Why I’m Not Switching From the iPhone

Tech writers get lots of attention by writing about how they're switching from the iPhone to Android

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images / George Frey

A Verizon Wireless store manager brandishes an iPhone and a Droid in 2009

Many prominent tech writers get lots of attention by writing about how they’re switching from the iPhone to Android. I know several of these individuals and speak with other writers frequently, and so I thought an interesting angle to explore would be the reasons why I’m not switching to Android.

To lay the groundwork for my points you need to understand that I have in my possession all the flagship Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices. I’ve tried and tested them all, using them as my primary phones for a period of time in order to form an opinion. I’m aware of the fact that this is a luxury not all have. Still, my conclusion is that they aren’t for me.

I wrote last year in a column that our technology picks are simply matters of personal preference. Because someone chooses Android and another chooses the iPhone isn’t a big deal, and it’s certainly not something worth arguing about. The fact that I’m not switching to Android or any other platform isn’t a big deal. That said, there is an interesting dimension to this conversation worth talking about.

Smartphone Maturity

The reason I can make the claim that I’m not switching to Android or Windows or BlackBerry is because I’m a mature smartphone user. I was one of the earliest adopters of the devices, so I’ve been using smartphones as long as anyone. Whether you consider the Kyocera 6035 or the Handspring Treo the first true smartphone, I’ve used them all since they hit the market. If you want to get technical about it, I even had exposure to the IBM Simon, which for many is the first smartphone.

Because I’ve been using smartphones for so long, I’ve had the luxury of being able to fully define my likes and dislikes. More salient to this consumer-psychology point, I know why I like certain things and dislike others. This helps me very quickly filter out potential choices when it comes to smartphones.

What we need to recognize about today’s smartphone market is that although smartphones have high penetration in developed markets, we don’t have high penetration of mature smartphone owners. Many hundreds of millions of consumers are on their first or second smartphone; these customers have not yet had sufficient years of exposure to these devices for their preferences to coalesce. It makes sense, then, that we still see evidence in the market today of a certain percentage of people trying out different platforms in order to identify what they like and don’t like.

This explains why we see writers saying they’re switching from iPhone to Android, and even writers saying they’re switching back to the iPhone after living with an Android device. If we understand the dynamics of how a market matures, none of this should surprise us. Just because a prominent blogger writes that he’s switching from the iPhone to Android (or vice versa) hardly spells doom for Apple.

Analysts, pundits, Wall Street folk and the like will look at slight variances in market share and claim that a platform is more dynamic than static, causing them to make incorrect assumptions about the health of a particular platform or company. Some will read into a small market-share dip and deem that said company is doomed, when in reality we’re simply seeing consumer experimentation causing fluctuation. This is a natural evolution in the maturation process of any given technology market. When we understand this, cooler heads can prevail.

The big question isn’t whether consumers will experiment with different smartphone platforms — a certain percentage always will — but rather which smartphone platform will consumers eventually commit to. Over the next decade, as we see this play out at a global level, we’ll have a much clearer idea of which platforms can stand the test of time.

Sticking With the iPhone

Let’s address the point in my title. As I continually try to make clear, technology choices are highly personal. Things that matter to me may not matter to you, and thus we may appreciate different things for different reasons. But for me, my choice to stick with the iPhone has everything to do with how productive I can be with iOS while mobile. Whenever I use an Android phone as my primary phone (or a Windows Phone, or the BlackBerry devices), I feel a profound drop in my productivity. This does not mean that I can’t be productive on other platforms, but that I am most productive while mobile with iOS. Whether that’s e-mail, project collaboration, document and tasks synchronization, key apps I use for work and personal things, collaboration on tasks or calendar with family, and a host of other functions, I am the most productive and effective in work and personal matters with iOS.

I have nothing against other platforms, and many alternatives to the iPhone have things I appreciate. But those things haven’t been worth the trade-offs.

That said, I’m all for market experimentation. I’ve had friends and family tell me they wanted to try a new smartphone just to see how they’d like it compared with whatever they currently own. To help them narrow the search, I’ll assess the key features they’re interested in, then make a recommendation.

Experimentation within any market is key to that market’s maturity as well as the evolution of the hardware, software and services promising solutions to these customers. We don’t all drive the same make and model cars, and, likewise, we’ll never all use the same smartphone platform. This is good for consumers and healthy for the market. We need to learn how not to overreact to this sort of necessary experimentation, which occurs naturally as consumers learn what they want and don’t want from new and evolving technology.

Bajarin is a principal at Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to the Big Picture opinion column that appears here every week on TIME Tech.

166 comments
mfrissen
mfrissen

(late reaction, but the stuff below only hapened in the last two weeks :-))

I have a very different experience, especially when it comes to productivity. 

