External Hard Drive Read-Only on Mac

Inserting a Mac-compatible external hard drive into your Mac machine, you can easily read and write to it as long as this drive is successfully mounted. But in some circumstances, you can only open this external hard drive to access the stored data with no write permission on it, stopping you from editing, deleting, copying, and moving the data on the drive, to name a few.

Usually, an incompatible file system, faulty settings, or unexpected errors can cause your external hard drive attached to the Mac to be read-only. If you are looking for a feasible solution to deal with such a problem, congratulations, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we will develop solutions for different situations to help you fix the external hard drive read-only on Mac issue.

Why Is Your Inserted External Hard Drive Read-Only on Mac?

The external hard drive rendered read-only on Mac can be caused by one of the following reasons:

1. The external hard drive is an NTFS formatted drive that is incompatible with your Mac computer.

2. The second reason will be the settings. The permission settings sometimes become a hindrance on your Mac or any external hard drive to perform any other activity. In other words, the external hard drive you are using is given read-only disk permission, which makes the drive readable but not writable.

3. The external hard drive contains unknown errors and becomes corrupted.

Determine the Problem

The determination of a problem is mandatory to find the best solution to it. To check the main reason for the read-only problem, try to check file system info in the Finder. 

Step 1 Click the Finder icon from Mac Dock and select the disk from the Finder window.

Step 2 Right-click on the selected disk and choose the “Get info” option.

Step 3 Check File system in the pop-up window. If it shows Windows NT File System (NTFS), then that is the problem you need to fix.

But if the file system is of any other type like FAT32, APFS, or any other, then you need to check the permission settings. To check the permission settings, you need to look into the “Get info” pop-up window. Under the Sharing&Permissions option, check the accessibility that you have. If it shows  “Read-only” beside the target name, then there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

If your disk is not NTFS formatted and has been set as Read & Write, you need to consider if disk corruption leads to a non-writable external hard drive. In this instance, you are advised to perform disk repair with the help of Disk Utility.  

Three Quick Ways to Make Your External Hard Drive Readable and Writable on Mac

Fix 1 Use iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to Enable Full Read and Write Access to the NTFS External Hard Drive on Mac  

If you are regularly using the NTFS external hard drive to transfer files to your Mac or vice versa, then the only option you are left with is to format the drive to exFAT or FAT32. But for sure this is not a favorable option to do because all your stored data on the drive will be wiped out during disk erasure. To avoid data loss, the best choice is to use a secure and professional NTFS for Mac tool like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac.

Microsoft NTFS for Mac by iBoysoft is a good solution to help you fix the external hard drive read-only on Mac problem without erasing your important data. With this utility installed on your Mac, you can easily read and write to your NTFS disk, including opening, deleting, editing, renaming, copying, or moving the files from this drive. Acting as a disk management tool, this NTFS for Mac application also permits you to manage NTFS disks and non-NTFS disks with a few clicks. If you’d like to erase an NTFS drive for disk cleanup, check and repair an NTFS drive, and format a non-NTFS drive to NTFS, you can get assistance from this software.

Procedures to fix the read-only issue on Mac by using iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

· Visit the official website to get the free downloading link of iBoysoft NTFS for Mac and install it on your Mac computer.

· Connect your NTFS external hard drive to your Mac machine.

· Launch this software to read and write to your read-only NTFS drive on Mac.

Apart from iBoysoft NTFS for Mac, there are also free NTFS for Mac dedicated to offering read-write support for your NTFS drives on Mac, including Mounty for Mac, SL-NTFS, NTFS-3G macOS, FUSE for macOS, and more. If you don’t need more functions and just want to save money, you can take one of them into consideration.

Fix 2: Change the Permission Settings If the External Hard Drive Has a Read-Only Disk Permission

Mac users can set file permissions to grant others read and write permission on a file, a program, and a disk. Hence, you will fail to write the external hard drive on Mac if the disk privilege is read-only.  If this is the main cause resulting in a read-only drive, follow the instructions to solve this problem.

