Leaving the iPhone

by Patrick Moorhead   |   December 18th, 2012

I have used the iPhone since the 3G as my primary phone and have enjoyed my experience very much.  It was, quite frankly, ahead of its time in almost every conceivable way.  It “felt” better, had more apps, better apps, great camera and a built-in iPod.  Better in every way until now.  I am strongly considering leaving the iPhone in favor of either Android or Windows Phone and I want to tell you why. Interestingly, since I’ve had my iPhone, I have also carried an Android and Windows Phone so I could make weekly if not daily experience comparisons.  Things have changed and it could be time to move on.  I am not saying I dislike iOS or the iPhone- I do, it’s just that it just feels too restrictive and not as so far ahead as it once was.

“Feel” is Good Enough

With Android’s “Butter” introduced at this year’s Google I/O, the feel is nearly as good as iOS.  That says a lot, because as far reaching as the first Android phone, I could feel a major difference.  When I mean “feel”, it is the responsiveness that the phone has when you touch it, primarily the swipes, and the responsiveness to those swipes.  As for Windows Phone, it has always felt good and responsive to touches and swipes.

Key Apps Cross-Platform Apps Nearly as Good

There was a recent time when the newest apps were only available on the iPhone.  I don’t know if I am just becoming more settled (read:old) with my apps, but my front page apps have remained constant for a couple of years.  As those apps became available on Android, there was the quality conversation.  Those first Android apps were, well, ugly.  My front-page apps like Evernote for Android and Windows Phone are still ugly but they don’t keep me from doing my job or having less fun.  There is much less of a time delay or quality delta between Android and iOS apps than there ever was before.

Sharing Content Still Difficult

Let me just say up front that I am not the typical consumer as it comes to sharing information on social media networks.  I share a lot and I do it on a lot of networks.  Apple has been very particular in how it wants to allow you to share from the point of content.  Let’s look at sharing a news article.

On my iPhone from Safari, when I get to the page I want to share socially, I have two choices, Twitter and Facebook.  When I do share with those networks, a beautiful clipping emerges and there is space to say some things about it.  The problem is, none of the contextual info shows up like the website and the article name or author. That means I need to type in the article title.  This is a pain.  Alternatively on Windows Phone and Android, I have as many networks to share to as I subscribe to, and in my case this takes Twitter and Facebook and adds LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. More times than not, it will take the article title and place it in the “share” as content.

I can still share that news article on LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest on my iPhone, but I need to copy the URL of the article, open the LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest  apps, paste the URL into the three apps, add the titles, then my own content, then post.  This is a whole lot of time I just don’t have.

Speech to Text and Control

I drive nearly two hours a day as I have three kids who are very active in sports.  One of my daughters is involved in club volleyball, basketball, equestrian, and cheer, all at the same time.  So my wife and I are in the car a lot.  Therefore, I need speech to text and speech command and control to actually work well.

Research shows that in general, consumers are happy with Siri doing very basic things like voice dialing.  My personal research has shown that Siri does not work very well at all under many circumstances.  With me, it is flaky and rarely works well.  When it does work well, it is like Siri is a different person.  I just don’t understand the massive variability.  We have good networks in Austin, I am originally from the Midwest which is considered at least by news agencies as having no accent, and I use the highest quality microphones.

Android speech capabilities are nothing short of incredible, but it takes the right phone.  The Motorola Razr I is one of the best as it accurately does speech to text over speakerphone at an unscientific 95% hit rate.  I talk, it types. With Google Now on my Samsung Nexus 3, it adds natural language to get very specific data points, very similar to Siri.  All in all, Siri is more sophisticated on paper, but does not work for me at all.  It is unfortunate, because Siri was the reason I bought the 4s.

Microsoft has been disappointing on this front so far given they have been doing speech control for around 15 years and the fact the Xbox works so well in a challenging acoustic and compute environment.

Newer or Different Technology

Apple actually has been ahead with its technologies and doesn’t get enough credit for it.  Apple has been ahead at times technologically on displays, SOCs, home sharing (AirPlay) and cameras. They have chosen not to lead technologically at times on wireless speed, WLAN speed, PAN, pen interaction, external storage, modularity, and notifications. I have been OK trading off newer or different technology for the better “feel”, better apps, better camras and iOS reliability, but with Android caught up in many areas and with Windows Phone on the move, it’s a more complex decision now.

