165 Comments

Summary:

After several years as a devoted Apple iPhone user, I have been tempted by the dark side — I am considering giving up my beloved iPhone for an Android device, and the main attraction is the openness of the ecosystem that Android takes advantage of.

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If you don’t like personal stories about infidelity, please read no further. After being in love with my iPhone for several years now, my attentions are increasingly being pulled elsewhere — and I’m not fighting it. I’ve been an iPhone fan ever since I first got my hands on one: it instantly made my BlackBerry feel like an ugly brick that was designed by orangutans. All I wanted to do was hold it forever, and that’s almost exactly what I’ve done since I first got one — until, that is, I switched to using an Android phone over the holidays.

I didn’t decide to try an Android phone because I was dissatisfied with Apple or the iPhone — in fact, I still think the iPhone is one of the best-designed and most appealing products of any kind that I’ve ever used. I have a MacBook Air and an iPad that I also love using, and I recommend them whenever I get the chance. But I will confess that I have been looking enviously at Android phones for a little while, after seeing friends like my GigaOM colleague Kevin Tofel using them and then borrowing one last fall for a trip to Amsterdam for our Structure: Europe conference.

Part of what I was interested by was the larger screens on the Nexus and other phones — I like to read webpages and other documents and look at photos on my phone, so more screen real estate was appealing. But I was also interested in the openness of the Android ecosystem, and whether that would be a benefit compared to the walled garden that Apple runs for iOS.

Apple’s garden is beautiful — but the walls aren’t

There’s no question that Apple’s garden is beautiful, as walled gardens go, and it is extremely well-maintained; nasty or disturbing apps are kept out, and everything is checked to make sure it works properly, and that is definitely a big benefit. In other words, the bars are hard to see behind all those beautiful flowers. But in some cases, useful things are kept out as well, whether it’s content or applications — or ways of integrating with other networks and services that maybe don’t meet Apple’s standards (or aren’t willing to pay Apple for the privilege).

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Here’s one anecdote that sums up the differences between the two platforms for me: when I took a photo with the Android phone (a Motorola Razr HD), it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could beam it to my TV somehow — I have a media hub from Western Digital that has all my photos on it, and usually I have to copy the pictures from the iPhone to a computer with iTunes and then share them with the WD hub. But I figured maybe I could beam them from the Android because the hub is a DLNA device (DLNA is kind of the open version of Apple’s AirPlay standard for wireless networking). Within five minutes, I had downloaded an app that beamed my photo to the WD hub, and we were looking at it on the TV. I did the same thing with a YouTube video.

Another light-bulb moment happened when I went to share a webpage from the Motorola: when you do this on the iPhone, you get to choose between Twitter, Facebook, email and printing — but on the Android, the sharing menu is longer than the screen. You can share just about anything with just about anything else, whether it’s a web service or an app, and for me that’s kind of a metaphor for the two platforms.

It’s probably possible to beam your photos to your television with an iPhone or iPad, but to do that you would need an Apple TV and AirPlay and to be hooked into other parts of the Apple ecosystem (like iTunes, which I confess I have always loathed using). If you have a motley crew of non-Apple technology the way I do — like the Western Digital hub and my desktop that runs Ubuntu — then you are a second-class citizen in some ways, since Apple often doesn’t play well with others.

Choice and openness or a nice garden?

For awhile now, I’ve also noticed the same thing I’ve seen others like Liz Gannes at All Things Digital mention: namely, that I’ve gradually been replacing many of Apple’s services and default applications with Google ones — like Maps, and Mail — or those made by others. The iPhone itself, the hardware, is still incredibly appealing because it is so well made and appealing to hold, but for services, Apple has never really been the best, and you can see that in things like iCloud.

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There are things I miss about the iPhone: like Ralf Rottmann, who has written a great post about making a similar switch, I miss iMessage, because a lot of friends and family have iPhones. I also miss Photostream, which was a great way to have pictures I took automatically show up on my iPad and MacBook Air — but I have replicated much of that by using auto-upload with both Google and Facebook, as well as an open-source photo hosting service called OpenPhoto that uses Amazon’s S3 for hosting.

When I try to describe the difference between the two platforms to friends, I put it this way: with iOS, if you want to do something, there are may be one or two apps that will let you, and they work pretty well — but if you want a feature they don’t have, you are out of luck. With Android, if you want to do something with the phone, there are 15 or 20 apps that will help you, and many of them are free — but most of them won’t do everything you want, and only a couple will actually work the way you want them to.

For me it comes down to this: Apple has great design, but it restricts your choice in all kinds of ways. And I have been seeing those restrictive bars more and more, despite all the beautiful flowers. Android offers a kind of “tyranny of choice” — but in the end I think choice and openness are better, even if they seem less attractive at first glance. And that’s why I’m thinking of making the switch permanent. Forgive me, Steve.

Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Flickr user Afroboof and Shutterstock / nopporn

  1. Richard Torcato Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    who gives a crap what OS you use!

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    1. I do, because it’s good to know some people are starting to think before making a purchase rather than accepting whatever already technologically outdated product Apple throws at them. ;-)

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    2. Shouldn’t you be on a bridge somewhere?

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    3. Clear, but our time is about machines fetishism and ultrautilitarianist dogmas of “all free all ads based” for contents …

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  2. Please don’t refer to iPhone as “precious” because that’s ridiculous. Expensive (overpriced) but not precious. :)

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    1. That was a sort of tongue-in-cheek reference to The Hobbit, actually :-)

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      1. And right too. Personal stuffs are generally turn out to be precious.

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  3. I carry both. Two networks too (Verizon and T-Mobile). Redundancy is important in mobile OSes as it is in servers and internet connections.

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  4. I switched from AT&T to Verizon when buying my current Android phone, because I didn’t the restrictions AT&T had at the time on what apps I could install. I couldn’t imagine also being shackled by Apple (not to mention other restricted choices, like a no physical keyboard, no removable battery, Bluetooth limitations, etc), so an iPhone was never even in the running.

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    1. Nicholas Paredes Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      People forget who was actually restrictive prior to the iPhone. Before this device the US was a wasteland. The dev tools blew. The process was horrible. The networks had to accept your app and it could take years.

      Don’t get me wrong, Apple was instrumental in my start-up’s downfall. We wanted to embed media. But in 2009, I thought it would take Android 6 months to get solid media APIs. Here we are in 2013 and GigaOm recently had an article about how bad the technologies on Android actually are.

      One hand giveth. One hand taketh away. Be aware. Be reasonable. But, the iPhone represents a milestone in usage and usability, which is why the market is thriving. Android will get there, but the question is when.

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      1. That’s a good point, Nicholas — Apple did a lot to create the mobile smartphone market as we know it. But Android is catching up. Thanks for the comment.

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      2. Wait– Windows Mobile dev tools are STILL better than iOS’s. Me thinketh you haveth no ideath whateth youith talketh abouteth.

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      3. I’d you want to create apps without your custom hacks and all that goes beyond provided IDE, I don’t think any other platform is even close to Microsoft offering.

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    2. Bluetooth limitations, ive had android for 4 years and not one iphone has ever come up in a search to exhange music or pictures, NOT 1 and yet every other bluetooth device known to man shows up! riddle me this batman, How big are those walls! i would never own this crap they over the top market from apple

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  5. I hear you. I bought my wife a Nexus 4 for Christmas, yes i was one of the lucky 20 people it seems who was able to actually buy one. I love the screen size, perhaps it my older eyes, but I like not having to enlarge every screen to see things. I also love the customization that the phone offers. My iphone 4 is running great but my son will be inheriting it in a few months. I amy seriously considering a Nexus 4, assuming I can actually buy another one.

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    1. Another great thing about the Nexus 4 (I got one in the initial launch, as was able to get 2 for my wife and son when they became available again towards the end of Nov) is that your carrier does not get to control anything.

      No carrier bloat on the phone, and new Android versions get pushed out to the phone as soon as Google thinks it’s ready.

      I’ve been using T-mobile’s $30 unlimited data with GrooveIP, but I’m getting tired some calling issues. My wife and son are on Straight Talk ($45 a month on the ATT network) I think I’ll change too, even though the data speed is a lot slower. I was getting 22MPS on Tmobile, I’ll likely get 1/4 of that on ATT. But even that’s enough, I’m usually on wifi for data.

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      1. Skipper Kagamaster Thursday, January 17, 2013

        You can do Straight Talk with T-Mobile; you just have to cut down the SIM.

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  6. Another canary in the coal mine?

    First Apple lost market-share to Android, now it seems they are slowly losing mind-share.

    I’m curious why Cupertino doesn’t seem to be doing anything to stem the tide.

