Observations 3 weeks after switching from Android to iOS

Much of this blog was originally about Android. I wrote numerous guides, longform articles, and lists about how to use Google’s mobile OS. Traffic grew exponentially after I began delving into how to use tools such as UCCW and Dashclock Widget on Nexus devices. After 1.5 years of my Android blogging, though, I tired out – I had plateaued with a Nexus 5 running mostly stock Google apps and a few cross-platform mainstays such as Pocket. I didn’t know what else to write without going into rooting etc., which didn’t interest me.

Earlier this month, I switched to an iPhone 6 Plus after 3+ years on Android. I got my first smartphone in 2011 – an HTC Inspire from AT&T – and then moved on to the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5. The iPhone 5S, with its stunning camera and Touch ID, tempted me to jump the Android ship, but I held out, thinking that Apple would eventually make something bigger. They did, and I switched, realizing that the only thing that had prevented me from going to the iPhone had been screen size.

After three weeks with iOS, here are my three main reactions to switching:

Gaming performance
When I was an Android user, I regarded phones and tablets as secondary gaming devices – good for the occasional time-waster on the subway, but not for the “serious” experiences like the ones I got from my 3DS. The big screen iPhones have changed my outlook, not so much because of their GPUs and the Metal API (though both help), but because of battery life. The iPhone 6 Plus easily lasts the whole day even between podcasts, music, Pinterest and sessions of Plants vs. Zombies 2 and Plunder Pirates (and iOS exclusive for now – it went Metal before it went Android). On my Nexus 5, the battery would drop precipitously after just a few minutes of gaming. I couldn’t relax or give into the experience, but now I can. Skullduggery!, Mr. Crab, PvZ2: The app gap between iOS and Android is most pronounced in both the gaming selection and how each platform handles common games.

A world without the Web (browser)
Chrome was a mainstay of the Android experience, but Safari doesn’t hold the same centrality for me on iOS. I usually only end up there if something else sent its way. Native apps are better, and Spotlight Search, linked into DuckDuckGo, has all but eliminated my Googling. FeedWrangler takes care of RSS for the websites I usually check, anyway. The only thing I regularly use Safari for is the mobile Facebook site, since I don’t like how the Facebook iOS app affects battery life. Part of iOS’s strength here is in high-end immersive apps like Tweetbot, Vesper, and various games, which between them run the gamut of content consumption and creation.

The small stuff
Neither the Nexus 4 nor 5 shipped with bundled headphones or a podcast app. Both charged with microUSB, so the cable wasn’t reversible. I had to draw a pattern or enter a code to unlock, without the option to reliably use my fingerprint. These all sound like minor quibbles, but considering how many times a smartphone is looked at each day, they add up.

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