Yesterday Apple announced the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. In the past, I would have blocked out my calendar for the keynote address and watched it streaming on my laptop, soaking up all of the new features and desperately waiting to hear when the first available ship date would be.
But not yesterday. Yesterday I had completely forgotten about the announcement until about half way through and then only quickly checked to see what was announced before going back to the work I was doing at the time. It just wasn’t that interesting because I’ve had most of those features for a while on my current phone.
Ever since I switched to the Samsung Galaxy S4 several months ago, I’ve wondered if and when I’ll switch back to the iPhone. The main reasons I preferred the S4 over the iPhone 5 are:
- Screen size
- Camera (software and hardware)
- Operating System
- Battery life
So let’s just talk about the iPhone 5S (the 5C is the low-cost version) and compare it against that criteria:
Screen Size. The screen size of the iPhone 5S is the same as the iPhone 5, which is to say its still far too small for me to use after having the 5 inch Galaxy S4. I don’t know anyone that has used the larger screen that is willing to go back. When I pick up my wife’s iPhone 5 it feels tiny to the point of laughable.
Camera. The camera on the iPhone 5S is awesome, there’s no question. But the main features – multi-shots, slow-motion video, “best face” technology – these are all things that I’ve had on my phone for months. I’d say the camera is probably on par or better now than the S4 (of course I haven’t seen it live yet).
Operating System. The iPhone 5S is going to of course come with iOS7, Apple’s new operating system. And while its very cool, I’ve been able to use it for several weeks and I don’t prefer it over the Android OS. So that’s not going to get me to move back. It does have the nifty finger print security software (Touch ID) which is cool but its only a very minor upgrade to entering a password.
The biggest advantage in my opinion of the Android OS over iOS is the ability for apps to work together, particularly for sharing purposes. When I have a photo on my Galaxy S4 and want to share it, ANY app on my phone that shares or stores photos comes up as an option for me. That’s just the way it should be and I don’t know why Apple won’t get on board with that.
The other incredibly handy aspect of the Android OS is the always present “back” button. Any app I’m on, I can hit the button in the same place (bottom right side of the phone on the S4) and go back. Now when I use the iPhone I realize that on every app you have to locate the “back” button, if there even is one.
Battery life. I’m certain the iPhone 5S will have a better battery life than the S4. My theory is that every phone will continue to have a better battery life and one thing I’ve learned with Android is that, due to the ability to load apps that mess with the system itself, solid battery life is a hard thing to maintain. So I’ll give the 5S a big check on this one.
The main problem: Apple just can’t keep up anymore. Because its not enough anymore that the iPhone is just easier to use. User-friendly is no longer a competitive advantage. And while Apple still has the lock on “easiest to use” and “crashes less”, the other guys have caught up and passed them on the innovation front.
This isn’t a slam on Apple, not by a long shot. I don’t think any ONE company can dominate in this space. When Apple jumped in with the iPhone in 2007, they had probably a five year run where they kicked everyone’s tail, and it wasn’t even close. All my Android friends who kept saying their phones were just as good were lying to themselves as much as they were to me. The hardware wasn’t as close to as good and the user experience was atrocious.
I fully expect one day I’ll go back to the iPhone, but until they start developing bigger screen sizes and open up their operating system a little, I’m not willing to make the jump back.