Skip to main content

Android to iOS: Day Three - This Isn't A Google Phone

Yesterday's dramas with Apple ID and geo-locking of purchases aside, I was able to take my first steps in getting to know the iPhone. Not that huge amounts have changed since I had my previous iPhones, but iOS 6 for iPhone is new and adds some features that subtly change the way that the iPhone works.

Yesterday I touched on the loss of Android widgets and how I had expected that to cause me issues. So far it has proven to be a non-issue. However I had to change my way of thinking for this to be the case.

My expectations when using previous Android phones has been that my home screen displays the clock, weather and upcoming appointments. From there, one swipe away would be emails and messages and a further swipe would take me to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ widgets.

I have spent a considerable amount of time (and a lesser amount of money) to ensure that the wallpapers and widgets that sat on my Note 2 or One X home screens were stunning visually, complementary and provided quick glance views of the information that I needed.

On the iPhone the operation is much the same, but also very different. From the 'homescreen' I swipe down into the notification centre and get access to the same set of information, but listed on one (scrollable) screen. The only app missing is Google+, which I remedied by placing on my first page of icons.

By not trying to emulate the Android way of working on the iPhone I found that I have actually managed to achieve a similar standard of user experience. So although the iOS home screen looks dated, working with the flow exposes some very well thought through design decisions.

Apple has built its iOS empire as much on the huge third-party accessory market as the quality of its devices. Nothing about the iPhone 5 suggests that strength will disappear anytime soon.

The wide variety of cases and add-ons available in just about every retail store is just the beginning. Plugged into the USB port in my car - a 2013 Nissan Qashqai - I find all the head unit controls work perfectly to control the iPod function for music. The control knob perfectly matches the iPod Classic's wheel controller and its possible to dive through menus and playlists for the perfect multimedia experience.

Even better, when used as a Sat Nav the voice instructions are relayed over the bluetooth connection so that the iPhone can sit in the iPhone sized slot in the centre console. And if I just want to leave my phone in my pocket - for a short journey for example - the iPhone streams music over bluetooth with full AVRCP control as well. Which means that track information is streamed to the in-car display whilst the audio and steering wheel buttons control the music.

This doesn't sound like a big deal, but no Android phone provides the plug-in USB experience (in fact since Google's move to MTP over USB, rather than Mass Storage over USB most cars won't even see the music when the phone is plugged in) and only a select few (notably Samsung) have implemented AVRCP 1.3+ to allow streaming of track data with audio. Google's standard Android build does not include this.

Pretty much every other peripheral that I have works perfectly with iOS. Again whilst some Android devices do, there's no guarantee until you've actually tried each individual item with each phone. And manufacturers tend to come to market with iOS compatibility first - Lacie only has an iOS application for its MyNAS service and Sony have just released their first Lightning compatible music dock.

For me the takeaway from today has been that the functionality gap between the iPhone and Android is smaller than it appears when sitting on the Android side of the fence. And the compatibility gap is as wide as ever.

Tomorrow I'll look at two key parts of the smartphone user experience - battery life and screen performance.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…