Our family is totally iOS/Apple setup. 3 ATVs, iPods, iPads, iPhones, Macs etc. About 3000 apps, whatever. In my line of work I get to see and (if I want) play with nearly every mobile device available in our market. I've always found Windows Phone to be the most productive OS available.

Of course, there's something like budget and robustness, so when my sons were old enough to get their own phones I bought them a Lenovo A600 waterproof Android phone for about $100 each. Works like a charm, except that Android sucks in user experience. They both have iPods and never ever had to ask me how to do something on the device. On Android, they keep asking how to perform certain tasks, it's totally unintuitive. Good thing they only need it for calling, Whatsapp and some games and browsing.

My wife (like me) has always had an iPhone. Her latest one was the iPhone 4 which got a bit slow after the latest iOS update, and she also thought it was time for a new phone. Normally I would have said the iPhone 5c or 5s, but this time I thought I was not going to put down another 600+ euros for a smartphone so I looked for something just under the 400 euro range. Android was out, because of the experience of my kids (and myself) with it, so WP was the obvious other option. A Lumia 925 was ordered and it arrived when I was not home. My wife is the prototype of a non-technical person. If something doesn't work she either calls the helpdesk or asks me. So, I was surprised that by the time I got home she already configured her Lumia to her preferences without my help. 

After two weeks of usage she states that she should have done this a long time ago, the larger screen, faster performance and MS integration were excellent, and she loves the tile layout. In fact, her productivity has increased by at least 50%, maybe even doubled. She's now even trying to convince me to drop my iPhone 5 for a WP model, and I will probably do that (nice birthday present I guess). Also because I'm getting bored with iOS and am annoyed by the bugs in the latest releases. And it's not just iOS, Mavericks is a bugfest as well. Time for something new.

I will still keep my iPads for at least a while, but I'm even looking at the Surface tablets for the future. But so far, for mobile smartphones, WP seems to be the best choice for us. Yes, we lose Airplay but that is more or less circumvented by using Skydrive and our XBox. Not as seamless, but it works. It's really the only thing I will really miss, but nothing I can't live without.

Well, just my $0.02

brandonisi
brandonisi

I'm an iPhone user with no plans to change that. Now, unlike some of the rabid apple fanboys, I can back up my reasoning and I can do it with one word: connectivity. Home connectivity, to be more specific. I use iTunes. I have an appleTV and an iPad. The reason I love my iPhone 5 is because all of these things work together when I'm at home and they do it seamlessly. I'm also willing to admit that, for the most part, Android has been spearheading the innovation as far as software goes. I love all of the features in iOS7, and it's about time they've added some of the things android has been doing for years. I'm not going to say iOS does it better (that's a matter of opinion), but it does it well enough to make the choice of whether switching to Android or sticking with iOS an easy one. The seamless integration I already experience at home continues to be approved upon.

Again, I have nothing against Android. I briefly switched to one after my iPhone 4 and I really enjoyed it, but the integration I've come to expect when at home, while not completely absent, just wasn't as smooth. I switched out for the iPhone 5, and I'm not afraid to admit I was disappointed to be giving up some of the freedoms you get with Android...but weighing the pro's and con's, iOS won. At leads for me. The author of this article is absolutely right: everyone has different tastes and preferences, and no one device or mobile operating system is going to be universally perfect for everyone, and that's a good thing. It gives us choices.

Codexone
Codexone

So Grandpa has used everything and now thinks that he is doing the world a favor by using iPhone as his default platform. Thanks for barking, Grandpa. We will remember your choice the next time we want to purchase a smartphone.


NOT.

darter
darter

After some point, switching between platforms just become pricy... you bought all these apps while living with one platform for productivity and such (and those apps aren't exactly cheap) and you're, more or less, locked in because most devs will not unlock those apps for you if you do decide to switch platforms.

SamSherwood
SamSherwood

I'm sticking with the iPhone because I'm pro-American business.  Samsung is a Korean company that has helped destroy American manufacturing jobs with the aid of their government subsidies, and their profits help primarily Koreans.  Apple is an American company, their profits help primarily Americans, and I'm proud to give them my business. 

butcherchop
butcherchop

The article in a nutshell: 

"I am an iPhone user and have been an iPhone user and will stick to being an iPhone user because I'm familiar with it.  No reason other than that. Where are my glasses? On top of my head you say? Oh, thanks."




georgemcgown
georgemcgown

The screen is too small on the iphone. If that changes I might go back. 

hpinheiro_
hpinheiro_

too many words to say nothing ..... we should not waste our time with this article, no structure, no arguments.

LarryLevine
LarryLevine

"I wrote last year in a column that our technology picks are simply matters of personal preference. Because someone chooses Android and another chooses the iPhone isn’t a big deal, and it’s certainly not something worth arguing about."

