My experience switching from Android to iOS

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Arthur_Tuxedo
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My experience switching from Android to iOS

Post by Arthur_Tuxedo » 2015-09-26 07:03pm

I've never been a fan of Apple products. As a gamer in the 90's, it was hard for me to understand why anyone would pay more for a Mac that had lower specs, less software support, and almost no games. After Jobs rejoined the company at the helm and they began reinventing themselves with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, it always seemed like you could get more for less with other companies' products, and Apple never seemed to have the latest features. For instance, my Nokia N82 had a much better camera than the first iPhone along with 3G support, could play a wider variety of video codecs, and the Symbian OS had more apps. When the inferiority of Nokia's offerings became too much to bear, I switched to Android with the Galaxy S2, HTC One X, and then LG G3. I loved each one more than the last, and sang the praises of the OS, which was a dream compared to the barely-functional Nokia N8's OS aka Symbian's death rattle.

Over a few years, however, I began to notice more and more issues. While blazing fast and beautiful at the time of sale, the phones did not age well, and after a year swiping and app launches became sluggish. Idiosyncratic phone and app behavior was as much the rule as the exception, and most of the cutting-edge features that I was so excited about when I bought the phone barely worked or were not capable of the task I was attempting to put them to. Most of this was minor, but it added up to a frustrating experience. The final straw came when I started working for an app company that does alcohol delivery, and the app we were required to use would constantly lose connection to the server and display a notification that said "Service Message". This would cause a beep that slowly drove me insane and I ended up downloading a paid scripting app just go get it to shut the hell up (I couldn't just turn off its notifications because I needed to know when there was a new task assigned to me). Admittedly, this is the developer's fault and not Google or LG's, but the problem did not exist on the iPhone version. It finally dawned on me that this is not unusual. The iOS version of an app is almost always better performing and more trouble-free, and it's not hard to understand why. When a single phone model represents a large fraction of total smartphones, its userbase is more likely to spend money on apps, and the company that makes it only releases one new model per year, to fail to optimize for that phone would be a sign of mental illness. Attaining the same level of polish with each phone in an ecosystem that sees hundreds of new models each year from different manufacturers would be impossible. I decided that on my next upgrade, I would no longer settle for the second-class citizen version of every app.

Don't get me wrong, I still chafe at the idea of closed ecosystems and proprietary technologies. But as much as I like the idea of being able to customize my Android phones, I never actually did. As much as I liked the ability to dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of the phone, I only did so when it was misbehaving, which was often. Since I had signed up for Verizon's Edge when you could still upgrade phones after the first year, I decided to exercise the option and step-up to a 6S Plus, which arrived yesterday. I also took advantage of Apple's 24-month installment plan to get a new iPad Air 2 and ditch the clunky Asus netbook that was half a decade past its point of obsolescence.

That a brand new iPad would be an upgrade from a c2008 Atom-powered netbook is not a surprise, but it was some of the best money I've ever spent, as I was suddenly able to be productive in the car between delivery orders, in coffee shops, and in the office. When I had to work on that horrid netbook, I would procrastinate endlessly because something as simple as editing an Excel file became a laborious chore. The phone upgrade I was less certain of, since technically it was a downgrade on paper. The LG G3 had a 1440P screen vs the 6S+'s 1080P, 13 vs 12 MP camera, 3 vs 2 GB of RAM, 4 vs 2 processor cores, etc. It was a perfect demonstration of the Android vs Apple mentality. Despite having lower specs, the iPhone's screen looks much nicer, as do the photos and video, and everything is much snappier. More importantly, the little usability and compatibility issues have vanished. No more waiting for a page to load, going to press a link and then have it move positions just as my finger hits the screen, causing me to click an ad instead. No more "Service Message", no more random disconnects and server errors in my banking app. No more finicky camera behavior when scanning barcodes. No more music files getting stuck or playing a different file when it reconnects to my car's bluetooth. It seems petty to complain about these little issues, but I use my phone so much that these things really do affect the amount of stress I carry with me on a day-to-day basis.

I now find myself with the exact mentality I would have ridiculed a couple of years ago. I don't care if the new Android phones have better specs because the user experience will still lag behind. I don't care if there is a new feature that isn't available on iDevices, because I know that Apple will wait to implement it until it's ready be used without a lot of hassle or compatibility issues. As much as I like what Microsoft is trying to do with Windows 10's integration of OS for smartphones, tablets, consoles, and PC's, I'm sure they'll make a hash of it at first because if that idea was ready for primetime, Apple would be doing it with iOS and OSX. It may be anathema to my PC origins, but it's a much more comfortable way to live.

Anyone have similar or contrasting stories?
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Jub
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Re: My experience switching from Android to iOS

Post by Jub » 2015-09-27 12:28am

My Galaxy S5 hasn't given me any troubles. My biggest issue with it has been the fact that I can't store apps on my SD card, but even that was solved once I bothered to start clearing out the junk on the internal memory. That said, I've never used an iOS device so I can't compare.