Let’s take NFC as an example.  I was very skeptical about NFC for a myriad of reasons, particularly around NFC payments… that was until ISIS came to Austin.  I’m in my local Jamba Juice, and there it is, ISIS payments accepted.  At that point, I wanted it as I routinely forget my wallet and when I do remember, my debit cards get used so much it rarely scans correctly. I want NFC as a backup.  The Samsung commercials are funny and I do like playing around with sharing pictures and web pages over NFC, but that’s not driving my demand for NFC, it’s the potential for NFC payments in my city.

Where to Next, Android or Windows Phone?

First of all, I have not decided 100% to leave my iPhone.  Over the holidays, I will start trying out different phones and let you know about my experiences.  As a tech analyst, I will be separating my personal experiences and what I think the homogeneous consumer “market” will think as I am not a typical consumer.  I am much more technical, live a more digital and connected life, and am older than the median versus the “average” consumer.  Most interestingly, four years ago I didn’t think I would even be considering something else as my primary phone, and must give credit to Google, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, for their continued advancements.

 

Patrick Moorhead

Patrick Moorhead was ranked the #1 technology industry analyst by Apollo Research for the U.S. and EMEA in May, 2013.. He is President and Principal Analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, a high tech analyst firm focused on the ecosystem intersections of the phone, tablet, PC, TV, datacenter and cloud. Moorhead departed AMD in 2011 where he served as Corporate Vice President and Corporate Fellow in the strategy group. There, he developed long-term strategies for mobile computing devices and personal computers. In his 11 years at AMD he also led product management, business planning, product marketing, regional marketing, channel marketing, and corporate marketing. Moorhead worked at Compaq Computer Corp. during their run to the #1 market share leader position in personal computers. Moorhead also served as an executive at AltaVista E-commerce during their peak and pioneered cost per click e-commerce models.
  • Ittiam

    The very advantages of iOS are becoming its handicap slowly…. Coming from Android, I would feel handicapped, if my OS did not give me share options for all the stuff I installed

    • FalKirk

      “The very advantages of iOS are becoming its handicap slowly…” – Ittiam

      I think a better way to say that is that one man’s advantage is another man’s disadvantage – and vice versa. Many see iOS’ closed ecosystem as an advantage. Others see it as a disadvantage. Many see Android’s more open operating system as an advantage. Others see it is a disadvantage.

      Rather than talk of advantages and disadvantages, we should talk about the relative advantages of each platform as they pertain to specific market segments. Both iOS and Android are fine operating systems. Android’s market share has grown at a phenomenal pace. But iOS continues to steadily grow in real terms and in real profits and the “iPhone continues to have (the) best retention rate, as 83% of current owners plan to upgrade to another iPhone, up from 73% last year.” (Source: Morgan Stanley).

      Each to his own. And plenty will own each.

      • Rich

        I think the retention rate is the best gauge of satisfaction with a product. It considers all factors and is a pure indicator of how well users like a device.

        • imaginarynumber

          Whilst i can’t think of a better gauge I am not sure how accurate they really are when we look at models that are based upon massive carrier subsidies. It would be interesting to see what would happen if all phone subsidies were dropped, or if the levels of subsidy were constant across all handsets.

          For example, my GF wants to upgrade from her iphone 4 to the 5 for no reason other than it is new and she feels that it is time to upgrade given that her contract has expired. If she had to pay the full cost of the handset she would just stick with the 4 until it fell apart.

      • Kyrke

        FalKirk, “Each to his own. And plenty will own each” is my quote for the day. Well done!

  • jfutral

    Yeah, I read similar things from Guy Kawasaki. If those things are important, then absolutely leave iPhone. For me, none of that really matters. Heck, I was even happy with the 3.5″ screen. I just didn’t like that the 4 and 4s glass kept shattering. I would have held onto my 3gs if the 5 hadn’t dealt with that. So far it is unbreakable, at least with how I use the phone.

