My iPhone 5 is going back. Part 1 – The little things add up.

on Monday, October 1, 2012

Anyone that knows me was astonished to find out that I picked up the new iPhone 5 as my every day phone. I’ve been carrying Android for years, and have preached how good it is (paired with right hardware) and the advantages it had over iOS to anyone that asked. Don’t get me wrong, I often recommend the iPhone to the right demographic, but in the professional and business community, I almost always steer them to Android. But I began to double guess myself when sales figures topped 5 million in a single weekend. Maybe I really am missing something, maybe I’ve been giving poor advice. So I thought I would give it a shot as my daily smart device and see what I’ve been missing.

It’s not that I’m a “fandroid” (though I do mostly love my HTC Incredible 4 that is barely 2 months old). No, it’s that I really dislike a lot of the controlled environment and proprietary components that come along with buying an Apple product. I actually own an iPad 3 that replaced my Samsung Galaxy Tab, and my wife has an iPod touch. We’ve invested in the cords, adapters and docks that are all necessary to make them work. But now Apple changed that, with its new “lightening port” and expects you to spend hundreds in adapters or new accessories just to get back to where you were before. It doesn’t even come with a single free adapter (that’s another $30). Apple couldn’t use the standards that the rest of the world was using; they had to create new revenue streams by convincing people that they have some genius technology (which it’s not). It’s a brilliant model really, and as much as I hate the controlled system as an end-user and a technician, I admire Apple as a business.

But I got past that. If I have to spend a couple of bucks to have a superior phone (and adapters) that makes my life more efficient, then so be it. So I bit the bullet and ordered the iPhone5 from Verizon. I also knew that I would have to give myself some time to get used to a different interface, and new I would be giving up the customizable widgets that I loved on my years of Androids.

So, my iPhone experiment began. I got my device via FedEx via presale on the opening sale day and was greeted with a fantastic looking device. It is lightweight, thin, nice looking, and seemingly extremely durable. But after the initial ‘wow factor’ wore off, I sat it next to my current Android and realized they were almost dimensionally twins, my android is actually a few millimeters shorter than my iPhone the width is identical, but my iPhone a good third thinner than the Android. Both have 4” screens, so the screen size of the iPhone does not impress me (been using a 4” screen for a few years already). Then the display, well, to be honest, yes it is bright and pretty, but it really isn’t remarkably better than the one on my Android. .

So now I start using it. Wow, it is fast. Quick and pretty. It flips through screens fluently. The animations, transitions and fade-aways are fantastic. Apps don’t crash with nasty “force close” messages like they occasionally do in my Android. It really is an attractive device both in hardware and software. I miss my customizable home screen and lock screen on my Android, but this device is so fast, that I’m already forgetting that was a concern. I’m going to save so much time using this device.

Well, that was my impression for the first day or so of ownership anyhow. In day two, I start to realize something. For as fast as this device is, it sure seems to be taking me a long time to do things. That’s when I start to realize more of the genius of Apple. They do a phenomenal job with aforementioned transitions and graphics. So much so, that you don’t feel like you are waiting for the application or phone to do things, because it is so engaging. In reality, it really is taking just as long to send a text, open and app, attach a picture to an email as it was on my Android. It just doesn’t feel like it because you are presented with pretty animations while the phone is doing its thing and it makes it feel faster.

And apps never crashing? Forget that; they crash as often, or more often, than they did on my Android. They just do so gracefully with a beautiful fade out effect as I am redirected to iPhone home screen. They don’t make you acknowledge that the app crashed, like Android does with an okay button. Lag; locked up screens, inaccurate key presses, it’s all there, just wonderfully masked behind the beauty of iOS. And at least with my android I could install a keyboard (Swift 3) that helps correct the phone or my mistypes, an option that is not available on iPhone (you have to use the default keyboard). I frequently have the app store telling me of updates that don’t exist, and have had to reboot on two separate occasions because an App got hung up and would not restart.

