First impressions of a new iPhone user
I just bought my first iOS device - an iPhone 4s that replaces my much beloved Pre Plus. This is a random collection of first impressions and initial thoughts. This isn't really a review, just a collection of points I would like your opinion on. I may or may not post up a review later.
When iOS is ugly, it's really ugly- This isn't just about skeumorphism. Other parts of the operating system, like the pervasive drop shadows on icons, just do not sit well with me. The fonts used in some of the preloaded applications (I'm looking at you Game Center) are really, really ugly. The default fonts are tasteful, although not quite as good as what you get in Windows Phone or MeeGo.
The screen is amazing- This one is pretty obvious. I haven't owned a phone with a better screen.
The multitasking isn't as good as Android's- That's not to say I don't like it, I do, it just isn't as robust. The interface of the tray itself slows me down, I simply can't swipe through my recent applications as fast as I can on my ancient Droid Incredible. The problem is the interface, not the speed of the phone. The recent applications list in Gingerbread is the fastest multitasking interface I've used on a mobile device. It's not perfect, but it fits into my workflow. Every item in the recently used applications list is instantly available. On iOS I am often forced to swipe multiple times to get to the app I want. I haven't spent enough time with Ice Cream Sandwich to know whether or not I will have the same problem, I suspect the new multitasking menu will be slower than Gingerbread's and faster than iOS's. The window interfaces used in webOS and Windows Phone are the slowest of all, but I still prefer to use them. I know it's weird, but this is one instance where I prefer an interface I find more intuitive and attractive (horizontal webOS style windows) to a more functional design (Android's old recent apps list). The iOS multitasking tray strikes a strange compromise between function and form. It's not as pretty or intuitive as WebOS and it's not as fast as Android used to be. I do love that my recent applications persists after a reboot.
The home button is complete shit- Out of the box the home button is mushy and unsatisfying to use. I had played with iPhone display models that felt like my phone does, I had assumed that was the result of wear and tear. It wasn't. The button feels so terrible I actually considered returning it. I am almost positive it is going to break sometime in the next six months. My original plan when I bought the iPhone was to do some light hardware modifications. I was especially interested in swapping out the glass back for a metal one that would look better and not break when dropped. Since I am now almost positive my button is going to fail I am going to have to hold off on modding my phone. I would rather it go under while I am under warranty. Since I got the phone I have played with other iPhones, all of the home buttons feel really bad.
The other hardware buttons are amazing- Every other button on the phone is an absolute delight to use. This makes the home button feel even worse.
Apps Are Not as Buggy and Sometimes Have More Features - Most of the applications on the iPhone do not have as many bugs as there Android counterparts. RDIO frequently crashes on the Photon 4G and the Droid Incredible but t hasn't crashed once on my iPhone. Apps often have features on the iPhone I have wanted on Android. The Amazon app lets me select which wish list I want to add an item to. On Android items are just dumped onto the regular wish list.
Apps Have Less Ads, Cost Money More Often- I'm still not sure if this is a positive or a negative. I don't mind ads but I like to pay for products I enjoy.
There should be third party widgets in the notification tray.
Most of the Bundled Apps are Crap- Apple puts over a full page of trashy applications on the iPhone. Newstand is a hideous monstrosity that has me rethinking my stance on the death penalty. Notes is the favorite app of Lucifer himself. Game Center is a close second. The text messaging app is okay, but the green used for sent messages is the sort of robustly ugly colour I would expect to see in a pile of Muppet vomit. Mail is terrible, I honestly don't know why anyone would try to use this app. Gmail on Android is a superior experience; even Hotmail on Windows Phone has it beat. YouTube manages to be merely mediocre, but it has the ugliest icon of any app I have ever seen. The greenish grey shading of the fake television would be an appropriate colour for cartoon sewage. Reminders looks like a paper notebook, which annoys me to no end. I don't know why you would use this instead of Remember The Milk. Stocks simply does not offer enough functionality to justify it's being a bundled application. The interface is staunchly average, I just don't see the point. The compass application should go away and compass functionality should be bundled in the subpar Maps application. The bundled phone app isn't as good as the stock phone app on webOS or Windows Phone and is a little better than the skinned phone applications I have used on Android devices.
Siri is cool, but not incredibly useful. Voice integration on Android and Windows Phone seems to offer more functionality. I may change my opinion on this later.
Battery life when using the phone seems to be only a bit better battery life on my other phones, which are all a generation or two behind the 4s. This is probably because I am doing roughly the same things as I would do on those phones. Battery life when the phone is on standby is vastly superior.