Sunday, December 2, 2012

OP ED: BlackBerry vs Android vs iOS vs Windows Phone 8 - Part 3

iOS 6

Ah, Apple's iPhone. This phone redefined the smartphone industry and made a bunch of people unfamiliar with technology sounds more "techy". More people now talk about "apps," "megapixels," and "the gee bees". They have no idea what they're really talking about, but somehow they gained the right to talk down to those who don't use an iPhone.

"Wow, you're still using a BlackBerry?"

My bitterness towards Apples perhaps started with the iPhone 3 and then later with the iPad. I was a big fan of the original iMac and the iPod. Those two devices were always too expensive for me to afford so I often held them as my benchmark. Since the introduction of those two products, Apple set the standard for hardware design and the new digital library. iTunes offered access to music and movies without having to wait for shipping. These items were instantly available upon purchase and easily transferable to an iPod or later an iPhone. Welcome to the Digital Age! Well, Apple then turned out to be a tyrant dictating to its consumers what they "needed" even if the product Apple offered wasn't an evolutionary leap forward from their current device or software. Features such as "copy/paste," multitask capability, and folders were available on all its major competitors (Yes, even BlackBerry had it!), but when the features finally came to the iPhone, suddenly "Apple changes everything - again!" Really? Catching up equals to changing the playing field? Never mind that Apple lied when introducing features available elsewhere as "new" to the smartphone world, its the fact that its devoted followers, the technology illiterate groups known as iSheep, believed the lies.

I hate being talked down to whenever an iPhone user sees me using my BlackBerry. They're shocked and amazed I'd still be using "antiquated" equipment in the new media age. When we compared devices, sure they showed off their fluid gaming apps and beautiful layout. But when the tables turned, I beat them with the features I mostly relied on a daily basis: communication. Their occupations were usually different from mine such as students and employees of a desk job somewhere. Me, I'm a Doer. I run a corporation. Its a small corporation but a company that relies on the efficiency of communication nonetheless. At the end of our conversation, I stood my ground and usually taught the other "show off" a lesson or too on the reason why a BlackBerry isn't an Apple and vice versa.

But that didn't mean I wouldn't try the iPhone out eventually to see if I can adapt. Heck, my brother is the one that bought me a BlackBerry back in 2007. He said to me, "Once you go Black, you don't go back." Well, my brother has been using an iPhone 4s for over a year since he switched carriers. He missed BlackBerry for a time but eventually was able to make due with the iPhone and never really look back. So if he could do it, maybe the iPhone wouldn't be so bad to try for me after all.

Right away I knew the iPhone 4s would be a completely different animal to handle compared to my BlackBerry. The device is glass front and back with an aluminum chassis all around. The phone is a bit heavier than I like but that's because the quality of the fit and finish are top notch. In fact, this is the benchmark - or was until the iPhone 5 came along. The screen is bright but the phone felt a little too narrow for me. After getting past the admiration for the device, I started playing around with the software - iOS 5. The software was very responsive and faster than Android and BlackBerry. The keyboard was very impressive and accurate except for the nanny auto-correct. The app store goes without saying. This and Google's Play Store are the two largest app ecosystems on mobile. Though I found homescreen boring and Siri a sales gimmick, I was rather happy that Apple's control over the software allowed for a consistent user experience on just about every app I tried on it. The camera was very impressive too. When iOS 6 arrived, I was interested in trying out its new features, but as soon as I learned that all the Google apps would be gone, I was concerned. Any change is inevitable in mobile so adaptation is to be expected at some point or another. But iOS 6 felt like the company went backwards though that wasn't what turned me away from the iPhone. It was something early on that was never addressed on any software upgrades.

Strike one: The Settings.
A boring homescreen I can look past at, but there's no way I can forgive the ludicrous setting menu - there's only one menu for everything. I could not believe that if I didn't like a setting in an app, I have to hit the homescreen button, search for my settings app, scroll down to the app I wanted to reconfigure, change the setting, hit the homescreen button, go back to my app, and if I'm lucky, I wouldn't have to wait long for my app to "resume" or else I'd have to literally relaunch whatever app it was I was using. This is the definition of exhausting! Really? That many steps to change a setting? Why can't each app have its own settings menu within the app just like every other mobile operating system has? This was and is beyond annoying.

Strike two: Notifications.
Okay, so the iPhone doesn't have an LED indicator like some select Androids and all BlackBerries do, I can look past this, but only one notification sound for absolutely every email box, text message, and many apps? At most like 2 or 3 different notification sounds? I manage eight different email accounts at once. Some have higher priorities than others. With only one sound, I'd have to be checking my phone every time it goes off! I shouldn't have to be wasting my time for that!

Strike Three: Lack of Expandable Memory.
I rely on the cloud now more than ever. Lucky for me I still have my unlimited data on Verizon, but when I'm on a plane or a spotty service coverage area, it helps to have my music and videos on my device. The iPhone comes in different memory sizes, but I am not willing to spend an additional $100 for double the memory. Are you kidding? Even regular, non-smartphone phones have expandable memory. What the heck was Apple thinking locking a person to only the memory Apple allows for? iCloud only gives 5gb of free cloud storage, but last I checked, you can't back up videos to it. No, no, no! Expandable storage is a must!

In addition to these three strikes, I have just about the same complaints with Apple's iOS - both 5 and 6 - as I did with Android. Trying to multitask on this device (even Android) is a chore. I usually give up and just use my computer whenever possible. Still, the iPhone has many strengths not typically found elsewhere. First is the fact that a closed operating system has its advantages such as trustworthy apps, a unified store for apps and media purchases, and a consistent user experience. The camera is top notch. The app selection is the largest in the world. But all this doesn't fall into my priorities category. Again, I'm probably in the minority here, but the iPhone just doesn't meet my needs for a smartphone. It has other benefits I could use, but I have to prioritize my responsibilities. I've tried my hand at the iPhone with the 3GS, 4, and the 4s. iPhone 5 is just more of the same only at faster network speeds. I'll pass and wait for something greater.

Up Next: The HTC Windows Phone 8X

Click below to read previous posts to this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5

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