Forgive me Android Brethren, for I have sinned...
...I have eaten from the forbidden tree...taken a bite of the luscious fruit hanging from its limbs...I have an iPhone 5. I have abandoned my Nexus S, abandoned Android. It took God 6 days to create the earth which is the same amount of days I have experienced iOS and the iPhone 5. Here are some thoughts from an avid Android user.
First a quick history. I've had my Nexus S for two years. My wife surprised me on Christmas morning with a stock, unlocked pile of Android goodness. I loved it. I loved what gingerbread had done for the OS and I likened the feel of the Nexus S body to that of an expensive fiberglass automobile that rich people drive. I've flashed roms, spent days on forums, helped friends root their Android devices, etc. When I had the G1 I did everything I could to make that little guy feel faster. I never really envied the iPhone or its OS. I always felt Android could do so much more. I scoffed when tech bloggers or fanboys talked about how smooth iOS was or the selection of apps it had.
After two years, I’d decided to be as objective as I could on which phone to choose next. I wanted to be “wooed.” I've been keeping my eye on iOS and Windows Phone OS throughout the last two years. I was actually really excited to hear about the 5th iPhone, and see what Apple could unleash. When they showed off the 4S, I was disappointed. More of the same. This year however, they had me. A 4” screen and an aluminum body that looked beautiful. My other options were the Lumia 920 (I liked it a tad better than the 8X) and the Nexus 4. I could get into why I didn’t choose those some other time. I switched to Verizon from T-Mobile and bought a white, 32GB iPhone.
The iPhone 5 is literally the most premium item I have ever held in my hand. The Nexus S isn’t even close, nor is any other phone I’ve tested. When I opened the box and pulled it out, I immediately knew I made the right decision. I could care less about what the software would look like at that moment. The cold touch of the aluminum feels so good against your skin. I don’t use a case and I won’t…I can’t. So far, every day I have picked up my phone and reflected on the magnificence of it. Apple made a device that is important. The iPhone 5 is not uninspired like so many other devices that have and will come out. Do you think Motorola is honestly proud of what they have announced recently? The hardware is simply beautiful. With a 4” screen, it’s a perfect fit for me.
Software for the iPhone has its ups and downs. I say downs because I’m being picky. I found my thumb constantly searching for a back capacitive button. I didn’t know how to bring up music controls on the lock screen (double tap the home button). Settings are still tricky. I use Gmail for personal emails and Exchange for work. It was annoying using the Mail app for both so now I use the Gmail standalone app. A lot of the apps I use are still not sized for the iPhone 5. Notifications take some getting used to. I hate that I can’t put the Newstand app in a folder legitimately. But that’s really it.
The ups far outweigh the downs. I’m a minimalist and I feel at home with iOS. I’m not discouraged at what feels like a step backward with how the OS utilizes certain functions, because it still works well. The software is fluid and the colors are superb. Some of the OS looks old but I’m new to the OS so who cares. I like how all the icons are the same size. I like the Facebook app. I like Garageband. I like not having to use HaxSync to sync my Facebook contacts. I like LTE. I love the keyboard (even though the letter images don’t change from capital to lowercase). The details in iOS are great too. I like how the Apple Podcast app lets you slide up the podcast image to unveil a tape recorder and show your controls like speed or the tracking bar. Gmail works fine. I haven’t used Maps much but yeah, it will probably screw me over one day. But the functions in the app are just prettier than Android’s implementation. Yes, prettier. The camera is wonderful. The app selection is fantastic. I’m very pleased so far.
You can customize much more on Android but I got tired of it. I spent so much time making sure my widgets flowed with my entire layout. I at one point had stock ICS on my Nexus but only wanted to use one screen. I downloaded a widget that allowed you to display text. I put “NOTHING HERE” in white text on the other four screens. I eventually downloaded NOVA Launcher and just choose one screen. I was addicted. Anyway, I know iOS is a grid of icons but 80% of the time on my Android phone, I’d tap into my app drawer and choose an app. I’m saving a step with iOS. I can add an app shortuct to my homescreen on Android but I don’t need to with my iPhone. And glanceable information is nice but it’s not like I’m in an action movie and need to make every second of my time the most efficient it can be. Speaking of action movies, I saw Skyfall today…it’s legit. I want a phone that is beautiful and works beautifully. I want reliability and accountability. I believe Apple is the only phone manufacturer that delivers both in the year 2012. And maybe I was just bored with Android. Perhaps the novelty will wear off. Heck, even God got tired of the people on earth and nearly drowned everybody. But I’m happy now.
It’s a tad ironic that I used the analogy of “leaving” the Garden of Eden when talking about the iPhone. I mean, the term “walled garden” is used quite frequently in connection with Apple. But it’s not the iPhone that I’m escaping to or gaining knowledge of. It’s the ability to stay objective and find a device that’s right for me today; to not get entrenched in Android or iPhone or Windows Phone camps and start flame wars that do nothing except make you feel a little better about choosing your side because there’s a bunch of other people that agree with you. I’ve been missing out because I was vehemently against the iPhone. I respected it but mocked the device for what it couldn’t do. If you are in the market for a new phone, don’t think “What Android phone do I want?” or, “What windows phone do I want?” Be open minded or you may be missing out on something really great. I’m not here to convince you to use an iPhone. Just don’t let it never be an option. I’d like to hear your experiences with iOS and the iPhone hardware. I’ve had a great experience so far. Does anyone feel the same?