibility. You see, if you go on any android forum (for both sighted and blind users) they'll tell you which manufacturers put their own overlay on a phone or which ones will come with android that has not been modified. Users who buy such phones are making a decision about which interface they wish to use, and if they get something from HTC, for example, they're making a conscious decision to go with one of those added interfaces that may or may not be accessible, as anyone on an android board would tell that person. If, however, they were looking to get a phone with straight android on it, they might most likely go for the galaxy nexus (which incidentally does have ice-cream on it) or other google-experience devices. Google has issues with accessibility, but so does every platform. I can sit here and write a list of accessibility problems or inconsistencies with apple but I won't. But to characterize Android as this bad horible operating system because it's fragmented and therefore not accessible is inaccurate. And to say that apple users are _guaranteed timely updates is not accurate as well. So far this held out to be true for the most part, although why anyone would put iOS5.1 on a 3GS is beyond my comprehension. Android users have a whole lot more flexibility about the apps we have, the price we pay for those apps, the phones we buy, the accessibility apps we use, etc etc. Just because manufacturers have not updated some phones to icecream doesn't mean users haven't done this themselves for the added benefits. And android 2.3 is not inaccessible. The poster that went into the phone store and asked about iOS and was told by the sales rep that nothing like this existed in android was a typical misinformed salesman. Most salespeople at stores are not going to know about the accessibility of the phones they carry. This is why apple has a dedicated phone number for accessibility and android users have an email list for near instantaneous contact with android developers. This post is misinforming those that would have considered purchasing an android by making it seem that androids are scary things with problems with browsers and everything else and I'm here to tell you that as an android user for the past year and with daily use of my phone it's really not that scary. There are some frustrations occasionally, but there are frustrations with apple and iOS devices too. I urge any user considering an android to do their research, listen to android podcasts such as thatandroidshow or to contact me or any other android user who will be happy to inform them about their choices in androidland. and if you still wish to purchase an iOS device even after doing the research, then more power to you. They're both phone platforms, they both have accessibility, and they both have their quirks.

Please read the post and comments once more

@Nimer J:

I have heard of apple vis and got this article from flying blind and I'm not sure I'll be returning to apple vis after this very misinformed posting and all the comments not backed by any research or experience.

Comments not backed by any knowledge or experience? May I beg to disagree? It's not fair to proclaim such judgments as many people here have also used Android handsets. I currently have two Android handsets at my disposal. However, if you don't want to come back here, I fully respect your decision and can't really change it.

Apple _does include accessibility out of the box (and it's about time for the tripple-click home!!) I mean, how long have they had to get their accessibility right compared to how long Android's been around? Anyway, so does ICS. In ICS you can draw a rectangle on the screen to enable accessibility.

Interesting! As for the "rectangle," please read the comments and you'll see it mentioned along with the potential problems drawing it. Moreover, the original blog post isn't dedicated to the "out of the box" accessibility of these platforms; rather, it's about how updates are released for the two. As for iPhone and accessibility, the original iPhone was unveiled in 2007 and iPhone 3GS was released in 2009 with built-in accessibility and VoiceOver. However, Android 1.0 was released in 2008 and it's had the same window of opportunity for implementation of a solid access model -- something which is plagued by many factors.

I don't think just accessibility communities are frustrated by the fragmentation, however fragmentation does not have to affect accessibility. You see, if you go on any android forum (for both sighted and blind users) they'll tell you which manufacturers put their own overlay on a phone or which ones will come with android that has not been modified. Users who buy such phones are making a decision about which interface they wish to use, and if they get something from HTC, for example, they're making a conscious decision to go with one of those added interfaces that may or may not be accessible, as anyone on an android board would tell that person.

To be honest, I'm a bit shocked by your nonchalant observation! First off, fragmentation does not have to affect accessibility but in effect it does and it won't go away soon. Second, you refer to the status quo in Android as if several manufacturers offer unadulterated Android and several don't. You know that only the Nexus line of Android handsets offers plain-vanilla Android and others don't. So there's not a wide range of options in this regard. Third, the very fact that HTC's Android 4 (ICS) offering has remained as inaccessible or almost as inaccessible as before demonstrates Android's shortcomings. That is, it was more or less acceptable to get a HTC handset with Android 2.3 when Android itself didn't have "Explore by touch." However, with ICS out, having to deal with a poorly accessible HTC handset is simply out of proportions. And it's not clear how explore by touch is to be implemented in the handsets LG and Sony manufacture. Fourth, in 2012 only those who love Android for whatever reason, hate iOS for whatever reason, or need Android for whatever reason may make a conscious choice about getting an HTC-branded Android handset.