Actually, it's not even worth writing about.  I would love for someone to start blogging about something more important.  Perhaps why so many are still unemployed?

commentzilla
commentzilla

The iPad's share of web usage among all tablets increased to 84%. Samsung with only 4.7%.

commentzilla
commentzilla

Apple reported Mac sales declined only slightly and at half the rate that PCs are declining.

commentzilla
commentzilla

Ooops, Apple just reported iPhone sales and they sold a record number of iPhone again (year-over-year).

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

The only reason you have to stick with the iphone - if your ego or tech writing career depends on it, and its sheep.

Sorry but I'm getting the Nokia 1020 and laughing at the iphone sheep.

CharlieLaw
CharlieLaw

I actually agree with you. Before my first iPhone, which is the iPhone 4, I spent a year switching from Nokia (which had been my favourite cell phone company) to HTC, then to Samsung, following by Sony, and eventually, Apple. It was the only machine that made sense. As for the article, it does not have a real focus. You have said everything and nothing. When I was reading it I thought this was a 3-page article that had an in-depth analysis on the differences between the basic functionalities of different OS's in the market. I wished I could read more.

summerlilybee
summerlilybee

i was hoping you can elaborate more on "why sticking on i phone" instead of "why you are a mature smartphone user". Appreciate the POV tho

chesbeau
chesbeau

I used to enjoy Time and the often high level of writing and information. I trust this article is an aberration.  

bigmtnskier
bigmtnskier

It would have been much easier to just state you are an 'Apple Fan Boy' versus writing a litany of drivel...

kuppurao
kuppurao

It is okay to have a preference, with or without logic. What is not okay is to make a promise of a scientific point of view, and then go on to say "it works for me, thats all i am saying". This post is nothing but hubris (Simon blah blah blah)

My opinion is not to take away what the author really is or is not, as it pertains to the expertise. If he thought he dumbed down the article for common consumption, may be he dumbed it down too much. If his only message in this article was "why i switched" articles shouldn't be taken as doomsday predictions (for the respective companies), I don't need a industry expert/ analyst/ TIMES blogger to tell me that. Either way, this is a pitiable article.

ЭrvinΔuka
ЭrvinΔuka

i've read by far more professional opinions on what smart phone to choose written by teenagers on public blogs. I was expecting to read about security levels each of the platforms offers, ability to install virus-free applications, better chips, browsing speed etc etc. Instead I read about the huge deal of expertise that the writter of this article has when it comes to picking the right phone and none of them included a word about his choice to pick iPhone over Android

gorks4yes
gorks4yes

I don't see the point of a tech writer saying that these technology choices are personal, then proceed to explain his / her decision to pick one platform over another, in public.

I also don't see how a tech writer can state that the segment is mature, then go on to say that he / she is profoundly more productive on one platform over the other.

Which I suppose means that said tech writer wasted a lot of people's time.

ekubec
ekubec

It would be a great discussion to audit the actual processes that add to or subtract from productivity.  Of course, these processes would still be highly personal.

I recently switched from the iphone (4) to S4 Active.  

My core reasons for doing so were as follows:

1.  Bigger screen.  As I have aged, the iphone seemed too tiny.  I had heard complaints that the s4 was 'huge', but that wasn't my experience when I actually held it.

2.  "Waterproof" factor.  My iphone audio qualities had steadily degraded and it seemed correlated to me spending time in the garden with with dirt and water.  I use my phone a lot gardening for photos, so having something that could withstand 3 ft underwater would make sense for a garden

3.   The 'tinker' and 'I am not a luddite' factors:  I wanted to prove I could learn new technology just to gauge how open I was to tech change.  Changing mobile solutions is a huge test of it.  Also, the android ecosystem is much more 'tinkerable' than the iphone.

What  I have discovered as far as productivity is as follows:

on the + side:  1)  Searching gmail is much easier than on the iphone.  Last night and I trying to put the kids down (2 and 4) which involves laying in bed with them until they go to sleep.  This can take 30 minutes.  We all got in bed and I opened my email to find a late night request from my boss to send him all of the NDA's I have signed in 2.5 years on the job.  From the first search screen, i simply searched NDA and found them all and forwarded them to him.  It did this while in bed in about 20 minutes.  No way that works that well on the iphone.  Searching gmail on the iphone requires multiple clicks (click to 'account' then 'all mail' then search, then choose 'search server')  and even after that the results seemed less.  

2) Google Drive / Cloud:  This just seems to work easy.  All of my photos get backed up automagically and smartly to my google account, for free, without annoying pop ups and only when i am connected to wifi.  

DomenickDoran
DomenickDoran

Thanks for this informative article!  I eagerly await your discussion on Pizza Hut versus Dominos. Apparently Ben puts together a very compelling discussion, as an experienced pizza eater, on how Pizza Hut is simply yummier.  As a non-experienced pizza eater, it might be something you're interested in.  No details about why one is better than other are provided, but he just wants to give his irrefutable opinion.  

