By James Heck III updated on 05/16/2012
While enjoying sushi and drinks with a friend the other night, she let me play with her new Android phone that she had just picked up that day to replace here aging Blackberry. I've been an iPhone user since day three of the first iteration, and I currently carry an iPhone 4 for daily use. In the nearly four years that I've been using Apple's handset, it may have been lost on me that not everyone experiences the polished user experience that iPhone users have grown accustomed to. She had a lower end LG handset powered by Android and moments after launching the browser, I noticed the "jaggy" scrolling. The keyboard was also constrained due to the small size of the handset and therefore very difficult to type on. In short, the user user experience was lacking. If this were one's first exposure to Android, they might be either delighted or disappointed depending upon their previous phone.
While I will admit that Android does run on some high end handsets that offer a compelling user experience, it's also offered on many low end handsets that leave the user wanting. Despite the persistent rumors, that isn't a market that Apple is competing in. Android is a free OS coded by Google and now available on 200+ handsets. It should not be a surprise that they have passed Apple who makes only two models where they do the hardware, OS, and custom silicon in house.
Apple is focused on providing the best user experience in class. It's not for everyone, but they will continue to push the envelope in industrial design and user experience. Google is focused on being in everyone's hand and pocket so that you use their services. They derive almost all of their revenue off of search, and obviously love all of the iOS users who frequently use their products as well.
To put things in perspective, Apple has added $100 billion to their market cap in the past nine months (the only company including Exxon to do so). In contrast, Google's entire market cap is around $173 billion as of today.