    I love Android to bits (“my precious” in Mathew’s parlance) but healthy competition (from iOS and others) will keep Google and Apple’s focus squarely on us (the consumers).

    Wake up Tim Cook :)

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    1. Use whatever you like no one cares but boasting about it is a new low and lame dude.

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  7. Stephen Snares Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    As an early iPhone adopter I’m also starting to sway over to the dark side too, for some of the reason you mention. My iPhone is starting to feel stagnant, boring almost. But I think bigger changes are ahead for iOS with the departure of Scott Forstall. A walled garden it will still remain but I can see it being bigger and prettier in the near future. iOS7 will be the decider for me.

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    1. I agree big changes are head for iOS, I’m just not convinced it’ll happen as soon as iOS 7. The management shake-up happened around 3 months ago and big changes to major platforms take a little time. I definitely expect to see those changes come iOS 8.

      I would rather Apple use 2013 to clean up bugs in its software and lay a strong foundation for big changes the year after.

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      1. It’s time they should change UI of phone now. Screen size is just fine. Also allow more customization like keyboard changing, string default apps, etc.

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  8. Go ahead. You’ll probably be back. I switched back and forth a few times. Had enough of Android.

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    1. @Ziltoid

      I’m curious to hear about your experiences with iOS and Android. Care to elaborate?

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    2. Did that, too. Tried Android, loved the flexibility, sharing, customisation. Than the new iPhone came, I got one and it felt like coming home! Half a year later, I start looking at Android devices again, but I am quite sure, after some time it will be “back home” to the iPhone.

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      1. As pjs_boston asked; what was better in iOS or iPhone 5 than on, say, HTC DNA or another high end Android phone?

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  9. I understand why you are making the switch.
    The thing with ugly apps on android is : there are a lot !
    Because some are only meant for the usefulness : use it once, and let it run ‘forever’.
    Second, because there are a lot of developers for android who didn’t care about the looks. Functionality first. But you can see the trend (since almost a year) that more and more apps are getting more and more beautiful.
    Hence some site who highlight beautiful apps (like holoeverywhere.com) and the possibilies to set your phone to your needs (mycolorscreen.com/)

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    1. Thanks for the links, always looking for great tech sites :)

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  10. iPhone was/is popular and all the rage. Maybe not as much now. It pushed the envelope for what a phone could do. Then competition happened. This is good. Tides go in and out. First world problems. I prefer a phone that just works that I can hand to my Grandma. I want great customer service and a device that fits in my pocket. You want cutting edge excitement. You want the perception of freedom. Apple is like living in the castle. Google is like a whale in the ocean with a radio tracking device attached. It doesn’t matter. Have fun. Call your Mother or someone else that you love and laugh at something funny. We’re all on some band wagon.

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  11. Which handset have you been using? Nexus 4?

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    1. Motorola RAZR HD

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  12. you don’t need apple tv to beam, check out Parrot. Many third party options to do most of what you claim the walls are keeping you away from. Just look around…

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    1. J Scott Anderson Wednesday, January 16, 2013

      g-dog, don’t ruin his story. It’s his and he’s sticking to it – facts be darned.

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      1. Why doesn’t he address this point?

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  13. Freedom. Only when you experience it do you truly appreciate it.

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  14. You make good points about inter-app communication (Windows 8 does this the best imo) and DLNA.

    Most “customizations” that people do with Android are superficial and not interesting to me, though some of the things that you can do with Tasker are pretty great. For example, I wish my phone would never lock when I’m on certain wifi networks; I think Tasker allows this? But anything that smacks of “skinning” should be avoided: I think it’s good to remove from people the option of wasting time fiddling around with their phones endlessly.

    I am curious if you can use Google Drive or Dropbox as “filesystems” in Android. Through sharing you can jury-rig a file system in iOS, and the camera roll/photos work as a file system for photos of sorts, but the “data is trapped in an app” model is, I think, fundamentally broken.

    I do have one nit to pick. People keep saying that they like Google’s iOS apps better. But Google’s iOS apps, maps aside, are “better” primarily in one respect: interacting with Google services. Is this surprising? (And the “superiority” of Google Maps is vastly overstated; I find errors and omissions in it all the time and frequently find, of all things, Bing maps to be superior.)

    Gmail is not better than other email services–in fact, I think it’s worse in many ways, given how difficult it is to use third-party email clients with it. Google Drive isn’t good, Google+ isn’t good, Chrome isn’t better than Safari (unless you use it to sync bookmarks from desktop Chrome), etc etc.

    There are a number of things that people tout as Android pluses that I think are a bad idea–setting third-party apps as defaults for email, etc. There needs to be a standard way to set up a phone with accounts and it shouldn’t depend on the vagaries of apps. Or at least, this is a good idea if and only if settings for email accounts and so forth continue to be system-wide and not per app.

    On balance, areas where Google has gotten involved in web apps–from document editing to RSS–have stagnated. So the idea of integrating myself more deeply into a sub-par ecosystem–rather than picking and choosing the best services, like Dropbox and Twitter–is pretty unappealing to me. And it certainly feels like the purpose of Android is precisely to get you more hooked on Google.

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    1. Android has a real filesystem. No jury-rigging needed. My Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with a file manager, so I can easily browse through the directories on both my internal storage (including system files) and on my SD card. If your phone doesn’t come with a file manager, there are plenty available in the Play store to choose from, no rooting/jailbreaking/unlocking required. Dropbox is fantastic on my phone! My S3 came with an extra 50GB of storage for a year on Dropbox, and since I have unlimited data with Sprint, I have it automatically upload all of my pictures and videos as they are taken. I have had to replace my phone recently (asphalt and smartphones dont mix!) and the only thing I had to do when activating the new phone was to redownload my apps. Since my music and photos are on my microSD card (and backed up with Dropbox), and my contacts were linked with my Google account, I barely missed a beat and was up and running on new hardware in a matter of minutes! (try that with an iPhone!)

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      1. J Scott Anderson Wednesday, January 16, 2013

        “try that with an iPhone”, so you are either joking or know nothing about iPhones/iOS. Trying doing a little reading about something called “iCloud” – and that is just for starts.

        Look, the iPhone/iOS has issues, but try to stick with real ones and not ones you assume from ignorance.

        As far as issues go, my Android devices have even more issues than my iOS ones. And a major issue that is growing exponentially is unauthorized malware (as opposed to authorized malware – the various Google services being prime examples of the latter).

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      2. That’s a good point, John — Android’s ability to let you actually manage files in a normal way, along with the SD storage, is a big plus as well.

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    2. Great comments here. Gmail’s interface is just terrible, and Drive is close to it.

      Don’t agree about setting third-party apps for default use. I love this feature, think Android handles it well.

      As for Android trying to hook you on Google, is BlackBerry the only OS that doesn’t seem to do this? Certainly iOS tries to attach you more tightly to Apple, and I’d argue that Apple has the weakest suite of in-house apps.

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    3. ” I think it’s good to remove from people the option of wasting time fiddling around with their phones endlessly.”

      Wow, just wow. You actually think this like somehow you (or an entity like Apple) knows whats best for people and their time? Maybe we should ban video games as well while we are at it.

      Sorry, I try to keep my replies civil but your comment just reeks of elitism.

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  15. Funny, it’s always funny to see Apple users wake up, when Apple has always been like this.
    The bars are very visible, it starts with the lack of microSD slot, the use of proprietary connectors, access to only 1 app store and so on.And then they try to bleed you dry.
    Android is still crippled by carriers,some device makers do cripple their devices for an extra buck (nexus devices have no microSD slot), so things can be even better and maybe we get there at some point.

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  16. My thoughts exactly! I bought an iphone5 just because I got sick of managing my space after running out with 16GB. I got my wife an HTC One X+. I’m so in love with her phone and it actually is able to make phone calls, talk to old bluetooth stacks like her car’s Sync and my Motorola headset. iCloud is kind of nice, but useless.

    I’ll miss the Apple Store games, but most of the ones I (and my kids) play now are on both my Galaxy Tab and the iphone. iTunes for all my music is nice too, but I hardly ever listen to music on my phone anymore other than videos.

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  17. I do understand and sympathise with the gist if the atricle but the specifics seems off. The first software example – DLNA server – is also possible on the iPhone. A quick search for DLNA on the App Store revealed several DLNA server options, the walls are not as oppressive as the article makes it seem.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Chris — you and others here are right that there are DLNA apps, so that kind of thing is not impossible. But it isn’t as easy as Android devices make it, and that was just one example of what I’m talking about.

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      1. Hi Matthew,

        I see this “open” argument quite a bit. I’m not sure what it means exactly. That Android is an open license OS? I can see how that is great for companies like Amazon to create their own OS, but how does that help the end user?

