123 Comments

Summary:

As someone who regularly blogs about Apple, it’s a bit surprising that the iPhone 4S is the first iPhone I’ve owned. Until now, I’ve been an Android user, so here are my thoughts about the good and bad that come with going all-in on Apple devices.

iOS vs Android

On the iPhone 4S launch day, I lined up with about 14 other people outside our Verizon store, my Motorola Droid in hand, checking the time until the store opened. I had never owned an iPhone before, which might come as a surprise from an Apple blogger. When I got the Droid in October of 2009, AT&T was the only carrier to have the 3GS, and rumors of the iPhone coming to Verizon were still just rumors. Two years later, almost to the day, the iPhone 4S came out on my network of choice, and here we are.

Since there are likely a lot of Android users who are considering making the leap thanks to Apple’s new iPhone 4S hardware and the improvements that come with iOS 5, I thought I’d list the things I miss and don’t miss about the Android experience after making the switch to help others determine if this is the right move for them.

Things I miss about Android

Customization

Android proponents are big on pointing out the degree to which the user can customize the OS. You can use different keyboards, lock screens, launchers, even install different ROMs, right from the device. The geek in me loved tinkering around with Android, and that part of me will miss it a lot. Sure, you can jailbreak iOS and get some of the same customizations, but not to the same extent, and it requires going against Apple policies.

Notification light

On nearly all Android phones, there’s an LED that blinks when you have unread notifications. This came in handy since if I got a new notification, I could tell immediately. With the iPhone, I have to press a button to make sure there aren’t any new notifications. It’s a small difference, but the added convenience of the notification light really makes its effects felt over time.

Global sharing menu

In Android, you can share something with any service that has its app installed. I could upload a picture from the Gallery app to any Twitter client, not just the official app. Apple has made headway into making sharing better by integrating Twitter into iOS, but it’s not as good as the Android share menu. I’d be happy if Apple just added Facebook integration, though.

Free turn-by-turn navigation

Google’s free navigation app is a big advantage for Android. I’ve used it often to find obscure restaurants and other destinations while I’m driving. I have yet to find any consistently reliable, free or cheap alternatives in the App Store (but feel free to suggest something in the comments).

File system and downloads

Being able to download a file to my SD card and manipulate it with a file manager was useful. The inability to do this on my iPhone annoyed me when I wanted to download a wallpaper that only came in a ZIP archive, which of course I couldn’t download or open. I ended up transferring it over from my Mac via Photo Stream.

Things I don’t miss about Android

Laggy UI

The first thing I noticed coming to iOS from Android is just how smooth and fluid iOS is in comparison. It tracks my taps and swipes without any noticeable lag, lending to the feeling that you’re actually manipulating an object. Android has never felt the same way. Scrolling isn’t as smooth; pinch to zoom lags and stutters; and sometimes, taps take longer than they should to register. This could all be attributed to the Droid’s old hardware, of course, but reviews of even current gen devices sometimes cite similar problems.

Widgets

I feel about Android widgets the same way I feel about OS X’s Dashboard widgets: They’re a neat novelty, but not very practical. If I want to read the news, I don’t want to just stare at a news widget while headlines go by, one at a time. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather just launch an app.

“Real” multitasking

In Android, apps can run in the background when you’re not using them, like on a PC. In iOS, apps are suspended when they aren’t active, but are allowed to do certain things in the background. Android’s approach uses more RAM and battery life. Apple’s uses less of both while providing nearly the same experience. I’m just fine with “fake” multitasking if it uses fewer resources to accomplish the same thing.

The Android market

There’s no arguing that iOS has a wider and better selection of apps. There isn’t a single third-party Android app I’ve used that doesn’t have a better iOS alternative. Couple that with the increased presence of malware on the Android Market, and I feel pretty good about living in a walled garden.

Google integration

With iCloud, I don’t need Google integration anymore. iCloud takes care of everything important that Google did, and does it without forcing me to use a clunky web app (except in the case of uploading documents from the Mac). This is why iCloud is such a huge deal for Apple: It takes away one of Android’s core advantages and improves on it in a way that Google can’t.

Final thoughts

One of the strongest assets Apple has is its ecosystem, and that’s more apparant to me now than ever. All my mobile devices — my computer, my tablet, and my phone — are made by Apple. The tight integration between them is all part of the design: The more Apple products I use, the better my experience becomes. With my Android phone, I couldn’t really use Apple’s ecosystem to its full potential. But with my new trifecta, I can play games on my Apple TV via mirroring, take a photo and have it appear instantly on my iPad and Mac, sync with iTunes without ever having to touch a cable, and easily locate any of my devices if I ever lose one.