And of course there is the whole maps debacle. When I fire up the Apple Maps, the GPS frequently places me anywhere from 10 to 100 yards from where I am standing. It labels roads incorrectly, and has terrible artifacts on the landscape. And, yes Apple fanbois, I know to turn on location services, I know to have a clear skyline, I know technology, and this one DOES NOT WORK. I’ve heard the absolutely terrible argument “Google’s Maps Version 1 were not perfect either”, well that is just the dumbest excuse I’ve ever heard. Imagine your richer than you should be and buy a new luxury car EVERY year, an Audi A6 series. Every year you get every feature that is offered, including a hard-drive music system, DVD, 16 speakers and WORKING GPS. Now, this year, you buy the Audi and they replaced the system with a basic CD player from ten years ago, a GPS that only works some of the time and speakers that sound like tin, but the price is the same as was last year. Audi says, "well in the past Bang & Olufsen made our stereo, and this year we decided it would be cheaper to make our own. Even though we are a car company, not a stereo company, we still can try to copy the old design and we’ll ask you, the owner to help us improve it with your feedback. But don’t worry, in another few years we’ll figure out how to make a stereo as good as the one we used to provide you."  Even though you love Audi, would you accept that from them?!

But, maps aside, I realized something else. The device isn’t just as slow as my Android; it is SLOWER than my Android. No, not in physical raw processing power of the CPU… but in the everyday practical use of the device. Here’s why. In Apple’s strategy to appeal to the masses, they’ve made everything simple. From having only one button, to not allowing customizable lock screens, everything is locked down, simple and tightly controlled. The problem is that it has become so simple that it creates extra work for power users.


  •  For example, with my Android, I have the lock screen set to show me the weather forecast only in the morning. So when I get out of bed, I toggle the power button and immediately know how to dress in the morning. After I view it once, it then switches to notifications and my calendar for the rest of the day. With my iPhone, I have to hit the power button, unlock the device, then pull down the notification bar or launch the weather app. A couple of extra steps. 
  •  But it doesn’t stop there. You are checking email and click a link in email to visit a website in safari. Now you want to get back to that email. Well, double click the home button, and then click on the email app again. In Android, you hit a novel thing called a back button, again, saving two steps. 
  •  Here’s another thing. I’m checking email and read a message, then decide to pursue another task, like surf the web or launch an app. I continue for a while on that task then put the phone down for an hour. I then pick it back up to check my email. When I click the email button, it takes me back to the last email I looked at two hours ago, I have to click back through the email chain several times to get back to my new messages. Another situation where having a dedicated back button, or having MORE customization would be an extreme time saver. 
As many tech-heads know, the iPhone and iOS is really just an app launcher, a really really good app launcher. For all of Apple’s work on a notification bar (which still isn’t as good as Android’s) and a lock screen (that’s not customizable), it really doesn’t hold a candle to Android (for me). On Android I’ve got a calculator on one home screen, my calendar appointments, contacts, and weather all combined on another, and I’ve separated out the icons I use frequently to a pattern that I like on the other home screens (iOS auto places them back on your screen and does not allow white space). Widgets are a wonderful thing.

So, I’m nitpicking right. I hear the Apple fans taunting me now. You’ll get used to it. It’s just such-and-such gesture to do that. Use your other hand, swipe three fingers up, spin around in a circle and press the home button four times. Use Siri (because everyone is always in a quiet room and wants to talk to their phone disruption others). Well, I don’t like any of those answers.

Anyone that has any experience in improving business efficiencies knows that once the low hanging fruit is gone, real improvements are gained through small incremental time improvements. Those tiny improvements build up over time to big results. In my case, the extra click of two to three times combined with the over excessive moving around of my thumb (why is the back button all the way in the top left of the screen anyhow?) multiplied by the 25 to 100 times per day that I check my phone really adds up to an experience that is just too much time and work. Yes, it’s pretty work, but it’s time that I’d rather be reading media or doing other things with. I’d estimate that I spend an extra 1 or more minutes per day swiping around to get to things that I used to get to with one click. No Big Deal? Staying with a half minute a day would be 3 hours per year! (.5 minutes X 365)/60 = 3.04 Hours!

Tomorrow, I’ll take this already too long of a story and explain what this has to do with sourcing and procurement, with the following three bullets:

  • Separate the product from the company 
  • Separate your needs from the herd-mentality 
  • "Best in Class" doesn’t mean best for you.
My Iphone 5 is going back, part 2.
-----Updated-----
Wow, the comments are coming in, and people are defensive and ANGRY!  They sure blindly love their phones.  Seriously people, are your lives so empty that you have to get worked up over a business blogger's experience with a product that was not exactly the same happy experience as your own?  Please, try to relax! I guarantee that me switching back to Android will not effect your lives in ANY way shape or form, I promise.

