Ahh, the joys of expressing an Opinion. Earlier this week, having spent several months enjoying Android phones, I expressed here at EFTM and on my Podcast – that I had made the decision to switch back to iPhone. News.com.au republished that article, and a lot of fun and healthy debate ensued. Today, Brisbane technology writer Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson wrote a “response” to my article. ‘Twas an interesting read!
I don’t know where to start, but let me give it a whirl.
Let’s start with my “advice” for Google – Dudley wrote:
Naively, he offered Google advice about their software, the open system now running a great majority of the world’s phones.
Oh, how quaint. Larry Page will surely get right on that, when he stops guffawing.
Following is a list of issues with my opinion, and then – um.. some Advice for Apple “Let’s take a moment to remind him of five improvements Apple should make to the iPhone to give it a chance against the world’s biggest phone software”
How quaint! I’m sure Tim Cook is running around the Cupertino campus of Apple gathering the troops in response (as he surely did with my “advice” earlier this year)
Allow me to address Dudley’s thoughts on my “list”
Devices sometimes get sluggish, Long says. Imagine how frustrating this must be on an iPhone. While Android devices are loaded with up to 3GB RAM, iPhones are stuck with 1GB. While Android users can close open apps with one button press and the tap of an icon, Apple users must double-tap the home button and swipe each open app upwards. Ouch.
Ahh, at no point did I claim, or insinuate that the specifications of the iPhone were better than any Android phone. What I mentioned was
There are times when even the best device just seems to get sluggish. From the unlock screen to streaming Bluetooth music while using Google Maps for navigation – it’s just not perfect at all times and has frustrated me
Nothing has been said to me to make me feel any differently on this. I use a pin code to lock my phone, and the very fact that time after time I’d have experiences where the numbers I push were slow to respond or the streaming music jittered when using nav at the same time was something that personally frustrated me. Yes, enough to drive me back to Apple’s iPhone
Long can’t handle choice. He doesn’t like it when apps ask him to nominate a default photo app. All he’d have to do to overcome this is choose Gallery as the default once. It would take two taps of his finger. Challenging? He’d spend more time looking for a power point to charge his oft-depleted iPhone.
It’s annoying. Open Instagram, it asks you each and every time you want to find a photo to share (rather than snapping one with the camera in Instagram), And as for the default choice – I get that, I’ve done that, and in some apps It keeps asking, and my point would be – set the default from the get go. If a user is advanced enough to find a new app let that app then help them set it as default. This is the case with many SMS messaging apps, you don’t get asked what app you want until you install a new one – that’s great. I think that should be how the phones are shipped in relation to video, photo and browsers at the very least.
Long can’t be allowed in a store by himself. He wants to be guided around the store. Perhaps that’s why Google introduced categories. Perhaps it’s why Google introduced Editor’s Picks and shows recommendations from your friends. Perhaps that’s why you can search apps and download them to your Android phone using the Play Store website alone. Can’t do that with Apple’s App Store. Darn.
Perhaps address the whole point, not just the half of it. No apparent response to my statement:
Get rid of the crap – it’s boosting your numbers, but ruins the experience.
There is a ridiculous number of crappy, rip off apps – and they make Google look good because they can talk about “available app numbers” but when the average Joe downloads them they get a raw deal. Apple curates the store not just editorially but for submissions. Every app is tested and approved. This shocking closed system means you get a lower percentage of crap. Simple.
According to Dudley:
Long doesn’t like how apps look on his Android phone. I don’t know. I suspect the Samsung Galaxy S5’s Super OLED screen with superior brightness might have blinded him to the obvious. Google Android apps tend to have more customisations, helped by menu icons that allow users to use the apps as they wish.
Nope, I didn’t mention screen quality, brightness, not once:
I don’t know why – but I suspect it’s the million combinations of screen resolutions that developers need to cater for that means they can’t make apps look as good as they do on iOS – either that, or they are just lazy – but at times you find apps which are simply beautiful on iOS and are just “ok” on Android. It’s frustrating.
What I’m talking about is the appeal of the apps themselves – and (for fear of just repeating the above) it’s apparent to me that many apps on Android are a compromise between good design and flexibility due to the completely flexible screen resolution options device manufacturers have.
Long also asks for an “open” platform at one point, and yet he’s returning to a closed system. It’s hard to watch a man repeat a mistake.
Apple’s eco-system is as closed or as open as you want it to be. What exactly is closed about it? You can’t add widgets – I agree, but you’re not trapped into their music buying or movie buying – you can easily install Google Play Music and Movies and knock yourself out. I’d call that pretty open. Oh wait, you have to go through their process to get Apps installed, so you can’t backload apps – great! It means iOS is a secure platform, free of malware and that’s something I’m happy to be part of.
Advice for Apple
And then there’s the advice for Apple, well done Jen – you just sunk to “my level”. These are areas that will give Apple “a chance” against Google. Seriously – Apple is struggling? I think not. iPhones are selling, and selling well.
Loads and loads of people love the iPhone size. And while even I have recently agreed that the screen could be bigger – it’s not necessary (nor do I personally believe they will) to add a 5 inch or higher screen to the line up.
iOS 8 starts to help Apple users here – when it’s released later this year, you’ll be able to see just what apps are chewing up your battery, because, surprise surprise, on similar sized android phones, the issue is the same. Bigger Android phones allow more space for bigger batteries, that’s great. But a huge many times the battery issues people have are actually driven by the apps running and settings being used (like location) rather than broadly blaming “Apple”
Yeah, we agree!
NFC and wireless charging
Again, we agree!
A better camera
Megapixel shmegapixel. The iPhone camera is best in class. It’s not all about the specs, it’s about use. iPhone cameras can be launched and snapped away with. Android cameras are often sluggish, overcomplicated and still don’t offer a better picture.
The bottom line
But, the bottom line is, I’m a talk-back radio technology commentator. The things I say are opinions. I’m entitled to them, and won’t stop expressing them.
Bring on the comments, the debate has been excellent – some passionate people out there!
Most of all though – it’s a personal decision people are making year to year as they consider a new phone.
I was not writing to express what every person on earth should do, I was and am sharing my experience with the smartphone market.
One more thing
Let’s not overplay the dominance of Android in the market. Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s is a battle. And a tight one. You can see that on the street looking at premium smartphone users.
Apple though, is not and doesn’t seem interested in competing for entry-level users. Samsung, heck even Kogan sell cheap Android Smartphones, and often people who need a new phone have no choice but to get an Android phone.
You go into a Telco store and try to buy a “dumb phone” and then look at the vast range of phones from countless manufacturers in the low and mid ranges that are “smartphones” running Android.
Those users who haven’t got a huge choice, or can’t commit to a premium phone are the very people who deserve a simple, clutter free, easy to understand operating system. In my view – Android phones aren’t offering that.
The comments here and elsewhere are passionate and almost always by advanced users. We’ve got to remember there are people out there who’ve never downloaded an app, never shared a photo on social media – yet all that power is in the palm of their hand. A better Android will make that more likely.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.