20 or so iPhone first impressions; help me out!

Now that I’ve spent a day using the iPhone and a day using the Galaxy 6, here is a lazy, laundry list of notes on the iPhone. It’s mostly frustrations, which is to be expected when going deep on a new operating system. Help me out!

Please comment—and correct me— if possible, and refer to the observations by number.

  1. The apps! I’m beginning to wonder what the point of some of the apps is. Isn’t a website just as good in most cases? Do I really need an app for Etsy? Dollar General? And why doesn’t Metacritic have an app? Everyone’s doing it…
  2. Setting up Apple Pay was easy, but pretty much the same process as Windows phone (and Android). From what I can tell, the point-of-sale experience is very similar (not counting wearables). Also: Love the wallet for loyalty cards (which is similar to the Wallet on Windows Mobile–although the Windows wallet doesn’t require apps and allows you to just enter/scan barcodes).
  3. As a Microsoft user, wherever possible, I set up Microsoft alternatives to the Apple apps. For example, Outlook instead of Apple’s Mail and Calendar apps. I’m also using Google Chrome instead of Safari, although Apple won’t let me do away with Safari altogether. (Hmmm…didn’t Microsoft lose a criminal trial over this exact issue? How is Apple getting away with such monopolistic practices?) This severely (and deliberately) limits the platform, reinforcing lockin.
  4. I like the Zoomed vs. Standard view; nice, although not as flexible as WP, which gives you more range (3 columns vs. 4).
  5. Although it’s not my intention to compare hardware, Apple’s LCD screens aren’t nearly as nice as the OLED/AMOLED screens on other devices–although they are lovely.
  6. iPhones have great standby battery life, but the moment you start using them, the remaining power drops quickly.
  7. There are too many steps to get to the camera: turn device on, swipe. I like the external camera button on (most) Windows phones and the simple double-click on the Galaxy.
  8. The OFF button is really getting on my nerves. It’s directly opposite the volume buttons, making it more difficult to hit. On Lumia phones, you just double tap the home bar (or on Android, the screen) to turn the phone off. And double-tap it to turn the device on.
  9. There don’t seem to be any shortcuts to settings. You can slide up to get the drawer and turn wifi on and off, for example, but there doesn’t seem to be a quick way to get directly TO the Wifi settings. On Windows (as with Android IIRC), you just long press the toggle to get to the settings menu.
  10. Family Sharing—if we were going to invest in Apple’s ecosystem, this would be fantastic. With Microsoft’s exceptional family safety controls and growing store capabilities, I am dumbfounded why they do not offer family sharing for app and media purchases or a family sharing option for Groove music. Spotify is starting to look good.
  11. What a waste of space the home screen is! Why does every app I install have to appear here? Yes, I’ll have to set up a “junk” group for apps I don’t use.
    1. There doesn’t appear to be simple way to see all my apps, in alphabetical order, or to easily see which app is in which folder. iOS is the only one of the three operating systems to work this way. Even MacOS doesn’t work this way. BBOS didn’t work this way.
    2. That being said, I love how well iOS does landscape mode on the home screen something that would be difficult to do on Windows phones because of the different size of the live tiles.
  12. Gadgets/notifications/whatever. How many different ways to swipe (left top, bottom, top then left…) On a Windows phone, if the live tile doesn’t do it for you, just swipe down from the top.
  13. I did have to do a hard reset on the iPhone, something I do rarely now on my Windows phone. So much for “it just works.”
  14. One of the things I’ve been frustrated with on Windows phones was the delay or seeming unreliability of Facebook notifications. But with the latest version of the FB app on Windows Mobile, it was in step with notifications on the iPhone, no delay. I actually had both phones side by side, and sometimes the Windows phone beat the iPhone, which surprised me. The *number* on the FB icon didn’t always match the actual number of notifications IN the FB app, which is also true on Windows.
  15. Authentication seems inconsistent. When installing apps, I needed to enter my Apple password, but when accessing some settings, I need to access my device passcode. (If I try to turn the passcode off, it notifies me that Apple Pay will be disabled.) I like how on Windows 10, desktop and mobile, Microsoft gives you an option for a PIN so that you rarely have to use your Microsoft password.
  16. Cortana on iOS seems straightforward, although presumably due to Apple lockin limitations, it (not ‘she’) cannot completely displace Siri. No “Hey Cortana”. However, unlike Siri, it has TEXT/typed input, so you don’t need your AI to respond out loud whenever you ask something—and you don’t need to talk to your phone.
  17. I’ve always like how iOS handles cursor placement—press and hold, then use the magnifying glass. On Windows Mobile, currently, there’s virtual joystick thingy that works pretty well, but I like iOS here.
  18. One jarring change is having some of the settings for apps in the iOS Settings app rather than within the apps themselves, although some apps still had settings within the apps. This results in a disjointed experience, and I hated having the settings separate.
  19. The thing, by far, that’s annoying me the most is NAVIGATION.
    • The lack of a BACK key—again, something in Android, Windows, and BBOS is very frustrating, particularly since there is no standard way to go back. The most common way to go back involves tapping something in the upper-left corner, as far as possible from the hand that’s holding the phone. This might have worked on the smaller “SE” iPhones, but on Phablets it borders on yoga.
    • Every app for itself! Some apps have “cancel” others a down arrow. Still others a little box, or an X — navigation in iOS seems to be almost random.
    • Because of the extreme isolation between apps, there are few connections between them, and as a result, you spend far more time going OUT and back IN instead of switching between apps.
  20. I like how persistent the alerts are. For example, if there’s a (3) on my messaging icon, it won’t go away entirely until I’ve actually read or dismissed the three messages. On WP the equivalent goes away when you’ve merely opened the app.
    1. There’s clearly a corollary downside in that you don’t know at first glance how many new messages you might have unless you keep track of that in your head.
  21. I like how solid the hardware feels. I realize this has little bearing on actual quality, but it just feels good to hold.

In general, compared to Windows, most of the apps are simply more up to date, reflecting the market share and resultant priority of the platform for developers. Some apps seem more up to date on Windows than others do, for example, Instagram. But even Microsoft’s OWN apps on iOS seem to be ahead of its apps on its own platform. The keyboard settings for the “flow” keyboard are more advanced than for the native keyboard on Windows.

Coming soon: Google frustrations, first impressions of Android, and other Windows phones (925, 521, 640/XL, 950XL).

Also, now that I’ve used each for a day, I plan to force myself to use just one for a week or more (or as long as I can stand it).

3 thoughts on “20 or so iPhone first impressions; help me out!”

  1. From a friend who commented elsewhere:
    #8: I agree about the off button. It used to be on top which was a better spot for it, but now the phones are bigger.
    #1: I usually prefer the app over website as its specifically designed to be used for that functionality and better designed. Although in some cases the web has more features.

    From another friend:
    I’m an Android person (Samsung S6 Edge – personal) and iPhone (iPhone 6S plus – work) and definitely like Android more. I’ve had multiple iPhone and Windows phones in the past (and Nokia S60 as well…). I find IOS has a lot of irritations (e.g., full-screen pop-ups that require user input to dismiss) that are dealt with in Android by more discrete notifications. Want one to try? Add a bunch of email accounts to IOS and go into email when your data connection is poor. You get a prompt for every account, multiple times, saying it can’t get updates – same if your password is wrong on one of the accounts. You get these when a new update is available too. Drives me mad!

    Liked by 1 person

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