Finally switching from Android to iOS: A perspective

It would be presumptuous to not acknowledge that all those who have already pre-ordered this device, myself included, have done it simply for the allure of the latest iPhone. Even as I say this, I wasn’t entirely convinced of the iPhone 7 when I watched the livestream of the Apple Keynote. However, a timely launch in India (scheduled for Oct 7), less exorbitant pricing and a substantial cashback was what finally swung me in favour of it. As I have a week to wait for my iPhone 7, I decided to pour in my thoughts on my first iPhone purchase.

Although this is about Apple and iOS, I can’t help put a foreword on Android. This is coming from 6 years of using Android, starting with Froyo (2.2) and extending to Nougat (7.0). It has been an eventful journey with Bugdroid (or Andy for preference) and inarguably the best part of it was the time when I created my Custom ROM and shared it on XDA. In fact, I thoroughly despised Apple’s walled garden, especially so when I purchased my first iOS device 4 years back — the 3rd generation iPad and immediately resorted to jailbreaking it. Over the course, I have jumped across 4 manufacturers (LG, Sony, Samsung, OnePlus) and thoroughly appreciated the value for money I got out of them. Android can indeed be heralded for democratizing the smartphone. However, it comes with its own set of pitfalls. You have to accept the fact that you won’t see more than 2 major OS upgrades even if you have a flagship device. More worryingly, you won’t even get the security updates for your existing OS. Least someone mentions it, even the Nexus line fails to placate Android’s woes by not guaranteeing any major update post two years and security updates after three. But even those numbers are often meaningless, since newer releases for older devices somehow tend to make the device less usable. In case of the OEMs, it is even worse as you are left with a half-baked OS update (seen it happen with Galaxy S3 and Moto G2). Google’s insistence on sharing data across the OS for a better experience (Search, Now on Tap, Allo) makes it egregious if you are privacy conscious. For better or for worse, Android takes a brute force approach to speed which is evident by the facetious approach to ever burgeoning specs. Comparison of the same apps between Android and iOS indicate that letting developers run wild may not always be in the best interests. For all the revolution that Android has brought about, an unhindered premium experience is not one of them. Having unexpected reboots, battery drains and screen lock-ups when you need your phone the most is not particularly enchanting. Even as I prepare to put Android behind me, I hope Google’s approach to Pixel is more Apple-like and people get to experience the best of what Android has to offer even as most continue to enjoy the more mainstream options.

So, what swung it for me after all these years? For one, Apple has been more forthright about picking up what’s good in others (as has Android) which means a more accelerated rate of iOS progression compared to an approach of deterrence through suing. Also, Apple’s walled garden now has a pet door with overtures to developers to utilize aspects of iOS that were previously, preciously locked away. iOS also continues to be the platform of choice for innovative app developers who are not simply targeting income through baited ad clicks. Even Google and Microsoft continue to offer an incredible experience on iOS which is inexplicably better than what they offer on their own platform. It is perhaps not contestable that iOS offers the best security, privacy, optimization and consistency of any phone, even though most of it comes from Apple’s control of every aspect of the device. Also, the exclusivity of the OS has some appeal to it at a time when Android can be experienced on any PC.

While I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on the device itself for a week, there isn’t much left to the imagination. While Apple might have not made much headway in design for 3 generations now, it continues to be one that many other OEMs still aspire to, at least the Chinese ones. I take some solace in the fact that I got the Black variant which sets it apart from the earlier generations but even the incremental updates to the camera and cleaning up the antenna lines can be very well appreciated. The most controversial change is, of course, that of the removal of the headphone jack. Truth be told, I am not particularly in agreement with this decision. I use a Sony SBH54 Bluetooth headset and the audio quality is still some way off. It is even more antagonizing when you have invested a significant amount in purchasing high-end 3.5mm headphones. At least, there is the headphone adapter which comes only in white and goes very well (not!) with the Black variant. I guess that is a compromise I have to live with and really hope that Apple has made the Lightning port a lot sturdier. I can somehow accept this decision if indeed, as Apple has stated, it was a price to pay for a larger battery, water resistance and stereo speakers without ruining the dimensions, even though I can accept an additional 2mm of thickness any day. Apart from the device itself, you buy yourself in to a large repertoire of accessories that simply don’t exist for other devices and that is another thing to look forward to.

I hope that I have let my exuberance and not bias seep through when writing this for I am often left aghast at flame wars emerging from consumers defending the companies they purchase the product from. Frankly, you cannot go wrong with buying the iPhone, unless you had to take out a mortgage to finance one.

I have had thoughts running through my mind for ages and have been letting them just pass away for it’s never meant to be anything. However, I finally realized that there is no harm in just putting them down and hence came up with the eponymous site at smajumdar.com. The reviews are meant to be rational but sometimes abstraction just takes it away.

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