Step 1 Open Finder from Mac Dock to locate the read-only external hard drive inserted into your Mac.

Step 2 Right-click on the drive and select the “Get Info” option.

Step 3 Scroll down to the Sharing & Permissions option available at the bottom of the Get Info pop-up and click on the arrow beside it to extend this column to see the permissions.

Step 4 Move to the Lock icon and then click it to type your admin username and the right password.

Step 5 Select the privilege menu and change Read only to the Read & Write option.

Step 6 Click the Lock icon and close the Get info pop-up window.

But if you are not the admin user then you have to padlock for opening the permission settings. Finally, restart the computer or any Mac device.

Fix 3 Run First Aid in Disk Utility to Repair the External Hard Drive If It Contains Unknown Errors  

In case your external hard drive is not working for some unknown errors, you have to try with the First Aid program in Disk Utility to repair the drive. The following mentioned steps are for using the Disk Utility option.

Step 1 Go to Launchpad > Other > Disk Utility to find and select the inserted drive that goes corrupt from the sidebar.  

Step 2  Click on the First Aid menu from the top toolbar.

Step 3 Click the Run option to confirm the repairing of the disk when a dialogue box pops up and finally hit Done when First Aid finishes repairing the drive.

Step 4 Verify if the read-only drive is writable now.

That’s all for solutions to fix the read-only external hard drive on Mac. Hope the above-given information is helpful.

New Translator in iOS 14-15: What’s so great about it?

WWDC 2020 took place a month ago but the whole world is still discussing the innovations presented by Apple. Needless to say that thousands of iPhone users can’t wait when they will be able to make use of the brand new iOS 14 features. Apart from being so visually appealing, the new version of iOS will be full of numerous functionalities and among them a built-in Translator. 

But what’s so revolutionary about it? Should we all really feel excited or is it just a minor update of the existing functionality? Let’s take a closer look at Apple’s Translate and discover what it is capable of. 

What advantages does the Translate have? 

First of all it is necessary to mention that Translate is going to be a standalone application that all iPhones will get after their iOS will be updated to the 14th version. Translate app is absolutely user friendly and it does not require any specific actions. You simply open it, select the desired languages (the one you are going to translate from and the one in which everything is going to be translated to), type your sentences and get a result in a couple in a second. 

Understanding the work of the built-in translator on the iphone

What’s especially great about the Translate app is that it will support dictation. So you don’t even need to waste time on typing the text and you can use an app on the go. You can easily switch between modes – written and conversational – by changing the rotation of your device. Vertical rotation is used for typing your text, while in landscape one the microphone button will appear and you can start dictating the text. 

There is also an option allowing you to listen to the translated piece of text and it is going to be read with the correct pronunciation. Taking into account this feature and the number of supported languages (there are 11 of them), it can be said that iOS Translator will be perfect for learning languages and communication with foreigners while being on vacation. 

Source: Apple 

The first question every Apple fan had when he heard about the Translate app is whether it is going to require Internet connection. Yes, it will but it also has an offline mode. Which makes it even more convenient if you are a traveller or a freelancer, because sometimes the Internet connection abroad can fail you and you end up being without any smart helpers. Now at least you will have a great app helping you to start a conversation with another person or to translate something quickly (like directions, information on billboards, etc.).

If you are interested how the Translator manages to work fine without the Internet, well that’s thanks to Neural Engine. As to the online mode, the application uses Apple servers and the translation itself is more accurate than in offline mode. However, the testers of the beta version of iOS 14 state that even in offline mode the Translate app provides decent and understandable results. 

Speaking about Neural Engine, it will also improve the work of Siri. Now you can ask it to translate something for you even when you are not connected to the Internet. Safari will also get a built-in Translator and will be able to translate the content of pages on the go without connecting to any third-party services. 