Google has issues with accessibility, but so does every platform. I can sit here and write a list of accessibility problems or inconsistencies with apple but I won't.

True enough! However, I encourage you to do that and send your report to Apple. Believe me, I can list many more bugs and inconsistencies for Google's access model in ICS and Galaxy Nexus but I don't.

But to characterize Android as this bad horible operating system because it's fragmented and therefore not accessible is inaccurate. And to say that apple users are _guaranteed timely updates is not accurate as well. So far this held out to be true for the most part, although why anyone would put iOS5.1 on a 3GS is beyond my comprehension.

No one has called android "horrible." But, as much as you like to say otherwise, fragmentation does affect accessibility. As for why anyone might put iOS 5.1 on a 3GS, that's the beauty of the iOS. Sure, a two-year-old handset might not be able to take advantage of all iOS 5.1 features as efficiently as one might like, but the fact that Apple does it requires accolades. BTW, there's no reason to believe that Apple is to alter its update policy in the future unless you have some inside information.

Android users have a whole lot more flexibility about the apps we have, the price we pay for those apps, the phones we buy, the accessibility apps we use, etc etc. Just because manufacturers have not updated some phones to icecream doesn't mean users haven't done this themselves for the added benefits.

Yes, I've seen many posts about Android handsets becoming a "brick" after going through the rooting process just to get ICS on board. That's not what a visually impaired user can do without sighted assistance, and, mind you, even average sighted users don't usually go that route. As for the lower price of Android apps, suffice it to say that it's highly disputed and some studies show the opposite -- see here as an example. Android's flexibility is good, but at least as far as access is concerned, iOS doesn't need various screen readers, browsers and messaging apps as the built-in ones work extremely well.

You just love! bashing android

Lets start off with saying both are very good platforms for visual impaired people to use on a dayly bases. Its going to come down to a person's tastes and how much bull **** of apple Ituens on windows a person wants to put up with at one time. Though android is fragmented, no arguement there, its still useable to a blind person. Guess what! I am a android user who uses it ona dayly bases as my main phone. Oh, here ya go, http://www.androidaccess.net. That is a web sight full of apps that are rated for accessibility for "yappers" you guessed it android!!. So stop publishing this BS go and try a android device on a dayly bases. Gengerbred is not as bad as your painting its picture, so put down the paint brush, quit sipping the coolade and relize one thing!. It comes down to choice and if a person just likes cut copy and paste with out buying an appfor that. Lastly, it also comes down to hardware, its no supprise that andrid has the latest hardware, fastest processor and keeps ahead of IOS in this hardware game. So at the end of the day "apple" or "android" I choose android because of the hasel of not having to argue with Ituens just to move files and I can test apps before they ever hit google play store.

Enjoy your perfect world then!

Dan Mathis, I think by now it's clear who's bashing what. I didn't want to say this, but given the bashing which is directed at iOS, I must say enjoy your Gingerbread or the half-updated ICS (4.0.2 or 4.0.4 depending on your location in the world!), your topnotch hardware, and your accessible device. Just hope you haven't paid for a screen reader to make it accessible. I can access a Galaxy Nexus here very easily, but, regardless of my attempts, can't come to terms with the access model there even with today's keyboard and screen reader updates. As for AndroidAccess, it's not new at all -- I've visited it a lot though, honestly, many ratings and handset-specific reviews there are confusing at best.