        Does “open” mean they don’t care what apps are uploaded into their app system? So you can download as many pirated / IP theft stolen apps (like Koal Kat’s Klear) no problem?

        Or does “open” mean you can plug it in to your computer and pull files from it? Because you can do that with photos and videos on iOS.

        The problem I see with Android is Google has basically destroyed the user’s expectations of ever having to pay for an app by giving away their own amazing apps. So if no one is going to buy apps on their ecosystem anymore, we are now stuck with ad-ridden garbage.

        Google also seems like they have to create an app for everything so basically you’ll never need to download any other apps. While this might seem great, let’s look at your DNLA example. If Apple pre-integrated a great DNLA app for free into their OS, what incentive would there be for a 3rd party developers to make something great. So instead of just Google having just one DNLA app (which eventually they will get bored of supporting and stop maintaing), you now have multiple developers competing against each other, bringing fresh ideas to the table, with the cream rising to the crop.

        That to me is the very essence of “open”.

        Is Google that open? Why do no good apps originate from there? Only the most successful iOS apps are ported to it once the developer can financially justify it. Only this time they are filled with ugly ads.

        Android is like that Hummer that is comes already blinged out, has a plamsa TV, a jaccuzi, video games, liquor cabinet, everything you’d ever need, but probably don’t.
        iOS is that Audi that reliably gets you to wherever you want to go in style. If you want to add all the bling in the form of apps, you certainly can, but it’s not preloaded into to the OS.

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      2. @ryanpederson

        Open means I can write an app about the Syrian civil war and not be shut out by Apple. There are plenty of apps that have been censored by Apple and that has been going on for years. Even a pulitzer prize winning author was denied distribution at Apple’s app store. It’s disgusting and it has nothing to do with piracy as you’ve alluded.

        Open means I don’t have to distribute through an app store at all. If I so choose, I can distribute my app on my website as many shareware authors have done for years before the “post-pc” era.

        Open means I can sudo on my hardware. I have root access on my device. I can load and run a desktop Ubuntu chrooted on top of Android. One device that can do everything.

        Clearly, you don’t know what open means, as you stated very clearly at the beginning of your post.

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  18. Mathew,
    If you want this kind of flexability with your I phone, have jail broken and you still have the Beautiful garden without bars!!!

    Mike Wirthlin

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    1. J Scott Anderson Wednesday, January 16, 2013

      There are no jailbreaks for the latest iOS. And if you believe the jail breakers, there may not be any coming. Apparently Apple has made iOS 6.1+ very tough skinned.

      If you want to run whatever you want, stick with an Android device. But be very, very careful. The malware and exploits are a huge and growing problem.

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  19. I’m going to be doing the same in early March, for some of the same reasons, and some different ones.

    I don’t like the “bars” as you put it. I’m tired of being penned into a certain motif simply because Apple doesn’t want to allow certain things, etc. I’m tired of no customization options.

    Related to that, it doesn’t matter what wallpaper you use, iPhone’s app icons are clunky and hideous compared to the options available for Android.

    Another thing that has really bothered me for awhile is that it seems like Apple is purposely behind the 8 ball on some of their tech, compared to Android phones. I can get a 12.5MP camera in an older Sony Xperia, but the iPhone 5 only ships with an 8MP?! I just don’t really find much excuse for that, personally.

    I actually will NOT miss iMessage. It uses data and I just don’t see the purpose in using my data plan, which is already severely limited by AT&T, for texting when I can use my phone plan for that and not worry about how many texts I get in a day. iMessage was a useless option, in my opinion.

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    1. I am waiting for them to quit worrying about the damn megapixels and start putting QUALITY optics on these things! (something like the new Samsung Galaxy camera, but a BIT smaller!)

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  20. Jonathan Mergy Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    I think many others are too. I see more and more articles about stepping away from Apple and their products now. Appreciate the article. You will get the h8ers that can form a sentence or two around “who cares” etc. but I liked the article and am right there with you.

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    1. Where is your evidence of customers stepping away from Apple products? Their sales have never been better. Their stores are packed. Changewave survey out today shows an extremely high demand for iPhone 5. Are you basing this observation by what you see in the blogosphere?

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    2. You also have to wonder about these articles and what motivates someone to announce such a thing. Is it clicks? Is it sponsored by an Apple competitor? Is it simply for the attention? If you believe that a rash of “I’m switching” articles by tech bloggers is truly an indication that a sizable shift is underway and Apple is losing customers then you’re clearly not paying attention.

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      1. J Scott Anderson Wednesday, January 16, 2013

        You have to remember that the tech bloggers have rarely cared much for Apple. Every product announcement is greeted by comments of “disappointment” on the low end and “doom” on the high end – depending on how much of the fantasy rumors they bought into (or started depending on who you read).

        Tech journalism and integrity don’t mix. You can’t get as many clicks that way.

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  21. Android of two years ago, or even in the beginning of last year is nothing like Android is today. Jelly Bean totally changed the game.
    And like any mobile OS, the quality is often perceived by the available apps. With Androids market share growing by the day, more and more developers are embracing the platform. And Android users will benefit big time when developers design for Android first and port to iOS after.

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  22. Anthony Reinhart Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    At the risk of baiting the haters, I suggest you reserve judgment for now and spend some time with the BlackBerry 10 when it debuts in a few weeks. I’ve seen the OS in action and it’s extremely intuitive and powerful, especially in the way it handles social feeds, messaging and multitasking. The hardware is also superior to anything else out there, especially the display (sharper than the iPhone’s; fantastic for photo viewing). Android apps are easily ported to BB10, as thousands have already been. It’s a completely new BB experience, free of both bricks and orangutans. Perhaps not as open a platform as you’d like, but the UX and quality are tops.

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    1. Thanks, Anthony — maybe I will give BlackBerry a try, but I confess I am skeptical.

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    2. I think they probably have a fantastic product on their hands with the new BB10 OS. Unfortunately, I was the owner of another phone with an outstanding OS (even by today’s standards!), the Palm Pre! I STILL think it beats Android when it comes to ease of use and intuitive design. However, we all know how that story went. Unless RIM can hang on for a good 2 years while it gains momentum AND developers actively support it as a primary development platform, I think the BB10 will suffer the same sad fate as my beloved Palm Pre.

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      1. Anthony Reinhart Tuesday, January 15, 2013

        That’s an understandable concern, John, but as some analysts have pointed out, comparisons between BlackBerry and Palm are flawed. BlackBerry still enjoys a substantial subscriber base (79 million) around the world, and strong relationships with carriers, neither of which Palm was able to build. Yes, it will be a long road for RIM in rebuilding market share, but they are starting from a position that Palm never really occupied. It will indeed be interesting to see how things unfold once BB10 is on the market, but I can personally attest from my Waterloo vantage point that RIM is a dramatically different company than it was even a year ago, and that its people are more focused on success and innovation than they’ve ever been. Anything could happen.

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  23. Hi Mathew, if it interests you please allow me to give you a different point of view – from someone who recently tried moving from Android to iOS.

    For the sake of clarity I specify personal services as tied to information that is just mine (mail, storage, map, pictures, social, etc.). In opposed to content that could be freely shared with my other family members (movies, tv, books, games, etc.).

    I recently acquired an iPad mini and tried moving gradually to the iOS eco-system. As a Canadian I found iOS to be amazingly rich in content. Actually Apple is the only company who really respects Canadians regarding content. The wealth of iTune content that I have found was staggering and I must admit that it made me feel stupid for waiting for so long to get a taste of it. Moreover, it is very easy to use the iPad as a productivity platform for my work!

    But as much as I liked the Apple content service, I found the Google personal services far superior even on iOS. Eventually all my personal services on the iPad mini were of Google’s. Moreover the closed garden is extremely silly in my opinion in several areas on the iOS. The straw that broke my camel’s back was not being able to launch Google’s services/apps from the stock iOS apps. E.g. using Chrome as at least an option from my mail. Or Drive as my launch in context storage.

    What happened was that the family decided on moving into the Apple eco-system for content. We share it between us and we became heavy iTunes users with the addition of an Apple TV as well. On the personal side we concluded that we go only with an Android smartphone. I acquired the Note II and its simply amazing. Just my 2cp regarding the strength of the 2 eco-systems.

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    1. A quick note about iTunes and Android. There are plenty of apps that let you sync content between your iTunes library and Android devices. One thing that I liked was linking my iTunes library to Google Music. Whenever I added new music to my iTunes library, it showed up in my Google Music directory shortly thereafter. Add to that, all of that music could be played anywhere, even on a browser, as long as I was logged in.I still use Google Music on my iPhone, via a non-Google app. It works well. I also use Rdio quite a bit, and it also ties into my iTunes library and matches content that is available in its database.