Those who learn languages know the struggle when you are trying to memorize a phrase or a word and somehow after an hour or so it slips your mind. With the Translate app installed on your iPhone you will forget about this issue, because it has Favourites section and keeps history of recent translations. So whatever piece of text you were translating, you can bookmark it and get back to it later. Such a handy feature, we think iPhone users from all over the world will be very thankful for it. 

We can say for sure that the addition of the Translate app to iOS devices will push numerous app owners to consider updating their solutions especially if they offer some translating features or if they are related to e-learning. Not only they will have to consider adding offline mode to their solutions to keep them competitive, but also they will need to think about widgets for their apps. 

Let’s not forget that iOS 14 will bring numerous new features to our devices and the changes always imply improvements. Widgets will be new go-to features, so sooner or later every app owner will need to incorporate widgets in different sizes providing different amounts of info related to the app on the Home Screen. 

New Translator may also boost popularity of apps related to notes and reminders creation. Together with the new Scribble feature it can revolutionize the way we create and use notes. Not only the text can be written by hand using Apple Pencil but also it can be easily translated into any of the supported languages by built-in Translate app. 

Should I add some new features to my translation app?

If you have an iOS app that is used for translation, we would recommend you to consider updating it and to do its code review first. This will help to get your app prepared for iOS update and make sure that it will work fine on it. You may also need to create widgets or app clip because these features will be trendy.

Is offline mode necessary in translation related apps?

Yes, offline mode is preferable because it helps to make an app more convenient to use. Not always people have a good Intenet connection, especially if they are traveling and need to use your app to translate things on the go.

Is Apple planning to add support of more languages to Translate app?

Apple has not announced this yet, so as of now there will be 11 languages available in Translate app. But probably Apple will extnd this list with time.

To sum it up

Apple is doing its best to create effective and seamless user experience and that is exactly why we like its technology inventions. With the addition of Translate app, every iPhone user will be able to overcome language barriers and feel more comfortable in a foreign environment. Presence of offline mode, option allowing to bookmark translated pieces and save recent translations, supported dictation – all these options will make learning of languages and communication between people easier. 

It cannot be said that there definitely will be a boom of new applications but we predict that after iOS 14 release the reviewing of app code will become quite common. Why not improve your solution and make it more advanced if you have a chance to incorporate up-to-date features? After all, 2020 is all about new user experience. 

Apple iOS translate app review

The iOS translate app is a lifesaver for those who frequently travel. The app has more than 50 languages and can translate text in real-time by using the camera, voice, or text. It can also translate to and from 120 different currencies. And best of all, it’s free!

The Best Websites With Apple Pay Option

Six years have passed since the moment when mobile payments were transformed by Apple Pay. The number of active Apple Pay users keeps constantly growing. And according to Statista, last year 441 million Apple Pay users performed 10 billion transactions. The numbers are quite impressive, aren’t they? And it is not a surprise because our way of living changed and now it demands more fast and convenient services. It is easier to pay using your Apple device rather than a physical wallet. 

Have you noticed that less and less people buy things in malls? They’d rather make an online purchase instead of standing in the line for a fitting room or a counter. It is much faster and less tedious to choose an item and make one-tap payment on the websites. And that is what makes Apple Pay so popular. We have already covered the topic of Apple Pay on websites, how to implement it and what business advantages it offers. And now we would like to share with you a list of top websites supporting Apple Pay. 

Where to use your digital wallet?

Without doubt, Apple Pay irreversibly changed the way we do online shopping. Each year more and more websites add it as a payment option. Apple Pay has numerous advantages and among them we’d like to emphasize such key ones as convenience and security. 

  • Convenience. The less actions a customer has to perform when making an order – the better. Just imagine how irritated customers may end up if they do their Christmas shopping. They probably need to buy various items on different websites, which, in turn, make them enter payment details again and again. That’s just too much effort. So Apple Pay resolved this major issue and made all its users forget about an annoying checkout procedure. With a single tap on Touch ID sensor a person can handle all purchases and transfer money to a retailer’s account.
  • Security. You’ve probably heard how the whole databases of online retailers can get hacked or stolen. It is insecure to store your card number on a device. So Apple Pay offers a perfect secure solution. It transfers your money using a special Dynamic Security Code and Device Account Number. You will be charged only after you tapped Touch ID sensor and your fingertip was recognized and accepted by the system. You actual card numbers will not be stored on Apple servers. 

