I’m a lot of things. I’m a tech blogger. I’m a consumer. But most of all, I am human. Like everyone I have likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, and most important to this article; preferences. I am a fan of most mobile operating systems. There is no perfect one but at their core I don’t think there is one that is better than the other. But as a human I have preferences. So despite my love of all tech for the last few years my daily driver has been something running Android. Why is a sordid question. I could say it is because I feel safe under Android’s warm blanket of openness. I could tell you that I am cheap so I go for whatever will cost me the least body parts. I could even lie and say I have some issue with iOS and Windows Phone. But the fact of the matter is the main thing that drove me to Android was -I like having opinions. I like that there is a vast cornucopia of phones just waiting to be in my pocket. I like that if there is something I don’t like and feel like it is worth the effort I can change it. It is just a nice thing to have opinions. But recently I decided it is time to challenge myself by making what many would consider a major change – switching to a iPhone.
To many this move would be worthy of ridicule and a loss of cool points. But before we go that far let me explain. I have always owned a iOS, Android, and Windows Phone device; sometimes multiple. However, where my Android and Windows Phone devices have been smartphones, I only ever felt the need to get a iPod Touch to experience iOS. For all intends and purposes iOS on a iPhone and iPod Touch are twins –minus a few differences in radios. When people would ask me about this I would reply “I just don’t know if I could deal with iOS as the operating system on my phone.” Like I said I am a human and I have preferences. But then iOS 7 was announced.
“It was not that Apple created something so tempting that I had to decide if I would be swayed away from Android”
When Apple announced iOS 7 during WWDC I found myself in a position I was hoping to avoid. It was not that Apple created something so tempting that I had to decide if I would be swayed away from Android. The issue was the device I had simply was not going to cut it anymore. For a while now I had used a 4th generation iPod Touch for my iOS needs. With the iOS 7 announcement came the news that my iOS device would be left in the lurch due to the lack of RAM comparing to its iPhone counterpart; the iPhone 4. So I had to decide my next move. I could get a 5th gen iPod Touch which was getting all the features. But that could leave me in the same place next year as that has a slowly aging A5 chipset inside it. I could buy a iPad which would have only saw me missing out on the camera features. The third opinion was buy a iPhone. This option would mean that I would receive all the feature iOS 7 would have to offer me. But most importantly I should mean I could go two years or so without absolutely having to update my iOS arsenal. So after a month of debating I decided that I would by a iPhone. Instead of going with my first instinct and buying a used iPhone 5 I decided that I would go with whatever the high-end iPhone offering would be this year. So on September 20th I braved what turned out to be not much of a crowd(because everyone was at the Apple Store) and bought a iPhone 5S.
To be completely honest(as I try my best to be with my readers); my first impression was not positive ones. And it was not an indictment of Apple. But it was again a result of my personal preferences. The phones I was using when I went to the store that morning were a Nexus 4 and a LG G2. Two vastly different devices from the same manufacturer with one major thing in common; they are both bigger than the iPhone 5S. I am not a tall man nor do I large hands. But I felt like a giant trying to type on a HP Veer. It took a little to convince myself that it was all in my head. I also had to remind myself that like every time I review a device I would quickly get use to the differences. That size wall is something that many point out as a hurdle that keeps many Windows Phone and Android users from jumping. I can now say I truly say I totally understand that sense of apprehension on that matter. The move is a little jarring.
The iPhone 5S is a mirror image of the iPhone 5. Personally, I loved the design, but more importantly the feel of the previous model. The material choice, the feel, and the weight are all rather nice. I “opted” for the Space Gray model. Gold would have been my first choice but apparently that was also everyone elses too. But the gray was my second choice anyway so it’s still a win in my book. My one complaint is that they went with a black ring around the home button. I am sure it was an ascetic decision not to go with a Space Gray ring but some kind of contrast would be cool. I however am not a fan of scratched metal so I purchased a case within hours of getting the 5S. But that is standard practice for those getting a iPhone since the 4.