Sure, I could do some of those things on Android, but the experience just wasn’t as good. Some will argue that that’s representative of Apple bullying users into buying only its devices, but for me it just represents greater convenience.

Have you recently made the switch from Android to iOS? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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  1. Brad @ The Next Web Monday, November 7, 2011

    Try Waze for GPS

    1. I was not impressed when I tried Waze, looked like a toy. I just recently bought an iPhone 4s from a Motorola Droid too. There has been a lot left to be desired.

  2. Brad @ The Next Web Monday, November 7, 2011

    Ack. Comment posted too quickly. So, try Waze for GPS, but I’m also a BIG fan of the TeleNav GPS app. It’s worth the money.

    Having made this same jump myself a few months back, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve said here. At the end of the day, Android’s full potential is yet to be realized, and it still feels like it lags behind iOS.

    1. Agreed. Waze is incredibly useful as it acts like a crowdsourced traffic censor. You can even alert people to accidents, cops, and construction. I just wish they had more avoidance options in the GPS.

      1. I do love the crowd source traffic of Waze. However it looks like such a toy in navigation and the scrolling isn’t that good to see your upcoming route.

      2. Btw, Google Traffic data is croudsourced + non-crowdsourced.

    2. Refer to the first part of the article if you think Android lags behind iOS. The key part of the article is that both lag behind each other in some ways and not in others.

      For example, I personally I cannot go to iOS until it has the Swype keyboard. I can type 50+ words per minute one handed with just my thumb. iOS only dreams of such easy typing.

  3. Waze is a great navigation app that’s free from the APP store.

  4. Michial Brown Monday, November 7, 2011

    Honestly, I believe all the things you miss from Android will be met and exceeded when the next untethered jailbreak comes out. The customization and file management are much better than rooting an android. The community it much tighter and it all is integrated and made to work with the ui and apple’s excellent ecosystem. Trust me, it’s the best of both worlds. A smooth well oiled machine and all the customization to keep you addicted for the foreseeable future. It isn’t traceable and is easily reversed via a restore in iTunes. It’s amazing.

    1. You don’t have to root an Android to do customization.

      1. Or file management, for that matter. Seriously, a smartphone that forces you to jailbreak to manage your files? Takes the “smart” out of smartphone.

    2. The huge problem that comes in here is that what you have just said means that Apple wont be about SIMPLICITY anymore, which is what Apple design is based on. Also what you have just admitted to is that Apple now have to COPY from Google to achieve greater success, I dunno why you Apple sheep stick to the heard, its obsurd

  5. In the accessibility part of the settings, is there not an option to have the LED (camera) flash to inform of notifications?

    1. Yeah, you can take notification light off of the list. It’s a setting you can turn on. To turn it on go to Settings > General > Accessibility > and turn on the ‘LED Flash for Alerts’ option.

      1. sweet…..thank you! have been missing this feature too!

      2. You mean your actual CAMERA FLASH blinks to let you know you have notifications? You’re kidding, right? That’s not a band-aid; that’s a tourniquet.

      3. Dave: I guess the better solution is to design, manufacture, and install a whole other light in the phone, just for notifications? Please.

      4. This is slightly different from Androids. Androids will continue to blink if you have an unaddress alert. So if you got a missed call or a text while you were in the bathroom, the LEDs will continue to blink periodically. The setting in iOS will only blink while the the call is still in coming or the SMS is incoming. But will stop blinking after the alert is done.

      5. @Tom Karpik:
        idevices are suposed to be about design…it seems you are unable to admit to the possibility that it was an oversight not including a notification light so you instead jump to mocking the effort required to add one post production to your already existing (and by this definition flawed) device. classic diversion and distraction only made worse by your pathetic “please” at the end. wipe that smile off your face you smug socio some people can see what you are doing…at least i hope so because the alternative is you really are that dumb and brainwashed.

        the camera flash is WAY overkill for notification..its not a big deal…but kinda funny and slightly impracticable because you are left with making sure your device is left upside down or pushing the button.

        not far from where you started with having to push a button instead of glance at your dedicated notification led.

      6. I didn’t know about that setting, so thanks for the tip. However, it isn’t as good as my Droid’s dedicated notification light; it only blinks when I get the notification, plus I’d have to look on the back of the phone.

        Also, let’s tone down the mean comments, yeah?

  6. Copilot Live USA is $5 , and a full USA offline nav app, as good as any other.

    1. I will have to try that out – so far as another recent android convert I have tried TeleNav, Waze and just plain maps to navigate and it has left lots to be desired for.

  7. Try this on iOS:
    Settings.app > General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts

  8. You do know that uploading a picture has never been a problem. I can’t think of a single App that does NOT have the ability to access the photos on my iPhone and upload them to where ever I want.