No perfect world

You are missing my points completely. Fragmentation does not have to hurt accessibility, and in some instances helps accessibility. I have owned two samsung phones that had no issues with accessibility as well as my current motorola phone which again, has no issues with accessibility. You aren't forced to get a nexus phone, although you are right that at present they're the only ones with straight vanilla android. It took apple two years to come up with VO, and two more to figure out that VI people might just want to enable it without sighted assistance. Talkback has been in Android since 1.6 and in fact is still updated for 1.6. Back then was it as flexible or as good as VO? No because it didn't provide access to the touch screen. As for rooting, it is very possible to root a phone and to install ICS without sighted assistance (not easy, and things can still go wrong, but so can jailbreaking an iPhone). And I'm not disputing the idea that Android is fragmented. Again, I'm telling you that you can go on any number of boards and find out that android is fragmented and some users aren't happy with the time it takes to push out updates. Apple pushes out updates for essentially one device. Google pushes out updates for zillions of devices on zillions of networks in many different markets using many different manufacturers, processors, and specs. I like to be able to go out to the store and get a phone with a quad core processor and a 42-MP camera. I like to be able to have a choice of a sliding keyboard or a touch screen. I like to have the ability to choose whether or not my battery is interchangeable. And I like to know that _even if google breaks something, anyone can come up with a fix and implement it and I can still have a working solution. I didn't write this post to bash iOS or Android or anything and in fact we should be bashing windows phone for its lack of accessibility. But your entire post above was all about how great iOS is, and why a user shouldn't get Android when the title leads someone to assume that you're going to be providing an objective comparison of the two operating systems. Anyway, I'm not going to get anywhere debating with an Android-hater and I hope that your readers can make informed decisions and ask the questions necessary to get informed instead of taking just your word or mine on the issues.

Things to Note

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I still stand by my comment #7 above.

I am curious to know if there are any information in how many blind users use which device? IOS vs. Android?

I'm not as tech savvy as you guys are but one of the many reasons I like the iPhone are the following:
1) Don't need a Virus Scanner to make sure my device is clean or not
2) My Voice Over is part of the OS and I don't need to install one nor pay for one if needed.
3) I like that my wife's 3gs, my son's 4s, my iPad 2, and my iPhone 4 are all the same. There is no learning curve for each phone. Most of the updates will be pushed to all of my devices.
4) I like the fact that I do have a choice to call an Apple Accessible phone line. Is there one for Google?
5) I know I can be safe in using my Bank app and not have to worry if it will be stolen by a lurking virus.
6) I love the fact the company has gone out of their way in making this accessible in their OS.

As a not so tech savvy person as I am. I'm guessing most of us on this site and use the iPhone aren't either but it is very easy to use right out of the box. I just love the fact it is ready the moment I pull out the iPhone out of the box. I can see why tech savvy peole love the Android. It is a free and non-restrictive OS. So I can see the appealing for those kind of people. Bascially, it reminds me so much of the Microsoft vs. Macintosh days who was better. There will be those that love Microsoft and those that love Macintosh. It is really all a personal preference.

I just can't get around in owning an Android for those reasons. I just can't. I've had to many bad experience with the Microsoft for all those years. I don't want to have to do that all over again.

Who knows? That is just my 2 cents. There are few on here in the comments that are just die hards for thier cause. I admire that but really?

I have to admit Amir does have some good points and have some really good backing of his answers and thus just giving me a good sense that I choose a good device for me.

some problems with the defence of Android

Nimer J wrote,

You are missing my points completely. Fragmentation does not have to hurt accessibility, and in some instances helps accessibility. I have owned two samsung phones that had no issues with accessibility as well as my current motorola phone which again, has no issues with accessibility.

1. Amir's point was that fragmentation has hurt accessibility for Android, not that it necessarily has to do so. He even suggests at the end that it may be possible for Google to address this issue, though it is not clear yet how Google is going to do this. I would perhaps go further and argue that a company that is committed to accessibility and controls the hardware and software is nearly always going to put out a more accessible product than a company that builds accessibility into the software, but lets every hardware manufacturer remove the accessibility if it wants.

2. The fact that you have had accessible phones is not an argument against the claim that fragmentation has tended to hurt accessibility. You would have to show that fragmentation has not affected accessibility, and waving a couple of accessible phones around is not sufficient to support such a claim.

Nimer J wrote,

It took apple two years to come up with VO, and two more to figure out that VI people might just want to enable it without sighted assistance.

Incorrect. From the day the 3G s went on sale, a blind person could enable VO without sighted assistance by using iTunes on her computer.

Nimer J wrote,

As for rooting, it is very possible to root a phone and to install ICS without sighted assistance (not easy, and things can still go wrong, but so can jailbreaking an iPhone).