It is understandable why many big merchants enable the Apple Pay option on their websites. And it is only a matter of time before all more or less big online stores will support it. The integration process is not complicated and does not require any special skills. It is way harder to develop a web application itself than incorporate Apple Pay in it.  So in case you are only thinking about web app development and you need a solution for business, take time and think about all crucial features and payment method it is going to offer. 

☝PRO ADVICE:

Before you make a final decision on what your iOS application should be, take a minute and read about native and hybrid app development. It will help you to choose the right type of app for your business.

But before all retailers will start accepting Apple Pay, let’s take a look at the ones that are already doing it. 

Airbnb

This service is a favorite of all travelers. It allows to book apartments all over the world, communicate with your hosts, leave honest feedback and rate the place you’ve stayed in.  It was one of the first websites which enabled Apple Pay and keeps successfully using it right now. 

Best Buy

A huge consumer electronics retailer which offers its customers literally everything starting with various house appliances like fridges or washing machines and ending with digital cameras, mobile phones and even software. Dealing with daily influx of customers is not an easy thing and yet Best Buy managed to make shopping experience better by implementing Apple Pay into its website. 

Etsy

Probably everyone has heard about Etsy and perhaps even bought something on their website. Having a huge variety of vintage and hand-made goods, this retailer understands the importance of customer satisfaction which depends not only on goods but also on services. So should you decide to buy something chic and unique, Etsy website with Apple Pay will make this experience enjoyable. 

Groupon

As of now 15 countries can appreciate this marketplace selling services, activities and goods. No wonder Groupon became an Apple Pay-friendly store. Numerous merchants united on this web platform to offer a full range of services. It is possible to buy everything you can imagine on Groupon – fitness classes, cosmetics, food, various memberships, accessories, flowers and many more. 

Kickstarter

Due to this crowdfunding platform, many startups raised enough money to become a success. Kickstarter has a large community of people ready to back up any cool innovative project by investing in it whatever sum they can afford. To make investing experience even more pleasant Kickstarter introduced Apple Pay and that turned out pretty well for both startups and their financial supporters. 

Grubhub

Food delivery is extremely popular and brings tons of money to companies. What can be better than ordering a set of delicious meals from a restaurant you like? Grubhub is a huge marketplace that has a website and mobile application and connects foodies with local takeout places. To ensure total customers satisfaction they offer various methods of payment including Apple Pay. 

Instacart 

The creators of this service understand the importance of fast delivery. By using Instacart one can order same-day groceriy pick-up and delivery from a store nearby. A couple of clicks and you have your food ordered, one tap on a screen – you’ve made a purchase using Apple Pay. One more great thing about this service is that anyone can easily become a shopper for someone else and earn money instead of spending them. 

Lyft

Everybody has used Uber (which by the way started supporting Apple Pay in 2014) many times but not everybody knows that there are similar services with even more wide spectrum of transportation and ride sharing services. F.e. Lyft – a holistic system (web platform + mobile application) allowing you to become a driver or get a ride at once. Moreover, Lyft has scooters and bicycles for rent and even organizes food delivery.  With such a big variety of services it is mandatory to implement different payment options for the customers convenience. 

Gametime 

All sports fans have already forgotten how exhausting buying a ticket can be. If previously they used to wait in the long queues, now with a couple of taps on the screen they can purchase a ticket for baseball, basketball, hockey, football and other games. Such ticket distributing services can’t manage without Apple Pay which makes all financial transactions easier. 

