On the 23rd June at WWDC 2020, which of course due to the current circumstances being held online, Apple announced iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the new iOS versions. Home screen widgets, no more full screen calls, and a redesigned Siri are just a few of the changes Apple’s new OS includes. The update supports all iPhones as old as the iPhone 6S and iPadOS 14 supports all iPads as old as the iPad Mini 4 and iPad Air 2. This just shows one thing: how far behind Android really is when it comes to better software updates.
Android has never had a good record when it comes to software support. Only last year did things change when OnePlus released Android 9 Pie to its OnePlus 3 and 3T, making it the third major OS upgrade for these phones. Google followed with Android 10 on the original Pixel. However, is three updates really good enough for phones that are so pricey while you can get an iPhone for around the same price where you get four or even five major OS upgrades?
The answer is no. iPhones have always come first in terms of software updates, and it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. Samsung may have released OneUI 2.1 for the Galaxy S9, but this isn’t a major update. Other than a few new features, OneUI 2.1 isn’t much different to OneUI 2.0. The Galaxy S9 is not expected to get Android 11/OneUI 3, meaning it only has received two major OS upgrades, just like the S8 and the phones before it.
Apple supporting iPhones for a long time isn’t a new thing, and has been going on for many years. In 2016, Apple released iOS 10 for the iPhone 5 which started off on iOS 6, making it the fourth major OS upgrade. In 2018, Apple released iOS 12 for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6. The iPhone 5S was released in 2013. In 2018, Samsung discontinued support for the Galaxy S6 released in 2015.
While iOS lacks support for custom ROMs porting newer OS versions to older devices, not everyone wants to have to rely on third parties for updates. It’s time for Android phone manufacturers to change. At £1300, the Galaxy Z Flip deserves more than two major OS upgrades. At the moment, Apple seem to be doing the best at updates, which just portrays Android in a bad light.
I sure hope that Apple updating the iPhone 6S and SE to iOS 14 will encourage Android manufacturers to consider at least four major OS upgrades if not five, especially considering how much they are charging for their flagship smartphones that will be obsolete four years after release. Google and OnePlus have proven the ability to do three, so why not one more? As for Samsung, two major OS upgrades is something even in 2013 you’d expect more. I’m sure it would help Android compete against iOS.