I guess it's good then that jailbreaking the iPhone is not required to get the latest version of the software.

Nimer J wrote,

I like to be able to go out to the store and get a phone with a quad core processor and a 42-MP camera. I like to be able to have a choice of a sliding keyboard or a touch screen. I like to have the ability to choose whether or not my battery is interchangeable. And I like to know that _even if google breaks something, anyone can come up with a fix and implement it and I can still have a working solution.

I think those are all fine reasons to prefer Android, but what is also true is that all of that choice tends to result in a product that is less accessible. You may be able to find a phone with a qwerty keyboard and a removable battery, but it won't do you a lot of good if the manufacturer has decided to skin the operating system and, in doing so, removes some or all of the built in accessibility. It's fine to prefer choice, so long as those preferring Android for choice understand that accessibility tends to be worse off as a result of the choice/fragmentation.

Nimer J wrote,

your entire post above was all about how great iOS is, and why a user shouldn't get Android when the title leads someone to assume that you're going to be providing an objective comparison of the two operating systems.

We read Amir's post very differently. Every point he makes is backed up by a link to some other source. Perhaps if you quoted the specific passages that trouble you and explained what's misleading or factually incorrect about them, that would help us get further in this discussion.

Reply to AnonyMouse

Hello, Apple has done a nice job making sure that they integrate a screen reader into their operating system. I can argue that Talkback does this with Android, but some manufacturers will choose to remove it, so ... iOS is very easy to use and it is the same on all devices. I would call that simplicity boring, but for many (especiall those who are just starting out) iOS is appealing for its ease of use. As for viruses ... yes and no. Rooted devices are inherently more at risk because they have enabled root access to their devices which could do some serious things. Most android viruses are limited in what they actually can and can't do, and this is due to the architecture. And Google is now scanning all apps for melicious threats. Still, if you think you're safe from attack because you're running any operating system (yes, even iOS) you are hiding behind a false wall. I would urge anyone _not to hold back on getting an operating system because of virus claims. Hell, the Federal Government is looking more and more at adopting Android for their purposes. You think they'd do that if it was so horibly insecure? And I cringe at the comparison of Android to windows. Brrrr!! Anyway, very nicely put as a beginner, and Android _is for the more adventurous, but I would say again that if someone wants to be up on the latest technology and not have to worry about whether apple allows something into their appstore or whether or not iTunes is installed, then Android is a serious choice. Oh, and one thing I haven't seen mentioned too much is price point. Android apps _are cheaper for the most part (with the exception of a high-dollar unnecessary screen reading app) and so are android phones and tablets. Anyway, I'm done now ...

seriously?

Wow, somebody states facts and all of a sudden it's bashing? Interesting. Sounds like you are a little thin skinned. It really isn't that serious. You rreally really sound like a big baby. Again, these are really important facts that he's pointing out and for you to act like that's no big deal is really scary. Nobody wants a fragmented solution at least I don't. I like that when an update comes out it's available for all devices. With Android it's hit or miss. All I'm trying to say is can't we all just get along? Btw, it didn't take apple that long to get the tripple click home feacher put into ios. And as Amir stated they've had the same amount of time as apple to get the accessibility put in. There is absolutely no excuse for that platform to be struggling the way it is.

Quick post, more later.

Brief post for now, I'll finish this up later. Why should I be required to own a computer _and to install a piece of software that, until pretty recently wasn't totally accessible just to enable accessibility? What happened to simplicity? Still, it's more than Android had, right? As for taking that long to implement triple-click-home, didn't it just get implemented with the iPhone 4S? Didn't it take iOS two years to come up with accessibility on an iPhone and wasn't that accessibility filled with issues at first that for the most part got sorted out? As for fragmentation making accessibility worse, again I'm saying that with choice you have a choice of an accessible phone and an accessible overlay or oen that looks more pleasing and is less accessible. Going back to my phones, I've had three phones from two manufacturers and I know of others that are accessible and I didn't have to hunt around from a handful of devices to find one. More soon.

very uninformed

With all due respect ios has had tripple click home since ios 3.1.1 I believe. For some one who's crying foul you sure don't have any of your fact straight. Oh guess what, it is now possible to turn on voice over right out of the box now with no computer. I think you need to do a little research of your own and stop crying.

initial VO accessibility

Nimer J wrote,

Why should I be required to own a computer _and to install a piece of software that, until pretty recently wasn't totally accessible just to enable accessibility?