It's crazy to me, people are so passionate about their iPhones (or Androids), that they talk down to anyone that doesn't agree with them.  Just mentioning one thing you don't like and you'd think that I was trying to convince someone not to like their home football team, or even worse, trying to convert a democrat to republican, or vice versa.

Here is the short of it.  People are free to comment, and I will publish those comments unfiltered, provided they don't resort to name calling (which several have already been banned). The passionate people actually are proving my point, that I will blog about tomorrow.  

I'm not going to respond to most of the comments either, I am traveling today, and really don't care to hear why you think that I should use a product that does not work for me.  This blog post simply expressed my opinion and experience with a product, to prove a point that I will address tomorrow. Just because the herd uses a product (or chooses a supplier), doesn't mean that product/supplier is right for you.

27 comments:

Willy Morgan said...

Are we really talking about that the Iphone 5 is slower because you have to press the home button and then something else to do certain tasks? wow... Please, send the Iphone 5 back, go back to Android. If it's so obvious that Android phones are much better than the Iphone, in specs, screen, etc, Why isn't there millions of people all over the world lining up for the next Android? Why is Apple still in business? Why isn't the galaxy sIII smoking the iphone 5 sales-wise?

Anonymous said...

I love your story, I use both ios and Android, but u helped me realize why I like Android so much. The simplicity of ios, though easy to use for some can get boring and annoying for others. Your 3 bullets are awesome :-)

Anonymous said...

Great write up.

Anonymous said...

I got bored when you started your argument with the lightning connector.... they released a new connector to replace a 10 year old connector! get a grip

mohammed ali said...

Very nice points
I use both ios and andriod
As much i like the speed of ios (specially the new iphone) i feel like ios need new look
I mean why do u think many people are jailbreaking there ios devices ?
They simply want more control of there devices

Samanta's Blog said...

Right demographic = retards

LOL

Anonymous said...

I also appreciated your review, and the details of your experience. While you admit clearly from the start the subjective basis for your viewpoint, it qualifies an opinion for a type of user that many of us can relate to. Apple may make great products, they certainly make great profits from you, but the 'one way for all' does may not work for everyone.

Anonymous said...

"I got bored when you started your argument with the lightning connector.... they released a new connector to replace a 10 year old connector! get a grip"

Use unbored and open-minded prefer to grip our wallets and look for value. It is remarkable how easily led people can be when they're seeing their master as a benefactor, not the filthy-rich organisation of total control that it is.

I'm sure some serfs 500 years ago saw their landlord as a good man, up there in his manor while they tilled the land 13 days of every 14. Age-old game.

Anonymous said...

I realized I was listening to a fanDroid when I noted that you bought a brand new phone on release day, with a brand new OS that included a brand new mapping program and then complained because some apps have bugs. I had the same thing when i updated my 4S to iOS6. EVERY app I have has only (after a week or so) updated to fix iOS6 crashing issues. So you bought a release day device and didn't expect any software updates would be needed from third-party developers? really?? Or that a new mapping program might not be as good as Google's? hahaha

Yea, I agree with the above poster for your complaining about the adapter. First change in ten years. Again, you knew about that before the phone ever was announced if you are indeed a "techie".

Your article basically amounts to what you would expect if someone said "I hate Windows phones, bought a Windows phone and don't like it the first day I used it."

Anomoly said...

The excuses which you point out as the basis for the the story and your so called lost time theory are actually due to a lack of knowledge. There are just as many shortcuts in iOS, you just have to know where to look (but then I suppose that would take you another 5 minutes to learn them and the 3.5 hours a year in time saved just isn't worth that sort of investment). By all means, return you iPhone, go back to using your Android device and don't look back. It just leaves that many more for the rest of us who do appreciate the features and simplicity of the iPhone.

Anonymous said...

Good article. iOs is too 'dumbed down' for my needs.

Anonymous said...

^Then why didn't they add a micro USB adapter?

Anonymous said...

please return your iphone 5 so i can have one!!!

William Dorn said...