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Re: My experience switching from Android to iOS

Post by phongn » 2015-09-30 03:20pm

Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:That a brand new iPad would be an upgrade from a c2008 Atom-powered netbook is not a surprise, but it was some of the best money I've ever spent, as I was suddenly able to be productive in the car between delivery orders, in coffee shops, and in the office. When I had to work on that horrid netbook, I would procrastinate endlessly because something as simple as editing an Excel file became a laborious chore. The phone upgrade I was less certain of, since technically it was a downgrade on paper. The LG G3 had a 1440P screen vs the 6S+'s 1080P, 13 vs 12 MP camera, 3 vs 2 GB of RAM, 4 vs 2 processor cores, etc. It was a perfect demonstration of the Android vs Apple mentality. Despite having lower specs, the iPhone's screen looks much nicer, as do the photos and video, and everything is much snappier. More importantly, the little usability and compatibility issues have vanished.
Many of the specs for 'Android v. iOS' have to be taken in careful context: 1440p vs 1080p is probably invisible at working distance, Apple's cameras are generally better integrated (even if lower resolution, and typically have better software and hardware processing backing them), a non-managed runtime (iOS) runs more efficiently on less RAM than a managed one (Android) and Apple's ARM CPUs have better single-thread performance than any mobile processor, and better than many older Intel CPUs.

Remember the 2000s when Intel and AMD were improving leaps and bounds every generation? That's been mobile for the last few years. And see how Intel is currently stomping AMD into the ground in any metric? That's Apple v. everyone in mobile processors right now.

Apple doesn't fight the specification checklist war: that is the path to commoditization, low profits and pain. They sell a complete user experience, for which there can be no price.
Anyone have similar or contrasting stories?
(Note: I've been using Apple products since the Apple IIe, Microsoft's stack since Windows 3.0 and Linux-on-the-server since the 2000s).

I used Android on the HTC G1 and the Nexus One. I bailed because the user experience (UX) on Android continually enraged me. Lots of very poorly thought out design decisions there (since cleaned up, but the OEMs insisting on their own modifications and the inability of the Android system to ship updates hobbles any attempt by Google to fix Android's UX). I accepted Apple's "we know better than you" design philosophy and haven't looked back since.

The customization story was a big one back in the 1990-2000s on the desktop. Make everything exactly how you like it! Turns out, most people don't care and can't be bothered other than maybe changing the wallpaper to show their family. MacOS had Kaleidoscope, Windows had alternate shells and Linux has lots of desktop environments and window managers. Now you're basically running what you get out of the box.
Jub wrote:My Galaxy S5 hasn't given me any troubles. My biggest issue with it has been the fact that I can't store apps on my SD card, but even that was solved once I bothered to start clearing out the junk on the internal memory. That said, I've never used an iOS device so I can't compare.
Google is basically telling OEMs to stop using removable storage to store applications. It doesn't work well and is fraught with all sorts of problems (removable storage is less reliable, slower and can be removed at will).

The mobile philosophy of "hide the filesystem from the user" also runs into a brick wall if you have removable storage.
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Re: My experience switching from Android to iOS

Post by madd0ct0r » 2015-09-30 05:28pm

I was forced to switch to a mac from pc. Fucking hated it. Was angry for two months until I tipped a cup of tea into it and bought myself a nice laptop.

People talk about user experience. I didn't see any of that. Non of my programs worked, non of my shortcuts worked, and there were big fat buttons for chubby fingers where I'd once had dials and meaningful options. It was like driving a tank toy truck. I wouldn't have been so angry if people didn't keep telling me about the magical user interface they were getting.
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Re: My experience switching from Android to iOS

Post by phongn » 2015-10-01 02:56pm

madd0ct0r wrote:I was forced to switch to a mac from pc. Fucking hated it. Was angry for two months until I tipped a cup of tea into it and bought myself a nice laptop.

People talk about user experience. I didn't see any of that. Non of my programs worked, non of my shortcuts worked, and there were big fat buttons for chubby fingers where I'd once had dials and meaningful options. It was like driving a tank toy truck. I wouldn't have been so angry if people didn't keep telling me about the magical user interface they were getting.
UX for desktop Windows and OS X is probably on par with each other today, IMO. That said, they have certain fundamental differences in design and thought (document- vs. application-centric interfaces, etc.) that can drive people switching from one side to the other nuts. If you were forced to use a Mac, though, and all your important software ran on Windows, the real answer was to boot into Windows :P
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Re: My experience switching from Android to iOS

Post by biostem » 2015-10-04 05:12am

I feel that the comparison is not really a fair one; Apple controls the whole show, and they only ever have a handful of models to worry about. There are no 3rd party manufacturers to worry about, and the user experience is very tightly controlled. It's like comparing a rail shooter to a sandbox one - in the rail shooter, the developer controls where you go and what you see, and you never run into clipping issues or problems with getting stuck on terrain. In the sandbox game, the player can do things or get places the devs never anticipated.

There are also issues of apps being "good enough" versus "meets requirements" - Apple may charge a much higher fee to get a professional App into their store, and they may also require a more stringent testing process, while also having to only account for a small selection of possible configurations, whereas Android Apps probably have a much lower required testing protocol, and only check for some basic parameters, before allowing an App on an unfamiliar/untested device. Now couple that with all this other less-tested software and cumulative effects this may all have, and you get the picture.

Don't get me wrong - Apple makes a very good product, but even the highest-end Windows laptop doesn't have the kind of exclusive pairing and development cycle that Macs enjoy, which means they aren't competing on equal footing.

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