Cook Calls Out Android at WWDC ’14

In the tradition of every WWDC that has come before it, Tim Cook took to the stage this week to debut a breadth of new features for the iOS platform, including a sneak preview of iOS 8 along with a showcase of their brand new programming language, Swift.

That wasn’t all he was there for though, taking a chunk of time out of the regularly scheduled programming to inform the developers in attendance why iOS was a considerably safer option when it comes to malware and infections than its main competitor in the mobile space, Android.

Because so many users of Android are running ancient versions of the basic architecture that makes up the basic building blocks of their ecosystem, it’s become increasingly difficult for both developers and programmers to create an app store that runs completely free from the threat of malware.

Cook pulled no punches during his keynote, singling out Android users as “temporarily confused iOS converts” who only chose the OS for its price point and on-the-surface simplicity, without realizing how much of a hassle it is to keep up with the litany of different hotfixes and patches that seem to be released every other week in order to keep up with the constant barrage of virus-laden software which continues to plague the Google Play store on a daily basis.

Photo| Apple

Photo: Apple

Almost nine out of 10 users have upgraded to the latest version of the iDevice operating system, iOS 7. “This is in stark contrast to Android,” Cook said, citing what he said were statistics that show that fewer than one out of 10 Android users are running the latest version of Android, KitKat.

“Over 130 million customers who bought an iOS device in the past 12 months were buying their first Apple device,” Cook told the 6,000 developers in his audience.

“Many of these customers were switchers from Android. They had bought an Android phone – by mistake – and then had sought a better experience. And a better life,” he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

Suffice it to say, he’s not exactly wrong either. Because of the clear disparity in the percentage of people who regularly participate in system updates and the number of users running outdated versions of Android available for their device, it’s all to easy for mobile malware developers to target the OS due to the simplicity and efficiency with which their latest schemes can be delivered and spread to a large number of victims at once.

It was only on Friday that we reported on a desktop-style malware that has been steadily creeping into the mobile market over the past few months, known as the “Locker” variant.

By taking control of a user’s device remotely and demanding a cash ransom to regain access, hackers have been able to exploit the comparatively weak security settings of Android much easier than they are with iOS and see a return on their investment that much quicker.

Google has yet to dignify Cook’s jabs with a response.