Is the Apple iPhone the king of the smartphone market? Or is Google Android and its numerous phone handsets a better bet? In the following article, David Price argues the case for the iPhone 5, which he thinks is the best smartphone around. (For an alternative view, take a look at PC Advisor's Android vs iPhone vs Windows Phone 8: what phone should I buy?)
iOS vs Android: iOS is more secure
You should never allow yourself to get complacent about mobile security, but Android faces far, far more malware threats than the iPhone's iOS platform. An F-Secure report in May noted that more than 90 percent of all mobile malware is written for the Android platform, while the remainder is aimed at the Symbian software found on older Nokia phones. The 'closed' platforms - Apple iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry - simply don't have malware written for them. It's too hard to break in, and malware writers will generally go for the low-hanging fruit.
There are still dangers out there, but for an iPhone user they largely amount to 'human error' threats - you have to be fooled into clicking on the wrong link or responding to phishing requests for your personal details. You should still be careful, in other words, but by picking iPhone you give yourself a massive security advantage.
iOS vs Android: iOS provides a better user experience
Personally I think iOS provides a better user experience than Android; and it would appear that a lot of my fellow smartphone users agree, since iOS users are on average more loyal to the platform than their Android counterparts. Once people have tried the iPhone they tend to be happy with it.
But quality of user experience is hard to quantify. A better way of approaching the idea might be to think about the design process behind iOS and Android.
Apple builds both software and hardware, enabling it to create a seamless whole. These days the design teams even overlap for greater collaboration, with Sir Jony Ive bringing his minimalist hardware design aesthetic to iOS 7. Every aspect of the iPhone 5, then, has been designed with iOS in mind - not only the current build of iOS but future iterations. In some cases the same people are involved in the design of hardware and software.
Android handsets, on the other hand, are built reactively: hardware and software are designed by separate teams in separate companies (in separate continents, quite often). Expecting the same level of polish would be unrealistic.
(For a more detailed run-down of the features in iOS 7 and the latest version of Android, try Apple iOS 7 vs Google Android Jelly Bean: the biggest mobile OSes compared.)
iOS vs Android: Apple's apps are better
The number of apps on Google Play and the App Store are roughly the same. But if Google has caught up on quantity, it's still miles behind on quality.
Apple 'curates' its store in the sense that developers are obliged to follow stringent rules before getting their software approved for release. (Sometimes, indeed, Apple takes this too far, with its generally admirable stance against distasteful content sometimes leading it into areas that seem politically partisan - or creating a climate in which publishers censor themselves.) This means that everything you'll find on the store has some degree of quality control.
Now, we're not saying that making it into the App Store is like Nintendo's Seal of Quality; there are still bad apps, and boring apps, and ethically iffy apps, and plagiarised apps (and even a few that tick all four boxes) that make it through the net. But the proportions of these are vastly lower than on Google Play.
It's easier to find good apps as an iOS user. And discoverability is no small issue in a store closing in on a million apps.
What's more, quality apps are more likely to appear on iOS that on Android, and if they appear on both they tend to appear first on the Apple App Store. Why? Because on average, Android users are less inclined to pay for apps, which means developers have less incentive to put the effort in. It might seem unfair, but by joining the platform with the more spend-happyconsumers, you're earning yourself preferential treatment from software developers.
iOS vs Android: You get what you pay for
A common refrain of Android advocates centres on the price differential between Android and iOS handsets, and it's true that iPhones are near the top of the smartphone budgetary scale. It's also true that today's Android handsets are both cheap and beautifully made: sadly, though, to paraphrase an old gag, the handsets that are cheap are not beautifully made and the handsets that are beautifully made are not cheap.
Two of the best Android smartphones are the HTC One and the Sony Xperia Z. They're great, and well worth a recommendation. But to call them a budget alternative is misleading: they cost £529 and £520 respectively, compared with £529 for the entry-level iPhone 5.
Equally, it's possible to find an Android phone for less than the equivalent iPhone - the Samsung Galaxy S4 offers a saving of almost £100 - but don't expect the same quality of design.
iOS vs Android: Conclusion
Ultimately the iPhone vs Android debate comes down to a choice: between Android's flawed, fragmented openness, and Apple's quality experience in a closed environment. Openness sounds brilliant, and if we were talking about a lifestyle or a political philosophy then Android would be hard to beat. But this is about a phone. And if you just want a phone that's safe, easy and enjoyable to use, and connected to the best-quality app store around - not to mention sumptuously designed and reliable - then iPhone is the only answer.
iOS vs Android: Your views
That's our view, but we're keen to hear what you think. Send the writer your point of view, whether pro-Apple or pro-Android, on Twitter or in the comments at the bottom of this piece.