How I became an Apple Fanboy…and why I might not be one soon

by Jeff Hilimire on March 29, 2013

Apple Fanboy proof, circa 2010

I’m an admitted Apple Fanboy. It started around 2007 when I got the first iPhone and I tried my first Macbook. It’s important to know that before that point I was a loyal Microsoft user, or put more directly, a tried and true Apple Anti-Fanboy. I was the typical person who mocked Apple users for using an inferior product simply because they loved the brand.

Then everything changed when I tried the first iPhone. Suddenly a company had nailed the “phone” in a way that everyone else had tried and failed. And seemingly from that point on, Apple was on a streak that seemed untouchable. Their computers kept getting better, the iPhone kept getting better, and they invented the iPad and were suddenly the first company to get tablets right. It was a joyous time indeed.

Along the way I experimented with other phones to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. I played with the Galaxy Tab. Used different variations of Android phones. Even spent considerable time with the Windows 7 phone. But nothing compared to the iPhone.

Last week I picked up @gumboshowjoe’s Samsung Galaxy S3 (running 4.1.1) and used it for a little bit to make sure I wasn’t missing something. But at times the screen lagged or jumped in a way that the iPhone never does and my cynical side kicked in and my first thought was, “still not caught up with the iPhone”. For those that haven’t experienced it, there is something wonderful to using a device that never crashes and is always smooth and clean in the way it animates and moves. It’s kind of like going from standard def TV’s to HD. Just hard to go back.

And as I blogged recently, I’m beginning to think that the optimal phone size is going to be much larger than the current iPhone 5. And while there are many phones in the market that are quite large compared to the iPhone, if the OS wasn’t going to compare I was willing to wait for Apple to catch up.

Then @interpolate, a recent Android convert, grabbed a Nexus 4 (running 4.2.2) from our IT department and told me to use it for a week. I find it impossible to resist him when he really wants me to try something because he’s the first person to convince me to try Twitter. He was adamant that I give it a try and I was adamant that it sounded incredibly stupid, and we know how that ended up. So on the rare occasion when he is confident that I need to experience something, I give it a whirl.

One week with this device and I now really don’t see a reason to stay with the iPhone. The Android OS has caught up, or at least nearly caught up, with iOS. That surprised me. But what surprised me the most was that every app I really wanted – my staple apps – are all now available on Android. That was a quick deal-breaker in the past.

I was pleasantly surprised with how far the Android OS has come.

Add to that the size of the device – it has a 4.7in screen vs. the iPhone’s 4 inches – and the quality of the screen (close to the iPhone’s retina display), there’s really no reason not to switch at this point. And since I’ve worked hard to use apps that are OS independent, the switch shouldn’t be too difficult. And even if I only switch until the iPhone gets better hardware, it will force me to be fully OS independent which I think will be a great exercise for me to go through.

My plan right now is to wait for the even bigger Samsung S4 to come out and use that for an entire month. After that, I’ll decide if I’m going to move back to the iPhone or stick with Android. That is, if I can give this Nexus 4 back to the IT department. I find myself wanting to keep this phone already.

The move may shock my friends who love to throw Apple Fanboy-isms at me, but I’ve always known I’d be loyal to Apple only as long as they produced the best devices and OS on the planet. That was true (in my opinion) up until probably the last six months. But we’re starting to see great innovation from other companies, predominately Google and Samsung, and I’m excited about seeing real alternatives in the market. Heck, even my Macbook Pro isn’t safe as I’ve ordered the Google Pixel Chromebook so I can try that out.

I’m excited to see where this all ends up. My guess is that I’ll figure out how to be un-tethered from any one OS (mobile or otherwise) and move between iOS and Android/Samsung frequently as they continue to one-up each other.

  • Joe Koufman

    I also noticed you coveting ( the the Google Pixel Chromebook… hmmm the times they are a changing…

  • Jeff Hilimire

    The interesting thing will be to see if YOU learn anything from this, since you’re a bigger Google Fanboy than I am an Apple Fanboy. Perhaps when I do my one month with the S4, you should do a month with my iPhone 5…

  • Raghu Kakarala

    gauntlet thrown down joe – you have been on Android since the G1 back in the day. Amazon Music and Video working on an iPhone will let you an iOS device without losing too much.

  • gerdez

    You became a fanboy because of the Apple hype back then, now the hype is Android so you jump ship. It’s so clear. Apple had great products before the iPhone, you know…

  • Jeff Hilimire

    You make a good point. I was a Microsoft user for about 10 years, then an Apple user for 6 years now. I jump ship to wherever the hype is constantly. If I see a good commercial, I just go get that product. Oh, except I don’t and never have.

    And pretty much the rest of the world (and Apple’s market value) will tell you that they made themselves into a different company when they created the iPhone and have never looked back, so no, they didn’t always have competitive products in the market the way they do today.

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  • Drew Hawkins

    How does the battery life compare on the Galaxy vs the iPhone? Any drastic differences? I remember battery life being my biggest issue when I was using Android.

  • Jeff Hilimire

    Funny you should ask about that, I have the Nexus 4 (not the Galaxy) but I’ve noticed the battery life isn’t as good as the iPhone 5. I can’t tell if the battery just isn’t as good or if its because there are so many cool things that the phone can do that are taxing it. My gut says its the latter, but I definitely have to recharge it far more often. Seems like it gets 5-6 hours.

  • Joe Koufman


  • Joe Koufman
  • Jay Jhun

    Kudos for taking a look at the other side of the mobile world. The battery life on my One X doesn’t last as long as my iPhone 4 but I can only name 1 time in the last year where I was ‘stranded’ without power.

    I’m now tinkering with the thought of trying out a Windows phone (Mike seems to love his) b/c I think pretty soon they will have all the core apps that I like using, too).

    The Nexus 4 you’re using is pure Android whereas Samsung and HTC have their own UI layer that sits on top of Android. But, trust me, once you’ve used a screen larger that 4.7″, you’ll NEVER want to go back to iPhone’s small screen.

  • Jeff Hilimire

    You’re 100% correct about the screen size. I used my wife’s iphone a little this weekend and couldn’t believe how small it is. That was the main reason I wanted to try the Nexus 4.

    The battery life is definitely worse than the iPhone 5, however, I’m guessing that’s because with Android you can do more and have more running in the background, so it may not be a hardware thing but more a software issue. I’m really looking forward to trying the S4 when it comes out.

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  • stephenfleming

    I think you big-phone people are nuts. Your privilege, of course. That’s what makes markets. But it looks like you’re holding an iPad mini to your head. Better for me: iPhone 4S as phone/camera/constant companion, and an iPad mini for when I need the additional screen size.

  • Jeff Hilimire

    Technically I’m not a big phone person either… yet. The Nexus 4 is only slightly larger than the iPhone. And I agree with you that holding a huge phone to your head seems crazy. But I realized that of the time I use my phone, maybe 10% is holding it to my face. If I’m on the phone its usually blue tooth in the car or a blue tooth headset. Anything that involves typing, reading or watching content has so far been better on the larger device.

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