About 30 hours ago, UPS delivered an iPhone 4S to my door. It’s my very first iPhone and it replaced one of the hottest Android devices: the htc EVO 4G. I’ve already chronicled my history with smart phones in How I use my htc EVO for social media, so this post will focus on my impressions of moving from an Android to an iPhone 4S.
1. I’m going to miss the big bright screen on the htc EVO 4G. I’m a little older and I appreciated the bigger text.
2. I’m not going to miss the lack of battery life that, while I found workarounds, was a constant source of frustration with the EVO.
Right out of the gate I was finding things I liked and disliked about the iPhone. I decided to stay as objective as possible and forget that the 4S was a shiny new toy. I understand that the EVO and 4S have basically the same screen resolution but at the same font size the type will be bigger on the EVO since it accomplishes that resolution with more physical real estate. I’ve had to set the font size bigger on the iPhone, which means I see less on each screen.
On the battery front, however, I couldn’t be happier. I used the iPhone 4S almost nonstop for eight hours and still had 18 percent battery remaining. With that kind of hard usage, I suspect the EVO would have lasted five or six hours and been almost dead.
The iPhone is a mature platform
Apple has more experience with smart phones than any single company at this point and it shows. I played around with some of the first generation iPhones and I can tell you Apple has come a long, long way. Much of what happened between the iPhone 4 and 4S was in my opinion incremental upgrades. The battery friendly hardware is faster and more refined and it’s combined with a faster, more refined (voice activated) battery-friendly operating system. While I will miss the EVOs bigger screen, I won’t miss its larger form factor. The iPhone 4S fits in my hand really well.
It’s the supporting ecosystem
On the evening of the 4S release, I had a brief conversation with my friend Brennan Stehling about the success of the iPhone based upon the supporting ecosystem. He was talking about iTunes and the App Store as well as Apple’s retail stores and the Genius Bar. When you buy an iPhone, you buy easy and integrated. When you buy an Android, you buy a fairly open platform that is very flexible as long as you are willing to figure out a lot of the tips, tricks and techniques on your own.
I’m not saying one way is better than the other. It’s just different. The iPhone also has a much better out-of-box experience. I’m a day into this and pretty much have it set up the way I want. It took me about two weeks to really figure out the Android platform. Now the price will be that at some point I’ll reach a wall that Apple’s tight control of the iPhone platform will not allow me to go around. I realize and accept that.
It’s the apps stupid
In politics there is a saying, “It’s the economy stupid.” With smart phones, the same can be said about the apps. Over the last day, I’ve been using the same apps on the iPhone platform that I used on the Android platform. With one exception, the iPhone apps are hands down better, tighter and more stable. The exception is the WordPress app which has very poor WordPress stats access on the iPhone compared to the Android.
Email is at least as good and now integrates with Google apps email quite well. Twitter for iPhone blows the same app on the Android away. Tweetdeck has crashed once today. On the Android, that was a several times a day occurrence. Facebook is easier to use. TripIt looks prettier. Best of all, I can play my favorite word game Moxie, which wasn’t even available on the Android. Kindle has about the same functionality and, with the font size set right, is very comfortable for reading.
It’s not really better; it’s different
I didn’t set out to settle the Android vs. iPhone debate. Instead, I wanted to describe the differences as I’ve seen them over the last 24 hours. Both are great platforms; they are just geared toward different types of users. I’m going to enjoy less hassle and access to the Genius Bar when I have troubles. That’s not necessarily for everyone because I give up a fairly open platform for one that is pretty restrictive. However, at this moment in time it’s a price I’m willing to pay. I’ll keep you posted.