Priceline

This platform is a real finding for all travelers because it offers renting of cars, booking of cruises, flights and hotels at cheaper prices. There are even additional discounts for those who purchased a bundle (f.e. hotel apartment + flight ticket + car rent). All customers can not only pay conveniently via Apple Pay, but also save money. 

What changes await for Apple Pay after iOS 14 release?

This year Apple surprised us with some innovations at its WWDC. And while all users are alredy waiting for new iOS 14 to play with the brand new options, the app owners and developers start being concerned. What is going to happen with the already existing solutions? Should you seriously think about updating your apps?

Based on our experience, we can say that it is better to face iOS updated prepared, because no matter what app you own, the new App Clips option will require its code review.

And now as to the influence of App Clips on apps with Apple Pay option. First of all it is necessary to mention that thanks to App Clips users will be able to use a certain features of the solution without downloading it from the App Store. So all companies which have apps related to renting, booking and services providing and have Apple Pay option will need to update their apps. It will be necessary to develop App Clip of the app (which is basically a lightweight version of it) and make sure that Apple Pay functions correctly.

Also many resources discuss the new possibility that Apple Pay will get in iOS 14. This will be an option allowing to scan QR codes or traditional barcodes using an iPhone camera and make instant payments. Which is great if we speak about customer experience. Here is a sneak peek of the upcoming feature we’ve managed to find on the Internet.

It is high time to think about your application update since many new solution will offer this new option, and if you want your app to stay highly competitive you need to alter it. App Clips and payments via QR codes are predicted to be extremely popular especially among people from 18 to 40 years old (which is quite huge potential customer base that you can get if your solution will be up-to-date).

Also if your solution is related to providing services or selling some goods via website or mobile application, it will be reasonable to think about your own custom CMS. In case you haven’t heard about this solution.

FAQ

Can Apple Pay be used on wearables?

Yes, it can be set up on Apple Watches. To do this you need to open Apple Watch app on iPhone, find Wallet option and tap Add Card. After that follow the instructions and everything is set up.

Where is Apple Pay available?

As of now it can be used in 40 countries all over the world including US, UK, China, Canada, Japan, Australia, Ukraine, Russia and many more. You can check the full list of countries on the Internet.

Is it secure to use Apple Pay?

Absolutely, since Apple does not save your card numbers or transactions data on its servers. Everything is performed through Wallet app and is kept there. Also Apple Pay makes a special token that replaces your payment details, and device account number is encrypted and securely stored.

To sum it up 

As you can see from the variety of stores accepting Apple Pay, this payment method works for any industry. The technologies nowadays aim to make our mobile and web experience more simple and secure. So before purchasing anything customers tend to ask themselves a question: “Why share my debit card numbers and store them on my device if I can avoid all risks and pay safely with one tap of a finger?” This means that way more customers choosing among similar stores would prefer the one with the convenient payment options.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Macbook’s Performance in 2021

An older Macbook will not perform as great as it did when you first bought it.

An older Macbook will not perform as great as it did when you first bought it. Some Mac users go as far as not bothering anymore and buying a new computer. While that is an option, you should not be so hasty. 

  • #1 – Have Enough Free HDD Storage
  • #2 – Disable Visual Effects
  • #3 – Optimize Web Browser
  • #4 – Add New Hardware
  • #5 – Get a Cooling Pad
  • #6 – Remove Filth Inside Computer
  • #7 – Keep Tabs on Background Applications
  • #8 – Use Reliable Antivirus

There are ways to boost your Macbook’s speed, and it does not involve replacing the current computer. Look at the recommendations below and create a strategy that helps maintain the Mac in good condition.

Recommendation #1 – Have Enough Free HDD Storage

Starting with your hard drive is a good approach. The available storage for Macbook users is not the best, and some struggle to keep all the data on the computer. 

The system accumulates temporary backups and other junk files. You can use a cleanup utility tool to remove temporary junk. You should also keep an eye on old applications, email attachments, and downloads and remove them regularly.

