Saturday, October 15, 2016

Crossing over to the dark side

One of the perks of my job is that my employer provides me with a company cell phone. For the past two years, I have had a Samsung Galaxy S5 which I have loved. It recently started locking up and needing to be wiped and reloaded on a monthly basis. Because of this, they provided me with a new phone - an iPhone SE. 

By some great coincidence, I see Jeremy Crow just wrote a post called The Great Samsung Escape where he outlines his struggle with what phone to get following the recent Samsung issues. Considering he "wouldn't wipe his butt with an iPhone," I doubt an iPhone is in his future. For those of you who may be in the same boat with Samsung's current problems, I thought I would share a little insight from my experience as a first time iPhone user.

I should point out that I am an Android lover. I have never been a fan of Apple products in general so consider any of the positive things I point out about the iPhone as a big win.

Although I enjoyed the larger size of my Galaxy S5, I got sick of carrying a big brick around with me everywhere I went. Because of this, I specifically requested a smaller phone if at all possible. The answer for that was the iPhone SE. I realize most people seem to want a tablet sized phones these days, but I am personally enjoying the small size of the SE and being able to just throw it in my pocket. 

I don't need a larger screen for anything I do on my phone. If you watched a lot of videos on your phone or viewed spreadsheets, I could see it being a plus to be larger. For me though, I stream my videos to the tv and use my phone primarily for quick internet searches and emails. Most of that I even do on a computer anyway.

The iPhone SE has junk speakers - at least compared to my old Galaxy S5. Once again, I'm not your typical phone user these days as I almost never listen to music on my phone. I've had this phone for two weeks now and I haven't added a single song to it yet. The part that does irritate me a bit though is that the earpiece speaker sounds very tinny on occasion. I haven't quite figured that one out yet and it doesn't happen on every call. The funny part though is that I don't use my phone for phone calls all that much. It's mostly used for texting and emails. 

For the most part, the apps are about the same between Android and iOS. The apps I use most from Microsoft (Outlook, Excel, Word...), Google (Gmail, Calendar, Photos...) and social media apps are all available on both platforms. The few apps I used on Android that aren't available on iOS all have a comparable counterpart available. All in all, the availability of apps are not a problem. 

I don't like how you can't seem to hide apps in an app drawer like on Android. Your only option is to dump it in a folder and push it to the side of your desktop. I have a folder called "iOS Crap" for the apps I don't/won't use and am not able to uninstall. On the flip side though, there are very few bloatware apps pre-installed so the need to hide them off screen isn't as big a deal. 

Two weeks of playing with this iPhone isn't a great amount of time to have a solid understanding of the overall functionality of the phone. I have years of Android habits that I have to break because iPhones don't work the same on all accounts. 

The biggest flaw I have found so far is the lack of a back button. Android has the softkey back button that will close out the app. (Yes I realize it just minimizes it and doesn't really end the process.) The iPhone has a home button that will close down the app. Just like with Android, it just minimizes the app. The problem with the iPhone though is that when you reopen the app later, it returns to the exact spot you were in when you closed it before. That's not all bad if you're halfway through reading a blog post and want to pick up where you left off. 

It's irritating in the more often used apps like text message and email. In email for instance, When I close the app and return later, I want to open up to the inbox...not the last email I was reading. That's what happens with a single click of the back button in Android. With iPhone, you have to use the back arrows within the app to back all the way out to the main page before using the home button to "close" the app if you want to be brought back to the main inbox/landing page when you return. 

I was surprised to learn that I actually enjoy having Siri on my phone. It's not just because the phone app shares the same name as my youngest daughter. (For the record, my daughter is 8 months older than the app - so no, we did not name our daughter after an iPhone app.) 

In addition to the awesome Australian accented woman I have Siri programmed to be, she has proven very useful. My favorite trick learned so far is to tell Siri to remind me to get milk on way home from work at 5pm. I tell her that and she creates a reminder and sets up an alarm for me. I do have to admit that I like her sense of humor too. Just try asking her to divide zero by zero sometime. :)

All in all, I am enjoying the iPhone more than I care to admit. I guess I am somewhere between Jeremy "hates everything iOS" Crow and Tim "loves everything iOS" Clark. Then again, I am pretty easy to please and enjoy learning new things. I still hold a candle for Android, but was pleasantly surprised by the iPhone in general. The sky didn't fall in or anything anyways. I'll let you know if that changes. Until next time....