    The two times I used Siri while driving (one for directions, the other to read me my texts) it functioned beyond expectations. Still not a hot feature for me though.

    This is why I don’t understand the feelings that Android or iPhone “sucks”. What a great time to be alive (I still think smartphones, though needed in my business, suck my life away from me)! What a great selection of choices!

    Joe

    • mhikl

      Good points, Joe.
      Choice is a bonus to the creative species. Over the five years I have had my Macbook all my PC friends had two and three or more notebooks, all made of plastic and all prone to glitches in make or function. My friends with iPhones weren’t tossing them to the back of sock drawers every time something went wrong because the dang iPhones just work and are usually passed along to relatives or friends, still functioning. System updates to Androids are still rare and never heard mentioned. I don’t know anyone in the wild who uses the Androids for as manny functions as iPhone users use their products and rare is the time I hear complaints about iPhones though the traumas over Android at times sounds like the chatter from a soap opera. There are friends who rave about their Androids but for every kudos a chorus in negative is heard.

      Those that have the money can buy an iPhone or regularly make the purchase of a replacement Android. Those monetarily challenged can save and wait or put up with equipment called shoddy and live with less function.

      Human life is indeed a wonderful gift with free will tossed into the works.

  • Englishmole

    Sorry Patrick but people like you are simply too small a percentage for Apple to bother about. The problem you have with the iPhone is exactly why millions of non-geeks buy them: they want something that works simply and elegantly out of the box; and couldn’t care less about having multiple ways of sharing stuff.

    • jfutral

      I don’t know that is entirely true. What is probably more true, based on the multitude of 20 and 30 somethings I know who own iPhones and share across many service (for some it is personal, for others it is business), the inconvenience is work-aroundable enough. I think they would prefer what Mr. Morehead wants, but the rest of the iPhone (complete with what you say about simple and out of the box experience) makes up enough for that… for now.

      Joe

  • pistolpete

    What does it say when a man routinely forgets his wallet, but not his phone?

    • xyz

      You mean iPhone.

  • dr.no

    Please Leave and never come back.

    I will start a collection for you to

    never write such article again.

    It’s been done thousands of time.

  • http://twitter.com/M_Gauche James King

    So far, I haven’t seen a compelling case made for you switching other than “the grass may be greener.”

    I’ve used every major platform, as I’m sure many of the readers of this site have. Even the newest Android falls short of iOS’s usability and overall polish. Android is still a headache to configure, for the first time I have anti-virus on a phone, and I’m always concerned about the amount of personal data that Google accumulates about me via its services. I feel like the proverbial frog in boiling water re: my privacy and Google.

    I enjoyed Windows Phone but the security was abysmal and the app selections spotty. Maybe things have changed but I’m turned off to the platform now. It didn’t helped that the Dell WP7 phone I purchased crapped out on me without warning.

    I don’t use an iPhone because the UI, though simple and easy to master, seems a bit stale for me as a power user at this point. I’m really interested in Blackberry 10 for its world class security and the power of QNX, which has a tremendous reputation as a nimble and reliable platform. I really think the new hardware looks amazing as well.

    I’m interested to see how this plays out for you.

    • imaginarynumber

      The ability to have a virus scanner might actually be a sales point for some owners. I know numerous people that have succumbed to phishing on their iOS devices (after assuming that Apple gave them complete security protection). Granted, this problem is not OS specific but it would be less of an issue on devices that have anti-phishing software installed.

      The personal data held by all of the players is concerning and not just limited to Google.

      With regard to Windows Phone- what were the security issues that you considered abysmal? It had always struck me as being as locked down as iOS.

      • http://twitter.com/M_Gauche James King

        “The ability to have a virus scanner might actually be a sales point for some owners.” – imaginarynumber

        Fair enough.

        “The personal data held by all of the players is concerning and not just limited to Google.” – imaginarynumber

        The level of sophistication with which Google UTILIZES personal data is staggering. Considering the pervasiveness of its services, it is reasonable that Google can (and HAS) developed an incredibly detailed profile of your personality, habits and interest. Yeah, that’s where this is all headed but I’d like to retain some semblance of privacy for a little longer.

