How I Switched from iOS to Android and I’m Enjoying It
This story is a follow up to my article How Apple is Crippling Its Old Devices with New Software.
Recently I was so disappointed by Apple that I decided to switch from iOS to Android. I was an iPhone user for many years, starting from the iPhone 3G. I always loved the image of Apple as a maker of products for the creative professionals — designers, visual artists, musicians: “the troublemakers, the rebels”. But I think this narrative is now over, and Apple lost its touch with their former main user base. They are now all about money and they are focusing on making “premium” products for the rich people, and that's it. Good for them. Now every middle manager want to use a MacBook in their mostly PCs companies, because it’s a symbol of status today. And they are using it to just run Outlook and Microsoft Office.
Remember Vertu? The company, which was selling shitty phones in gold for the rich? It’s now bankrupt.
While prices for the Apple’s devices went up, the quality of their software hit unpredictable lows. iOS 11 has so many bugs it’s unbelievable, not to mention the recent serious security problems with MacOS and HomeKit.
And of course there’s the situation with slowing down old devices on purpose. With recent software updates Apple decided to slow down devices with old batteries to prevent the plague of unexpected shutdowns.
They are saying it’s to deliver better experience to the users. But it’s like treating desintery with cholera, and without patient’s consent.
After Apple’s apology many people are ready to forgive them, but I think this is serious and needs legal investigation. (They will have some trouble because of it in the European Union at least, because we still care about customer rights here.) There were no unexpected shutdowns with iPhones 3G or 4. I was using my iPhone 4 for almost 4 years without such problems. And while there is a battery replacement program for some iPhones 6s (up to 3 years after the purchase), why not for the iPhones 6 and later models, if they are affected with the same problem?
I don’t believe in planned obsolescence conspiracy, but I think there is something not quite right with power management in iOS 11 on older devices, which Apple don’t want to admit. Apple is a capitalist machine looking for infinite growth and they are always focusing on new devices and new features. Last year things are already obsolete for them. Perhaps they didn’t have time to test properly on older devices in real life situations, and they didn’t care, because it’s not a priority for them, and deadlines to deliver new stuff are tight. And now they are paying the price for it.
I still prefer MacOS to Windows, and it’s hard for me to leave this platform, because a lot of software I use is available only on the Mac (like Sketch). But I’ve decided that my new mobile device will be an Android device, and so far I’m happy with it.
Enough about Apple, let’s talk Android
I wanted to buy a new Google Pixel phone, but it turned out it’s not officially available in my country. So I went for something rather cheap and I bought a OnePlus 5T device. It’s $499, much less than $1000 iPhone X, and as much capable, or even more. In Poland, where I live, the average monthly salary is only 1072 EUR or $1272 (4500 zł) — we’re still a poor country. With tax and import prices in mind I could buy three good Android phones for the price of one iPhone X.
OnePlus 5T is blazing fast (thanks to Apple my memory of iOS devices is that they are so slooow). The thin bezel OLED display is superb. Dual 16 megapixel cameras are good. There is a Face Unlock feature, and while not as advanced as Apple’s Face ID, it is working pretty great. It’s using only the front facing camera, not infrared, and it’s not as secure, but it’s unlocking my phone in a fractions of a second. Seriously, it’s recognizing me faster than I’m recognizing myself in the mirror 😀 With my glasses on or off 🤓 It’s working well even in very low-light conditions. And there is also a fingerprint scanner on the back, which is very fast and convenient, and a real headphone jack! No wireless charging, but it’s charging incredibly fast thanks to its Dash Charge technology. And battery life is amazing.
The build quality of OnePlus 5T is very nice. And there is a dual SIM card tray, which is pretty cool.
Of course I was familiar with the Android system for many years and it always seemed like a poor neighbor to iOS. Not anymore. It is really cool, and a lot of stuff makes much more sense on Android, than on iOS. It evolved.
I can’t think of any task that is more complicated on Android than on the iOS, really. Still there are two things that I miss:
- The tap on the appbar to scroll up to the top. It’s not available on Android, because Apple patented it, I believe.
- While the global navigation at the bottom of the screen is very good and makes much more sense than the back button at the top on iOS, there is no global gesture like horizontal swipe from left to right to come back to the previous screen, which I was accustomed to use.
Notifications are much better on Android. The customisation is great. This phone feels like a real computer in my pocket, much more capable than iOS.
The bad thing is that Android still feels less polished than iOS in terms of animations and microinteractions. All important apps are there, but many of them are a little better on iOS than on Android. But I believe it’s only a question of time. (There is Apple Music app, by the way, which I’m still using.) It makes me want to work on Android apps!
The process of migration from iPhone to Android is easy. You just need to download Google Drive app on your iPhone to back-up your data and that’s it.
There is a problem of privacy of course. I’ve been using Gmail and other Google services for many years, and yes, it’s scary, but I’m OK with Google knowing everything about me. However if you really care about privacy, Apple is still the only company you can trust (it’s good for their business model).
So far OnePlus 5T has been great. Last thing I want to mention is the whole customer journey: from the website, to the process of buying the phone, to the packaging. It was pleasurable, and really, really good experience, not worse than Apple at all.
OnePlus 5T is half the price of iPhone X, and not worse.
Chinese product designers and engineers became as good or better than Apple. Now what?
The truth is: if you want to experience something new and innovative don’t upgrade from your old iPhone to iPhone 8 (it’s the same phone you already know for years) or even to the iPhone X. Switch to Android. There are many great bezel-less phones to choose from Google, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung, and more.
I may come back to the iPhone in the future, who knows. But Apple’s managers really need to wake up and feel the breath of competition on their backs. Or in their faces.
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