Apple, I Wish I Could Quit You

With the release of the next wave of Android flagship phones, namely the Galaxy S8 by Samsung, I find myself lusting over that new phone, and yet, want as I might, I cannot make myself switch back to Android. Apple has managed to lock me in, and I can’t navigate my way out.

For years, I scoffed at those beholden to Apple products.
Over the years, I’ve slowly become an Apple-centric user. Every device I now use is an Apple one. Those who know me well might be surprised that this has become the case. For years, I scoffed at those beholden to Apple products. I slammed the original iPhone for its (then) astronomical price of $600. I mocked the iPad as an oversized iPhone but have owned several of them. I lambasted the Apple Watch only to now wear one on my wrist daily. Apple has slowly squirmed its way into my heart (and wallet) and now I’m well and truly stuck. I don’t really know how many people may be in a similar situation as myself.

One thing is clear though: I want a sexy new smartphone. Badly. So what is it that keeps me from making the jump to the Galaxy S8, or any other new Android smartphone?

iMessage

I’ll be honest, this is probably one of the biggest reasons, and one of my most embarrassing. I text a lot with my wife–or rather: she texts me lot, and likes responses. Because I work on the computer all day, being able to respond from my Mac, using a full-size keyboard is magical (yes, I went there.)

Sure, there are alternatives out there to make Android work similarly, but I find myself disinterested in even trying. I’m spoiled by being able to use my iPad, iPhone, or Mac to respond and have all my messages in one place. I know I’m not alone in this either.

Work Functions

This is perhaps the primary reason I don’t switch back to Android. My work uses a system called MobileIron on both Android and iOS. With iOS, it integrates with Apple’s native apps, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Reminders, etc. With Android, this requires installs its own suite of separate apps, which are locked inside a secure partition, so data doesn’t get shared across the OS. This means not being able to look at both my personal and business calendars together, dealing with two separate contact lists, and not having any native Task functionality, which is something I rely on quite heavily.

While this might be a minor issue for most, this is a big sticking point for me. I use my phone extensively for work, and as a result, the seamlessness that iOS offers me with MobileIron is a huge factor in my remaining on Apple’s OS.

Family Sharing

Neither my wife, nor my mother are particularly tech savvy, so the fact that I can easily share things like calendars, documents, and other items with them using Apple’s iOS is yet another factor tying me to Apple. Yes, I could setup a Google Calendar, and share that with them, but it’s just not as easy as Apple’s products. They’re not switching to Android any time soon, either.

AirPlay

This one is less important than others, but it’s still an aspect that keeps me tied into Apple. I use an Apple tv in the living room, and our bedroom. This means if I want to share video from my iPhone or iPad, I can easily choose AirPlay and sling it to the television I’m watching. Again, this is probably laziness, as I could easily (and cheaply) put a Chromecast on those televisions to accomplish the same thing.

That would also require me to change the inputs though, which is annoying if you’re just trying to show off a quick video, photo, or details on a webpage. We use the Apple TV as our primary television interface (I cut the cord years ago), so having to change inputs is simply not a realistic prospect any longer.

Apple Home

I’ve slowly been installing smart-home devices in my home, which currently consist of Phillips Hue bulbs, and Amazon’s Echo Dots. I also have the Logitech Harmony Hub for controlling our television setup. Being able to voice-control items via Amazon’s Alexa, or Siri is something that feels right out of the future.

However, Apple has done something that feels decidedly more impactful that Android with their implementation of the Home app. It’s decidedly ugly, and yet its integration into the OS is the key. Being able to swipe up into the control center and turn on/off lights with just a couple taps makes using these smart home functions that much better with iOS. Navigating into an app to turn on a light isn’t just a pain, it’s a travesty.

While Apple still needs to do a lot of work to make HomeKit a more useful and broadly available solution, their Home app is a winner.

AirPods

Again, this is one of those things that few people would probably be thinking about, but the AirPods have become indispensable to me. While I know these can be paired to an Android phone and used pretty much as they work on iOS (except for Siri commands), it’s once again Apple’s way of making these work seamlessly across their devices that keeps me locked in.

The fact that I can easily switch between using the AirPods with my iPhone, to my iPad, and my Mac, all without having to re-pair them each time has made these tiny earbuds one of my favorite devices ever. I simply can’t imagine going back to re-pairing these every time I want to use them on a different device.