      My wife uses a Galaxy S3, an iPad, and a Windows laptop. She’s not as much into tech, but rarely does she have a problem moving content around the three different operating systems, primarily because she uses Google Apps and services on all three.

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      1. Noku Rukakikika Tuesday, January 15, 2013

        That’s great but you’ll find Google Music to be unavailable outside much of the US. You’ll be out of luck if you’re not there. One thing I enjoy about the iTunes store and its Match service is that it’s available everywhere. Access to your stuff is always available no matter what. Google check your IP and restrict access based on your location. Apple does not.

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  24. having done the switch over a year ago, I found it liberating to not be restricted to the mobile experience that someone else envisioned for me.

    I went from a situation where I had an Android phone for work, and an iPhone for my personal life, to one where I have Android devices for both parts of my life.

    Interestingly enough though, like maybe taking me full circle as I am very tempted to look into the new BlackBerry as an upgrade path for my personal device.

    At the end of the day, choice is good.

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    1. I have to grin when you say you will be looking at a BlackBerry…as a PERSONAL phone :) talk about going full circle!

      Share
    2. Noku Rukakikika Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      I love my iPhone, have no interest in Android or WP, but the new Blackberry does look very interesting!

      Share
  25. Glad to see others are noticing (finally) what a difference an open platform makes, in real world examples, that real users can relate to! Great article!

    Share
    1. I’m still not seeing anyone who’s able to articulate the perils of a “walled garden” in any meaningful way. I challenge you to give one solid example where the App Store failed and the openness of the Android market saved the day. No geek tasks either. Lets talk about your average use case.

      On the flip side, I can name one peril begotten by the open Android market and that’s malware.

      Share
      1. I can run a full desktop OS (Linux) on my Android phone. I connect my phone to a HDTV & bluetooth keyboard/mouse, run Ubuntu, and work on a spreadsheet while still receiving calls on Android at the same time.

        The Android phone is a general purpose PC. iOS can’t do that or anything remotely similar to that.

        Share
  26. The last sentence “Forgive me, Steve” is symbolic of this entire ownership of all the slaves who buy apple stuff. You are a slave by choice to the stuff that apple puts out. If you have basic common sense basic sense of self esteem, you can choose whats best for you not based on what people think of you…

    Share
  27. Will you need new pants with larger pockets?

    Share
  28. Interesting piece. I recently made the switch to an iPhone 5, after three years with Android devices. Many of the differences you mention are some things that I miss about Android. The key thing is the ability to share content with various apps. I use Pocket and Springpad a lot, and sharing URLs and just about anything else, was a breeze on Android. With the iPhone, I either have to create special bookmarks as a work-around, or copy the URL and go into the app and paste. If I want to save a picture into Springpad, I have to go into the app and upload the picture, instead of using the robust sharing menu in Android. With that said, I enjoy the experience on the iPhone.I haven’t been on social media for almost a year, so the integration of Twitter and Facebook, as well as other social services, is a non-issue. My only sharing is with Pocket and Springpad. There’s no doubt that Apple needs to improve, or completely overhaul, iOS. The OS no longer matches the polish of the hardware.

    As you stated, the hardware is fantastic. I had a Droid DNA for a couple of weeks before moving the iPhone 5. The DNA is a great device. I simply found it to be a touch too big for my taste. You can read about my 2012 phone odyssey here: http://goo.gl/zRSQQ Good luck with whatever works for you!

    Share
  29. “With Android, if you want to do something with the phone, there are 15 or 20 apps that will help you, and many of them are free — but most of them won’t do everything you want, and only a couple will actually work the way you want them to”

    Huh? So much for the openness argument. What good is choice if all of the choices suck?

    The tech echo chamber is on a pro Android kick and all the cool kids are going along for the ride.

    Utterly unimpressed by any of the points made in this article…

    Share
    1. He didn’t say ALL of the choices suck.That feels like selective reading. What’s the difference between the part you quoted, and the line just above?

      “with iOS, if you want to do something, there are may be one or two apps that will let you, and they work pretty well — but if you want a feature they don’t have, you are out of luck.”

      It seems to be six of one, half dozen of the other. You’ll get one or two apps on either platform that do what you want…how you want it. The difference seems to be that Apple will perform a few functions well, but lack wanted features; while Android may break those functions up into a couple different apps, a one or two that do that function well. Tomato…Tomahto.

      Share
      1. That doesn’t make any sense unless you know nothing about iOS and Android.

        Share
    2. The point of the article is linkbait to get page views and comments for more page views. Simply write something negative about Apple, put it in the headline, and sit back and watch the link bait/page views roll in. Lazy but effective.

      Share
      1. It goes both ways, quite honestly. I think the only people that see it as bait are those who get personally offended when someone criticizes, or seems to criticize, their device or OS of choice. I guess that I could tangentially agree with you, in that it’s so predictable to see people come out of the woodwork to besmirch and denigrate an opinion that doesn’t jibe with their own. The practice really shouldn’t be surprising and disappointing, but yet I am always let down a bit by the lack of growth and maturity. Like what you like. Use what you use. It doesn’t have to be a right vs. wrong, either/or proposition.

        Share
    3. Exactly. It’s most certainly an echo chamber.

      Share
  30. @John said
    “I think it’s good to remove from people the option of wasting time fiddling around with their phones endlessly.”

    Personally, I would rather fiddle with my Windows desktop. I have 3 screens of real estate! That’s lots of room for me to tweak and manage. I think I would prefer my mobile device be optimized (by a professional) for mobile use.

    My guess is that the people who have switched form iPhones -> Android are very heavy mobile users, who invest enough time on their phone to warrant fiddling around for optimization.

    Share
  31. Nicholas Paredes Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Frankly, I’d rather that Microsoft gets a solid third ecosystem… Developing for Android, and deploying (testing) apps is a nightmare.

    Share
    1. Get used to it, limited hardware choices can’t win and Microsoft will have to change that soon enough if they gain share. Other OSes that might have a chance (there are 3-5 of them and not counting BB10) will have to work on a wide range of hardware options- in case that’s what bothers you and not something Android specific.

      Share
      1. Which doesn’t have anything to do with hsi complaint that Android development is a mess. Which it is.

        Share
  32. Wow, here is what I got from your piece: you already own an iPad, a Macbook Air, and an iPhone… that work fantastic together with some limitations. You also have enough spare time on your hands that you can experiment with 10-15 apps per task… and are willing to use multiple apps per task to get a few extra features… at the expense of convenience and time.
    And the best example you have of making it worth it… is a bigger screen for web pages and putting video on a TV with your WD device.
    You should read web pages on your iPad… and have splurged an extra $30 over that WD streamer to get an AppleTV to complete the solution. You would have less stress in your life and not be wasting hours a week playing with apps that have a feature or two, but don’t work well.

    Share
  33. I’ve tried to switch from an IPhone 5 to a Galaxy Note 2 twice now and just can’t do it. I actually like the size but just can’t get Android to do what I do most on IOS. Of course the day I returned my Note, Agenda was announced for Android and more apps are being released that are on IOS so maybe I gave up too soon. Falcon Pro is no Tweetbot but pretty good, ToDo isn’t on Android yet and Journal for Evernote isn’t either. Maybe if I can find replacements for these I will give it another shot.

    Share
  34. Android has a few hills to climb. Quality, ease of use. Device security. Simplicity.

    iOS also has hills to climb. Hardware variety. Configurability. Even ease of use in some cases (that Android widget that controls radios, updating and brightness is much better than digging through menus).

    It may come down to single sign-in access to user data, and what you can do once you have that. Nearly everyone uses Google Search. Most people have a Gmail account. More people every day use Docs/Drive. Apps that tie these together (Google Now) will become more important to fit and augment just the right information into the constrained I/O bandwidth of mobile devices. Tough to see Apple keeping pace here, though I hope they do.

    Share
  35. Timothy Weaver Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    It would help if the anecdotal “open” examples were actually accurate. A search of “ios dnla apps” solved the first one. And the second one is nothing more than installing apps that support the “Share” functionality on iOS. It’s supported fine by the SDK.

    I could care less what anyone uses, and when it comes to a wider variety of devices you cannot argue that Android-based phones offer you more choices (but iPhone users have more choices when it comes to 3rd party accessories of all kinds). But the “open” argument is such utter nonsense it should be banned outright as a reason.

    Share
    1. Thanks for the comment, Tim — I know there are DLNA apps for iOS, but that type of streaming content to all kinds of non-Apple devices is still easier with the Android (some newer models have sharing to DLNA devices built in).

