I have an iPhone 6 Plus and a fully customized 2014 Moto X sitting on my desk. They’re making me want to cry.
The indecision becomes more painful each and every time this happens. I flop between an iPhone and an Android device at least once per year, sometimes more. (Okay, usually more.) On a very rare occasion, a Windows Phone finds its way into the mix, but for me — as it is for most people I deal with personally and professionally — the battle really comes down to Apple and Google. The last year was spent evenly divided between an iPhone 5S and a Nexus 5; now, in September 2014, the best iPhone ever and the best Android phone ever have been released within a few days of one another. Mobile industry, you’re not making my life any easier… and you’re certainly not making it any cheaper.
It’s been said a million times, and I’ll just briefly touch on it again: both platforms are fantastic in very different ways. Android wins on notifications, general Google integration (obviously), and home screen experience. iOS wins on fluidity, apps, and camera quality. There are many more pros and cons here on both sides, but I’ll spare you; you’ve heard them all before.
The problem is that, as my colleague and friend Vlad Savov touched on in a June editorial, platform-exclusive features grow better and more important with each passing year. Choosing this incredible iPhone 6 Plus means being left out of Android Wear — the Moto 360, specifically. Choosing this gorgeous ebony wood Moto X means losing iMessage, FaceTime, and Continuity, which I’m really excited about. I enjoy FaceTimes with my family in Michigan, and iMessage is a better messaging experience than SMS for a whole slew of reasons. Sure, there are many great third-party messaging platforms, but everyone I know uses iMessage because they were silently and seamlessly subsumed into it. Users are the killer feature.
And there’s the fact that notifications are still, somehow, a dumpster fire in iOS 8. It’s 2014, for goodness’ sake.
There’s literally no way to have it all, unless you’re carrying two phones with you — and these monsters have gotten big enough so that there’s no way that’s ever going to happen. Plus, I’m probably going to desperately want whatever phone Google introduces when it rolls out Android "L."
None of this is normal. Normal human beings, at least in the American world of contracts and monthly payment plans, get a new phone that makes them happy every two years and they don't worry about it too much until it's time for a new phone again. But I'm not normal, which probably explains how I started writing about technology in the first place. I know exactly how this is going to play out for me. The same way it always does: I’m going to use this iPhone for a few months, then I’m going to use a Moto X or a Nexus-whatever for a few months. The cycle repeats anew, and I’m a few hundred dollars lighter for it after I flip the phone I’m not using. (Gazelle, get at me.)
Friends, when my text messages become green again, you’ll know exactly what’s going on.