I've recently bought my first iPhone 6S since my Nexus 6P broke down just a week ago. I have thought about buying an iPhone for a while, partially to satisfy my curiosity but also because I’ve owned a Macbook Pro for quite some time and Apple's ecosystem has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve had a few phones before, all of them being an Android, so I’m much more familiar with that operating system so keep that in mind while you're reading this post. But as I said, it was time to try an iPhone now and I thought it would be a good idea to write down my thoughts about the change as my impressions are fresh.
First of all, the build quality is top notch. As with my Macbook I can tell that it's a well made product - arguably a bit pricey, but reasonable. I love the size of the phone and it just feels good in my hands. My Nexus was a bit too big, as it was hard to maneuver it with only one hand. The screen is in (decently) high resolution and responsive to my actions, nothing to complain about there. When I navigate through apps it comes off as snappy, for lack of a better term, something my previous Android phones never been. I don't mean that they've been slow per se, some have for sure, but they have not been as snappy or smooth.
What I immediately realized is how good the backup functionality must be working for current and previous iPhone owners. There's a simple backup and restore from iClouds in almost every app that takes care of all the tedious steps you have to make in order to keep everything in your phone backed up. Android has similar functionality, but not as good. For example, when migrating from my old phone to my new iPhone all my WhatsApp messages disappeared, if I had had an iPhone before it would have been a breeze to restore them.
One obvious plus switching to an iPhone is how the data seamlessly syncs from my phone to my computer. Something many of us using Android always been envious of is iMessage, to easily be able to reply to a message from your computer without picking up your phone is the way to go. Google doesn't seem to be anywhere near a similar solution, they are probably busy creating and releasing new standalone message apps instead. Recently they announced Google Allo and Duo as an example.
A feature that most iPhone users probably sees as self-evident by now is that apps displays a badge with their number count above their icon. This is useful for obvious reasons and is very appreciated by me. This feature, believe it or not, is still unheard of in the Android world. Also, Apple's recent push for improving their users health with multiple integration's in the operating system looks promising and is something I will explore more in the future, and hopefully take advantage of.
I'm also a big fan of the use of hardware encryption that every iPhone is shipped with, not even Apple is able to break into your stuff. This is an area were Android is lagging behind - and always will - since they can't control the manufacturing process and has to rely on only software encryption. Their encryption is not bad, but hardware encryption is better and preferable when done right.
So, let's dig in to some of my complaints.
The first thing I've noticed is that everything takes (at least) one more click then what I've been used to. Open up an app from a folder? Two clicks to go back to the home screen. Do you want to insert a comma or question mark in your sentence? Sorry, that's three clicks. This goes on and on and will add up in the long run. I'm very surprised that I've never heard any iPhone owner mentioned this before. I feel like this makes a huge negative impact on the overall experience. Or am I doing something wrong here? Is it possible to change this behavior? Please let me know if that's the case.
Speaking of inconvenience while typing. Why is the globe icon on the keyboard both responsible for displaying emoji's and switching keyboard language? I assume many iPhone users out there is bilingual and this makes the whole typing a response with emoji's a hassle as you have to click one extra time to get back where you started. Please Apple, I know you're listening to me, give the emoji's a dedicated icon. I know that Google has made a keyboard for iOS which solves this issue, but unfortunately they do not support Swedish as of now. It looks promising though!
Next up is the placement of buttons, both physical and digital. What's up with putting the back button as far as possible from my hand that I'm navigation with? I knew about this beforehand, but seriously, who thought that was a good idea? Much to my disappointment, the volume control is also inconvenient located unless you hold your phone like a cave man. (Or being left handed, but that's basically the same thing.) Someone also decided that instead of putting the volume controls on the ideal place (where your thumb is resting on the right hand side), they put the sim card slot there - very useful. I guess it's something I will get used to, but it just feels like an unnecessary thing to do in the first place.
Overall I feel like inputs as the search bar for example, and especially the clear icon inside it, is way too small. I know that you can you can change to a zoomed view but that doesn't feel right either. (It is my current setting though.) Here Android is a great example of how to correctly (in my opinion) use padding in the user interface. However, something they didn't hesitate to make big is the notifications. Jesus, if I get two emails that's all I can see without scrolling. One of the new features in Android 7.0 was bundled app notifications which was highly appreciated and made so much sense.
One more thing I will miss about owning an Android is the app drawer. I like to keep my home screen clean with just the apps I'm using frequently and hide the rest in the (searchable) app drawer, but that's something I will have to live without as I don't see that Apple will change this any time soon. My current solution is to categorize all my apps into folders and putting them all on the second screen, maybe I will like this approach more in the long run, but I'm skeptical. To keep all apps singular on all screens seems like madness, so that's not an option.
Let's keep the bashing going, shall we?
I'm not a huge fan of the overuse of opacity in the interface either, it reminds me of websites made a couple of years ago were everything had to have some kind of opacity or gradient because it looked cool. I feel like Apple could've toned it down a notch to make it more visually appealing. I'm pretty sure I'm on the short end of this spectrum though. I actually thought that I would find iOS better looking than Android, but nah, not there yet.
One thing I also noticed about the user interface is that you are unable to see your notifications unless you pull down the notification drawer. Here I'm also thinking that I just must've missed to toggle something in the settings, but I can't find anything.
I have also now realized why almost every iPhone I've encountered in the wild is using the default ringtone - it's a hassle to change it if you're not pleased with the default sounds. I love how this article says it's very easy to change your ringtone to a custom song and then introduces you to a 15(!) steps guide, that's just glorious!
I've only owned the phone for a few days and I'm not thoroughly impressed so far. I will however give it some time to grow on me. I'm especially keen to see what the benefits are from using the same ecosystem over both my computer and phone. I've played a bit with the auto sync of notes which works fine. Maybe I'll write an update later on to see if my impressions has swayed as I'm sure there are lots of goodies I haven't explored or encountered yet.