      As for the sharing menu, I have already installed all the apps I want to use on the iPhone and it doesn’t see them as capable of being shared to, while the Android does. That’s a big plus for me, maybe not for everyone.

      Share
  36. Timothy Weaver Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    It would help if the anecdotal “open” examples were actually accurate. A search of “ios dnla apps” solved the first one. And the second one is nothing more than installing apps that support the “Share” functionality on iOS. It’s supported fine by the SDK.

    I could care less what anyone uses, and when it comes to a wider variety of devices you cannot argue that Android-based phones offer you more choices (but iPhone users have more choices when it comes to 3rd party accessories of all kinds). But the “open” argument is such utter nonsense it should be banned outright as a reason.

    Share
  37. It depends what kind of user you are. If you are average user, who is not commited to spending time searching for a solution how to beam content to tv or even have that kind of need, then iOS is perfect. If, however, you are a power user then of course you will require Android. These two platforms target completely different users. I like that my choices are limited in iOS because these choices do not compromise on quality and I dont have to filter out the crappy ones.

    Share
  38. Karl Tiedemann Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    I concur on every functional critique you’ve leveled at iOS. But to say that Android has greater choice is blind. The only apps worth using on Android come from Google or were first ported from iOS (Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, etc). The vast majority of Android users that try to tempt me to switch all cite how great Google’s apps are. But they can never give me any viable 3rd party options that I’d pay for.

    Apple’s Walled Garden as a limiter of choice is a complete fallacy. All the quality 3rd party options on Apple dwarf Android’s offerings. The 3rd parties drive iOS.

    Case in point: On Android, Google makes the best apps. On iOS, Apple makes the worst and 3rd parties pick up the slack. How’s that for choice? And people PAY for those apps.

    How many Android users are NOT using Chrome, Gmail, Google Search, Google Docs, etc etc etc as their primary?

    Share
  39. It used to be that PC users criticized MacOS and OSX for being locked down and too restrictive (especially in the days that there would be 20 windows titles to 1 or 0 for mac to accomplish a task). But it was basically the same as now – the functionality was there in the Mac you just had to be REALLY knowledgeable to get there.

    It sounds like today is the same as the late 90s/early 00s.

    For the record, I don’t own any smartphone, I prefer using Windows. and I haven’t owned a mac in 8 years.

    Share
    1. As built on Unix MacOS X wasn’t very restrictive. It was very open (and I can’t reproduce that thing with 20 window titles)…but it was different.
      But MacOS X is going to be restrictive. That’s what gatekeeper’s for. I’m a long-time mac-user and I don’t like the way apple goes with it’s new “iOSX”. This is also why I’m using an android device and working with a 4 year old system on my 7 year old mac.
      But’s that off-topic now.

      Share
      1. Good Luck!

        Share
    2. Those PC nerds were wrong then because they didn’t know what they were talking about and you are wrong now.

      Share
  40. Install Dropbox and activate the automatic photo uploading feature.
    That’s much better that iOS’ Photostream!

    Share
  41. zzzzz nobody cares. Get a cheap plastic Android if you don’t care about design and quality apps and be happy with it… there are plenty of nerds buying Android and liking it, no big news here.

    Share
  42. Noku Rukakikika Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    I love the garden, and don’t mind the walls at all. One big reason I have loved using Macs all these years is not having to worry about viruses. I feel the same way about an iPhone. There’s a lot to be said for peace of mind. That peace of mind is not available on Android, and that would bother me a lot. There is way too much sensitive information on my phone for me to allow it to be stolen so easily. The author did forget to mention how prone Android is to data theft.

    I rely heavily on Google Drive and Google Apps for Domains and find them quite easy to use on my iPhone and iPad. I never felt the need to switch to Android for their sake.

    A friend recently took advantage of a promotion and picked up a Samsung with Android ICS. She couldn’t figure out how to use it and asked for my help. I found it pretty much a confusing mess. I’m sure that I would have gotten used to it, but right from the start it not seem at all to be intuitive.

    I don’t buy the author’s bemoaning the limitations of the iPhone because he wants more choices – like being able to share to many services – as a reason to switch to Android. He uses Ubuntu on his desktop. You don’t use a linux desktop without getting used to, even preferring, limitations. People use linux desktops for a variety of reasons, many of them good, but never because it offers a multitude of popular hardware and software choices. One of the reasons people use linux is security and the peace of mind that comes with it. That’s one reason I am happy with my iDevices.

    Share
    1. “One big reason I have loved using Macs all these years is not having to worry about viruses”

      “Mac users should become increasingly aware of the threat that malware poses to their machines. Hackers and malicious coders are getting better everyday at breaking into the once thought unbreakable Mac. ”

      http://www.webpronews.com/the-latest-mac-virus-is-hilariously-bad-2012-08

      I use the free Avast anti-virus on my Nexus 4. Scans all my apps as they’re downloaded. I’ve used Avast on my PC for years, I’ve very pleased.

      I find it ironic that Apple, which ran the iconic ad in 1984 of a man breaking free of Big Brother has become big brother.

      Never owned a thing made by Apple, I doubt I ever will.

      Share
      1. What a tardy, roundabout way of doing things. Antivirus programs are hideous creatures, they should not have to exist and the fact they do highlights a ton of underlying flaws on the system they’re designed for.

        Share
      2. Oh, and if you haven’t owned something, you’re probably a terribly unreliable person to pass judgement. A great deal of Apple users grew up on Microsoft. Think about it logically for a moment.

        Share
  43. I had the exact opposite experience to this. I had two of the flagship Android devices (at the time) the Droid and the Droid X. I had the media docks for both and they always sat there collecting dust because even with a direct, wired HDMI connection, I could never get a single image from either phone to show up on the screen. They also only worked for pics and video and I did all sorts of troubleshooting and finally gave up (and that was after spending $129 on the stupid media dock accy bundle from Verizon). The Droid X had DLNA but again, I could never get it configured because it would only ever show a loading page before it crashed and I’d have to restart the phone.

    I ended up picking up and iPad 2 and bought the HDMI connector for it and was up and running in seconds, it was plug and play. I was able to do full mirroring too and not just view pics and videos which made it great for reading bed time stories to my kids. They always liked to crowd and fight over the iPad but when I had it connected to the TV they all could see it much better and stopped fighting crowding in.

    I ended up picking up the Apple TV which again was plug and play and very easy to setup, it allowed me to do wireless mirroring and it just worked. I know some people would argue that I had to pay $99 for it but at the same time I paid $129 for the media dock on my Android phones and they never even worked. The media docks also did not include nearly the same amount of functionality that the Apple TV offered.

    It also got old to need an app to close other apps running in the background or apps to force quit the apps that had crashed. I didn’t like having a flagship device and not getting any updates for it. I also had a TON of bloat ware (more so on the Droid X than on the Droid) that I couldn’t get rid of without jail breaking the phone which I didn’t want to do. Basically I had the same complaints that most people who don’t like Android find.

    The bottom line for me at least is that iOS did the things that I always wished my Android phones did and iOS did them better. Android is supposed to be more open yet I would still have to jail break it to get rid of bloat ware or update the OS earlier than the carrier allowed. I like iOS because it just plain works and I have no reason to even want to jail break because it does everything I need it to do.

    Besides it goes both ways. When my sister comes over with her iPhone she can stream her music right to my receiver through the Apple TV. When my brother comes over with his Droid Razr, he can’t because there’s no way for his Android phone to interface with my receiver. So both platforms have equal limitations in my opinion depending on what you chose to surround yourself with.

    I won’t switch back until I run into a situation where an Android phone can complete some functionality I need better than my iPhone and so far I haven’t run into that situation. When I do, I’ll go back but I don’t think that will happen any time soon, I like the feeling of security I get inside the Walled Garden.

    Share
    1. If you get Mac you won’t go back to hunt and peck piece meal, tack on a app, that still doesn’t work experience. In the past year the AppleTV has increased doubled in sales again.

      http://allthingsd.com/20120529/apple-tv-sales-have-doubled-but-its-still-an-experiment-say-tim-cook/

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_tv

      Share
  44. Just to let you know, on an iPhone/iPad you can beam photos to your TV if you have a Roku box and the Roku app installed. It is seamless and works great.

    Share
    1. That is one of many ways and I use Plex to do that. But he doesn’t really want to know there are many ways of doing this. Else he would not have written this link bait article and gotten all of us to comment and give him more page views. This is Giga Om after all. Not quite Engadget/Gizmodo but not far off either.

