Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Top 5 Reasons I'm a Die-Hard iPhone Fan

In 2011, I jumped on the smartphone bandwagon. The final straw was driving three hours to a meeting that was cancelled via email. That year, the wife and I signed a two-year agreement with Sprint. Mistakes were made.

This time around, Tiffany opted for the iPhone 6 Plus in Gold. I got mine in classic Space Gray.

The first mistake was choosing Sprint as our carrier. Traveling to a variety of rural areas across Illinois, I realized that Sprint's network isn't on par with Verizon or AT&T.

The next mistake was our choice in smartphones. I went with an HTC EVO 4G. Tiffany chose the first iteration of Samsung's Galaxy S series. (It was technically the Epic 4G.) Both of those phones worked...for about a year. Then battery life took a serious nose dive. The operating system didn't receive any more updates. And, the hardware began to fail in an epic manner.

I hated to admit it, but my dad was right when he recommended the iPhone 4. In 2013, we signed a 2-year deal with Verizon and went with the iPhone 5. This month, we re-upped with Verizon and chose the iPhone 6 Plus. Here are the top five reasons why I'll always carry an iPhone.

1. It works: This was actually my dad's initial sales pitch in 2011. "They just work." Armed with an Android phone, I was keen on telling him everything his phone couldn't do. Around month 18, I had already endured two factory resets. There was something to be said for a phone that just works.

I spent two years with the iPhone 5. In that time, I never had to factory reset it. In fact, I probably rebooted it less than 10 times in 24 months as a result of a frozen screen. For comparison's sake, by year two with the HTC, I had purchased an extra battery and external charger to make it through the day. My operating system was so bogged down, I couldn't even get a speed dial widget to work properly.

Here's a quick size comparison of Apple devices. From left: iPhone 5, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air.

2. iOS updates: About once a year Apple will release a significant update to iOS. When they went from iOS 6 to iOS 7, it was like getting a new phone. Many will complain about iOS being less customizable than Android. Fine by me. In my experience, all that customization usually ended up in a slow user experience.

Also, do you know when you get iOS updates? Like the moment Apple releases them. Don't get me started on the 6+ months it takes to get an Android update.

Lastly, unless you've ever bought a Nexus phone, you've probably never used Android as Google intended it. Samsung, HTC and LG load their phones with so much bloatware it's disgraceful. At least Apple limits it to a handful of apps -- not an entire skin with scrolling Facebook feeds and other crap.

3. Lightning charger: This thing is so under-rated. First and foremost, you cannot plug this in upside down. I LOVE that feature. No more messing around in a dark bedroom trying to figure out which way is up on a micro-USB cable.

Also, this thing transfers music. That's not a huge deal anymore with bluetooth. But, even the old 30-pin connector transferred music. I don't think micro-USB will do that. Correct me if I'm wrong. Have you ever seen a micro-USB sound dock?

4. Accessories: Good golly, iPhones are the king of the accessory realm. My case of choice is the extremely grippy Magpul Field Case. I ordered mine in University of Illinois orange (at least that's what I'm calling it).

If there's an accessory to be made, there will be an iPhone version. Now that the 5S is the lowest tier iPhone available factory new, case makers can capture more than 50% of the market with just three cases.

5. Apple ecosystem: I love how my iPhone syncs with the iPad. I can pick up right where I left off on a web article. The Photo Stream is a nice touch too. I rarely take photos with the iPad, but I can view them via Photo Stream.

Three years ago, I would have said this is a negative. Apple has loosened it's controlling grasp quite a bit in the past couple of years. Sure, they present you quite handily with their options for purchasing music, books and movies. But, you can easily go through other channels. Granted you can't purchase electronic content from Amazon via an app, but you can do it on Safari (or Google Chrome).

And it works really well. The days of needing an app to read a simple web page are over. I don't even have the Amazon app on the iPad. If I want to shop Amazon, I pull up Safari, just like I would on a laptop. Only in rare instances is a web page cumbersome on an iPhone. Heck, the iOS web browsing experience is so refined, I've written half of these blogs on my iPad, via the Blogger site on Safari. That's a testament of awesomeness.

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