Apple vs Pixel: A looming rivalry of ecosystems

Ahmed Fahim Shihab | Saturday, 21 May 2022

Ecosystem, a buzzword in the tech market, refers to a community of interacting devices from the same brand.

Apple, for instance, has a wide selection of devices connected together to offer a unique user and lifestyle experience. Given consumers' need to work across multiple devices daily, the ecosystem has already become a game-changing strategy for large companies like Apple.

As Google is also getting serious about its Pixel ecosystem, an interesting battle between two of the big five in tech – Apple and Google – seems imminent.

Apple has the lead

Having built a ‘walled garden,' Apple consolidated its position as the most sought-after brand in this market. Alongside covering a full-stack product line, from tiny AirPods, and Apple Watch to HomePod, iPhone, MacBook, and iMac, ensuring a much simpler user interface and essential software developments paved the way for Apple to become the number one choice in this market. These software and proprietary technologies include iMessage, AirDrop, AirPlay, and iCloud.

The success formula of the Apple ecosystem is that while others sell products, Apple sells experiences thanks to its walled garden.

The key strategy Apple used to build it was integration within its ecosystem. Features like iMessage require you and your friends to use iPhone; Apple Fitness workouts can be controlled by Apple Watch and projected on Apple TV; HomePod is only compatible with iPhones.

This business manoeuvre has helped Apple to retain users effectively over the years. Moreover, the launching of M1 chips is set to open new doors to redefine the user experience.

Google strengthening its Pixel portfolio

Google confirmed the rumours by announcing plans to release its first smartwatch, the Pixel Watch, later in 2022. Its I/O keynote this year was abundant in hardware announcements, which indicates the software giant’s focus on building the Pixel ecosystem.

"The phone itself is the gateway into the ecosystem. The watch is a real great build into the ecosystem as well. I think people seeing that there’s an option for everything is going to help," Mike Sullivan, Google’s UK head of consumer marketing, said in a recent interview with the Independent.

"It’s convincing people to join the portfolio and build the devices that they own beyond just the phone," he was quoted as saying in the UK based daily.

With a premium line-up of Pixel phones, Pixel Buds, Pixelbook, and the recently revealed Pixel Watch, Google is perhaps eyeing creating an entire stack.

Google is also developing a number of features, including Nearby Share and Fast Pair, under the initiative called ‘Better Together’ to ensure a seamless user experience. To the delight of its fans, Google revealed that the powerful Titan M2 chip, along with the Google Tensor SoC, will be included in the Pixel 6a.

Where it is headed

Despite being in its budding stages, the Pixel ecosystem is on its way to becoming a lucrative choice if it can keep the prices low and the software spotless.

However, as of now, Apple holds sway. Key customer satisfaction factors such as quality assurance, innovation, and reasonable pricing will determine the forerunner in the coming days.

Anyhow, the looming, intense rivalry is likely to benefit consumers by widening the scope of options.

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