        “With regard to Windows Phone- what were the security issues that you considered abysmal?” – imaginarynumber

        Having my actual phone and Twitter account completely compromised kinda turned me off to Windows Phone. I’d feel the same way if it happened on another platform. That’s why I’m interested in BB10.

  • AdamChew

    For a moment i thought it was Falkirk’s or Tim’s piece and when I checked it is no matter because the writer of the piece is not pro Apple anyway.

    Don’t let the door hit you when you leave.

  • Neil J. Squillante

    I had to read your Sharing paragraph a few times to make sure I didn’t miss the elephant in the room. I didn’t. Most people share via email. It’s the world’s largest social network.

    It’s no accident that when you tap the Share link in Safari in iOS 6, the Mail app icon has the most prominent real estate in the top left corner. That’s how most people share articles.

    Remember all the buzz about Google+’s Circles feature? Email has better circles. Just enter email addresses to create circles on the fly. If you regularly email the same group of people, you can easily create a group email address using services such as Google Apps.

    I realize this is an opinion column and not an analytical column like most here, but I still find it odd that you didn’t mention the most prominent sharing tool in iOS.

  • Rich

    Patrick, all you’re doing is expressing your own personal preferences, as over and over you say “This is what I do” and “This is what I like.” That does not provide any indication of what the *public* prefers, therefore this article can’t be used to suggest a trend away from the iPhone.

  • Grwisher

    Weasel!

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    Interesting post, Patrick, but I’m struck by some of the wording you use. Android’s feel is “nearly as good” as iOS. Your most-used apps “are still ugly”. There’s “much less” of a delay in using them.

    Turn that around, and what it says is that iOS remains smoother, and the apps remain higher quality. In other words, for many of the things that affect your decision, you’re actively choosing second-best in terms of experience.

    Now that might make sense if there were other features you want or need about Android which outweigh taking the pain there. But if there are, I’m not really seeing them here. Sharing isn’t as hard as you make it out to be: I share from Safari on iOS to Google+ in one click, by using a bookmarklet (http://allanjosephbatac.com/gplus-bookmarklet.php). There are equivalents for both Pinterest and LinkedIn.

    Speech to text and control is a more personal decision. For me, Siri works better than Google Now’s voice control stuff, partly (I think) because Google hasn’t implemented all the features for British English. The dictation engine works better for me on iOS than Android. And voice search from the iOS Google Search app uses the same voice recognition as Google Now (as you’d expect) so if I want to do voice searching, I mostly use that.

    It think you also give Apple a little less credit on new technology than they deserve. For me, a deal breaker with Android has always been integration with a wider eco-system of devices through AirPlay. Despite Android’s focus on this recently, Apple is still a mile ahead in simplicity. Hook up a (dirt cheap) Apple TV to your living room TV, and stream pretty much any content to it. Making something that easy is the best way to implement new technology, because it removes the barriers to “normal” people using it.

    I get the feeling, though, that you have classic “geek itch” (don’t worry, it’s not contagious :) ). I get this too – the desire to jump to a platform which will allow me to play around a little more, to to spend time configuring things and digging into them. Nothing wrong with that – but it’s not really more broadly applicable as a comment on a specific platform.

  • http://twitter.com/jmergy Jonathan Mergy

    Thanks Patrick. It might feel strange to have people rage and go personal for no apparent reason, but I appreciated the article walking through your process. The point here for me, as well as the other articles recently posted, is that more technical and demanding users are no longer Apple “disciples” and it is surprising to us.

    For me, this is a signal that the “lock-in” mindset that Apple has had for years with many is weakening. Typical consumers might be loving Apple right now, but they are pretty fickle. Tech professionals who appreciate quality tools that have typically been Apple advocates are taking stock of the situation and oddly deciding to kick the tires of other vendors because it is clear Apple is not building tools for them anymore.

    This sort of concept was where I was trying to go with my post a few weeks ago http://mergy.org/2012/12/irecognition-i-am-no-longer-apples-target-market/ so I get it.

    Thanks again and hang in there!

