Saturday, 17 December 2011

Making the Switch to the iPhone 4S

It happened.  The iPhone 4S was launched finally in the UAE yesterday and I've made the switch (off my Android device that is, I'll still continue to use a BlackBerry as a second device).

Initial thoughts: I love it.

I was using an iPhone earlier but I'd found Apple was behind the curve when Android 2.3 was released.  All of a sudden, my phone seemed sluggish, I didn't like the notification system, the camera seemed out of date and the phone just didn't have the charm that an Apple product should have given the way the competition had been innovating.

The iPhone 4S in truth is Apple responding back and catching up with the competition.  They haven't moved miles ahead but at least brought themselves back on par.  However the difference with an Apple product is that when it is on par with the competition and you add in the Apps that Apple has as well as the overall interface of an Apple product, it moves itself ahead of the competition.

A few simple examples:

  • Keyboard - As much as I enjoyed the Android devices I used, I never found any of the keyboards to be quite as intuitive as an Apple keyboard.  Even using SwiftKey, Go Keyboard or Swype were at best a compromise.  The ease of use and comfort that you find with an Apple keyboard on a touchscreen device has meant fewer typing errors for me.
  • Multimedia Capabilities - I use iTunes on my computer and I've got virtually all my music on iTunes as well.  I struggled to find a proper solution to play music off my Android devices.  Nothing quite worked as seamlessly with iTunes and the end result used to be that I used to use my iPad in the car instead of connecting any of my smartphones to the car's stereo system.  I'm happy that I can finally connect my iPhone to the car stereo again (or stream the content wirelessly to my Apple TV).
  • Apps - As many Apps as you have on Android, I've always been frustrated by the fact that you can't buy Apps in the UAE from Google Market and that any App developer still has Apple's iOS as their priority when developing new Apps.  I was using several iOS Apps on my iPad but it's great to see how Apps like Zite and Flipboard have made the transition to the iPhone and I can use them on my iPhone as well.  I'm also looking forward to using Apps like Instagram again as nothing really came close on Android to replicating the Instragram experience.
  • Email Interface - Seems like a strange one to mention considering I also carry around a BlackBerry but I've always preferred the e-mail client on the Apple devices over any of those I tried on Android or BlackBerry devices.
Some of you reading this may feel the reason I'm more comfortable on an iPhone is that I'm an Apple fanboy.  That could be true, but also you've got to keep in mind I'm probably hooked onto the Apple ecosystem.  I didn't mean to get so deeply entrenched but things just sort of worked out that way.  The smartphone battles moved well beyond have shiny bells and whistleson a piece of hardware a long time ago so when a company like Apple or RIM come out with news devices, it's not surprising to see hordes of people migrate on their newer devices.  The ecosystem battle is a much tougher one to win because to convert someone such as me totally out of Apple's ecosystem for example, is always going to be a lot more difficult than coming out with a shiny new handset on a rival operating system.

How long can Apple keep this up for?  Who knows but till then, I think I'm firmly hooked...