      Share
  45. I’d be wary of the reliability of Android. My 6-month-old Droid Razr M is slower now than new and I have a pretty light load of apps and also close ones not needed. It lags between processes to the point of me eyeing my old, unregistered iPhone 4 again. I had tried Android before with the first generations and went to iPhone. This time, I had thought with Android 4 the problems were over. Apparently not. Hmmm. There is also the issue of the lifespan of support for Android devices: http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/01/the-orphans-of-android/

    I am open to hearing ways I can resurrect my Droid Razr M. Do I need to go Windows 98 every few months and just do a clean reinstall/wipe?

    Share
  46. Great article Mathew!

    You have resurrected a lifetime known fact of Apple. Steve Jobs rekindled interest in a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy. As a past Apple supporter, I couldn’t stand the beatings I took from friends about how free they were to do as they wanted through Windows. I simply wouldn’t sway my beliefs that Apple was the superlative. Then it happened. I literally had to experience the provisions of the open concept in order to realize that so much more was offered over the tightly wound vertical integration of Apple. I moved on to a Windows PC and then fell in love with Android. Sometimes the quality of offerings and Apps can be subpar. However, the choices simply reinstate the comfortable cushion of being able to find many other great Apps. I can do as I want with my phone, not what Apple says I can or can’t. When the original iPhone made its debut, I consistantly conveyed my message to this new generation that being tied to Apple can be a detriment. If you can accept Apple for what it is, then you will enjoy a good experience. However, If you wish for more, then it is time to move on. Apple does work on that premise.

    John B.

    Share
    1. Tell us exactly what sorts of things Apple has “restricted” you from doing.

      Share
    2. Noku Rukakikika Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      The openness of a Windows PC? You’re serious?

      Share
  47. Apple *doesn’t* work on that premise.

    Share
  48. Need page hits uh?

    Share
  49. I suppose it didn’t occur to you that you could download a DLNA app for the iPhone to stream those same photos to the TV?

    Share
    1. Well if he did that then he would have thought about something actually useful to write about today.

      Share
  50. Let me tell you why I am switching from my iPhone 5 today after being an iPhone user from day 1. I will make this as short as possible, but Apple almost destroyed my Buisness and if you are not careful it might happen to you. I had 25g’s of storage that was not supposed to expire until September. For reasons unknown even from Apple itself it was downgraded to 5g’s. You might not think this is a huge problem until you find out that Apple’s email is linked to the cloud so I could not receive or send emails for two days after frantically buying more storage that Apple itself was telling me I should of already had. They could not fix this for 2 days after 9 hours frantically spending my time with them on the phone. It’s basically extortion that your email locks up like this and the fact my business is an online Buisness and all my orders are sent to my email I have no idea who was ordering from me or trying to contact me. Not a good impression when you run a Buisness. I have had more problems in the last month with Apple then I have in 6 years. The cloud is a disaster and they have lost there way. I warn anyone that has their email thorough iCloud that if your storage goes over it will say you reached your quota and your email will be effectively shut off.

    Share
  51. I had an iPhone 4, swapped for an android, now back with iPhone 5 – will NEVER switch again

    Share
  52. Every time I see one of these link baiting articles the persons justification makes no sense. probably because they are simply trying to get attention and page views. For example there are plenty of ways to get photos etc from your iPhone to a TV that don’t involve Airplay or iTunes. Spend 2 seconds googling it.
    Apple specifically restricts SOME interapplication communication because of malware. That is one of the many reasons why major corporations buy iPhones and not Android phones.

    Share
  53. Ok, i´m an old poop ( 30 ), that saw IRC shrink steadily when MSN came around. The avg users always choose the easiest solution over flexibility. MmM emoticons.

    I suppose alot of users “just want stuff to work”, and doesn´t want to be bothered with unecessary details.
    For example, MS Windows is shipped with options like “hide filename-extensions”, “hide menu bar”, and other things.
    Apple takes this further on IOS by removing the sense of operating with files and commands alltogether by limiting sharing-options. Why would you need more?
    I installed instagram and instantly removed it when i figured out i couldn´t even save my photos to “camera roll” if i wanted. The result are users who doesn´t know what a filetype is. Btw, i just noticed App-updates on the mac doesnt show me the size of updates until after i hit “update”. Why?

    You no longer need a bunch of accounts on the internet, as “everything” wants you to share accounts and integrate with facebook, google/youtube etc. I tried to avoid getting Spotify hooked up to anything, but for some reason unknown to me, i´ve got a bunch of contacts there too. Why does everything have to have a social component?
    And, i´ve got an iphone 5, which i like for numerous reasons, but it wont be completely useful until its jailbroken!
    Result : New users understand less and calls the tech-hotline more often.
    Developers : Please consider a “no bullshit”-mode for us old poops?

    Share
  54. I’m a long time Mac user (since 1986) who has also now had both an iPad in iPhone the last few years. So I guess you could say I’m definitely deeply integrated with Apple’s ecosystem. That alone makes a switch to another platform difficult for me at this point. I would only even consider doing so if the disparity of quality between the platforms became so large that it became difficult to ignore. With that all said iOS is far from perfect but it works for me and generally works very well. In fact I think it’s better to say that the “walled garden” approach is a big reason why it’s as reliable as it is and generally works as well as it does although the walls probably don’t need to be as high as they are. Obviously using only Apple devices helps in making all my devices work seamlessly together.

    But like I said iOS is far from perfect and quite frankly is due for an overhaul. Sometimes I wish Tim Cook would read forums like this and take what people are saying to heart because Apple needs to start doing more innovating and adapting or both or they’re going to have some problems down the line. Little things like allowing one to set default apps, adding widgets, and on screen toggles would go a long way to making iOS “sexy” again. I also think that they’re going to have to eventually make an iPhone with a larger screen. Among my Android friends I’ve noticed that their large-screen Android phones have become the center of their world much more so than my iPhone friends. They have less need for a tablet and in some cases a laptop or desktop as well. It’s almost like carrying a small tablet around that doubles as a phone, which eliminates (or at least diminishes) the need for other devices. It’s starting to look like that’s something that’s becoming very attractive to people. You can’t currently do that with an iPhone really.

    Of course Android isn’t without its problems as well. I frequently hear my Android friends bitch about having to wait for the latest OS update or even wonder if their device is going to get it at all. If they use multiple devices (tablets, computers, and phones) they don’t work seamlessly together as well as having all Apple devices. I’ve had to help some of my Android friends try to set up similar systems where all their devices work together seamlessly and it wasn’t nearly as easy and didn’t work nearly as well. I’ve also had some of my Android friends complain that the same app on their phones doesn’t look as nice, and in a few cases doesn’t function as well, as its iOS counterpart.

    Of course all of the above examples for both iOS and Android are just a few of them. The bottom line, at least to me, is that both platforms currently have enough advantages and disadvantages to where one is really not all that much better than the other one. So being that it’s now that close it really comes down to personal preference and what works best for each person. I have no doubt that I could switch to an Android phone tomorrow and in a few days have it set up to work reasonably well with the rest of my Apple ecosystem. I’d probably also be very happy with said phone. But would it be all that much better? I’m not so sure… Yet. So with that said I just don’t think it’s worth the trouble right now. But if Apple doesn’t start adapting and innovating soon I may have to revisit this decision sometime in the future.

    Share
    1. So your friends are having trouble, but you are going to switch Android because?

      Share
      1. I never said I was going to switch. I only said I might consider it in the future if Apple doesn’t innovate and adapt more. If you haven’t noticed Android has caught up quite a bit. It’s not perfect either but it’s being more aggressive in fixing its imperfections then Apple is with iOS. I’d like to see Apple change that.

        Share
  55. If you use your phone for actual productivity and don’t want to use Gmail and Google’s online suite good luck with Android.

    Share
  56. This article takes a bit too many liberties.

    First you must define open. Both Android and iOS are open in many ways but closed in others. This is the natural way of things. When you left your home today it’s likely that you locked your door. There’s always a context in which safety is paramount.

    I think you falsely created a link between a Walled Garden and one’s ability to get things done. For instance your WD player supports DNLA and there are many apps on iOS that will send audio to DNLA devices in fact Qualcomm just announced Skifta (www.skifta.com) which combines cloud media playback and DNLA/UP&P support. It’s not difficult.

    I think you made an inarticulate analogy with the web sharing “light bulb” primarily because you prefaced this moment with the idea to share a web page and then you discussed sharing other items like apps, or just about anything but you had already the context within web sharing. That’s confusing and a bit unfocused.

    The Walled Garden approach works. I’ve never seen a Castle built with 2 foot walls last very long. Open is a halcyon dream. Even the Jailbreak community for iOS has resorted to silly customizations because largely the needs of the market are satiated within the OS itself.