  • Kyrke

    Patrick, your article comes across as needing to post something rather than having something to say. Still, I will be interested in your analysis after using the different devices for awhile. While the major smart phones will all function well they have a different approach and feel to what they do. I have a friend who gave up his iPhone 5 to return to an Android phone he freely admits is not built as well but does allow a use-flow that better fits his style. Similarly there are still some who prefer the physical keyboard of the classic RIM phones. I hope you will give me a handle that will help me see why I might like one phone over another or why MS fails to gain traction.

  • Mel Berman

    Good post, Patrick. I think you are starting to witness a slow Apple slide due to the business types driving things instead of a superstar (Jobs). The competition is making fast progress & adding real quality. Nothing really bad about the Apple versions but they lost that zeal to stay ahead. Intel may pop some dynamite chips into the smartphones in the near future & whether or not Apple adopts them may determine the inflexion point. Apple has a tendency to be closed in approach which had a big effect in the 80′s. The same follows for the software also.

  • jfutral

    “Most were unaware that touchscreen smartphones already existed and had many of the features found on the iphone.”

    There may have been a number of smartphones that each had some of the features of the iPhone, but I think it is overstating things to say of smartphones before iPhone that they had “many”, this from someone who had several smartphones before iPhone. I actually enjoyed my HTC Windows phones and hate to see HTC having such difficulties now.

    “Most iphone users migrated from non-touch screen feature phones.”…
    “As those owners ‘mature’, their demands and wants will increase”

    So far the data seems to indicate the opposite. iPhone users are a couple years more mature (giving Android about two years to hit the user level of iPhone) and how much more they use their phones beyond just a phone and texting than Android users is pretty staggering. Based on how things look now, without any indication this is changing, I would say this is the issue Android faces.

    Now, if we look at just the Android market, I would say this is probably least true for Samsung. I think they are “seeing the light” much sooner than any other handset maker, including Google owned Motorola. I think this is the main reason Samsung is seeing the bulk of Android growth and profit. And as they continue to use Apple as their “inspiration” (their word) I would expect Samsung to become even _more_ Apple like and less Android like.

    Whether you think this is good or bad depends on whether you think Android is king or Samsung is king. The struggle between Samsung/Android and Google/Android is about to get really interesting. Google is about to learn (if they haven’t already) why Jobs was so adamant about not letting any 3rd party developer be able dictate so much of Apple’s software development.

    Joe

    • imaginarynumber

      Hi Joe

      “There may have been a number of smartphones that each had some of the features of the iPhone, but I think it is overstating things to say of smartphones before iPhone that they had “many”,”

      I wasn’t trying to suggest that if one took all of the features of the various phone OSes and morphed them together that you would end up with a cumulative number approaching that of the iPhone.

      I was stating that the first iPhone could do far less than specific handsets that predated it. When the iPhone was released I had the Windows Mobile HTC athena. I had tabbed browsing, maps, push email clients, media players and so on. Unlike the iphone it also had GPS, 3G, 3rd party apps, stereo speakers, detachable keyboard, expandable memory, higher screen resolution, copy and paste, tethering/modem capabilities, play flash, etc. The 3rd party apps were not walled, this meant that I could use VPNs, I could telnet, network sniff, spoof MAcs, etc. In short i could do things that you still cannot do on the iphone (or indeed Windows Phone).

      With regard to Jobs being insistent on not capitulating to app developers I am not convinced that this is not mythology. Let’s not forget that Jobs was adamant that the iphone would not have any 3rd party apps and that if the rumour mill is correct he only changed his mind after the dev community succeeded in jail-breaking the iphone. Mind you Jobs also famously said that the iphone screen size was perfect (and now they have an EVEN more perfect screen size!!!), he also said that a smaller iPad would be a flop…

      Taking Windows Phone as an example, from what I can see, “interference” from OEMs has been beneficial. Without pressure from the likes of Nokia, they might not have added SD support, NFC or even wifi tethering.

      • jfutral

        First, I don’t think you’ll find the writers or regular posters here who think Apple “invented” the smart phone, so rail about that all you want, but keep in mind those people don’t reside here.

        “With regard to Jobs being insistent on not capitulating to app developers”

        That’s not exactly what I said. I said “adamant about not letting any 3rd party developer be able dictate so much of Apple’s software development.” which was a reference to Apple Mac often being at the mercy of Microsoft Office, Quark, and Adobe with just about everything. That is the position Google is starting to find itself with Samsung. Open, schmopen. This is going to collide soon.