    1. its the other way around. In android you can for example be in the picture gallery and press share. From there you can choose whatever app to share it with. be it twitter, facebook, flickr. you Dont need to go to twitter, facebook, flickr app etc to share a picture like you have to on ios

      1. The sharing abilities on Android are far superior. Even in the respective email apps the Gmail app just lets you attach a file. However, there are defiantly advantages to both.

  9. If none of the budget or free navigation apps you try cut it, consider giving Tom Tom’s app a try. It is worth every penny and has a company with a hell of a background in the field supporting it.

    1. With TomTom’s wonderful support (they sent me a software update for my unit that bricked it, and refused to do anything about it), I will never use ANYTHING from TomTom again, and I encourage everyone to do the same. If they won’t stand behind their software, why give them your money?

      1. I cant comment on your case with the tomtom ” Gps ” but on the tomtom app for the iphone, I can tell you it is a wonderful program that does just you want from a good gps, sadly it does eat the battery. But it looks wonderful while doing it.

    2. Will Reynolds Young Starsman Tuesday, November 8, 2011

      I’m worried I will try the Tom-Tom app and not like it and be out the $$.

  10. excellent article, your writing was straight and solid. I know my iPhone is not the biggest, baddest kid in the playground, but I’m very happy. The device just works (2, 3gs, 4, 4s) and with a family of 4 people we’ve used and upgraded all of them. I used to be a iHater, but had to finally give in – the ecosystem is just solid. I now have 3 mac computers and 2 appleTV2s and 2-4’s and 2-4s’s phones. The stuff just works! Sold my 3gs for $150 after using it for over 2 years. Sold my 2 for $85 and I didn’t turn it on for over 18months. Have you tried Remote app with an AppleTV2? killer fun! Also give AirVideo if you have a bunch of avi’s and don’t want to convert them to mp4. Another killer ability to stream my content that is not natively iFriendly.

    1. I have been using the $15 Regional version of Navigon for over a year now and love it. think it’s better than either TomTom or Garmin (IMHO, of course). I just upgraded to the entire NorthAmerican version for $50, well worth it. I only wish (along with the sharing theme) iOS would allow you to specify default apps per function…when I click an address in an email, I might want to send it to Navigon…

  11. On the 4 & 4S there’s an option which allows the LED flash to blink when you have a new
    notification.

    Nav Free is a good turn-by-turn app.

  12. I work with Android phones everyday, but bought an iPhone 4S 2 weeks ago. The three things I miss on iOS that I have on Android are the back button, the context button and “better” long touch.

    Many apps have implemented their own back button, but not all. Having a single back button for all apps is real nice.

    The context button for app settings and/or currently selected item is very natural. The process for doing similar tasks on iOS always seems a bit awkward. Not impossible, just not as obvious.

    The same can be said for “long touch” behavior. Android seems to make better use of “long touch” than iOS. At least from what I can tell over the past 2 weeks.

    Overall, I’m glad I went with iOS over Android. If I was 5-10 years younger, I would have “put up” (and maybe embraced) Android’s “flexibility” and quirks. But, now, I just don’t want to be bothered.

    1. as commented above when the unteathed jailbrake comes out the phone goes from fairly nice to just awesome. The app you would like to pick up is called activtor it allows you to use gesters and such for commands while using programs and different things. Very good program.

  13. I haven’t tried Waze for free voice turn by turn navigation, but I use the Mapquest app. Free voice turn by turn, and she hasn’t been wrong yet.

  14. Mapquest 4 Mobile is the BEST free, VOICE navigation app. Completely replaced my Garmin because of ease of use and accuracy. I run it through my radio via GoFlex and get both music and navigation simultaneously. Highly recommend.

  15. Mitch Steiner Monday, November 7, 2011

    I agree 100% with the observations of this article as I have done exactly the same , purchased a Moto Droid the day they came out and have now switched to 4gs – while my droid was rooted I had free tethering – since I have not decided if I would jailbreak i would add that ( im paying for hotspot) also I changed to AT&T and have had more dropped calls in one month than 6 mos on VZW – I live in a VZ EDGE omly area so simultanous V&D is a great addition ( when I have service)

  16. My favorite GPS app right now is waze. All of my friends are using it and we are on different platform devices. Copied directly from their site:

    Looking to download free GPS to your smartphone? Then you’ve come to the right place – waze is a free GPS navigation app geared towards everyday driving that actually makes commuting fun!

