Apple CEO Tim Cook blasts Google for Android’s fragmentation problem

Apple isn’t letting Google get away with leaving devices behind.

Last month was I/O 2017 for Google. Today starts WWDC 2017 for Apple. Both companies use their respective week-long events as a way to showcase new products and services that developers can take advantage of. But, while Google puts on a happy face and doesn’t care to name names, Apple calls out the competition for falling short.

Tim Cook started a segment on mobile by stating the current version of iOS is on more than 86% of the company’s phones. Well, the Apple CEO didn’t stop there. He decided to blast Google for not being able to come anywhere close with keeping Android devices on current software.

It was anything but polite.

The diagram displayed on stage at the San Jose Convention Center showed, while iOS 10 is on nearly 90% of iPhone devices, Android 7.0 Nougat is on less than 10% of Android devices.

Apple and Google’s latest version of their respective mobile operating systems came out around the same time; therefore, it’s a reasonable comparison. The main difference between the two is that Apple handles hardware and software. Google, on the other hand, can only lead with software. It’s up to hardware partners to get new version of Android on their devices.

If Google or any of its employees happen to respond, we’ll let you know.

About the Author: Justin Herrick

Born and raised in New Jersey, Justin is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where he studied marketing with a focus on digital marketing. He's very talkative and enjoys discussing anything from technology and sports to video games and television. As for Justin's current device rotation, he carries around the Google Pixel and Nexus 9. In the rare case that his phone or tablet is not in his hand, he is either flicking through cards on his Moto 360 (2015) or typing away on the Microsoft Surface Book. Justin is patiently waiting for the day that Google replicates the Galaxy Nexus with modern day specifications.

  • Cristid

    Hpw many devices use IOS? Now think how many use Android from alot of manufacturers.

    • Mr. Paladin

      I think that was the point about the fragmentation thing. If you let anyone and everyone use your OS and then modify it and build their own proprietary phones, yep…FRAGMENTATION. That’s why Apple will always be the leader in the OS department and all their phones work the same way.

      • solis

        It’s not the leader in the OS department. Their OS sucks. I can do nearly everything on my Android phone with fewer taps, clicks and swipes.

  • Davin Peterson

    The problem is Apple does not distributes its OS to OEMs the way Google does with Android, limiting your options. They need to allow their OS another manufactures devices.

    2017 is the year of Android

    • Mr. Paladin

      You’re kidding, right? Then iOS would be just as bad as android OS, all fragmented. Thank god that will NEVER happen.

  • Bardo

    He’s also being disingenuous because old Apple devices using newer iOS versions often lack key features.

    It would be fine if those features required hardware that the older phones didn’t have, for example 3D touch. But often they leave out features and it makes no sense. And worse, sometimes upgrading to the new iOS version leaves you with a slower device even though it’s locked out out of those new features.

    Using an iPhone5? Well, you can get iOS10, but you can’t shoot in slow motion or burst mode, you can’t get voicemail transcription, no raise to wake, apple pay, nightshift, pedometer, etc… etc…
    So do I really care if I can get iOS10 or not? It’s a bait and switch info-graphic.

    • Mr. Paladin

      Actually the reason most of the features of a new update don’t work on older phones is because they lack hardware for it. You mention 3D touch? come on… you know darn well that requires major hardware change.

      • Bardo

        “It would be fine if those features required hardware that the older phones didn’t have, for example 3D touch.”
        Reading comprehension is your friend. I specifically mentioned 3D touch as one of the features that it’s OK to leave off because it DOES require hardware.

        But you’re just plain wrong about the majority of missing features being due to a lack of hardware. Remember when the iPhone3g didn’t get turn by turn directions, or the iPhone4 didn’t get Siri, and yet those features got added back in by third party developers and they ran just fine. Can you really sit there and tell me you think the iPhone5 isn’t getting night shift or raise to wake because it lacks hardware? Come on…

        It is a fact that Apple leaves out major iOS features not because the older phones lack hardware, but because they want people to upgrade. They’ve done it time and time again.

  • Hk Singh

    The truth is not many people care about the latest software, those who do care i.e. me, find ways too stay up to date for eg. I have nougat installed on galaxy s2 and OPO ..So yeah..

    • Mr. Paladin

      Actually, iphone owners like getting new features every year. For about 5 years if they keep the phone that long. Android users may or may not see all the features of stock android IF they ever get another update because that manufacturer of their phone might cripple some of the features. Happens all the time. For the most part, I think the general public looks forward to iphone updates much more than the general public looks forward to new android features each year. Only the developers and the power users are looking forward to the new android OS. And they’ll get it if they have to flash a new ROM.

      • Hk Singh

        People are the same , be it android or ios
        Android users usually are less wealthy than their IOS counterparts and most of them just want smooth basic functionality and apps like whatsapp, facebook etc.
        I love experimenting with cusom ROM’s and so I can get pretty much every software feature there is.
        Apple has a closed eco system, I personally can never use it

  • Ware52

    Let’s not forget that IOS updates tend to make older Apple devices unusable.

    • Mr. Paladin

      Oh, you mean just like Android? At least apple OS updates usually work back on phones up to about 5 years old. Most android phones never get more than 2 updates, some don’t get any. Mine are both flagship phones, one year old and still don’t have 7.0 for either of them.

      • Ware52

        You should buy a Google phone. They’re always kept up to date. Or do you want a choice of styles from different manufacturers..? Can’t have it both ways. IOS always cripples older phones. That’s how Apple convinces people to buy the latest device…

  • Dan Kenney

    It’s an Apples-to-Oranges (see what I did there?) comparison any way you look at it. Tim Cook only has to worry about making his OS updates work on like 3 or 4 nearly identical platforms. No kidding, you’re at 90%. Good job. Open your OS up to 100s of hardware configurations and see where your adoption numbers go, buddy.

    • Mr. Paladin

      I think that was the point of fragmentation. Open up your system to dozens of manufacturers doing everything their own way and you have fragmentation. The only way google can compete with apple is to produce their own phones and keep tight control on the OS just like apple. Otherwise it’s always going to be a nightmare for android owners. However, Google never intended to be just competition for apple. They thought would bury apple with an open OS. Having it on so many phones worldwide that apple would become a small player, and it almost worked, and in some ways it did work. There are a lot more Android phones in use worldwide than iPhones, but every one of them runs differently and may or may not ever see an OS update. So you will always have two camps. One where all the phones work alike, get OS updates at the same time, and continue to do so for about 5 years. And the other one that just keeps dumping cheap phones and flagship phones (the price of the iPhones) on the market but are considered “throw-away” phones because the OS may never get updated and if it does, the phone is dead in 2 years at the very most. But who keeps a phone over 2 years anyway? It’s hard to compare android OS and apple OS because every version/manufacturer has their own flavor of it, and it might work smoothly, and it might be plagued with problems. Even Googles own Pixel has been plagued with problems since it was released.

      • Dan Kenney

        I’ve had HTC phones since ’08 and always been happy with their commitment to maintaining current OS flavors for most of their lines. It’s true, 2 years is about how long you’d want to keep a phone anyway. I did buy a Pixel XL since HTC built it for Google, and have found that internal design and layout matter. It’s not nearly as intuitive as I would imagine, and does have it’s glitchy moments. It makes me wonder if HTC’s Sense UI actually corrected some of the stuff within stock Android.

  • solis

    Only iPeople worry about Android fragmentation and Android updates. And they worry a lot.

    Those of us with Android phones just happily use them.

  • Farmers (Mansfield)

    Isn’t Android O supposed to address this to some extent?