    As someone that covers technology you should be open to other platforms but I believe Apple’s approach is more congruent with the needs of the rank and file non-enthusiast or someone not entrenched in Google’s way of doing things.

    Share
  57. Mathew, My condolences to you on your thoughts of infidelity, and coveting thy neighbors smartphone. Though more helpful to the community that you write to might be an informed comparison afterwards, where the focus is more on experience than speculation and doubt.

    fwiw, when I share a document with my iPhone or iPad, I have many choices (20+?), beyond the three you listed, which makes me wonder about your perceived limitations. The number depends on the which apps registered willingness to receive what ever type of document you’re viewing (html, pdf, jpg, etc). There isn’t an apple restriction here. Regarding your question of sharing pictures/video/music from mac, pc with itunes, iphone, iPad, iTouch to your $99 appleTV. The answer is yes. Just push the airplay button and bingo it’s there. A good reviewer should know that. Not sure though about a $180 WD media hub.

    I think “openness” in this context is google marketing speak, chosen to differentiate and deflect questions about why the android platform have such malware app issues.

    Share
  58. “I am considering giving up my beloved iPhone for an Android”
    Free advice Mathew: Think again

    Share
  59. I was also in this position a few months ago, with my MacBook Pro, ipad & iPhone (my forth one) but was tempted by Android. I bought a Galaxy Note, but kept my iPhone. Thank God I did – I sold the Note after only a month, have you have tried to sync an Andoird 4+ with a mac! Basically you cannot. Forget Kiess. What wine my was iCloud, Andoird has nothing like it. Sure Google & several other 3rd party apps you can get close, but the experience isn’t anything like as suite. My Android friends just don’t get it, but its true what they say, “it just work”. It’s as simple as that if you want quality hardware with software that just works, Apple is the only way.

    Sue go try and Android, but you’ll be back – unless that is you simply text, make a few calls and check the news.

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  60. I’ve been a cloud dweller whenever possible since I first went online in 1971. That’s part of the reason for my never having bought an Apple product despite my great admiration for so much of what they’ve done. They don’t like the cloud because they don’t control it — and even when they do come late to the party with their version of a cloud service, it’s not very good. And then there’s the fact that the single worst piece of software I use is iTunes for Windows (horrible UI, buggy, slow, drags down my other running apps). I’d love to use an alternative client to access their store, which contains content I can’t find anywhere else (without resorting to piracy, which I won’t do) — but they won’t let any third party develop one.

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    1. Thanks, Rohan — my thoughts exactly.

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  61. I won’t get an Android phone because almost without exception you can never upgrade the system, you are stuck with the one that comes on your device. There are too many things to check on too many devices on too many carriers so it is very rare an individual model is upgeadeable even once. iPhones are good for at least two major system upgrades before being left behind.

    You strongly imply that there are many more apps available for Android than iOS and that is patently absurd.

    Your point of how surfing on all but the hugest phone screens is well taken, but 90% of cell traffic is from iPhones and they have well less than half the market so the world disagrees with you there, at least on like-sized screen sizes.

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    1. you should take a pill

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  62. Keith McSpurren Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    it’s cause you wanted your kids to think you’re cool…

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  63. Thanks, Mathew for citing my blog post. Flattered. I’m working on a follow-up. Working title: What should Apple do.

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  64. I suggest you wait until Android 5.0 comes out. I think there will be some big changes – much bigger than Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 brought together. They should unveil it at Google I/O in May, and I would assume along with a Nexus phone, too, but I really can’t say for sure.

    If they’re not releasing any Nexus phone then, and won’t release until next November, then at least wait for the Galaxy S4 and HTC One X2 or whatever they will be calling it (M7?), but these should also come out in April or May.

    There’s also that Motorola X-phone that is rumored, and it supposedly made with heavy influence from Google, but that might not arrive until fall either. But either way, I’d wait until May if I were you.

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    1. Also if you value upgrades, and everything Google has to offer, then there’s no choice than to get a Nexus phone. And you could actually get a Nexus 4 right now if you wanted, and it should be upgraded ASAP with Android 5.0, once it’s announced.

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  65. A lot of extraneous verbiage in that post for little substance and purely selfish self-serving arguments.

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  66. The DLNA is fixed by now, using Skifta. Pretty easy to use, and free ! No argument anymore ;)

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  67. Android (Nexus 4) is it for me for now. I have slowly moved away from Apple products for all of the reasons mentioned here. I also sold my AAPL a few months back because I saw the better way and feel like folks are catching on to their “pay for everything” ways.

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  68. Where's your bathroom? Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    This reminds me of the transition I made to open services after I realised I had been suffering from the closed walls of, well, my own bathroom. If reading tales about using the toilet bother you, please read no further. Sure my own bathroom has nice fixtures, a place for my own toothbrush, a jacuzzi, etc., but surrounding all this luxury are four walls. What’s more, you can’t even get in if the door is locked. That’s right, locked. And my Western Digital Hub is incompatible with it.
    Although I had heard about other people having a bathroom different than mine, it wasn’t until I was visiting a friend and had to use his that I realised that even though mine suited me that I was envious of his. The towels were just more colourful, and had logos on them (of Western Digital Hubs) and it was just so freeing to use a different toilet. You know?
    And then, a week later, I had to use a *public* toilet (because my friend stopped letting me use his bathroom. Even locked the door on me.) The experience was eye-opening. There are just more public washrooms than my one, no matter how nice it is. You can go anywhere. There are even stalls with no doors! It’s so open! Paper-towel dispensers (empty, usually), empty soap dispensers, sink sensors that turn on when you just put your hand under them, in exactly the right position. Most of the time. Sometimes. When I was able to get the last drop of soap I was, like, OMG. I know my own bathroom has a bar of soap, but to use it I would have to buy more bars. There’s that lock-in again. And, I bring along my Western Digital Hub because it’s a perfect match. It doesn’t work any better than it did in my bathroom, but there is a version of public bathroom that does, I’ve heard.
    The next step is for me to go completely open. I’m talking open source, I think. What actually it is, I’m not sure, but the kid who lives next door has a dog named Ubuntu, and that dog is out there every day, going to the bathroom *out in the complete open*. There’s a Google car watching his every, ah, movement, but hey, better than being a my-own-bathroom-fanboy. So, watch for me. Maybe in your own yard. Or comments section.
    Oh yeah, Western Digital Hub.

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  69. “It’s probably possible”. OMG yet another ignorant know-it-all-but-knows-nothing android user. Not to mention using Ubuntu over OSX? Sad.

    Of course you can beam it to appleTV, and EASILY. You don’t even have to take your phone out because you can view your PHOTOSTREAM on appleTV. WIth one click of the shutter my photo is in the cloud, on my iPad, iPhone, iMac, and backed up to an HDD. WIthout me even thinking about it.

    Have fun with your dozens of different systems, perception of ‘openness’, and more importantly the time you’ll spend tinkering with and fixing things. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

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  70. Fact checking the web Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    “It’s probably possible to beam your photos to your television with an iPhone or iPad, but to do that you would need an Apple TV and AirPlay and to be hooked into…”

    This didn’t seem right, so I did a quick search for DLNA in the ios App Store, and there are free apps that do what you want over that protocol.

    Like a lot of areas (iBooks, iTunes, FaceTime), Apple is pushing their AirPlay by building it in to their software, and marketing it, but they don’t block alternatives from the App Store.

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  71. You will love your Droid. My favorite feature is the EasyTether tethering option for a secure, hard-wire laptop Internet connection via Droid. Has saved my ass multiple times in power failures and network outages. As for Apple, it’s odd to me that a company that once disdained IBM as the dominant purveyor of groupthink (remember Apple’s 1984 TV ad where the runner tosses the sledge hammer at the Big Brother figure?) has itself become the dominant purveyor of groupthink. Break free my friend, break free.

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  72. Ingram builds his case on a couple of cherry picked functions that he managed to do with his Android that he couldn’t on his iPhone, ignoring the multitude of things you can do on your iPhone and not on the Android.

    A real phone user doesn’t do that. I want a phone that is easy to use and where the OS is the best designed possible and I am protected from all the shit out there.

    Android delivers a sub par OS, a smaller selection of apps, a large list of criminally dangerous apps and a garden with dozens of secret passages for criminals to get in.

    No thanks.

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  73. David R. Smith Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    I have switched back and forth more times than I care to admit as I just love technology no matter the platform. Currently I am on the iPhone 5 and am pretty happy. All day battery life, near seamless integration with my other devices and perhaps most importantly I’m not wanting to load a custom rom to get my device just so. Yes, the iPhone has lost some of its tech appeal but it is reliable and has yet to let me down and this counts the most in the long run.

