I travel to and from the UK a couple of times a year and part of that process involves me swapping around SIM cards when I reach my destination. However, after switching to an iPhone earlier this year I required changing my SIM card before I could use my phone…or I could use my old android phone. At first I intended to switch SIM card but then I saw it as an opportunity to see the difference between Android and iOS and where the friction points naturally arose.
The first thing I noticed was the annoyance of my muscle memory having changed. On Android and iOS a single tap of the main button sends you home. However, on Android if you double tap it opens up the S-voice (siri rival) service and a long tap brings up multitasking. There were so many moments where I wanted to go into multitasking to switch apps and I found myself being faced with s-voice.
Apps I Missed
My app use has changed since moving over to iOS and as such I instantly went to the App Store in search of android versions of some of the more common apps that I use. Many of the apps that I use are there but a few important ones were missing. Textexapnder, omnifocus, pressgram, loom and others TK were all missing.
In addition certain apps just weren’t as polished on Android. Sure they had most of the important features but the design felt a little lacking or stock.
What Wasn’t As Good As I Remembered That Weren’t As Great As I Remembered
There were two features I was really aware I’d lose when I switched to iOS from Android
- Gesture typing
Yes I know you can get them by jailbreaking your device but I’ve always been more on the non jailbreaking side of things. As such I knew I’d have to stick to the stock keyboard and not have nice calendar apps on the homescreen or an overview of my todo list.
The thing was…I didn’t miss them. Gesture typing is a great feature but it’s of most use on larger Phablets. Personally, I have found myself typing with both thumbs in landscape mode the most and in this situation gesture typing wouldn’t help.
As for widgets, well they’re usually on a different screen and with the ability to simply swipe down the home screen and bring up a calendar or press a single button on your homescreen and open up an app rather than swipe left or right…it really isn’t a big difference.
Where Android Is Better
There were a couple of areas where the Note 2 did pass the iPhone. The larger screen size did help when showing some videos to my friends, gesture typing is great on a large phone screen (but I still prefer thumb typing on the iPhone in landscape mode and get fewer autocorrect mistakes). But probably the greatest feature was Android’s ability to share infomation between applications. When I took a picture I could easily share it between apps, editing it and not ending up with a series of 5 different versions during the image editing process.
I could then, from the first app I was in, send it over to another application and instantly open within the editing process. This is a feature which is still missing from iOS and even with URL-schemes and certain apps doing the best to bring in some form of interapp sharing…it is still very limited in iOS.
Would I Switch back?
Although there were a couple of functions that were superior on Android, I’m not planning on switching back anytime soon. The iPhone just offers a suprior experience as a phone and while Android may have a couple of tricks up it’s sleve, these are just added tricks. I think Apple could learn a couple of things from Android, adding in great inter app sharing and perhaps taking some of the automation tips from tasker, but overall i’m staying put.