Products > Computers

A week using an Apple iPhone -- An Android user's perspective

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Halcyon:
I'm actually only 12 hours in, but I figured I'd start the thread now. I'm sure there will be more to come...

A bit of background: For some reason, my Samsung Galaxy S8 developed a fault where it would no longer communicate with any cellular networks. It started off as intermittent but now, it seems permanent. After some troubleshooting, I determined that it's a hardware fault. Luckily it's still under warranty so it's getting repaired/replaced for free. Until that happens, I needed a temporary phone. I have a bucket full of old Android's which would give me basic functionality like phone calls and SMS, but I thought I'd use this opportunity to live life with my first Apple product (aside from my vintage Apple collection) and see what all the hype was about. I'll try and approach this with an open mind and leave any biases aside.

So I got myself an iPhone which was a mate's previous model. Prior to me taking possession, it was completely unlinked from his iCloud account and factory reset. It was already running iOS 12, but a few versions behind.

I popped my SIM card in and started the set up process. To start with, I was forced to create a new Apple ID (and iCloud email address) since I wasn't prepared to link any of my actual credentials to this handset. It was a minor annoyance to be backed into this corner, but one I expected being an Apple product. Then a screen full of "mandatory" details that must be filled out, including full name, address, phone number, date of birth... WHY!? No option to skip, no other option but forward. So naturally I fabricated everything.

Then came a bunch of other set up procedures for various services that I was never going to use. I must have hit "skip" or "no thanks" about 8 to 10 times before I could finally use the device in any sort of meaningful way.

After about an hour, I received a FaceTime call from someone I didn't know, but before I could answer or reject the call, it was apparently "Answered from another device". What the?! Every settings screen I can see shows only one account (mine) linked to this handset. It was time to turn off this FaceTime garbage... I then spent the next 20-30 minutes scouring every corner of various settings menus, turning off options which ranged from location settings to backing up absolutely everything, automatically to Apple's servers. Some of these settings were in logical places, many were not.

For the most part, I find the user interface to be sluggish while attempting to seem fluid. It spends most of its time jiggling icons, displaying window transitions and fading things in and out with just about every interaction rather than just getting the job done. The text input is also more hit-and-miss compared to most other on-screen keyboards I've used (it almost feels like it's in need of a LCD re-calibration).

Then there were the endless messages about a software update. Just about every time I left the notifications section or some other settings screen, a message would pop up reminding me to update. A little annoying, but fine, I'll accept it. Instead of just downloading the update and applying it like every other device on the market, it refused to do anything until I connected it to a Wi-Fi network, there was no option to bypass or force the download using the cellular network (even though it's faster and I have unlimited data on my phone plan).

I installed three applications which I also need day-to-day: Signal, WhatsApp and Authy. By no means small or poorly designed applications. On more than one occasion, buttons would simply stop responding inside the applications and I was forced to kill the application before re-starting it. When I say "not responding", the device registered a tap (you could see it graphically activating the various buttons), but it just did nothing.

I admit, iOS 12.3.1 looks polished enough (albeit a little dated) but functionally, it's average at best.

I can already see this week is going to be a barrel of laughs...

bd139:
This sounds like you're in the "who moved my cheese" stage of ownership. Give it a few weeks.

Some comments:

1. You fucked up when you created a new icloud address and didn't want to sign in with your existing email address. I don't get why people do this. The whole damn smartphone ecosystem is based around cloud connectivity and communication whichever vendor you go to. If you fight it you're just punching yourself in the dick over and over again. Buy a Nokia brick. Don't use a smartphone.
2. At least they ask you about the services rather than Androids provisioning which is basically "hello, we own you".
3. Facetime. Never used it other than when I accidentally facetime'd someone. Can't comment. Meh
4. You seriously disabled all the cloud stuff?!? See point 1.
5. Sluggish? Transitions? What handset was this. Mine is an XR and is fluid as anything. Same with my old 6s on iOS 12. And lets not go down the Android sluggish route. In the middle of an "app update session" even a flagship Android lump barely works.
6. Keyboard. No problems with mine. Again, which handset and where did you get it? If it's a hooky one it might have a third party screen on it. At which point, your funeral.
7. You can't whine about updates when comparing to Android which basically punches you in the balls right in the middle of critical stuff with updates.
8. Pardon the update for not wanting to do it over your expensive data. It does actually do that if you want it to. Hit the settings app.

This is entirely the opposite experience I have. I was an android user from day one until 2017. Then I dumped it and got a 6s because I was fed up of being fucked over with Android shooting itself, SD card problems, apps not working, hangs, terrible performance, camera giving up randomly, battery problems, overheating. And that was on a Google flagship handset with vanilla android. It was hell.

Edit: to give you an idea how bad android was, I was in the middle of a contract job at one point with a whole damn site down trying to coordinate two companies and several engineers by phone. The dialler app updated right in the middle and then proceeded to not work at all. The handset bricked itself there and then as a phone. Totally useless. I actually went to the Apple Store 100 yards away and bought a 6s then because it was the only place I could just get a handset that would work, wasn't locked to some vendor or didn't have to jump through contract hoops to get my hands on it. Took 15 minutes to buy an set up and it stuck. It never let me down once. I never used Android again.