    Our free GPS features:

    Voice guided turn-by-turn navigation on your mobile
    Real-time, user-generated traffic and road reports
    Alternative routes option
    Twitter, Facebook & Foursquare integration
    Cool social elements that connect you to other drivers on the road
    Download GPS for free to your cellphone (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Windows Mobile) with waze and join the community of drivers in your area today. Click the button below to get going, then get out on the road, and get wazing! http://www.waze.com/download/
    ________________________________________________________
    Here are some more but I don’t know how good they are:

    MapQuest says it is the #1 provider of FREE voice-guided, turn-by-turn, GPS navigation for iPhone. FREE app

    Skobbler is Free Turn-By-Turn GPS Navigation Solution

    Navmii’s Navfree Offers Free iPhone Turn-by-turn Navigation

  17. What about flash? iOs can’t do flash and that’s what a majority of the Internet used for many things. Sure you can view it with an app but you can’t use it really. Some one ask siri about that.

    1. “…a majority of the Internet used for many things.”

      I haven’t missed flash one bit on my iPad. In fact I can only thing of a couple of sites that primarily uses flash that I can’t access via safari, but they each have free apps – so no worries.

  18. Traitor! Apple sucks!

    1. I don’t remember signing a loyalty oath to Google.

  19. In the end, it’s the “Apple Experience” that will never be copied by others. They can always duplicate all the Apps & it’s function, all the specifications of their devices, but they will never be able to replicate how smooth things are in iOS. :)

  20. well since I don’t own or plan to own any apple products I would say this ‘trifecta’ is for you and you alone. I will never have the money to afford all the apple devices and having a smartphone with android that is capable of much better things than the iphone alone could ever do is a better deal for me and many more people around the world (android is gaining over half the market in most of the world)

    1. It’s good that Android is making smartphones more accessible to the poor, but I’d also point out that Apple is giving away the 3GS for free.

  21. Ive switched FROM iOS to Android and I couldn’t be happier

    1. Good for you! Use what makes you happy.

  22. Misleading ““Real” multitasking”. “Android’s approach uses more RAM and battery life”. Using more RAM is irrelevant in Android. The Android life cycle manages RAM incredibly efficiently (http://www.anddev.org/images/android/activity_lifecycle.png). Battery life is only affected by this if the application isn’t coded correctly.

    1. Is that why Android phones need more RAM to do basically the same thing as their iOS counterparts? Or why there’s a limit on how many apps one can install, even though there’s plenty of free storage? Is that an example of an efficient model too?

      1. I think you need to be more specific, because I’ve never had either of the problems you mention. First with a Droid X, now a Droid Charge, soon to be a Galaxy Nexus. I’ve never hit a limit and I currently have tens of apps installed. Also of note – the amount of RAM that most handsets had until the recent spat of superphones was the same as the 4, 4S and iPad2 – 512MB.

  23. Good luck with iTunes – as an iPhone4 user, I dispise it. Everytime I upgrade my phone, it takes me 3-8 hours to rebuild because of that piece of &**#$&*@*$*&@#$&* … You’ll want to go back to Android :)

    1. You don’t need iTunes with iOS5. I would have not bought my iPhone 4s if I needed iTunes.

    2. I’m happy with iTunes, actually. It never takes me that long to install an update.

  24. I just can’t stand Apple. That’s a good enough reason to side with Google. Apple is like a little North Korea, and Google is the land of the free.

    1. HTC is South Korea, is that better for you? Google land of the free, really!

      1. I think your confusing them with the North Koreans? As opposed to China made iDi vices? Sorry, started as a swype error but can’t bear to correct it ;)

        By the way when politics moves people this much we’ll have a democracy in this country.

  25. I did the switch from iOS to Android and I totally disagree with you on widgets and battery life (multitasking).

    Widgets are very useful as you can control settings, rather that digging into the menus (see wifi, plane mode etc) also they can provide a summary of setting at a glance.

    As for multitasking it might work the way you describe it but the single fact that on most Android phones you can change the battery is a huge plus. I had the iPhone 3G and 3GS which both are now dead due to the battery. I know I can change the battery but why do I have to pay for a so basic service??!! I am a Mac user since 1991 and I love my macbook pro but for a piece of technology that is considered ‘disposable’ I don’t want to have to pay £450+ every 1-2 years ;)

  26. Swype, swipepad and widget locker for starters..

    Wake me up when I can add a gtask to a list with a gesture from anywhere. Even the lock screen.

    Call me me an android (though o also rock two ipads from time to time) but as far as I’m concerned the race is over. And android is getting more solid by the second. I get how many might like the smaller box of ios, I’m just not able to accept restricts I guess ^^

  27. Another thing I miss about the android system is the ability to have a fully funtional slide-out keyboard available on the mobile device of your choice. I will note that the apple touch pad is incredibly effeciant, bit it still can’t compare to the actual keystone of typing with buttons.

    1. I don’t miss the Droid’s external keyboard at all. iOS’s virtual keyboard is superb.

  28. Sorry, but Apple’s walled garden approach inhibits freedom. I happily exchange a slightly less smooth UI for freedom to do what I want with what I own.

