I decided last year that I needed to find out for myself what all the fuss was about owning an iPhone and take a bite of the Apple myself!
There has always been a rivalry between iPhone and Android developers/users and I’ve experienced my fair share of debates arguing which is the better platform, so being an Android developer & daily user, I thought the only way to find out myself was to buy an iPhone and experiencing the OS first hand.
I spoke to a few iPhone users and devs and found out that the best phone to buy for a first experience was the iPhone 5c as it was affordable and allowed me to use the latest OS. So at the start of February I searched eBay for a device and was happy to find them being sold for 100 quid, which was a nice surprise.
Move to iOS
After getting the iPhone my first stop was the new ‘Move to iOS’ app which hadn’t been a thing until recently so I was keen to see if this would make the transition from Android any easier.
Initially it wasn’t all plain sailing as the instructions didn’t make it clear that I had to erase everything on the iphone first before setting up (so I had to search for this setting). Also it wasn’t clear that you needed iOS version 9 for the ‘Move to iOS’ app to work. The next hurdle I had to get over was to get the phones to sync. For some reason it wasn’t working out of the box with my Nexus 6 so I had to search the internet and a few forums to discover that I needed to put my Nexus 6 into airplane mode before the sync would connect the two phones.
I was surprised they hadn’t put more effort into making this process as easy as possible (as they usually do with other products) and I can’t see many average users persisting with this many issues which in my mind kind of defeats the point a dedicated app to get Android users over to iPhone.
Once everything had finished syncing I was happy with what had come across but I did have to go back into settings just to get my Google account syncing which was the only other issue.
I collated a list of things I like and disliked over the month that I had the iPhone and thought this would be a quick way of sharing some of my initial impressions and also things that I missed from the Android world. I’ve grouped them into positives and negatives to try and have some sort of balance and also tried to remove any that were based on behaviour related actions that I missed instead of useful features.
I didn’t want this article to turn into an Android user just slating the iPhone, so I’ve started with a list of my favourite things about iOS as I used it.
- Liked the way the App Store showed a breakdown of In App Purchases on the store listing which Google Play doesn’t.
- Loved the unified video player across apps/browsers and the fine seek control it gave
- Really liked the magnifying glass when selecting a place to put the cursor when typing text
- Liked the feel of the OS and the animations that were used across all apps
- Liked the way it notifies you if an app is using location in the background.
- Like the fact I could get all the apps I’d be waiting for with Android (as most companies go iOS first)
- The default keyboard wasn’t a ‘swipe’ type keyboard which I really missed from Android. Luckily iOS can now have custom keyboards so my first stop was to download SwiftKey.
- Missed an app called ‘Link Bubble’ that I use a lot on Android when loading links in apps it opened them straight away instead of saving them for later
- At first was confused by the way sharing worked and couldn’t find a way to share to the apps I wanted. I later figured this out but it was still fairly limited compared to Android.
- The date picker didn’t seem as easy to select from as Android
- Touch targets didn’t seem as accurate
- Couldn’t find a way to reject calls so had to search the internet to find out
- Initially not clear to me that I had some notifications as the only indication was on an app badge number which sometimes wasn’t on screen due to multiple home screens (later I got used to this)
- Miss lock screen notification privacy settings from Android (not sure if this was an option and I missed it)
- Access to downloaded files seem to be absent, so when I had a pdf in one app the only way I found to get it into another was to share it (if this option was available in the target app) or upload it to Google Drive and then download it again.
- As my iPhone was second hand the home button stopped working on and off and eventually I gave up on it and used an accessibility option. I think this is a common issue with older models but I’m not sure how newer ones are effected.
The most interesting outcome of this experiment is that I can now see more clearly that both platforms have some great unique features to offer and as I suspected, are similar in a lot of ways too. I can also now appreciate more that this is the main reason why platforms continue to evolve and that can only be a good thing for the mobile platform in general.
Although the philosophies of both companies differ I think they can both bring some great stuff to mobile development and hopefully make a better platform for everyone in the future.
Unfortunately even though the hardware and software can be great for iPhones it wasn’t enough to lure me away from Android just yet. I think some of this is due to the investment in the ecosystems that both platforms have. Once you’ve bought in to each platform and invested some time setting up photos, storage, contacts etc. I think it makes the move from one to the other a bit harder.
If there was a next time I would probably invest a bit more time checking out the extra services offered by the Apple ecosystem like iCloud, TouchId and Apple Pay etc., but for now it’s back home to see what’s been happening in the Android world! 🙂