Willy, you are just confirming the actual underlying topic of this blog post, and my follow up tomorrow. Just because something is the number one best seller, doesn't mean that it is automatically the best product for YOU.

By the way, the Galaxy S3 passed 30 Million units in sales. I am sure the new iPhone will surpass it once they start shipping again, but right now, there are more S3s on the market than iPhone 5s.

The Toyota Camry is terrific product, and the best selling for the last 10 years straight. It is extremely dependable, has great gas mileage, has a decent warranty and is available with some decent options. Really, it's a great car. But guess what, it's not for everyone. It's not fast enough, sporty enough, or luxurious enough for many people. For others, its not big enough or is too big. Some don't like the color choices, some don't want to own America's most stolen car. The Camry is an awesome product. But its not the product for everyone.

My friend Dave drives a Toyota, and I don't hate him for it. I drive an Infiniti and he doesn't hate me for it. What is Apple doing differently that causes people to create such a fanatical following (in a small subset)?

Anonymous said...

Android phones outsell iOS phones 4:1.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your just really lazy to me. Is it really that big of a deal if you have to press one more button to get what you need. Look, i like iPhones and have nothing against android. All your arguments against the iphone exists because you are use to android and ios does not do things the way you are use to. A real argument would have been something like if the battery life was not as good or if the camera quality was not as good. If you buy a car that is a reliable great looking car but has a crappy stereo, you replace the stereo. I didn't by the car for its stereo and i don't by an iphone for its maps. Replace maps with something like Mapquest in the app store if its so bad. Oh wait, then that would require an extra step in your life and slow you down. Never mind then.

William Dorn said...

**Just a reminder everyone**
Please keep your comments civil, and I am not publishing posts that have vulgar language.

As much as the people are being a bit hostile here, I think the comments are still proving my point. The last anonymous poster resorted to name calling and then started to point to things that are not as relevant to me specifically. The battery on my droid, while not the best, serves me just fine. AND I can swap it out if I need to. The maps are important to me, and I want the ones that used to be there (not that novel of a concept).
He actually nailed my argument for me. I'd have to take an extra step in my life which would slow me down with the iPhone. I carry a smart phone to be faster, more efficient, and more connected, so I don't want to be slowed down.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know the weather to decide what to dress in, look out the window. This is such a subjective article.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - I think he meant weather forecast. You can't look outside and see what it is going to do later in the day.
I think the point of this article is to be subjective. Isn't the point "to each his own"?

Anonymous said...

There is still only one button on the iphone, I like having a back button, but that's just me :-)

Anonymous said...

Android phones can be upgraded just for a couple of months. After that the space won't be enough for the new versions of the OS and applications.
You can upgrade iPhones for at least 2 years.
And I don't want to buy another (Android) phone every 6 months - and I'm probably not alone.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't mean that 4:1 prefer Android... it means then some of them can only afford a Android device.

Anonymous said...

For the poster that said Android runs out of space, so you can't upgrade.....What? Where are you getting your information, because that is just wrong.

Anomoly said...

The iPhone has just as many, if not more features than than any Android phone on the market today. It is faster than any Android phone too because it does not have the OS-bloat that Google is famous for. As I stated in my earlier comment, if you took the time to learn how to use it, you no longer have to repeat various steps to perform routine tasks, such as switching apps. But, I agree with your comment that not every product is suited for everyone. Which is also why I agree that you should return your iPhone and not look back. You tried. Nobody can blame you. If I wasn't so attached to my iPhone, I would probably try an Android phone. But, my mother has one and I hate it just as much as she does (compared to my phone, it is hard to use, difficult to navigate, slow...You get the idea) It all comes down to perception. How I perceive something may be totally different than how you perceive it. (Just because I am right and you are wrong is beside the point... Just kidding) Seriously, everybody has different opinions on what makes a good product which is why the choice of features is so vast.

Anonymous said...

Right demographic = iDiots

Anonymous said...

I hear that it's quite "obvious that Android phones are much better than the Iphone, in specs, screen, etc". But they do have an Achilles heal; they are ugly pieces of rubbish ;) They kinda remind me of this: http://www.noob.us/humor/trigger-happy-tv-giant-cell-phone-prank/

:)

Anonymous said...

Every android phone that I've ever picked up is buggy, stuttering, junk. But poor battery management makes them GREAT handwarmers for hunting.

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