Getting rid of files is not the only way to free up Macbook drive storage. Transfer your data to Dropbox, iCloud, and external storage devices, such as memory sticks.

Finally, if you consume a lot of media, do so on streaming platforms like Spotify, Netflix, and Disney+. There will not be a need to keep large media files on the Macbook.

Recommendation #2 – Disable Visual Effects

Visual effects are a hindrance, and more pragmatic Macbook owners do not bother enabling them in the first place. While gimmicky features like a backlit keyboard or animated openings for the Dock seem like a nice addition to have, these and other visual effects are a hindrance to Macbook’s resources. If you are aiming to improve your computer’s performance, then do not hesitate and disable visual effects.

Recommendation #3 – Optimize Web Browser

A poor internet browser performance can get on your nerves quite fast. After all, we rely on the internet for work and entertainment, and if the browser crashes, freezes, and fails to load sites, getting to the bottom of the problem should be a priority.

First, check the browser. It may be that you have installed too many extensions. Clearing the cache helps as well. 

If there are no issues on the browser’s end, look at the computer. Clearing system junk, decluttering the desktop, and simply resetting the Mac should help.

You also have an option to try a different browser. There are multiple available options, and all the popular browsers are free. 

Read also https://outsourceit.today/reasons-why-mobile-web-apps-are-better-than-mobile-friendly-website/

Recommendation #4 – Add New Hardware

New hardware is cheaper than spending money on another computer. The most popular pieces of hardware are RAM and solid-state drives. The latter is an excellent way to boost the performance by replacing your current hard drive.

It may be worth waiting for the holiday season and sales if you are not in a hurry. On the other hand, if you want to change the way your Mac runs right now, buy new hardware at your earliest convenience.

Recommendation #5 – Get a Cooling Pad

Overheating is a common issue for older Macbooks. The internal fans cannot keep up, and it does not take too long before your internal hardware starts to overheat. And this particular issue becomes even more apparent when you are stuck in a poorly ventilated room. 

A cooling pad is a neat accessory that relieves the pressure from the Macbook fans and prevents potential threats to the internal hardware. The accessory is relatively cheap and is a good investment considering what it provides.

Recommendation #6 – Remove Filth Inside Computer

Dust and dirt inside the Mac are another problem that can lead to internal hardware problems. If you hear a loud noise coming from the Macbook, or if the computer starts to overheat even when the system is not overloaded with processes, it may mean that there is too much filth inside the computer.

If you are not that keen on taking the Mac apart and removing the dust inside yourself, look for a local service store and leave the work in the hands of professionals. The bottom line is that all the filth that accumulates inside the Macbook should be removed regularly.

Recommendation #7 – Keep Tabs on Background Applications

Your Mac has a finite amount of resources. Keep closer tabs on the Activity Monitor and check which processes are consuming the most memory and CPU. If you do not need to use these applications, then there is no real point having them consume the system’s resources, right?

Recommendation #8 – Use Reliable Antivirus

The threat of malware and viruses exists even if Macbooks are known for their security. Do not put yourself at risk and leave everything to chance. Get reliable antivirus and run in the background all the time to detect and eliminate potential threats before these threats infect the Macbook.

Got More Time? Reinstall macOS

These quick steps may help rectify some of the issues that reduce your computer’s performance, but they can only go so far. To really improve performance, consider reinstalling macOS for a squeaky clean Mac.

Google vs Apple – The Smartphone History

Google launched a new phone . . . but that’s not the real news.

Let me explain.

Let’s be real. Unless Google built a physical rocket launcher into their new Pixel phone, nobody is really going to care. Apple won the smartphone wars a long time ago.

Google knows this. They also know the future of tech better than anyone in the world.

“Made by Google.”

This is what’s going to be on the phone. Google is now taking complete ownership of hardware and software on the phone. They basically copied Apple when it comes to hardware design. That’s not in dispute.

They knew they had no choice. They are preparing for the next war, and in order to win it, they can’t let it be run by their partners.

The war isn’t over who can create the next best smartphone.