This is a fair point, but you have to remember that iTunes was necessary for anyone to manage, back up, restore, etc an iPhone. So blind people had the same level of access as the sighted. With IOS 5, iCloud, and the so called post PC iPhone, blind and sighted alike became able to manage, back up, restore, etc without iTunes. So access has been equal between blind and sighted as the technology has changed.

Nimer J wrote,

Didn't it take iOS two years to come up with accessibility on an iPhone and wasn't that accessibility filled with issues at first that for the most part got sorted out?

I bought the 3G s two weeks after it came out, and there were problems at first, particularly regarding filling out forms, adjusting the rotor, and using IVR systems to check bank balances and so on. The thing is, though, these problems were fixed with the first update, which came out very quickly and which every 3G s owner had access to. That's sort of the whole point of the original post: if there are problems with accessibility, they can be fixed with updates, and these updates can immediately be installed on nearly all versions of the hardware. Even if Google created a version of its operating system that crushed IOS with respect to accessibility, it could potentially take six months to a year before your phone could be upgraded to the new OS, and you would have no guarantee that the amazing accessibility would even be included in the version of the operating system that you install.

This is simply a fact concerning the two operating systems and the way the hardware and software come together. You might not take it as a definitive reason to prefer IOS, but it's not Android bashing to state this difference between the two platforms. It's a genuine difference, and it might be quite important to someone who is deciding on which phone to purchase.

Yet more comments to clarify some points

Nimer J wrote:

Why should I be required to own a computer _and to install a piece of software that, until pretty recently wasn't totally accessible just to enable accessibility? What happened to simplicity?

Nothing happened to simplicity. First and foremost, you need not have a computer to do it now. Second, as for iTunes accessibility, I can't understand what you mean by "pretty recently." JAWS 10 has had support for iTunes 8 as early as 2008 -- check here, and I'm sure the same is true about WinEyes. Third, even now Android isn't without its flaws when it comes to PC usage. For instance, if and when the ICS update for Xperia handsets is released by Sony, it won't be an OTA update and users must be tied to their computers to get it -- check here.

Nimer J wrote:

one thing I haven't seen mentioned too much is price point. Android apps _are cheaper for the most part (with the exception of a high-dollar unnecessary screen reading app) and so are android phones and tablets.

This is just a claim and highly disputed at best -- see comment number 10 for more on that. Also, while midrange Android handsets and tablets might be cheaper than the competition, it's not the case with flagship Android devices such as Galaxy Nexus and the Transformer Prime. So, no, if one wants to go with the best Android hardware, the very same amount must be shelled out. In fact, Apple's strategy in the tablet arena has been so successful that many even doubt if Android can really catch up despite the unveiling of quad-core devices -- check here.

Nimer J wrote:

Hell, the Federal Government is looking more and more at adopting Android for their purposes. You think they'd do that if it was so horibly insecure?

This is like saying the Federal Government uses Windows because it's not horribly insecure. Like Windows, Android has been selected not on the basis of vulnerabilities but for other factors such as access to the OS code which Apple doesn't allow for obvious reasons. BTW, despite what you think the Federal Government still widely prefers BlackBerry to iOS and Android -- check here. In short, the threat of viruses is much more tangible on Android and that's why so many security apps from major antivirus developers have been produced for it -- regardless of who uses Android and how. While you do have a point about not trusting everyone and everything for security, iOS is head and shoulders above Android in this regard.

Nimer J wrote:

Anyway, very nicely put as a beginner, and Android _is for the more adventurous, but I would say again that if someone wants to be up on the latest technology and not have to worry about whether apple allows something into their appstore or whether or not iTunes is installed, then Android is a serious choice.