    1. As an end-user, do explain, with specific cases, how Apple is inhibiting your freedom. I hear this argument all the time.

      1. I’ll jump in here. I had the original iPhone a week or so after launch, and then the 3G after that. And I was inhibited because I couldn’t install 3rd party non-appstore apps when I wanted to. I couldn’t modify parts of the system that I desired to (springboard, lockscreen being two), and I couldn’t access it as a disk to use storage that I paid for in the way I wanted. The excuse of “I love the way it works – don’t want to change” doesn’t fly. I paid for the device. I should get to modify parts of the OS that could reasonably be allowed to be modified without affecting the safety or security of the device.

      2. OH! And I forgot the one thing that really was such a pleasant surprise on Android for me – being abe to download a new keyboard! Swiftkey X is simply amazing. It learns my writing style based on texts, tweets, etc I’ve done and changes its prediction accordingly. It’s absolutely amazing – check it out. :)

      3. You can’t tinker with the software on game consoles like the XBox either. Just because you bought the device doesn’t mean you have the right to the software’s source code. Should Apple really be required to make it easy and safe to modify iOS when it’ll only benefit a minority of users?

      4. @Alex – I don’t care to modify source, nor to do anything source-related. I’m talking about modifying how I interact with my device. The fact that jailbreakers have easily modified the underlings of iOS speak to the fact that if Apple wished to it could presumably easily allow these changes, but therein lies the challenge. Apple is, by its own admission, a control freak about its products. That control has unquestionably brought it success by the level of polish Apple has massaged into the products and their software. However, I’ll trade polish for using it how I want to use a device every day.

        I also suspect Android 4.0 aka ICS will further shift the paradigm. From what I’ve read about, Google has added tremendous polish and all the things I love about honeycomb to the OS. They’re really embracing gestures all across the OS, which is huge.

        Remember one thing specifically about gestures. It wasn’t until after the Nexus One was released where Google supported multitouch. It wasn’t that the hardware couldn’t support it (seeing how it was added to Maps, etc via a software update) but that Google was, by my outsider’s view, worried about how Apple would react.

        Another great point of the difference is in “built-in” apps that can be iterated and updated via a market update vs a full OS update. I’ve wondered for a long time now why Apple insists on pushing those with an OS update rather than incrementally via the market.

  29. T by T navigation use Motion X. Awesome.

  30. Well written article. Think you have valid points for all but the lag. Consider the droid you were using was two year old hardware, could it be possible that the equivalent Android hardware not lag either? I have a older android phone that lags but all of my compadres have dual core phones. The difference is really noticable.

    1. The ORIGINAL iPhone in 2007 was just as fluid.

  31. i swithced from android to iOS5 and honestly the only thing i miss about the droid was the ability to take any song in my library and set it as my ringtone. i had to find an online audio converter to get around paying for ringtones of songs that i already had in my music library, but still i’m happy to have made the switch.

  32. Phonedisk (http://www.macroplant.com/phonedisk/) will give you the filesystem on the iPhone.

  33. Steve Tannuzzo Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    The Mapquest app is free and the turn-by-turn directions are excellent. The interface is not great, but it will get you to where you need to go every time.

  34. Yeah, nothing says convenience like having to spend $3,000+ to get devices that work together, not to mention all the content you are required to buy through them…

    1. Wow! $3000+? I must have gotten the best deal in history! $200 iPhone 4S, $100 Apple TV, $900 MacBook Air. That’s $1200; less than half of your “$3000+”! Another Apple-hating troll. I would call you an Android-lover; but that’s not what you are. I’m an Android-lover. I’m also an iOS-lover. I have an iPhone and an Android tablet. They’re both great! You’re just an idiot making a baseless and exaggerated argument. Buy whatever you want, and let others do the same!!

  35. MotionX GPS is one I used on a cross-country trip this summer. It’s not free, but very inexpensive compared to some of the more well-known brands’ navigation apps.

  36. I would agree to most being Android user on phone and iOS user on iPad. However, I am still not convinced on the iCloud part since it is only useful if you are in full Apple eco system i.e. phone, mac, iPad etc. I have iPod, iPad but windows PC & Android phone. For me to have my information sync and available, I need to go out of Apple walled garden, which means either use google docs or dropbox for instance to have accessibility on all devices. After using both, I can say iOS looks smooth and beautiful while Android is laggy but powerful. After even more than a year of use of iOS, I am still not used to of iTunes. I just cant get it working for me the way I want. SD-Card option and windows compatibility in Android just makes is much easier for me to transfer whatever I want and wherever I want. However, I am planning to switch to iPhone to try iOS on mobile.

  37. How can a “technology blogger” get so many things wrong.

    “With iCloud, I don’t need Google integration anymore.”