“We could start the debate on what features Apple borrowed from their competition but at the end of the day I think if it’s a great feature all devices should have it.”
Since I had years of experience with iOS getting use to iOS 7 was not as hard as it could have been. The main outward differences are in the looks department and some of the ease of use features. I don’t mind the visual changes and unlike others I am not too bothered by the icons. If you ever read my list of thing I wanted to see changed in iOS from back in 2011 you would know that I hate the fact that changing regularly used settings once required “menu hopping”. So Control Center was a very welcomed addition. We could start the debate on what features Apple borrowed from their competition but at the end of the day I think if it’s a great feature all devices should have it. The Touch ID fingerprint reader is one of those great ideas. It is not the first mobile phone to have a fingerprint reader. The Motorola Atrix sported one back in 2011. But the technology used and the placement makes it stand out. I’m also happy that Apple limited its use for the time being. The only thing it is good for it unlocking your device and making purchases in their digital stores. In the future I am sure Apple will open it up a little but only as a simple yes or no to your identity. The print itself should never be shared with any app for any reason if they want to sell this as a viable way to secure your phone.
I think that getting use to things not working the same as they do on a smartphone running Android or Windows Phone is a bigger challenge. Some of the difference were welcome ones, while others I am still debating about. One thing that I was very happy about was the fact that devices using Bluetooth 4.0 LE worked seamlessly with it. I have been using the Fitbit Flex for months now. One of the not to fun things about Android has been the lack of support for the standard of Bluetooth used by the device in the core API. Some companies like Samsung, Motorola, and LG have supported it for a while. But my Nexus 4 is pure Android which, while awesome, only is now starting to support that standard with 4.3 Jelly Bean; and even then the Fitbit does not work. However, the lack of open integration is a bit bothersome for me. After years with Android as my main mobile operating system the one thing I really got accustomed to was the access some applications had. Being able to go to the gallery and select any app available that I could share a picture with is a great feature. But iOS lacks that so sharing picture on Instagram or Tumblr requires you go through the app. It may not seem like much to those use to iOS but it comes in handle when you take multiple pictures of the same subject and it’s one of many perks that make Android stand out.
While I am thinking of photos I should probably take this time to talk about the camera. Apple spends a lot of time talking up the camera of their devices. They say it is the most popular camera in the world based on the fact a large number of pictures on photo sharing site were taken with an iOS device. They talk about how advance their optics are and how great of a job the software does when it comes to processing photos. It would be easy to brush this off as just hype or promoting their product. And in reality that is exactly what it is. But it is also reality that they have a camera that can back up that talk. So far I found that the camera is really, really good. It not only fast but it was able to capture a fair amount of detail even when my subject is moving on a carnival ride. It is far from the speed you will find in a high-end digital camera, but for something that I also use to talk to my mom – it’s fast. When my subject was something that moved around far less it captured an impressive amount of detail and the color reproduction is top-notch. The Slo-Mo camera is a nice feature but it has its issues. The thing I like the most about it isn’t the slow motion part, it’s that it records the video at 120 frames per second. Sure, it is no full HD at that speed but that part is not that relevant to my personal needs, 720p is perfectly fine and it looks super smooth. But in order to take it off the device you will need to compress the file; at the cost of the video quality. It produces videos that deserves to be shared with the world but seem to only be shareable with other Apple users.
Week one with the iPhone is what I will label the adjustment period. When you spend the majority of your time in one ecosystem making a sudden change to a familiar yet new one is not easy. The fact that I have been a long-time iOS use helped a little but surprising not as much as I thought. Doing this job it what truly made it easier. Like when reviewing a device I decided to take a “pull the bandage” approach to this personal challenge and jump right in. With week one over I think the next few weeks should go pretty smooth. But I also feel like there are things I haven’t quite factored in yet when trying to make a iPhone part of my everyday life.