Halcyon:
On the topic of cloud services, I don't want or need any of that. I use Google for Gmail, Calendar and Contacts only. Why on earth would I want to link all the Apple rubbish to my primary email address as it will only ever be temporary? I don't trust Apple any more than I trust Google. At least with Google, I can download an archive of all my data and see exactly what is being tracked. If I don't like it, I switch it off. Apple is getting better at this, but they have a long way to go. Their default position is to move everyone onto their eco-system and make it harder to move away.

All my data is backed up to my private NAS, simply plug in a USB cable into my Android handset, copy the files down, that's it. No syncing, special applications or accounts required. It's literally a mass storage device.

bd139, nothing against you personally, but your responses reflect what I generally hear from Apple users, in that "You're doing it wrong". That seems to be Apple's mentality as well. I'm actually just expecting the bare minimum out of a so-called smart phone and want the ability to make my own decisions, but by assuming what I want, it makes productivity worse (for me).

Ampera:
I'm a fond believer that GNU needs to be brought to mobile devices with better vigor, and for a truly useful (not GNOME 3) mobile interface to be developed so it can become a proper possibility for people to spin their own phone environment.

I don't think it's fair to say that if you don't want to engage with cloud services you shouldn't have a smartphone. To me a smartphone is a computer, and when I spend money on a computer I expect to be able to do whatever I like to it. This is the core reason why Apple fails for me, at least on their iOS devices. It's fine if you want a nice shiny appliance that "just works", but that's never been my style (I run arch :) ). There should be room in the market for there to be a fully configurable mobile pocketable device that locks down nothing, just like a PC. It's obviously not for everyone, but there's got to be enough geeks in the world who would love to spend time on something like that.

I don't /love/ Android. To me, it's poorly documented under the hood, it's bloated and sluggish, it replaced too many things that were done better in GNU implementations. This is totally /my opinion/, but I don't blame Halcyon one bit for being a bit peeved at being taken out of his element, after all the most important thing about your environment is that it's /your/ environment and that you're comfortable and half-way happy with its quirks.

Even with ecosystem stuff, I get it, you want to have all your stuff in one place, I am still fairly google-centric, and though I am trying to move away from that to my own services that I run the way I like them, it's a lot of work, and people still have things they need to be done. That doesn't mean it's all fine to start getting upset that someone else is /not/ using a specific cloud service, even when using a device "built" around it. I know, I was like that, it's literally a way I tried to justify my own decisions because I needed affirmation that what I was doing was actually cool, with no care about what actually worked for other people, or even what worked for me. I'd wager you're happy to have chance at a new Team Apple member, and kinda want to reel people in, even I still get like that.

Anyways Halcyon, I had an iPhone 3G I messed around with, jailbreak was fun, I threw whited00r onto it, got some neat things to do, there's definitely tinkery fun to be had if that's what you're in for, and there are other people who like the hardware, don't like the Apple, even though you're probably gonna pick up your old phone just back again, it might be fun to tinker around with it for shits and giggles. Might learn something, and any skill is good to have.

bd139:
You don't need to use the cloud services if you dont want to but you do need to sign into the device and provide information. The reason behind this is that the two-factor authentication is fully integrated with the device and you can brick it remotely and the store is tightly controlled. No side loading. That's a massively powerful feature for protecting your data and the fully sandbox means there are very few device vulnerabilities out there in the wild. It's fine moving away from their services. I don't use their services either. I use Fastmail for email/calendars, OneNote for notes, Google maps. I don't use an icloud email address. At no points was I wholly tied into the ecosystem (been there, done that, will never do it again).   Ironically Apple are way way way ahead on the privacy game and the control of your data. It's their main selling point: https://www.apple.com/uk/privacy/

With respect to backup, that doesn't back up the data in your silo'ed apps like Google's cloud based ones. Their "Google Takeout" is pretty good. But then again if you read the terms and conditions and compare to Apple (I have as part of corporate responsibility and compliance studies) are pretty much awful.

The killer thing for me is total continuity. If I knacker my handset, I walk into an Apple store, buy another one, sign in and wait ten minutes and I'm back in business. That's requred for my line of work.

Understand what you're suggesting about Apple users in general but I will speak up if something is a turd. If you've heard my rantings about the MacBook Air keyboard and that I now use a crappy old thinkpad you'll find I'm pretty unbiased. If iOS ball-kicking edition comes out, I'll be the first person out there whinging about it.

The problem comes is that I was an Android user for literally years to the point of being an Android developer for a bit. iOS stays out of the way, doesn't demand my attention, doesn't get abandoned by the vendor after 6 months and has actually improved my sanity and productivity.

In the scale of what's possible they are both turds though. Apple just a lot less. We can do better but the market is a two party one so you have to take a side or walk away and I'm not throwing the social and business advantage away of walking away and can't afford the friction of Android.


--- Quote from: Ampera on July 01, 2019, 12:06:00 pm ---I'm a fond believer that GNU needs to be brought to mobile devices with better vigor, and for a truly useful (not GNOME 3) mobile interface to be developed so it can become a proper possibility for people to spin their own phone environment.

--- End quote ---

I would slash my wrists in a moment if I had to use a phone from the free software side of things. I'm saying that as a Linux admin, RHCA with over 20 years of experience with Linux and a decade of commercial Unix before that. They can't even get a useable desktop OS out without fucking it up on a galactic scale.

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