-Dom

darter
darter

@SamSherwood Apple uses a lot of Chinese factories and labor... not exactly entities associated with building up American industrial sectors... (This goes for many, many, many other companies out there)

benbajarin
benbajarin

@butcherchop You got all that despite my saying I test the crap out of all devices as my primary phone for months on end?  I'm as familiar with Android as anyone.  I'm highly technical.  I just prefer something else.   Plain and simple. 

benbajarin
benbajarin

@LarryLevine The point of the article runs much deeper than that and speaks to adoption cycles and buying behavior.  Those are the key take aways.   If I would have written something saying how to understand buying cycles it wouldn't have gotten much attention.   Thanks for commenting. 

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

@summerlilybee By default because hes justifying his own ego and then associating it with his use of the iphone. The article doesn't actually give reasons for the iphone itself.

And yes this is typical of the average iPhone and Apple user.

commentzilla
commentzilla

@Techsavy Unless the app needs to run in the background I don't see why it's important.

On the iPhone when you switch from one app to another it saves the state of the app so when you go back your right back where you left off - instantly.

Apps that need to run in the background can but only for certain functions in order to save battery life.

Having a phone behave like a desktop computer is not optimal for battery life and make little sense on 4" or 5" screens.

benbajarin
benbajarin

@chesbeau There is actually a lot of business speak in there that seems to have gotten lost on many people.  The key is how consumer mindset gets refined through experience.   Thanks for commenting. 


benbajarin
benbajarin

@kuppurao The bigger point is on buying market psychology.  It was apparently over too many peoples heads.  

commentzilla
commentzilla

@ekubec So basically you had to pay full price to get the S4 Active. But you are comparing it to an iPhone 2 generations older; iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5.

cole28
cole28

@darter @SamSherwood  Not to mention several of the components of the iPhone are made by Samsung? Really guy? Motorola is also an american company why not switch to that?

butcherchop
butcherchop

@th3uglytruth @hpinheiro_ He's actually right. Im waiting for valid reasons to agree with the guy, but nothing really other than personal taste. I have an iPhone and a Nexus phone and when I go to the beach or camping, i take my iphone. Id rather lose my iPhone than my Nexus Android phone. For everything  I prefer Android. 

LarryLevine
LarryLevine

@benbajarinI agree.  But both are equally unimportant.  Our 'new' obsessed culture has created an enormous amount of waste but media gets giddy about new devices and when to switch.  People who are just scraping by or unemployed barely have a voice.  

I don't care if the President gets an iPhone.  There are real problems that are not being addressed because media drops everything to cover a privileged baby being born. 

Stop worrying about click through.

benbajarin
benbajarin

@jabberwolf @summerlilybee until you go read my articles on how I like Android.  Then I'm just an Android fanatic.   Oh the joys of only reading one thing from a public voice..  

kuppurao
kuppurao

@benbajarin @kuppurao if THAT was your topic, why talk about iPhones at all? If iPhone was your illustration of choice, why talk about your preferences at all? Or did you choose iPhone because you will get more incoming links? I am not interested in bashing you, but if I did, you realize I am not alone, right? You have not got a single comment worth being proud of, or befitting the expertise you claim to possess. May be you are losing it. And you are a *TIMES* blogger?

SwiftrightRight
SwiftrightRight

The web is flooded with articles just like your describing.  Honestly while I dont agree with the author I respect his opinion and the article he wrote was kind of a refreshing break from iwhatever Vs Andrioditto crap that reads like paid placement advertising. 

benbajarin
benbajarin

@JackieNichols1 @benbajarin @butcherchop @th3uglytruth @hpinheiro_ I apologize as the article was geared to be more counter to the popular why I'm switching articles but showcase why those make sense in a market where experimentation is inevitable.  Again the key point here is mature market buying psychology.  Which our research suggests we are not at yet.  

From a business standpoint that is a very key point.  That was my intention. 

JackieNichols1
JackieNichols1

@benbajarin @butcherchop @th3uglytruth @hpinheiro_ I think that hpinheiro's point (and I agree with him) was that your article uses a whole lot of words but doesn't say anything of substance to justify those words.  Basically, it boils down to "I use an iPhone because I tried everything else and I still like the iPhone best."

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but what I (and I suspect others) expected to get out of this article was some valid points to ponder about why one might choose an iPhone.  What we got could have been stated in one simple sentence.

benbajarin
benbajarin

@butcherchop @th3uglytruth @hpinheiro_ My point of the article was not to try to get people to agree with me or sway their decision but to paint the portrait of how a mature market consumer who though experience has vetted their choices, approaches devices.   

butcherchop
butcherchop

@commentzilla @Zeno That will soon change. Android is strong and only growing in the tablet market. It'll be the same outcome as phones.