    There were several alternatives to Google’s cloud that are similar to iCloud on Android.

    “I feel about Android widgets the same way I feel about OS X’s Dashboard widgets: They’re a neat novelty, but not very practical. If I want to read the news, I don’t want to just stare at a news widget while headlines go by, one at a time. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather just launch an app.

    There are many widgets that provide a list of headlines that are updated regularly. This has been the case on WinMo and Android for years. How can you not figure this out?

    1. Re iCloud: I doubt those alternatives (which you fail to name) are as good or comprehensive as Google or Apple’s.

      Re Widgets: That was just an example. I’m aware there are better news widgets, but you still have to open the browser to read the full articles. If I were to use that news widget instead of an app, I’d be going back and forth between it and the browser. I don’t see how that’s practical.

  38. Free turn-by-turn navigation: Waze.

  39. iCloud is a nice idea, but the biggest issue is that anything you didn’t get from iTunes doesn’t really like iCloud. Try moving a ebook in epub that you didn’t get from iTunes onto an iPad from any computer. And if you’ve figured it out, please let me know how.

    1. If I’m not mistaken, you can just email it to yourself and save it in iBooks.

  40. Design
    No plastic
    Well Seasoned OS
    One “flag ship” model
    No fragmentation
    Comfortable Size
    iTunes
    App selection
    Resale value
    Battery life (I’m getting 15hrs+ on my Verizon 4S)

  41. Android’s Version of AirVideo = Emit. Android’s version of AppleTV Remote = GoogleTV Remote.

    Using a camera flash to notify you is NOT the same as the LED…Having an array of colors to signify different notifications types was huge. If I saw blue, I knew I had a Twitter notification, if I saw Green, I knew it was Gmail. The camera flash does not fill this gap.

    Also, about the “tight community”, you have clearly never spent any time on the proper Android forums. That community is as tight as any. Android simply offers more customization options, it is inherent to the OS. I have never seen multiple iOS Launchers, but you can do ANYTHING you could imagine with Android (even emulate WP7). Can you change your keyboard on you iOS Device? I can even tell my phone which keyboard to use depending on the specific application I open. I challenge you to do this!

    And finally…Why would you want to leave the Google Cloud? Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Reader, +, Latitude, Maps, Bookmarks, News, Books…It’s all there. And most of these services are the best in class!

    1. “Why would you want to leave the Google Cloud? Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Reader, +, Latitude, Maps, Bookmarks, News, Books…It’s all there. And most of these services are the best in class!”

      The only listed services I use now are Gmail, Reader, and Maps, and I use them through native apps, not the web interfaces. I don’t like web apps. I’ll take native any day, and iCloud provides that.

  42. Widgets are more than just reading news… Who is this guy??

  43. I disagree with the ‘Widgets’ and ‘Real multi-tasking’.
    I don’t know how you were using your Android phone but I just can’t do w/o widgets (clock/weather/calendar/tasks) and there are things you can’t do with push notifications or the limited Apple multi-task features.
    I don’t know how you can compare iCloud vs. Google integration.

    And you forgot always-on GTalk. I can’t do w/o it either.

  44. I had iPhone 2/3 and 3GS and since 2 years also an Xperia X10 Android. The iPhone is the one who works best with my MacBookPro and is the eyasiest to handle. I will stay with iPhone and will buy this week the 4S

  45. Grace Cunningham Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    An interesting read, I’ve actually been considering the opposite, going from an (outdated) iPhone to Android. The things you mention that you’ll miss (or not) are the reasons I’m considering Android. That, and making the OS switch will allow me to switch to Credo Mobile and not be dependent on a big evil telco.

    Apple’s united ecosystem is great, but super-frustrating when you can’t use software updates due to old hardware, which render the benefits useless unless you can afford to buy new computers and phones every couple years.

    1. If supported software updates are important to you, STAY WITH APPLE. Android handset manufacturers and carriers have an absolutely atrocious history of support. Think “The phone I bought last year is not getting any more software updates”.

  46. I regret the switch. iphone is uncapable of too many things. I feel more limited than ever. The iphone is a “pretty” phone. I have an ipad2, and macbook pro, and yes its convenient in that sense… but the lack of functionality and limitation leave me to say that the ipohne is tremendously overrated.

  47. FacePalmedHard Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    All I just read was “I needed a change, so I swapped from Android to iPhone” and then it was followed with “OMG iPhone with other Apple products is amazing!”
    I’ve read this identical article before in the reverse direction.
    It’s the perspective of something new, that you have fallen in love with. Not that iPhone is better then Android, or Android is better then iPhone. The speed and performance is mostly identical, at least in the more current flagship devices.

  48. great article and truly insightful, but what google web app did you find clunky?

