iOS is known for a few of things. Intuitive controls, Predictability, ease-of-use, familiarity, and operating system convergence with MacOS
The reason why, and you’re going to get a lot of pushback from people who use Android when you use words like ‘apple’ and ‘majority’, but you are right the smoothness the predictability and the overall feel of iOS is much more appealing to the majority of people irrespective of the fact that global market share in smart phones (iOS encompasses so much more…but Android lovers forget that part.) belongs to Google.
People choose the iOS ecosystem not because it’s cool or it’s trendy, but because it is incredibly easy to use. You can pick up a Handset, use it for 10 minutes put it down and pick up an iPad that you’ve never used before and know exactly how to use it. The reason why that is, is because the entire iOS and Mac OS in a macro ecosystem are on a trajectory to converge. And what that means is, no matter what application you use on the phone, on a tablet or on a desktop computer… the controls, the procedures and the processes will all be familiar and that’s why iOS is popular. Apple put billions of dollars into research and development of human interface guidelines.
Android OS on the other hand, is chosen because it is inexpensive and has a legacy of ‘free’ software. Not because of the user interface especially not because the user experience. Have you ever tried to use android OS? The menu button (or the button that is supposed to be the menu on some android phones and not on others because there is no standard) for example. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on where you are. If you tap and hold on the menu button from one of the home screen panes, you will get the option to search. Why it does not work inside of the settings application is absolutely mind-boggling. I mean…why does the left soft key offer search on long press, the hard button in the middle gives you search on longpress inside running applications, but the left key has zero functionality upon a longpress of the center button?
Here is another…why does the left soft key bring up an option to switch the view between 2 views in settings? If there are only 2 options THEN JUST DO THE SWITCHING ALREADY. Don’t make me tap again…that’s just amazing…the thinking behind that.
Another example is settings. Settings tends to drive Android users crazy because configuration of individual application settings are impossible until you get to Android M. But in iOS, settings are not only searchable but individual application settings are actually in Settings, and they are categorized by the application name with a picture of its icon:
This shows a presentation of options and controls that is intuitive and easy to use. It also has search field. Now you would think that if Google was in tune with the Android user and there is a concern of the comprehension of how the settings functions are laid out, you would think that the largest search company in the world would put search in the settings application. But they don’t. Why? Disconnection from the user.
Have you ever tried to use Google’s YouTube on a mobile device? The web version? Google got so tired of taking support phone calls of android users asking them where the hell do I push a button to upload a movie? They incorporated a big fat red plus button months after they did the redesign of YouTube…just so they could address that single issue. Why did they redesign YouTube to go to the followers video presentation instead of the user channel view? To focus on watching more. But you can’t watch, if the channel owner has issues trying to upload videos.
When you think about the philosophy behind a decision like that. YouTube is for uploading videos. After they’re done uploading they can be viewed. They cannot be viewed until they are uploaded. And Google can’t make money off of advertising until that happens. See you can see the dysfunction in the vision of Google products.
So to recap, why does iOS rock? Its intuitiveness of the controls, predictability, familiarity across the breadth of devices and ease-of-use.
Part of the UX is timely updates that mitigate security issues as well, and Google has addressed this. It shows that Google isn’t blind to the User Experience. But it does seem that the priority is elsewhere when compared and contrasted to iOS.