Quite often I get the question/ statement directed at me that that goes something like…
My smartphone journey began near the end of 2004 when my beloved Samsung flip-phone vibrated in my hands as I was about to make a call, jumped into the air, took a nosedive from 2 stories up, hit a metal stairway, separated into 3 parts, then gracefully plopped one piece at a time into a pit of water and oil. (I never saw her again.) It was replaced the next day by the best available phone from our local South-central Kentucky carrier: a Blackberry Something-or-other. It was large, mostly metal, and seemed like it could double as a hammer in a pinch, but I loved it as well (mostly because I could text without having to hit one button three or ten times to get the right letter), AND I COULD GET THE 1000 OR SO EMAILS PER DAY ON IT! Another Blackberry, a few HTC, LG and Motorola Android phones followed. I first loved and then hated each of them (about 6 months after I had them). Most of my woe occurred due to sudden issues that would develop after updates, or from the simple fact that I couldn’t update for months (or ever) from one Android version to the next. In October of 2011, whichever Android I had at the time (a HTC Wildfire or Hero seems right) decided that it was going to go stupid, rebooting on its own mid-call, refusing to send texts for hours at a time, and generally just being a quirky Android of the day.
I happened to be near Glasgow when this happened, so I dropped by the local carrier to throw the phone into the garbage and get another. In the parking lot, I was attempting to respond to a rather important email while the phone was in its death spiral, constantly deleting or inappropriately auto-car-wrecking my reply. I’m certain that I appeared to have the cliched form of Tourette’s Syndrome, gesticulating wildly and cursing at it. Finally giving up, I distracted myself from consideration of all the tortures I would like to inflict upon the creator of this piece of… um… technology by striking up a conversation with a random nearby guy. His wide grin informed me that he had overheard my tirade (not that I am ever, in any way, subtle with my ire).
It just so happened that I had shown up on the day that Apple had rolled in with its first ever shipment to my carrier. This random guy happened to be the regional representative of Apple. He offered me a massive discount to try an iPhone (the 4s at the time). He and I walked through the back door into the place and I never looked back as I left the pieces of my former phone in various trash cans along the way.
I never went back to Android. Here’s (some of) why…
The software update process with Android is horrid. The update is released, then it has to be approved and possibly amended by the phone manufacturer, then by the carrier, and finally you get to update your phone. This journey takes at least months while you await word of its approval (which may never happen). In fact, after an Android phone is about 18 months old, the likelihood that the next operating system update will be available approaches zero. As of this writing, the most recent Android version on the majority of Android devices is from 2013. This is somewhat the same issue that Microsoft has with its Windows versions. To upgrade to a new version correctly, users should await the device drivers to be released for their hardware, since Microsoft can’t account for the insanely large possible configurations of graphics, motherboards, sound cards, network cards, RAM, etc.
By comparison, my first iPhone from 2011 can easily upgrade to the newest version of iOS. Indeed, my phone and tablet both work on the same version of software. This makes trading photos or deleting emails just work between them. Since Apple controls the hardware of each of its phones and its tablets, and its laptops/desktop computers, updates are possible to every user at the same time and as soon as they are released.
The importance here is not just having the newest version of an OS, it is also security related, since older operating systems are far more open to hacks and viruses than are new ones that account for prior vulnerabilities.
Uncontested advantage: iPhone
This may seem a strange one for those who are unfamiliar. iMessage is just another app, after all, and it just does text messaging.
But… Most of my friends and family use it, so there is nothing for them to configure. They can text me from an out-of-the-box iPhone and I get the message near instantly. The same is nowhere near so true for my Android friends.
Additionally, every message to my phone is also available and can be replied to on my Mac or my iPad. No matter where I am working I see each message and can reply. I also get read receipts so that I know when they have read anything I have sent, a bubble that shows when they are typing, and it sends via data on network or via wifi when connected, so I don’t have to worry about my number of texts.
There are certainly apps that will function much the same way on Android, but they aren’t fully and deeply integrated and take tinkering to work properly.
While we are on the subject, apps in general are just better on iOS. There is a simple reason for this. Apps are easier to write for one version of an operating system than for 5 or more different ones. This goes back to the OS updates.
I often work on Android phones and get to see the equivalent apps. They are nowhere near as polished in operation or appearance. The exception is an obvious one (once you think about it): Google apps. Obviously they could make their iOS apps as good or even better than their own platform’s apps, but they don’t. And of course they don’t; why spend the time to make your competitor’s experience better than on your own system when you don’t have to do so?
Many would mention the millions more apps available on iOS than on Android. I don’t really consider that much of an argument, since no one uses ALL those apps. Most of us have just a handful that we use all the time. Those handful I use are better on iOS… Yours likely are as well. Enough said.
This isn’t one of those things that anyone needs to consider very often, but is a rather important distinction should the need arise. If something goes wrong with an iPhone, there are places scattered all over that one can simply walk into (unlike Mordor) and have the phone diagnosed and repaired, or replaced. The technicians are experts on that particular hardware and software.
There is simply no equivalent for Android devices. A problem necessitates a visit to your carrier that ends most likely with a few days or weeks absent a phone or with an inferior temporary replacement.
Undisputed Advantage: iPhone
So that you understand that this isn’t just an Android bash-a-thon, I’ll tell you a few things I DO miss.
The ability to make my home screen whatever I want whenever I want was something I enjoyed (when I had it). I liked putting my preferred clock and weather (and whatever else) where I could glance at it instantly. I can see those things with a swipe on the iPhone, but it is only the way Apple designed and not exactly the way I would like to see them.
With most Android phones, storage space expansion was as easy as swapping out the SIM card for a larger one. You can’t do this with an iPhone and therefore need to plan ahead for your storage space needs.
Recently, this has become less of an issue with the development of flash drives that can be attached to an iPhone to move on and off pictures or documents and even a few that can be connected to via bluetooth for the same purpose. Regardless, this is a bandaid approach and not exactly the same thing. So…
This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list. No one would want to read that. It isn’t meant to persuade anyone to change his or her preference. It is simply my story and a few reasons why I have thus far moved to and stuck with the iPhone. There are in fact several less tangible reasons, like my concern over Google’s disregard for privacy that would trump most arguments for Android, but those are neither here nor there for most people, so there is little reason to discuss them in depth.
Suffice it that:
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Just here to troll? Let me know below. I always enjoy a good debate, even knowing I’ll win…