There are times where starting your article off with a disclaimer is appropriate and I feel that this may be one of those times, so let’s start with that. The views expressed in this article are not those of thedroideffect.com and are simply the views of the writer. Great! now that we have that out of the way lets jump into the article shall we.
Alright, take a seat. Are you comfortable? Have your coffee or favorite drink nearby? Maybe some of that Smartfood popcorn or some potato chips? Terrific I’m glad you’re comfortable. Today, I want to talk to you not just “You” but the collective “You” meaning everyone reading this. One of my readers (because I hate calling them followers) on Google+ responded to an early morning post from me detailing my success in finally ordering the iPhone 6. Her question was very simple on the surface yet very complex at its core and I told her I would need some time to respond because I didn’t want to provide a half-assed response. So Jamaar, what the hell was the question? Well, +Monica Monir a smart and kind woman from my interactions with her asked. “What is it about iOS that you prefer over Android enough to upgrade your iPhone every year?”. An excellent question well presented so let me respond first by providing some important context.
So for those of you who have followed me for some time you know that I started my tech life as many did with the original iPhone. Now I have been a loyal Mac user for many, many years. I finally moved fully into Macs after Microsoft produced the abomination we all call “Windows Vista” this was the final straw for me. That said, I purchased many iPhones as well as iPads when they became available. Needless to say I was deeply rooted into the Apple ecosystem, hell I even have a .me email address. After many years of using the iPhone the OS simply became stale and I began to search for something more. I spent many years monitoring Android development but never found it attractive enough for me to jump to Android until Ice Cream Sandwich. So one day, I looked at my iPhone and thought “You’re not good enough for me” and immediately went to Verizon and purchased a shiny Samsung Galaxy S3 and I have used Android as my full-time phone OS ever since.
Now years ago, I valued extensive customization I remember being in awe of all the features (that I eventually turned off) that the S3 with Touchwiz offered. I used to theme my phone watching videos from +Armando Ferreira and many others to learn how to tweak my device for maximum satisfaction. I later switched to the Nexus 4 because I honestly wanted a cleaner more streamlined experience. I wanted pure Android, I knew I wanted pure Android because I spent most of my time with my Samsung device attempting to get it as close to stock as possible. You see there are a few things I value in not only a device but in it’s ecosystem.
- The Experience – I view a device as the gateway into it’s ecosystem. But that device must be of a high quality build and must work seamlessly within the ecosystem in which it’s designed. The device must have smooth performance, with USEFUL features and functions. Specifications have never held water with me not only in the world of smartphones but in computers and gaming systems as well. It’s about optimization and the quality of the parts used to build the device. Not all parts are created equal.
- Interoperability – The device must play well within it’s own ecosystem. But it’s ecosystem must be mature enough to be able to provide all the services I need for my use case. The device must be supported by other companies that provide useful accessories that can support device, and change the experience if or when I need it.
- Support – The device must be well supported by it’s manufacturer and or by a larger community. I don’t want a device that will be forgotten weeks after release and if I encounter a problem I have nobody to reach out to for a fix.
These are the characteristics I look for when I shop for a device that will fill the role of my “Daily Driver”. As you were reading those values you may have looked at your device and said “My device fits that criteria” and you know what, it does for your use case. For me that device is the Google Nexus line of products. I love that line of Android devices, a runner-up to that device is the Motorola X line. I will not buy a device outside of these two, though HTC has impressed me over the past year and a half. But there is still a device outside of the Android ecosystem that offers that same experience. That device is the iPhone.
EVOLVE OR PARISH:
So when I left iOS phones years ago Apple was in a steady stale state, this was the iOS 5 period. Over the years as Android has made amazing strides and iOS has continued along in it’s steady state and I have kept my eye on it from my other iOS devices. I never upgraded my 4s to the 5, I actually waited for the 5s before I walked into a store to put down money on another Apple device. What I found in the iPhone 5s was a great piece of Hardware (Aside from the small screen) that was still plagued with disappointing software. Since that time Apple has continued to be who Apple is. Well who is Apple Jamaar? Apple is a company that looks at the larger market and takes what seems to be working and incorporates it into their products. Example: The iPhone was not the first “Smartphone”, but it was the first smartphone that got it right. It was the phone that normal folks could understand. That phone revolutionized an already existing market. iTunes was not the first online music store, but the same can be said for it and so on.
What Apple introduced in iOS 8 combined with it’s new iPhones has marked an evolution for Apple, but not for the larger market. What Apple did this time was what Apple does. They looked at Microsoft, Google, Samsung, HTC, Sony and others and said “Ok, what are they doing that working and how can we incorporated in a way that’s easier for our users?. That’s what iOS 8 is, it’s the mainstream adaptation of many features that many geeks use because we understand how it works while the mainstream doesn’t. Remember when Eddie Cue came on stage and talked about the “Secure Element” and what it does during the iPhone release? It’s not that Android devices didn’t have that secure element or payment systems long before Apple. It’s that the public never got an explanation as to what the hell it was. Ok, correction Google told us, but it’s buried somewhere on a Google support page nobody reads. So know you will have the mass public running around singing the praises of a technology that has existed for four years while Android users scoff. Don’t blame Apple for marketing well, blame Google for not understanding people. Apple evolved their platform this year just enough to make it a compelling alternative to Android (Notice I didn’t say Android was an alternative to iOS).
THE DIRECT ANSWER:
The thing that keeps me upgrading iOS devices at it’s core is that I love technology. No normal person upgrades phones every 6 months like I do. No normal person switches phones every 3 months like I do. No normal person has 3 different tablets from different companies like I do. I am a part of a class of individual who simply love tech. You know those guys that buy sports jerseys every year for their favorite player and you look at them like “What the hell is with you? The guy didn’t die, no need to buy the jersey every year”. Well that’s me and my ilk except for the tech world. I do it because I want to experience “The Next Big Thing” (pun intended) and it doesn’t matter who it’s from, whatever it is I just want to be the first to try it. so that way I can tell people what I think. So it’s not that Apple, Google et al does anything special from year to year, it’s simply that I want to be a part of that next iteration of tech.
Now why did I order an iPhone 6? Why am I so compelled to try it again? Simple really. Android has widgets, how did Apple incorporate their widgets? Android has alternate keyboards, how did Apple implement theirs? Android has Google Wallet, Apple has Apple Pay how did they do it? and so forth and so on. I must know the differences in the implementation. I have to answer the question of “Who got it the most right for me.” So every year I go on that hunt, not because I’m not happy with where I am, but because somebody somewhere can always make it better. So Monica, excellent question well presented. I hope this answers your question.