In February of 2011 I stayed up late one night. I did what so many others have done and clicked the order button for an iPhone 4, the first day it was available on Verizon. It was my first smartphone and changed my life in many ways, most of which were positive.
I still have that phone and have very much enjoyed it for the entire duration. The camera has been a champ for taking pictures and videos of my kids and the hundreds of apps I have tried on the device have preformed gloriously. It has only crashed on me a handful of times and hasn’t gotten sluggish over time like so many other pieces of hardware do.
I’ve been following the iPhone 5 leaks for months. I’ve known what it would look like- that Apple was planning on stretching the screen to 4″- and even most of the specs. I assumed it would be thinner and lighter, rightfully so. When it was unveiled I spent most of that day feeling that I had just seen my next smartphone.
But then, after the initial impressions sort of wore off, I started wondering if I even really wanted it. Sure, it was better in every aspect to the phone I currently own. I’m due for an upgrade and between selling my iPhone and the subsidized price of the new ones, I could get one for cheap or free (depending on the amount of storage I chose).
So after all of that, why would I wonder? Wouldn’t the 5 be the natural transition for me?
Well, no. As I have thought about it, I have realized I have been a little disenfranchised with the direction of Apple phones since iOS 6 was announced. As other operating systems seem to be innovating and evolving, the iPhone instead seems to be polishing what has worked so well. Not a bad marketing plan, but not for me.
Since I am probably in the upper threshold of smartphone users as far as trying to get the most out of my device, I am sorely craving more control. I want those widgets. I want those super cool smart actions on the Droids. I want to bump my storage with a Micro SD card.
And I really, really want one of those big screens. (Can you say Galaxy Note II?)
So in the next couple of months I will be migrating to an Android device of some kind and I’m really not too worried about it. Yes, I know the whole user experience may not be quite as smooth and yes, I know my device might not get timely upgrades and lose its value quickly. But those are tradeoffs I’m okay with.
The truth is that the iPhone is an incredible phone. I haven’t regretted using it for a minute and I can promise my wife won’t give up hers any time soon. Similarly, Android devices are great. I know this is a rare thing to hear these days, but iPhones, Androids and even Windows Phone 8 are all wonderful choices these days. The difference is that some personalities can benefit from some phones more than others. I think my geekiness is enough that Android is best for me at this point in my life.
Now as I’ve considered what this switch means to me and the apps I use, I have been surprised at how much I won’t miss the Apple apps. This is because for the past year or so I have mostly migrated to systems and services rather than individual apps. The apps I use most are things like Dropbox, Instagram, Evernote, Facebook, Flipboard, Mint.com, Penzu, Kindle, Winderlist and… Penzu. Can you see what they all have in common? Every one of those apps are OS agnostic. In other words, they all have versions on Android.
This is great news for my journal. Because I jumped ship from an iOS specific journal a few months ago, my journal will go with to any other (major) smartphone. Penzu has an Android version for those times I want to create an entry with my phone.
So the moral of the story is use services, not applications. That’s what I’ve learned and what I now recommend.
Any iPhone lovers/haters out there?