Google and Apple are competing to create the “Smartest Phone.”

Source: Living with Google Assistant

The war is over who can create a smartphone that makes your life easier.

By all accounts, what they are creating is going to be the creepiest thing ever made.

It already tells you to leave 10 minutes early to get to your appointment that’s 5 miles away, and meanwhile you’re wondering “How in the world did Google know I have a birthday party to attend?”

So what exactly is Google trying to do, and how is the introduction of the new hardware going to help meet that goal? There are two components to it: what Google wants to do from a business point of view, and how Google can provide enough value to consumers to achieve their primary business goal.

Google is, has always been, and likely always will be, a search company. That was Google’s original mission and that’s where the company is getting most of its revenue even today. The holistic monetization business model – of using personalized data to serve relevant ads to relevant audiences – will likely not change any time in the immediate future. That’s why Google purchased Youtube: search for videos. That’s why they implemented and perfected Image search. That’s why they introduced voice search. You get my point – Google is all about optimizing their multifaceted search strategies to preserve its monopoly at a global level as the number-one search engine.

Source: Google Pixel offers cold comfort to silent partner

So how does this relate to Pixel? The Pixel phone is simply a drop in the ocean, where the ocean is defined as the end-to-end strategy for Google’s personalized search strategy. In order to take search to the next level (business goal), Google needs to take ownership over the hardware which can provide the ultimate amount of value to its user base on mobile phones. Google has attempted to achieve this goal in the past by purchasing the Android ecosystem and optimizing it.

Eventually, Google realized that controlling the software wasn’t enough. Google may have the most flexible development platform, but Apple’s better hardware made iPhones faster, more reliable, less prone to errors, easier to update and much more.

And this is where Pixel comes into play. The phone is an attempt for Google to level the field. To get the flexibility of controlling their own hardware, to innovate on both the software and the hardware side and to leverage the massive amount of data it’s already collecting from billions of users to create both the most convenient phone for its users and its best advertising platform for its business clients.

So how do Google and Apple compare (so far) in terms of their flagship phones:

Apple wins the hardware war on the surface, but it’s important to understand why Google has launched a smartphone, beyond the technical specs of the hardware.

Innovate freely

Readers may find it a bit ironic to list innovation as one of the biggest reasons for Google to invest into their own hardware. That’s because the Pixel phone is hardly innovative when comparing it to Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung 7th generation phones.

Source: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Our take on Apple’s latest and greatest

Let’s change our way of looking at Pixel for a second, though.

Google has been controlling the software for Android phones for many years now. But with each version released by Google, we’ve seen very few memorable upgrades or “wow” moments. That’s primarily because Google’s past innovation has been very limited by external factors it couldn’t control.

Google has been forced to operate within the boundaries of the technical specs of the smartphones built and released by other manufacturers. When Apple wanted to make iPhone 7+ all about taking the best possible pictures and uploading them smoothly across social channels and into the cloud, they simply changed the hardware and upgraded the software. Before the Pixel phone, Google wouldn’t have been able to control anything but the software. They operated within the confines of the technical limitations set forth by other smartphone manufacturers.

Simply by having the option to fully control the hardware and the software side, Google is positioning itself to think more holistically about what matters to its users and how to deliver a “wow” experience across the board.

Knowing where Google wants to go and what they want to achieve, how does this change the comparison between Google and Apple?

With these side-by-side comparisons in mind, let’s see how Google’s phone launch plays into its overall company strategy: how the Google hardware paired with Google software can help them win the final tech war against Apple.

Long-term smartphone strategy

Anyone working in software development knows that most digital strategies are created for the next 12 to 18 months and executed accordingly. You plan your features, then you start building software, and you change gears when needed, depending on various internal or external factors.