        I remember my HTC WinMo phone, too. I remember it like I remember my old Pinto. It needed a ton of nursing to ever use all the features, when/if they could even be used, and not explode.

        SD support was needed back then because the internal storage was abysmal.

        You _could_ use your finger, but that was only because you were forced to since you lost your stylus on a regular basis.

        You could tether back then because so few people were using the network, there was no stress. ATT finally cut off tethering for my brother’s Dell smartphone (Axim, I believe). So ultimately tethering will be carrier to carrier.

        I remember needing to take out the battery of that HTC phone regularly to reset the dang thing so it would work again.

        I also remember when Apple finally introduced 3g to their phones how they got sued because 3g wasn’t available in many locations.

        I happen to be one of the ones who was happy with the 3.5″ screen size. Why everyone automatically thinks bigger is better is beyond me. I often find the iPhone 5′s screen size to sometimes be cumbersome, I wouldn’t even want to try any of the larger Android phones. Not a selling point for me.

        Look, if you don’t think Apple invented much of the modern smart phone, you are in good company here. But if you don’t think Apple fundamentally changed the industry landscape, then why isn’t that HTC WinMo phone still available? Most everyone here understands the difference between “invented” and “innovated”. Apple certainly did the latter. You can argue that all you want, but the evidence is against you.

        Have a great holiday! Hope to see you around here more. Some great points and many things to be regularly reminded of.

        Joe

      • jfutral

        Listening to your recollections and thinking about this conversation reminded me of a quote from one of the founders of a dance company I used to work for, Jonathan Wolken of Pilobolus Dance. Something he called the “sushi principle”:

        “In the crush of ideas and individual efforts in our work lives and certainly in our creative lives, we are challenged to hear our own voice over the din of others. For most of us our early formative school years set in motion a process of competitive achievement that sticks with us and colors our habits. We rush forward with answers, we create a blizzard of ideas, we avoid the understated approach by covering with mass quantities of… just about everything.

        The Sushi principle reminds us that there is an alternative – a spare and simple approach that appeals to the mind and attracts the eye.

        We can see this principle at work on the stage, especially during an improvisation. A glut of activity often serves to hide the best material. The eye simply doesn’t know where to look in the visual cacophony. So simplify. Unclog, clear away and remove the obstacles that distract from the clarity you seek. Less, perfectly served, is often just right.”

        http://blog.pilobolus.org/2010/06/jonathan-remembered-the-sushi-principle/

        Joe

  • jfutral

    “I routinely forget my wallet”

    Until NFC is actually used for purchases:

    http://www.cardninja.com/

    (ht: NYT and Pogue)
    Joe

  • Brad Mello

    I might sound jaded, but where is the talk of the students? As a 20 year old college student and owner of an iPhone 5, microsoft 2013 preview and windows 8, I think the 20something age bracket has a pretty significant impact on tech sales. Many families in the US turn to the young adults in their family for any tech query. I use onenote for my iPhone (free app) and it is extremely useful. I live through my onenote notebooks, and college students are going to find the windows 8 experience extremely beneficial in the near future. As long as this experience translates to my iPhone (as the onenote app does) I will be content with this device.

    In summary, I think the student population should be targeted more than anything else. We represent a significant driving force in the selection of tech needs of our families. Apple will be challenged by the productivity advancement offered by Windows 8 (and associated technologies) that will be visible in the competition of hybrid ultrabook tablet/laptops. This should be seen as separate from the market for Phones in my opinion. Students are going to jump ship from macbooks when we start to utilize note taking in onenote / eBook annotation in class.

    • Brad Mello

      I love my iPhone. It is fast. It works. It is beautiful, smooth and everything I want to have in my pocket.

      I love my laptop. It is where I communicate with friends, write papers, search for jobs, plan my future. I love the productivity advancement offered by windows 8 and office 2013. If I could bring my laptop to class easily (it is a hassle) I would. I am replacing my laptop with a dell xps 12 as soon as possible. I think many students will follow suit in the next few years.