I have been an Android user for over ten years at this point, having swapped Google’s mobile operating system from the old iPhone 3GS. I’m no stranger to iPhones or iOS in general, as my job pretty much demands it.
But am I likely to buy my own iPhone? The answer is always no. And despite all of Android’s flaws, it still fits me much better than Apple’s smartphone. Even the iPhone 13 isn’t going to change that.
The main thing I love about Android, as an operating system, is its inherent ability to personalize your experience. Android itself has the ability to have whatever you love on the home screen, and has been doing so for over a decade.
The main thing I love about it is that I can choose which apps to have on my home screen and how they are presented. The rest live in the app drawer, waiting for me to open it and find what I’m looking for.
Granted, the iPhone has its own dedicated app library since iOS 14, and you don’t necessarily have to keep all of your apps on the Home screen. But iOS still doesn’t give you full control over their placement either, because you can’t leave empty space between icons.
Even with Apple’s revamped Home screen widgets, which now look more like Android than anything Apple previously thought it would, it can’t make up for that fact. At least not for me.
Sure, things have improved a lot over the past year, but for now Android still has the edge. Considering the multitude of customizable launchers available, these are invaluable tools when you end up with a device with a design that isn’t quite right for you.
I’m also not a huge fan of how Apple threw Touch ID by the wayside. And according to the recent Apple event, it won’t make a comeback with the iPhone 13. While I much preferred the classic physical fingerprint scanner to the newer sub-display options, I find them much more enjoyable to use than Face ID.
Frankly having to look at my phone to unlock it, especially when verifying a payment in Apple Pay, was such a chore that I found it confusing. Apple chose it with something as simple as tapping a button.
I understand where Apple is coming from, Face ID being more secure than a simple fingerprint scanner, but it would be nice to have an option. Especially since in-display fingerprint scanners are pretty well established at this point.
The same goes for USB-C, which Apple has been quite slow to embrace in its mobile devices. While the MacBooks went standard in 2015, the iPad Pros joined them in 2018 and the iPad mini including the port this year. And yet, Lightning has always lingered, despite now being old by tech standards.
There is the argument that the lighting is just fine and doesn’t need to be changed, with a few exceptions where enhanced USB-C connectivity is needed. But there are also rumors that Apple is trying to wait, and only ditch Lightning when it can release an iPhone without a reliable port.
Personally, if I buy a new phone, it would be nice to continue using all of the different chargers that I have accumulated over the years, even if they don’t offer the best charging speeds. Any other phone and I wouldn’t have this problem, but Apple still insists on being the outlier.
Apple understands some of the important things
That said, there are some things I like about iOS. Apple’s focus on privacy and security is great, and more phone makers (Google in particular) should be focusing on. Likewise, the fact that iPhones all receive software updates around the same time, rather than waiting for an OEM or carrier to start rolling them out, is pretty good.
However, Google is also doing this with the Pixel line. But Google isn’t supporting its phones for as long as it could. Apple still supports the iPhone 6S and other phones released in 2015.
Meanwhile, Google only supports pixels for a few years, which means the oldest that still receives regular Android updates is the Pixel 3 of 2018, but that support expires at the end of next month. This is a problem that all Android phones have, and something that the end of the market really needs to steal in Cupertino.
Then again, none of these things really make up for the fact that an iPhone is so expensive. Many flagship Android phones do this as well, which is why I stay away from them, but at the very least, there are plenty of inexpensive options to take over. Options which, frankly, are not much worse than a flagship.
With iPhones, “cheaper” always means smaller, and I don’t want to go back to the postage stamp-feeling screens of something like the iPhone SE or the iPhone 12 mini. Sure, the $ 349 iPhone SE has everything an iPhone 13 does when it comes to software, but its hardware is definitely not my thing.
Existing familiarity with Android may play a part in my decision, but at the same time, the fact that each phone maker seems to have its own flavor of Android means there are always new interfaces to get used to.
I realize these are all very minor criticisms, but they add up. And they add up to the point where, especially if you factor in the price, I really don’t want to make the jump from Android to iPhone. And unless Apple makes some pretty drastic changes with its next handset, that isn’t going to happen any time soon – iPhone 13 or not.
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