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  74. Your example of sending photos to a DLNA set-top box was very poor. I typed “dlna app for iphone” into Google and the first result was “Top 10 DLNA Streaming Apps for iPhone & iPad”. The 10 apps shown stream photos, music and videos to just about any DLNA device. And there are probably plenty more. So Android is better how?

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  75. Just so you know I still need to root my Nexus 7 to be able to do anything I want to do with it. Just like I have to jailbreak my iPad to do the same. I use both platforms because I have to. Jellybean still crashes more than iOS even when you take rooting/jailbreaking out of the equation.

    Nexus 7 corning fit 4G HSDPA $299 6Mbps can run java applications, NFC

    iPad Mini Gorilla Glass LTE $569 20Mbps HTML5 100% supported, Siri

    Nice thing about them being both AT&T I can use the same plan between the 2

    I’m on my 2nd Nexus because my screen cracked like ripped paper. You get what you pay for.

    But both I use no keyboard with either and don’t miss not having an SD card slot or a removable battery.

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    1. Oh and why don’t you try changing your hostname of your Android device? What’s that you can’t without rooting it?

      Oh you have to reboot your Android to change SIM cards?

      I know I’m nitpicking but I hate when I hear you have soo much more control with Android and the Android is soo far advance than iOS.

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  76. I agree who cares especially when the reasons are trivial and more about playing with new shiny products than anything.

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  77. go ahead a switch. You will come crawling back. I know I did.

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  78. Ugh – and I’m sure that everyone else who runs Ubuntu will agree with you. Too bad only a small number of people even know what it is.

    20 apps and only a couple both work AND do what you want? Engineers can cope with that because they’re used to fixing things, but you’re out of touch with mainstream humanity if you think that experience is generally preferred. Yes, I’ve highly customized my windows PC with all sorts of little programs I wrote, too. But that puts me in a laughably tiny subset of the market.

    If I had a dime for every time I heard a woman say, “hey, I bet I can use DLNA protocol to zap these pictures over to my wireless Western Digital hub that I’ve set up as a media server”, I would be a poor, desperately poor man.

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  79. Welcome to the wonderful world of Android, Matthew.

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  80. Hilarious. I stream photos the moment I take them, to the TV, via you guessed it, WDTV live hub. Via a free app. And I don’t even own an Apple TV. Anyway good luck syncing your music playlists and videos wirelessly from your PC to your phone now that you’re on android.

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  81. Mathew – thank you for the insightful article. One thing that I am surprised you did not comment on was the lack of security controls that underpins the Android ecosystem. While i don’t believe Apple’s Walled Garden is perfect I do think it has security advantages over the comparable Android application stores/marketplaces. For example, If hackers and cyber criminals can freely post apps on the Google Marketplace free of any inspection/testing (which is the case today) then I think the open vs. walled assertion is moot. There is lots of research and analysis trumpeting the explosion of mobile malware – see recent 2013 Threat Predictions published by McAfee which highlights this phenomena = http://www.mcafee.com/sg/resources/reports/rp-threat-predictions-2013.pdf. All of this stated, I’m really impressed by the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note2 product lines and I think the ball is in Apple’s court to catch up and unleash the next generation of innovative features…

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  82. I bought an iPhone recently when my old Android broke – now I wish I had my Android back, or a Windows Phone. iTunes runs like a mess on my Windows machine – a lot of the music videos I once bought are refusing to play, leaving me feeling cheated out of more than $100 worth of music video DRM purchases – and the iPhone, besides the annoyance of the outdated Apple ID system and inferior touchscreen keyboard that can’t hold a candle to the full keys of my old Android, has a nasty tendency to turn off its ringer switch in my pocket, leaving me with missed calls and a serious resentment at the overhyped word-of-mouth that I bought the product on.

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  83. My iphone works fine and I like the size. Bigger is not always better and I don’t mind using apps to share. Everything works like clockwork, never had a problem. Like genius bar for everything and have even called and got help. Where do you go for an Android problem?

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  84. Eric V. Anderson Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    That it’s taken so long for the “openness and choice” discussion to gain traction is a testament to how well Apple has designed its walled garden. But as the author states, a walled garden, despite how beautiful the flowers, is still a walled garden. If openness and choice really gain steam, then it will be interesting to see how Apple responds.

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  85. The only difference you state is DLNA streaming to your WD Hub. I just searched for DLNA Streaming on the Apple App Store. More than 40 can do what you want.

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    1. That wasn’t the only difference, Ron — there’s the ability to share to almost any app and device. I know there are DLNA apps for iOS.

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  86. For my limited playing with Android, there are some things that I cannot get passed:

    - With double the amount of cores of an iPad or iPhone, basic UI fluidity is still not there (scrolling, for instance).
    - With double the amount of cores, I ***EXPECT*** piano apps to play in real time. So far, they haven’t. Yes, I’ve tested this and YouTubed it for proof.
    - While iOS has proven it’s not 100% secure from malware (remember that old PDF exploit), I DO NOT want to have to have anti-virus-type software on my phone. Ever.

    This past week, somebody told me that the great things about Android include downloadable ringtones and AVG. REALLY? That’s his selling point?

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  87. Apple keep its system closed because of security, copy right, and infringements. And yes you have to go with all apple products… Why mix other ugly design with apple anyway? Form follows function in any great product. Yes it is a marketing strategy to kelp consumers buying all apple products because that works well together. Apple is protecting herself n that is a right thing to do.

    But if there is a huge need, I am sure apple can come our with a hybrid that takes over that market share.

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  88. The Shadow has fallen over Apple…

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  89. I just started using Twonky on my Nexus 4 to beam to my Roku. Didn’t need to pay a penny for anything I didn’t already have.

    I was talking on my phone while flawlessly beaming to my big screen TV in HD. Amazing.

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  90. Bottom line: It’s all about the apps and Android’s apps suck.

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  91. Good post, totally agree.

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  92. One key benefit of Android is the lack of enforcement of a 30% in-app purchase fee. Companies are getting around this on iOS using HTML5 apps (no offline viewing) or apps that don’t allow in-app purchases (e.g. Kindle app). This is a bad customer experience and it won’t get better until Apple allows for negotiated rates.

    Contrast that with Android where the Kindle app, Amazon music app, and VUDU app allow in-app purchases. This is a much better customer experience and it gives users multiple storefronts to choose from for books, movies, media, etc. The Android VUDU app even offers downloading of movies/TV shows for offline viewing. Since VUDU supports ultravoilet, that means you can FINALLY buy a movie once and play it on all of your screens (smart TVs, lots of blu-ray players, game consoles, etc) without being tied to one hardware manufacturer. I assume the CinemaNow app will follow suit, giving us choices for multiple hardware manufacturers AND streaming sources for a single movie purchase. Too bad Disney isn’t in the ultraviolet camp…

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  93. Things that were missing from the article are comparisons between the UIs and functionality. The task menu is one that Apple has now copied but its still rather weak compared to JB. Another are widgets which really enhance and change the UI to the user’s needs.

    Another that I notice using my iPad (not sure if its the same on iPhone) is the ability of multi-tasking apps. Like YouTube just stops if I bump out of it and if I go back in it has gone back to the default home screen. I see a lot of this in the iPad to where my Android tablet allows these to run in the back ground while I do other things. I do understand why Apple restricts this in that sometimes you have to manage your running apps on Android more but it just makes the Android device so much more useful.

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  94. Whatever it is.. nothing can beat Apple’s ecosystem.

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  95. I Initially picked an Android phone because of its keyboard feature. Less than a month into owning the phone, Android pushed through the Ice Cream Sandwich update. Unfortunately, this wrecked my keyboard. For example, when I try to use the physical keyboard to text, shortcut apps pop up. Say I typed “i’m going to class” — immediately my Email application opens up and takes me to my gmail. When I tried taking this to countless Verizon stores, everyone there was freakin clueless about what I just described. No one could figure out what I was talking about or how to fix it. (of course, as with murphy’s law, my stupid phone did not show the problem when I took it into the store. It started up again as soon as I got home!)

    Nevertheless, I eventually begged them to let me try a replacement phone. Same thing happened with the keyboard. Likewise, my android battery life is 3/4 of the way dead by 3:00 in the afternoon, even on days when my use is minimal.

    Maybe all of my issues have more to do with the quality of my phone’s construction at the factory, than the android platform itself…. They don’t make quality cell phones like they used too.

    All I know is that I should have picked the iPhone when I had the chance. I’ve only met one or two people who have had as many technical problems with their iPhone as I have had with my android. Everyone else I know swears by them.

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