Now with so many apps on the App Store -- even more than what Google Play offers, one has to ponder how some people think iOS is for beginners. Perhaps those who purchase a couple of iPhones and a couple of iPads as opposed to a whole host of Android devices are all beginners and will remain novices even after upgrading to their next iDevice! Apple might restrict how something gets installed, but the App Store isn't by no means devoid of a vast number of apps, tweaks and utilities. Perhaps you should have mentioned it this way: "In comparison, iOS is easier to learn and use for those who choose it due to consistencies in its UI as opposed to Android." Unlike what you mentioned somewhere else, as techy as I am, so far my iDevice hasn't generated ennui in me. If and when Android becomes as accessible as iOS, if and when it implements universal access gestures (such as flicking), if and when fragmentation is dealt with one way or another, if and when Android is offered more widely without third-party skins and bloatware, and if and when Android updates are offered universally for all devices, I'll then take a close look at it. Of course, I'll do that only if iOS 6 and later fail to impress me unlike iOS 4 and 5.

sony

You might want to research that sonyericcson story a bit more. The reason the update won't be pushed over the air, something iOS only recently learned from Android if you want to get into that, is not only to ensure the update goes well but also because Sony thinks some older experia phones will suffer a loss in performance when updating. This is, in my very humble opinion, a very nice thing of them to do. They are actually warning people owning those handsets that they might not want to update if they don't want this to happen.
Apple, when it gives out a list of supported devices for their new major iOS upgrade, does not comment on performance at all. I will say here that my iPhone 3GS is sluggish to the point of me pulling my hair out on an hourly basis just because I want to send someone a whatsApp message.
Kind of makes me wonder though: Why is iOS 5 so darn slow? What is different from iOS 4 that is eating so many resources? And why the heck can't I kill the offending process like any decent OS should let me do?

you really had to ask?

Um, let me not point out the obvious but you do have an older device so naturally it isn't going to work as well. Stop blaming it on the ios and buy some new hardware.

Tripple-click-home and price points

Getting ready to head to work so I didn't get a chance to look at the posted articles, however when I talk about prices on both playstore and iOS I'm talking from experience, and even from the point of accessibility software. Case in point? The bookshare app. This is just one of many examples. And triple-click-home could have been enabled way back but it had to be done so by the user which was my point. Not that triple-click-home didn't exist. Hell, you could do a penta-click-home. That doesn't mean it'd do anything ...

Re: Sony

Florian wrote:

You might want to research that sonyericcson story a bit more. The reason the
update won't be pushed over the air, something iOS only recently learned from
Android if you want to get into that, is not only to ensure the update goes
well but also because Sony thinks some older experia phones will suffer a
loss in performance when updating. This is, in my very humble opinion, a very
nice thing of them to do.

Really? I'm not sure what you mean by "researching it." Are all Xperia handsets released in the second and third quarter of 2011 which are forced to get ICS from a computer connection old? In fact, something is wrong with your claim because I'm not even sure if those pre-2011 Xperia handsets which are more than a year old are supposed to get ICS. I think with these strange claims and non-facts you Android fanboys cause more disservice to Google's OS -- check here for all of those pre-2011 Xperia handsets which won't get ICS. If iOS has learned a lesson from Android, Apple have been a good student because Sony haven't learned the Android lesson very well.

Price point and more

Nimer J wrote

. . . when I talk about prices on both playstore and iOS I'm
talking from experience, and even from the point of accessibility software.
Case in point? The bookshare app. This is just one of many examples.

Well, so our experience is dramatically different in this regard. As for the Bookshare app on Android, mind you, it's just a beta or even a pre-beta app and it's not clear if it's to be offered free of charge when the beta cycle is over. BTW, I just tried finding it on Google Play as I wanted to include its URL here but it's been removed from Play -- I get the "Page not found" error message. Anyway, I hope those who need Braille on their Android device shouldn't be forced to pay for it or purchase a commercial screen reader to make up for some features free alternatives can't execute.

newer hardware

Are you serious?
So, you expect me to buy new hardware every time Apple comes out with a new iOS upgrade, even though Apple says the hardware is supported? I'm sorry but that is ridiculous.
That would mean I would have to always have the latest and greatest Apple hardware, which isn't exactly cheap, to keep up supposedly free iOS upgrades. I'm sorry but I will eloquently voice my opinion on that: SCREW THAT

Older devices and performance issues

Florian wrote:

Apple, when it gives out a list of supported devices for their new major iOS
upgrade, does not comment on performance at all. I will say here that my
iPhone 3GS is sluggish to the point of me pulling my hair out on an hourly
basis just because I want to send someone a whatsApp message.

