Monday, March 14, 2016

The iPhone Argument

I am heavily biased when it comes to phones, but not in the way you'd think. My bias starts at the company itself. I do not like Apple as a company. Because of this I tend to write my Apple stories and posts the way mainstream tech media write Google and Android stories. They frontload with positives, then end on a sour note. It's a shitty tactic, but they all do it because they are all beholden to Apple. There is a double standard. You can compare it to the way the media is pushing Hillary Clinton on us, and dogging Bernie Sanders any time they can this election cycle. 

So I'm going to think different. (cough)
I'm going to do the negatives first, then end on the high notes.

Apple is highly unethical. They will pretty much say and do whatever they can to separate you from your money. Whatever they can do to lock you into their third place ecosystem. When they drop the ball, they'll spin reality however they can to hide their transgressions rather than just come clean immediately. They are like the kid that steals from the cookie jar and tries to make it a federal case every time. Like they can argue their way out of the pit of unethical activity that pervades them. 

Take this for example.
They were guilty as sin from the get-go. They knew they were guilty. The state department knew they were guilty. They wasted millions in taxpayer dollars trying to "not be wrong". And that in a nutshell is Apple's biggest flaw. They refuse to admit it when they are wrong. They haven't gotten better about this. That and their security is absolutely abysmal. 

Apple's two main operating systems have been competing against each other for the title of "least secure" two years in a row. You wouldn't know that from the biased reporting done by the mainstream tech press, but it's simple reality. One that can't be ignored or explained away. Apple is having a security crisis. Quietly...  But reality looks like this:

And there are their design decisions. Auto-trumpeted by any clueless tech site as "revolutionary", some of them are simply dumb. There's no other word for it. Dumb.

The bezels on their phones are so bad that their 4.7" screen phone is the size of a 5" Android phone. Both of those phones have a 4.7" screen. These huge bezels are on all their phones, and they are pure laziness. Bad design.

This is how you charge their mouse. Not kidding. This is not Photoshopped. 

This is how you recharge their pen. Not kidding. And that overlooks the fact that you have to recharge a pen in 2016. Wacom did away with the need to have to do this decades ago, and they make a higher quality product. Sometimes Apple just goes very cheap with their tech, and hopes the marketing will pick up the slack. And a lot of the time it does. 

But the worse thing about Apple as a company is the radical subculture in their user base. They've sold people on this "Apple Lifestyle", and a lot of those folks are tools. Smug douchebags. I'm not saying every Apple user is a douchebag. I know that's not true. 90-95 of Apple users are just common ordinary people. But that 5-10 percent? I'll put it this way. If you meet a total douchebag, he owns an iPhone. Every single time. Every "DudeBro" has an iPhone. 

If you meet the very common "only academic" that isn't very intelligent, but did somehow manage to get a degree? They will own nothing but Apple products. The Ben Carson's of the world. The Donald Trumps. People that aren't happy unless they feel "better" than everyone else. They eat Apple's marketing up. Unfortunately, they are also the kind of folks that become tech journalists. The worst thing though is that Apple seems to encourage this shitty behavior. Tim Cook has exhibited it himself many times. And that's reprehensible. 

Now, I'm done bagging on Apple as a company.
Let's get into iOS

The biggest complaint anyone has about iOS is that you can't change anything. You are stuck with those icons, that launcher, most of those colors, etc. You can swap out the background. I typically just use a solid black jpg. 

Also, third party app support isn't on par with better mobile operating systems. It has gotten better with the iOS 9 releases. You can at least swap out your keyboard now for a better one. But you still can't change default apps. 

The back button, to go back where you just were, is in the worst possible location at the top left of the screen. If it's in the same place. It moves around some. If there even is one. There may not be one at all.

iOS has gotten increasingly more buggy. It's little things:

I had to restart my phone 3 times to get my custom choices for notification noises to start working. But they do work now. 

I couldn't just disable Apple's wildly dramatic animations. I had to "trick" iOS into disabling them for me. And there are a LOT of little tricks like this that Apple users have come up with to make their phone the way they want it. "Make iOS stop sucking" recipes. People shouldn't have to trick their phone. There should just be a toggle to disable pointless animations. 

Battery life is terrible. And this boggles my mind, because it used to be ok in the iOS 6 days. I've disabled a bunch of things, and turned off a lot of things I don't use, and now battery life is "bearable". It's good enough now. But still, if I pick up my phone and play with it any amount of time, I can expect 10-20 percent of my battery to vanish. 

And I could go on for a while. But you get the point. iOS is no better
than Android when it comes to bugs, and worse when it comes to security, and the UI isn't as intelligent. Now I'll start talking about the positives. I mean, I am using an iPhone 5S now. There has to be a reason, right?



My favorite time-killer game is this one. I adore it. And while it was more than playable on my Nexus 6P, which is a FLAGSHIP Android device, it's smoother, quicker, and loads better on my iPhone 5S. That shouldn't be reality, but it is. And it's a recurring theme. You'll see. I'm easily scoring higher in this game than ever before because my phone isn't getting in my way anymore. Load times for this game on the Nexus 6P were criminally bad. 


I use Go-To-Meeting a lot. It works better, quicker, and smoother on my iPhone 5S than it did on my Nexus 6P. More options. More data shown to me. No weird "won't die" bug like there is on Android. And this is one of many examples. Most of the apps I use are cross platform, and most of those work better on iOS than they do on Android. Not always. And not by a huge amount. But it's a reality, and it matters to some folks. The worst thing? GOOGLE apps frequently are better on iOS than they are on Android. And that makes you wonder. If Google themselves have a problem making Android apps as good as their iOS counterparts, is there some underlying reason?

The sheer magnitude of awesome iPhone accessories from third party vendors is staggering. That's my favorite case. It's a masterpiece of wood, metal, and leather. Nothing like this even exists as an option for an Android phone. And my God it feels amazing in your hand. Where the Android OS itself is more customizable by a huge extent, the physical iPhone is just as more customizable with accessories. And that is appealing to some of us. 

Best One-Hander:

If you prefer a one-handed phone, the iPhone 5S is still the best phone on the planet. Period. Earlier how I complained about the back button being in the worst possible place? That's not a problem when you can easily reach the whole screen with your thumb. 

You Get A Good Camera:

You know if you have an iPhone, you have a good camera. No, it's not the best anymore, but it's still better than most. And the camera app will be quick and perfect. You can't say that about even MOST Android phones. 

And those things are enough for a lot of people. They are enough for me. But there's more to it.

Apple shows "consideration" in design. Little things you take for granted and only notice when they are gone. Like the fact that third party music players are controllable from the command center. Or that I don't have to compromise to use Exchange Email servers. On Android, that means a needless second layer of security, or giving up Android Wear unlock. On iOS it just works. The way you'd expect it to work. And that's the way a LOT of things are. Zero issues with my third-party headphones. Zero issues with apps. Hell, even my Asus Zenwatch 2 is working perfectly with my iPhone 5S, despite missing a few features. Zero bluetooth disconnects. Little things.

And those little things add up. Enough that I'll be taking a look at the new 4" iPhone coming out to see if there's any point. Now, would I jump ship if a great, small 4" Android phone came out? You betcha. In a heartbeat. Android has too many positives over iOS for me to stick with iOS. But for now? This is my phone, and I love this phone. 

Love You Guys,