  49. “In iOS, apps are suspended when they aren’t active, but are allowed to do certain things in the background”

    Android Apps are run in a dalvik virtual machine and are frozen when not being used. Unless the app has a service running, it is not draining battery or hanging on to any of your RAM. It is real multitasking without the conventional multitasking drawbacks.

  50. The Mapquest app actually works pretty well from all of my uses. I have used it in upwards of 20 states with no real issues.

  51. Karl Zimmerman Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    laggy UI? I get no noticeable lag with my EVO 3D, are you sure that is an Android issue and not just an issue you’re seeing because of the major hardware upgrade?

    I don’t see the iCloud as a replacement for many of the Google tasks. With the iCloud I have to pay extra to store all my music, it is free with Google Music. Google Docs is still superior to anything I’ve seen from Apple as well.

    As far as the widgets, I agree, most of the widgets are useless, but I have gotten some that I now think I’d have trouble living without, very quick access to certain contacts and settings, etc. Even just being able to control Pandora and/or Google Music without needing to open the app is nice and saves me time.

    1. Re laggy UI: I’ve seen this on numerous Android phones.

      Re iCloud: I didn’t say it does everything Google’s services do, just everything *I* do with them. Google Music is only free while it’s in beta. The extra cost is only for iTunes Match; you can download any music previously purchase through iTunes for free, to all of your devices. And what does Google docs do better than Pages, exactly?

  52. i can’t really stand all of the iphone/android haters. that being said, i recently made the switch from android to iphone and i’m loving it. i file bugs for work and i don’t want to deal with a buggy phone on my free time. the iphone works, with a minimum of tinkering. android is great too, but it just doesn’t run as smoothly..

  53. I’m not sure you’d feel as strongly about the switch if you came from a recent Android phone like the Galaxy S II. It’s not fair comparing the iPhone 4S to a two year old Droid.

    1. It is fair because I’m not comparing the two phones, I’m comparing the software. I did mention that the lag could be because of the Droid’s hardware, but many reviewers have noticed lag with newer Android phones.

  54. Michael W. Perry Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Great article! As someone who migrated from a dumb Nokia to a iPhone 3G/3GS, it tells me what I’m missing.

    Personally, the only Android feature that I’ll like to see would be a much smarter version of that flashing LED, one with multiple colors and flash rates whose meaning users could set in great detail. Messages from a specific person, for instance, might trigger a rapidly flashing red. All others might flash green slowly.

  55. I just made the same switch – and don’t regret it at all. Honestly, I’m very surprised by how smooth the device really operated. Very fluid usage in and between apps. Even in-app processes like the browser in Twitter are just so much cleaner than Android. There are things I may miss slightly – but overall, this differences are that iOS is a 5-star OS, and Android is 4.5 stars. Just that little but of attention to detail puts Apple ahead.

  56. Happy-Bear Chalet Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    I’ll jump in and state that I went from ios to android and prefer my Android, not because of the os, but because of the hardware…bigger screen, better colors, 4g/lte, sd card slot, mini usb. I had a 2,3 and 4 iPhone and now have a Samsung Galaxy 2 Skyrocket. The 4.5 screen is the deal maker for me.

    1. Personally, I don’t get the obsession with bigger screens, but to each his own.

  57. 1st off, comparing a 2 year old Droid with an iPhone 4S isn’t fair.

    Now on to where I disagree:
    1) Laggy UI: Get a better Android phone than the Droid
    2) Widgets: Widgets are awesome!
    3) “Real” multitasking: iOS only “really” multitasks fora maximum of 6 items, so I don’t see the big difference
    4) Android Market: By comparison, there also isn’t a single iOS App I needed that doesn’t have a counter-part for Android

    Where I agree:
    1) iCloud: Yeah, it is pretty awesome but I’m sure Google has something in the works

    Now, if the writer switched from a good device such as the Nexus S, or even the Nexus One I’d take their opinion more seriously. As-is though, no thanks.

    1. I’m not directly comparing the iPhone to the Droid. I’m mostly talking about software, so it is fair.

      Where you disagree:
      1. I’m not rich enough to go around buying Android phones willy-nilly.
      2. That’s not an argument.
      3. Six items? You’ll need to elaborate on that.
      4. There’s still malware in the Market, and just because there’s an alternative doesn’t make it better.

      Where you agree:
      1. Unless Google’s rolling out their own desktop OS with native apps, I don’t see how they’re going to compete fully with iCloud.

      I did have a good device. Even so, my second-generation iPod touch ran better, and it has half the RAM and a slower processor. You can’t tell me the hardware is to blame there.

  58. Switched to iOS in July. The number one reason that I jumped ship was the Android’s lack of a unified OS, and carrier-controlled updates. Google can sell all the cheap phones they want to take market share, but if they ever want to get serious about being a LEADER in the industry, they have got to get the user experience consistent from one phone to another.

