The Apple event in early September and the Google event at the end of the month marked two of the most significant events in the tech world’s yearly calendar. Both technology companies announced the arrival of some of their most innovative work yet; certain products have already come to market while others will be released in November — just in time for Christmas shopping.

Apple has been leading the consumer electronics industry for years now, but search giant Google’s determination to control the market is abundantly clear given the wide range of rival products now on offer. In fact now with the fall announcements behind us, it’s crazy to see how much Apple and Google are alike (at least with regard to their current product offerings).

By incorporating smartphones, tablets, and app-enabled streaming devices into both of their comprehensive product lines, both big names are standing closer together than ever before. While their respective frameworks may appear distinctive, they are meant to do the same thing, and it is only when examining the core differences between each that major differences become apparent.

ipad-proThe Apple event was held on September 9th at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. It revealed two new iPhones: the 6S and 6S Plus, a new tablet – the iPad Pro, and the latest version of the Apple TV. The Google event was held later that month on September 29th in San Francisco and also showed audiences two new phones, the Nexus 5X and 6P, two Chromecasts, a new tablet — the Pixel C, family plans for Play Music, future plans for Google Photos and details about Android 6.0 were revealed.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the new smartphones. Both boast a 12MP camera that can shoot 4K video and both will have 3D touch. The phones also have the option for customers to upgrade with the Apple Upgrade Plan which will let people upgrade to a new iPhone every year for a starting rate of $32.00 per month.

The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are the new Android smartphones working to compete with the sixth generation iPhones. Both will be sold as unlocked devices, meaning that consumers can buy them either at Google’s digital store or at bricks-and-mortar stores partnered with Google. Both phones will come with fingerprint technology akin to Apple’s TouchID, and will run on Android’s upcoming Marshmallow operating system. They can be used with a number of carriers and will also be compatible with Google’s new wireless program, Project Fi. This last means Google is moving in on parts of the wireless business previously controlled by network providers.

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Apple’s new tablet, the iPad Pro, which will start selling in November is designed specifically with business users in mind. It has a 12.9-inch Retina display screen which is bigger than its competitors’, front and rear cameras, and offers 32 or 128 GB options. It will also feature the Apple Pencil stylus as an accessory choice along with the Smart Keyboard which acts as a case in addition to a full keyboard.

In contest, Google has brought forth the Pixel C tablet that will start selling around the holidays. It will feature Android 6.0 Marshmallow software and have a detachable keyboard that can connect to the tablet through Bluetooth turning the device into a laptop of sorts. The tablet will also have four built-in microphones, enabling the user to issue voice commands, similar to Siri capabilities. The Pixel C will also have a USB connection for charging and data transfer setting the device apart from others on the market.

apple-tvThe competition heats up when we begin to compare Apple’s fourth-generation Apple TV and Google’s second-generation Chromecast devices. With Siri compatibility, and new remote control, the new Apple TV will also come with an App Store, and it will enable gaming. The bluetooth remote control featuring voice search functionality lets the user rewind and fast forward by swiping or pressing on the touch-sensitive pad. And while the continually-delayed Apple Homekit was not mentioned at the event, many see it as a natural fit for the upgraded TV. This “connected home” platform, upon its full release, will work with all associated home equipment controls, enabling remote communication with home security systems, automated appliances, and a wide range of other Internet-enabled devices.

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Google’s second-generation Chromecast device will receive support for Showtime content immediately, along with Google Play Movies, HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu and Pandora and will start supporting Spotify and Sling TV in a few weeks. Google also introduced a Chromecast Audio device with a plug-in allowing users to stream music using existing speaker systems through WiFi. Both Chromecasts can use the apps already on a smartphone and because the device is round, like a hockey puck, its shape lets it fit antennae with different orientations so it can reliably capture radio waves. With similar content and streaming services offered, Apple TV does not support Apple Music’s rival streaming services setting Chromecast apart.

chromecast_2With various design and software distinctions, the most notable difference between the two companies’ new offerings is the price with Google severely undercutting Apple across the board. Chromecast, for instance will cost $35.00, while the latest Apple TV will start at $149.00. One exception is their music streaming services. Both companies offer streaming services for $9.99 a month, and recently announced six-person family plans for $14.99 per month.

One reason for the difference in cost is Apple’s emphasis on gear – take for example Apple TV’s sleek box and remote while Google released a much smaller remote-free device.

While there are some major distinguishable differences between the two companies, competition for the same consumer dollars has naturally driven the two together – some even arguing that both companies have simply become victims of their own success. As they’ve gotten bigger, they’ve become more and more responsive to the market and their shareholders, resulting in a lost their predictive edge. As both move forward towards the holiday season and beyond, they would do well not to get caught up in the cavalcade of current consumer demands and continue their former tradition of giving us what we want – without us having to ask for it first.


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