The argument that I could just use a regular pair of earbuds with an Android phone (presuming it comes with a headphone jack) is pointless. I’ve moved onto the wireless future that Apple said I wanted, and they were right; I can’t go back now.

Zoom Camera

As dumb as this is going to sound: I actually like the 2X optical zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus. I use it quite regularly in fact, as I have dogs that love to run when I approach them. Being able to get a decent photo of them from a larger distance is nice, and I’ve also captured other images I wouldn’t have been able to using the iPhone 7 Plus’ zoom camera. I expect this is just the beginning of optical zoom in cellphone cameras, so I look forward to the improvements we’ll see in the future.

This isn’t something that necessarily locks me into Apple’s environment, but currently, it’s the only true option I’ve got for having optical zoom on my smartphone. There are some other brands out there with similar features, but they’re either not available in the US, or not remotely an option of being able to replace my iPhone, and not just for the reasons I’ve already outlined.

 

I want something decidedly new
So just what is it that I want from a smartphone? I mostly already have it. The iPhone 7 Plus is a great device that performs without issues for me. However, I want something decidedly new. The iPhone design hasn’t changed substantially in over three years, and the rumors indicate the majority of the next iPhones will also sport a similar design. Only the iPhone 8, or Edition, or whatever they call it will come in a thoroughly new design, which may or may not be similar to that of the Galaxy S8. Add to that it’s rumored to be insanely expensive, difficult to find, and delayed by perhaps several months, and it’s got me wanting to make the switch back to Android. And yet… I just can’t.

Here’s what I’d like from a new iPhone, the sooner the better:

Sharper Display

Apple has been relying on the Retina display since the launch of the iPhone 4S, way back in 2011. Since then, the screens have gotten larger, but the Retina display has remained stubbornly similar. For years, Android phones have eclipsed the Retina display, offering sharper screens in the same size. While the benefits of this can be endlessly argued, there’s no doubt that the displays on the newest Android phones are vastly sharper than Apple’s Retina displays. They elicit shocks with how bright, sharp, and beautiful they are, and though the iPhone’s screens are gorgeous, they sometimes just feel bland after looking at the in-store display on a Galaxy phone.

Bezel-less Design

The Galaxy S8 sports what Samsung is calling an “Infinity Display”, which is basically their new term for the ‘Edge’ display, that curves over the edges of the phone. It’s a marketing gimmick, and yet the nearly bezel-less design makes the user feel like they’re just holding a screen.

Apple’s phones have long sported their huge ‘chins’ at the top and bottom of the phone, which has appeared outdated for years now, and with the S8’s launch, now becomes impossible to accept. While the S8 is gorgeous, I still want a phone that’s 100% display on the front (or as close as humanly possible.)

Wireless Charging

This is another feature that Apple has been missing for years. Perhaps they’ve been trying to invent their own, proprietary wireless charging standard and failed. Whatever the reason, this needs to be a standard feature on the iPhone starting yesterday.

While speaking of charging, quick charging would be something that should have already been implemented as well.

Sexy Design

This ties into the Bezel-less design as well, but the Galaxy S8 is definitely a sexy looking phone. Everyone who holds one says so, and it’s an object worth lusting after. Apple needs to make the iPhone beautiful again, which they likely will with their next-generation design, but waiting until late in the year to get it is interminable. Hurry up, Apple. Samsung’s ahead of you here.

Something NEW

Apple has been known as an innovator, and yet that’s not entirely accurate. Really, Apple has always been rather late to the party, instead deciding to master a product before releasing it. While this has served them well in the past, they really need to introduce something truly new or unique with the next iPhone to make the brand innovative again.

I’m tired of seeing Apple simply catch up and release a feature that’s been available on Android for years. Something truly new is needed now, Apple. Don’t let me down.

Conclusion

Though I complain, Apple will surely come out with something beautiful to behold and lust after later this year with the introduction of their next iPhones. Their hype machine will spin up, and their narrative videos and gorgeous photo shoots will make me want the latest iPhone immediately, and I’ll pull the trigger and pre-order it; of this I have no doubt.

Whether the new iPhones will meet all my requests is yet to be seen; it’s unlikely, but Apple will probably hit just enough notes to keep me buying their products. They always have. And because I’m so locked into the Apple product ecosystem, I’ll continue along as an Apple sheep, buying and using, until the next sexy Android phone comes out, which will start the cycle anew.

One day, perhaps I’ll break free from my Apple lock-in, but for now, I can’t seem to find my way out.