  59. I agree at all. I have used android for over an year usin iPad, it was not comparable on store. But customization is always catch my mind. So I would like to recommand my friends that if one would study on OS, buy android phone but if one would like to use App comfortly, buy iPhone.

  60. agree completely with the article. i totally miss the android navi, sharing options, customization and even the widgets. i don’t miss the horrible battery life. had the samsung charge and spare battery w/ docking station. Even being mindful of battery draining functions, i was always have to charge and charge and charge. i don’t even know if I would call the phone mobile b/c you could only be away from a power source for a few hours. Miss a a lot about my android phones but enjoy the freedom of an actual battery that lasts the entire day…also digging Siri

    1. Battery life wasn’t that big an issue on the Droid, so I didn’t mention it. Glad you’re enjoying your iPhone.

  61. Obviously a fan-boy

  62. I just wanted a wifi analyzer app….doesn’t seem to be one for my iPad. Apple lock down strikes again.

  63. GoodReader will allow you to download/unzip archives directly on your iOS device.

  64. My husband uses the app CoPilot Live Premium for $19.99 on his iPhone. He’s very happy with it, though I think some of their directions could be more direct. The major plus is that it will load the map into memory and not require you to constantly use the network. Which happened with one app when he was driving to upstate NY, where VZN disconnected him for a day due to his “excessive” data usage.

  65. iTunes should be a disadvantage of switching to iPhone I hate iTunes.

  66. iTunes should be a disadvantage of switching to iPhone I hate iTunes.

  67. You do know that the way Android and iOS multitask is effectively the same..

  68. RT @earcos: Switching from Android to iOS: What I’ll miss and what I won’t http://t.co/etchB8XG

  69. Bryan Vyhmeister Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Switching from Android to iOS: What I’ll miss and what I won’t – @GigaOM http://t.co/hcj2icqF

  70. Belva Ventures Friday, November 25, 2011

    Switching from Android to iOS: What I’ll miss and what I won’t http://t.co/FeLKUirU

  71. Kevin Killoran Friday, November 25, 2011

    Things I miss about Android http://t.co/k6zi5aIv

  72. A very nice sharing.”Sure, I could do some of those things on Android, but the experience just wasn’t as good. Some will argue that that’s representative of Apple bullying users into buying only its devices, but for me it just represents greater convenience.” i like this most. after getting my iphone and ipad, i am going to get my macbook in my next step

  73. Good read: Switching from Android to iOS: What I’ll miss and what I won’t — Apple News, Tips and Reviews (via… http://t.co/gEzhcj9C

  74. Great article on a power user switching from Android to iOS http://t.co/U8hHzEzr

  75. Small Footprint, Inc Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Great article on a power user switching from Android to iOS http://t.co/RDVl6qPF

  76. joe del campo Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Nice article !!
    I currently own an iPhone 4s ( work ) , and just purchased a Droid Bionic ,
    I had a droid x about a year ago , I will say this :

    android has made a considerable improvement with the 2.3 operating system ,
    So far , battery life on the bionic has been impressive , and the system in general , has been more snappy , and consistent , obviously , it has 4g .

    Siri , on the 4s is pretty good , but not great , in my view , often I go to use it,
    And it ” Can’t help me at this time “, well , I NEED you to help me at this time .
    What’s the point ????

    In all honesty , Siri aside , I really think the camera on the iPhone is its forte ..

    And now that the battery life isn’t a big issue , the Bionics screen is a real pleasure to work with … Android has come a long way in a year !!

  77. I bought Co-Pilot but it’s too slow and kept giving the directions when I was past the junction. NAVfree was good in France when I didn’t have roaming turned on but find it much easier and more accurate to use Google Maps. If you plan the route while you have wi-fi then it doesn’t matter if you lose the data connection while driving because the blue route is persistent. Zoom in on your position with the arrow icon and then just watch your progress along the line. The best feature is that you can just tap an address in your contacts to set the route.

  78. I’m new to the Apple arena. I received an iPad 2 for Christmas. Am now at the point in my Sprint contract that I can get a new phone. I currently have the Samsung Epic w/slideout keyboard and I love my ability to use Swype and think it would be much slower to have to peck it out on an even smaller onboard keyboard than what I currently have on the Epic. I also like having the bigger screen when I am looking at things. I also like having the flash so I can watch the Kim Komando show when I can’t be by my computer. What things am I missing out on if I were to stick with Android and get the Samsung Epic Touch, rather than buying a 32 GB iPhone. Are the advantages that great to justify spending an additional $100? I really do want to make a good, sound choice because I will be stuck with it for two years. Thanks

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