Please note that here Sony has just warned users that the OTA update has been removed because of stability issues. Like other Android manufacturers, Sony hasn't talked about issues Android 4 users might experience after updating their handsets and how sluggish some of them might become. Of course, Sony is truthful enough to mention that the 2011 line of Xperia handsets (note that I'm saying "2011") might face performance issues after the ICS update, virtually asking them to think twice before the update -- check this very informative article. As for the 3GS becoming sluggish with iOS 5, well, the sad reality of the smartphone world is that you can't expect the flagship of 2009 and 2010 to become the star of 2012 -- I believe the Xperia story substantiates my point.

Re: Newer hardware

Florian wrote:

So, you expect me to buy new hardware every time Apple comes out with a new iOS upgrade, even though Apple says the hardware is supported? I'm sorry but that is ridiculous.

Not at all! However, you're using a 3GS which is more than two years old. Upgrading handsets on a 2-year timeline isn't uncommon in the smartphone arena -- the same is true about Android, Symbian and Windows Phone. It's up to you to decide -- I've been using a Nokia N82 for about 4 years though I did have access to newer Symbian smartphones. However, you can't keep your old handset and expect Apple, Google, Nokia, and Microsoft to bless you with the niceties of a brand-new OS on 24-month-old hardware. Apple at least gives you a choice to give it a try -- I admit that might not be smooth, but others simply don't.

re: newer hardware

True, that. I did not expect the 3GS would shine with the new update, but I have to admit I did not expect a performance decrease as bad as I have experienced. What I am confused about is what is causing the performance loss.
On iOS 5, there's a lot of new features that have been added. iMessage, some camera enhancements, couple new icons, iCloud, initial setup, find my iPhone ...but what has changed when you don't actually use all that? The only reason I can think of is the higher quality voices, but I use compact Irish and therefore that cannot be it either. on Unix, Windows, Mac OSX, even Android, I'd go have a look what is taking so much resources and if it's something I can live without, i'd give it a friendly boot out the nearest airlock. But on iOS, apart from jailbreaking I do not have that option. What do you guys think is causing such a dramatic increase of resources?

Re: Newer hardware

Florian wrote:

On iOS 5, there's a lot of new features that have been added. iMessage, some
camera enhancements, couple new icons, iCloud, initial setup, find my iPhone
...but what has changed when you don't actually use all that? The only reason
I can think of is the higher quality voices, but I use compact Irish and
therefore that cannot be it either. on Unix, Windows, Mac OSX, even Android,
I'd go have a look what is taking so much resources and if it's something I
can live without, i'd give it a friendly boot out the nearest airlock. But on
iOS, apart from jailbreaking I do not have that option. What do you guys
think is causing such a dramatic increase of resources?

As for iOS 5 and its new features and fixes, there's much more to it than what you put together -- check here for an unofficial iOS 5 changelog from the perspective of accessibility. It's also worth mentioning that here I know some sighted and visually impaired 3GS owners and, while they experience sluggishness on and off, it's not as serious and mind-blowing as you get. The point is that competition is forcing companies to add a wide range of new features to each new release of iOS, Android and Windows Phone -- so many features that older hardware might not be able to handle them smoothly.

3G s and IOS 5

@Florian

I did use IOS 5 on my 3G s, and I know many others who did and still do as well. With the high quality voices, most experienced fairly serious sluggishness, but switching to compact resolved most of the issues.

I'm not sure the worse performance you've experienced is a fair criticism of Apple.

1. It might be a problem with your specific hardware and not the hardware of the 3G s in general. Phones get dropped, bumped, jostled, hot, cold, wet, etc and this can place wear and tear on the hardware and affect performance.

2. Saying a version of the hardware can run a particular version of the software is not the same as saying the performance will be the same across devices. I get that you are saying that Apple does not disclose performance issues on older devices, but this is not exactly possible because the way a phone has been handled over potentially the last 2.5 years is going to affect performance. How can they possibly give you a sense of performance when they have no idea what has happened to your phone since the time you purchased it? And it's worth asking if Google and Microsoft specify exactly how a new OS running on older hardware might affect performance.

This just doesn't strike me as any kind of a hit against Apple.

iPhone 3GS Sluggishness

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Florian,

Have you tried updating to iOS 5.1? I have a friend with an iPhone 3GS and after upgrading to iOS 5.1, VoiceOver was more responsive. It wasn't a huge improvement, but enough to make it noteworthy.

