A poster on The Verge’s forums asks:

So what am I missing? Where is the greatness in iOS?

Honestly, most “normal” people don’t need the power and flexibility that Android offers – they just need a reliable phone that calls and texts and runs apps and takes pretty pictures, and for that, the iPhone is pretty great. There’s also a lot to be said for the quality of Apple products – why bother to decide between half a dozen Android phones, each with their own limitations, when you can just buy Apple’s phone and call it a day? Sure, iOS isn’t necessarily as powerful or flexible as Android, but it’s also powerful enough that it be used for productivity, as long as you’re willing to mold your workflow to work the way Apple wants it to.

This was actually a topic of discussion on the Vergecast today, and the Verge folks said that the reasons to use an iPhone basically boiled down to:

  1. iMessage (including, in iOS8, SMS through Continuity)
  2. AirPlay
  3. Camera performance

It’s hard to argue with any of these, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on iMessage. Android fans like myself can and will go on and on about the power and flexibility of Android, but most normal people never really see that power and flexibility. What they do see is that they can iMessage their friends and send texts from their computer with very little effort, and that’s huge.  This is what people mean when they talk about iOS’ ecosystem.

Can I send texts from my computer with third-party apps? Sure – but most Android users don’t, either because they don’t know about the apps that enable it, or they know but don’t care enough to go through the effort of making it work. There’s a huge value to be placed on making the barrier to entry as non-existent as possible.