The iPhone launched 10 years ago, but Roger switched much more recently, in 2015. On the milestone anniversary of Apple’s groundbreaking handset, he tells his story.
My trio of dusty unused Android phones. From left to right: the Nexus 5, the Galaxy Nexus, and a forgotten LG budget model.
I sometimes like to think of myself as the office heretic here at AppleInsider. Case in point: despite writing about Apple products for many years, I only got my first iPhone, an iPhone 6, in early 2015 —making the leap from a string of Android devices.
The change wasn’t predicated by any dissatisfaction with Android. Instead it happened mostly because I was already nearing upgrade time, and offered an opportunity to transition on the cheap. Also, while I was already using the latest iPad, it felt increasingly hard to talk about Apple without having its flagship product.
Due to various circumstances, I’d gone through three Android phones in three years by that point. I started off with a cheap LG phone on Virgin Mobile —functional, but the sort of product some Apple fans might imagine when they criticize Android. It was a slow, clunky Android 2.x device that wasn’t much good past its core functions. It did the trick, but had so little internal storage that even with an added microSD card, I eventually had to upgrade to a “real” phone just to keep using my favorite apps.
By comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus was a breath of fresh air, at least initially. I might’ve stuck with it for a while in fact, except that both its battery and performance degraded faster than expected. Hitching and slow loading times became a severe annoyance towards the end —something I learned was relatively common with Android devices at the time, especially since many of them didn’t have TRIM support for their flash storage.
My last Android phone was an LG Nexus 5. That one was actually pretty solid, with a sharp display, improved OS, decent camera, decent battery, and no major slowdowns to speak of. Before my iPhone 6, there was no plan to switch until later in 2015, if not the next year.
Like many users, Roger’s first iPhone was the iPhone 6. The larger screen size led to huge sales growth starting in 2014.
After switching, my main discovery was how smooth an iPhone felt. Because of Apple’s integrated hardware and software, apps and the OS ran like butter 95 percent of the time. My Nexus 5 had been a workhorse, but still stuttered occasionally with things like Google Maps. I think I finally understood why some people were iPhone stalwarts —it’s just innately satisfying to have such a polished experience.
Speaking of apps, that was another, minor revelation. Android devices have access to many of the popular titles iPhone owners do, but after making the leap, I could suddenly assume anything I wanted would be available. Chalk that up to Apple being first to market, as well as the higher profits often made off iPhone owners.
It was also pleasing to get OS updates the moment they became available. Nexus devices were always guaranteed to get the latest version of Android, but staggered rollouts could sometimes take weeks.
There were things I missed about my Android phones. I enjoyed the convenience of Android’s integration with various Google services, for example, even if that might be scary for some people from a privacy perspective. For all of Apple’s efforts with Siri and iOS, there was no comparing against Google Now’s voice commands and info cards, hooked into data from services like Gmail and Google Maps.
An accessible filesystem and less rigid sandboxing also made my Android phones more customizable. One of the apps on my Nexus 5 changed my wallpaper to an animated 3D landscape, which would adapt to both weather and the time of day —I could sometimes tell it was raining without making it past the homescreen. Android owners can also put widgets directly on their homescreen, something I desperately wish Apple would emulate.
My iPhone 6 also proved to be less tough eventually, despite Apple using “premium” materials. The display developed a permanent white spot, and also began lifting off the metal shell on one side. Not wanting to risk a possible battery explosion, I was forced to ditch it for a (hopefully sturdier) 6s Plus.
I’m happy to stay in the iPhone world for the moment, but unlike some Apple fans, I imagine I could be just as happy with a high-end Android phone. There are pros and cons to both platforms. It’s just a matter of smart shopping, and deciding which tradeoffs you’re willing to live with.