Android Vs. iOS

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

It's been very interesting reading this discussion. And apart from my personal preferences, I'm not entirely sure if one OS is "better" than the other. They're different, that's for sure, but is one "better" than the other? It all depends.

I am an iOS user and have been since 2010. I have no desire to buy or use an Android device because I love the seemlessly integrated end-to-end experience of the iPhone. And yet I think it is important that if people aren't sure what platform to choose they know the advantages and disadvantages of both.

So, here's the breakdown as I see it:
iOS has advanced accessibility built-in, and their are thousands of apps available in the App Store. However, the lack of a physical keyboard is a deal-breaker for some, and the high price of iOS devices can also be a turn-off.
Some Android handsets offer physical keyboards. But because manufacturers can modify the OS, accessibility is not as integrated. But with Android you get more choices.

none of the comments actually answer the question I asked

While it is true that wear and tear can cause detrimental results to a handset, the performance should not suffer the way it has. Certainly not if you count the fact thatt the sluggishness started right after the iOS 5 update. I'll give you a maddening example, a double tap is seen as two consecutive single taps more times then should be expected. Wear and tear can have some effect, but not as much as you think.
Also, I know i didn't name all the new iOS features. There's supposedly around 100 or 200 of them. Yet, a lot of it is either app upgrades, tweaks you have to turn on or off, etc. So, not using these should make sure performance is not changed.
What I am noticing is that gradually the RAM gets filled up and by doing a six-press-sleep-button I can respring, causing that memory to be freed. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a serious memory leak to me.
Also, I have not yet upgraded to iOS 5.1 because:
1. No tethered jailbreak yet.
2. I have heard mixed stories about that update, for some it made the phone faster, for others even more sluggish.
3. If in my case it happens to be the latter, I would have to do some serious tinkering to get back to a previous iOS version, because Apple doesn't like it much when I do that.

perhaps this isn't the best place to have your question answered

@Florian

If by the question you asked, you mean "what is causing the sluggishness on the 3G s?" I don't think there is a single answer, and you have been given several answers.

1. Some reduction in performance typically always occurs when you run the most recent version of software on out of date hardware. Provided that it is still possible to perform all of the same actions on the out of date hardware, then it's not wrong to say that the hardware supports the software. This pattern of obsolescence is accelerated in the mobile space, and it's not unique to Apple.

2. Not everyone is having the same problem. It's been pointed out to you that the 3G s has been known to run IOS 5 without a serious reduction in performance. If your question is: why is the 3G s sluggish on IOS 5? Then the answer is that it is not, at least not in all cases. In which case, you're question should be: why is IOS 5 sluggish on my 3G s? But how exactly is anyone on this site supposed to know? Perhaps it is

3. Wear and tear. You say wear and tear doesn't have the effect on performance that one might think, but I'm not sure on what you're basing this assertion. Someone dropped my phone, and the performance was significantly impacted. So I know from personal experience that how a phone is handled can make a big difference in performance. The fact that the performance issues started immediately after installing IOS 5 is no evidence that the wear and tear is not a factor. IOS 5 requires more resources; adding 200 new features is going to require additional resources, no? Well, it might be that the wear and tear wasn't so bad that the phone couldn't meet the demand of IOS 4 but was sufficient that it became sluggish under IOS 5.

I'm not sure what sort of answer you're hoping to receive. If this is a widespread problem, and if it's a problem with the 3G s hardware-software compatibility, you shouldn't have trouble finding several Apple support forums with hundreds of posts discussing this issue. There are probably tens of millions of 3G s devices running IOS 5 out there. Or do you believe this is a problem that only affects VoiceOver users? If so, then I would try to find out if others are experiencing the same issue (perhaps a separate post on AppleVis, a post in the Apple support forums, a few tweets, some emails on mailing lists, etc), and if it's clear that it's a widespread issue, I'd contact Apple and encourage others to do the same. Since you seem not to be satisfied with the above answers, the approached just outlined strikes me as a better way to get your question answered to your satisfaction.

iOS 5.1 on the 3GS

I hear that iOS 5.1 is supposed to work a little better on the 3GS than did iOS 5.01.

Thanks,
Shersey