Source: Google

By controlling both the hardware and the software of a smartphone, a company can actually implement hardware changes early on and enable software changes over time. Tesla is a great example of a company who has been able to execute on long-term strategies using this model. The hardware to support autopilot was included in the first-generation Tesla cars. Yet the first Tesla cars have received 8 updates over the years, getting the cars closer and closer to a smart autopilot model, one iteration at a time. Same with Apple’s 5s phone, the most popular phone currently on the market across all iPhones. Despite being 5 years old, the iPhone 5s still works great even with the latest iOS version.

With Pixel, Google is now entering the same elite group of manufacturers that can produce real value for customers over time by executing on multi-year roadmaps, since they control both the software and the hardware. The company can both innovate in the short/medium term and set itself up for success simply by implementing hardware that can be leveraged incrementally over time.

Controlling operating system versions, releases and software upgrades

As we all know, the Android market has been incredibly fragmented in terms of both device specs and the operating system version running on them. Whereas Apple currently only supports 3 iOS versions with most iOS customers being on iOS 8 and 9, there are 7 different Android versions on the market.

Source: Video: Google Pixel and Pixel XL First Look and Tour!

One of the biggest reasons why there are comparatively more Android OS versions than iOS versions is because Google cannot control Android software updates. Instead, they have to work through manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Nokia, etc) and phone carriers (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc) on when, where and how these updates are released to Android users across the world. Apple never had this problem, since they could simply push updates to all iPhone users’ devices directly without having to go through a middleman.

Being in charge of both the hardware and software gives Google 100% control over when their software upgrades are pushed out to their userbase and under what conditions. That means better platform stability, less maintenance and version control for older operating systems, better ability to manage OS defects and much more.

The road ahead towards IoT and VR enabled technologies

Smartphones are transitioning towards becoming the central hub for a variety of peripheral technologies that are already part of our everyday life. Smart devices – locks, thermostats, bulbs, cameras etc – and virtual reality-enabled glasses are gaining traction, pulling in new customers every day. And everyone is waiting to see how far and in what direction these technologies will go in the immediate future. Yet while their actual future is still open to imagination, one thing is clear: the importance of the smartphone as a connector between these technologies cannot be understated.

Source: Google

Google Pixel may not have any proprietary software for its first generation (read: unique features), putting it on par with other comparable smartphones. But as Google continues to iterate from both a hardware and software perspective, it can position its phones to better compete in the market. At the end of the day, Android users are already used to the idea of Google accessing and using their data to help them manage their time better.

Now that Google controls the hardware as well, the question becomes to what extent can Google create an enhanced experience connecting all other devices in the Google family (Chrome, Nest thermostat and Cameras, Google home) to produce the most personalized user experience out there.

Summary

There is a smartphone war happening as we speak, and it has been going on for almost a decade now. So far, it has been carried out between two unequal equals. Apple, the giant hardware manufacturer, and Google, the giant software producer. Before the Pixel phone, the biggest irony is that each company excelled where the other didn’t.


Let me explain.

For the last 9 years, Apple has been releasing one great phone after another. Their user experience is good, but their hardware has always been better. But Apple has always missed the cue on one critical piece: access to customer data. And that is what Google has always been successful at.

When you buy an Android phone you sign in to your Google account. Behind the scenes, Google starts recording a huge amount of data about you as a user, your preferences, your routine. Jokingly or not, oftentimes Google knows more about us than we do.

But Google never had real access to the hardware on which their software was installed. Not on a large scale, at least (the Nexus phone was the exception, of course).

Limited to work within the confines of phones created by various manufacturers and not able to control software updates for its Android platform, Google has always been like a bird trapped in a cage.

The Pixel phone is Google’s way of positioning itself to have full control of hardware, software, user experience, data points, integration points with their own variety of Internet of Things products and much more.

For the last ten years, Google and Apple have been like two cars racing each other on a highway at 130 miles an hour. Each in its lane, trying to race into the future. With Pixel, Google has just hit the gas pedal and veered into Apple’s lane.

It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Google will move and whether it will make Apple bite the dust in the long race towards the smartest phone. For now, Google is definitely better positioned to win.