The Smartphone Wars Pivot And I Jump To Windows Phone

by Brian S Hall   |   January 13th, 2014

The smartphone wars are over. Apple won.

They are not the only winner, of course, just the biggest. I confess I do not fully appreciate the many moving parts of a Korean chaebol, nor understand Korean accounting practices. Such caveats notwithstanding, Samsung also emerged victorious.

Given that there now exists about a billion persons who use Google services everyday, several times a day, their most personal information monetized by the company’s anonymous servers in steady bursts, clearly Google also won, even if it has yet to show up in their earnings reports.

The losers include Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, BlackBerry, Palm, Dell, and far too many others to list here.

Except, our story doesn’t end there. The world keeps spinning. The market keeps growing, smartphones continue to invade new industries, apps are becoming more robust, software ever smaller, the power and scale of the cloud keeps expanding — and competition never stops.

One Shot One Opportunity Is False

HP — remember them — is set to release a low-end smartphone for emerging markets. Don’t scoff. The vast majority of the world still does not own the equivalent of the very device you refuse to give up for even a day. While Samsung continues to lead all smartphone makers, the company’s operating profit fell notably in the fourth quarter, likely due to reduced margins on its high-end smartphones. Apple, meanwhile, saw its global smartphone share drop to a shockingly low 12.1%. That’s not 12.1% of global mobile phone sales but of “smartphone” sales. I never expected it to be so meager.

Yet, new opportunities abound.

Apple’s iPhone is steadily invading corporate IT. With each job and every task smartphones strip away from traditional PCs, their inherent value increases.

carintegration_gallery1_2x

Cars are another new battleground. That constant stream of real-time data, entertainment and connectivity we now demand fill every moment of our lives will not be halted simply because we get inside a car. This is a big deal. Around 80 million new cars and trucks are sold every year.

Last summer, Apple announced iOS in the Car, its effort to integrate iOS  apps and services with newer automobiles. I have exceedingly low expectations. Apple makes its money from hardware sales, iPhone hardware in particular. iOS in the Car still requires users to have an iPhone which they must then plug into the vehicle to gain the full benefits of Siri, Maps, iTunes and other content. This is much too limiting.

Google’s recently announced Open Automotive Alliance – still primarily vapor — has a far greater upside as it is free from such device constraints. The automotive market may force Apple to re-think its hardware-only focus very soon. After all, Apple hardware, at least while we are driving, is effectively irrelevant.

The situation is much different in wearables, where I contend Apple has a decided advantage. If we are ever going to wear computing devices en masse — be they wristbands, eyewear or clothing — they will have to be far more than merely functional. They must look good. They must synch effortlessly with our smartphones and other computers. They must be intuitive to operate. We will want to try them on without sales pressure. Advantage: Apple.

Sports and wellness, the Internet of Things, and the extrication of content from copyright, which will allow us to control, share and interact with content at all times and from any place, will similarly spin the smartphone market into numerous overlapping paths, merging with, tearing down and creating industry after industry.

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Then there are the giant emerging markets. China, of course, but also India, which has long embraced Sony and Samsung. In my admittedly limited experience, Southeast Asia has long revealed a love of physical keyboards and robust messaging services — offering a potential return to life for BlackBerry.

As the many combatants prepare for these coming new wars, let us rejoice in the fact that we can now can go to practically any mall, any carrier’s store, any electronics retailer anywhere in the world, and purchase an extraordinarily powerful, highly functional and reasonably intuitive connected mobile computer for relatively little money. Which is exactly what I did recently. I was quite surprised by what happened.

I chose Windows Phone.

Though I have used smartphones built for nearly every single platform from all around the world, my go-to device for the past 5 years has been iPhone. No longer.

These are my reasons why — and they remind us that even where the smartphone wars are settled, they are never truly settled.

I Like Big Displays And I Cannot Lie

Nokia-Lumia-1520I now primarily use the Nokia Lumia 1520. It’s huge. I love it. Surfing the web, reading a book, racing cars (gaming), watching movies, scanning my photos; all are so much more delightful on the gorgeous and very big Lumia 1520 display than on the iPhone.

I dislike the iPhone 5(c/s) screen dimensions. I find it much too narrow. The dimensions of the iPhone 5 series, in my view, reveal the limits placed upon Apple by its highly successful app ecosystem. Yes, apps should be optimized for specific screen sizes and Apple is the clear leader in apps, both in terms of quantity and quality. Unfortunately, this results in a display with dimensions that I find to be both limiting and, frankly, unattractive.

I have found no device that is as beautiful as the colorful and unapologetically polycarbonite Lumia phones.

Build Quality

The Lumia looks great, yes, but it also feels great. In fact, Nokia devices have long been known for their build quality and durability. This is not to suggest that Apple’s newest iPhone is poorly constructed. Rather, they feel flimsy. iPhone 5s, in particular, feels much too light, like your grandmother’s jewelry.

Navigation

The combination of Nokia Maps (Here Maps), which includes traffic data, search, and downloadable maps, plus Here Transit for public transportation data has proven more helpful to me than Apple’s alternative. Google Maps with Waze, not fully available on Windows Phone, may prove more useful to most. However, I simply don’t want to provide Google with still more of my personal data.

Accessories

Most iPhone accessories are priced well above my pay grade. Not so with Windows Phone. I recently purchased a car charger for my Windows Phone at a gas station — for less than $10. The low price was due, of course, to Windows Phone’s use of the micro USB standard. Similarly, I lost my Jambox charger. Luckily, it also uses micro USB so I simply swap with my phone charger. Standards make life easier.

smart_hero_mba_11_2xiOS 7

I love what I think Apple is trying to do with iOS 7. The problem is, they haven’t done it yet. The emphasis on data presentation, plus improved integration across select apps and functions is a laudable achievement. It’s just that the damn thing freezes and crashes much too frequently.

Live Tiles

Live Tiles are often — but not always — preferable to static app icons. Tiles can display current weather, show me how many calories I have consumed for the day, display my favorite photos. Tiles that merely twinkle and flash and convey no useful information, however, are admittedly a time-sucking distraction.

The Fine Print

I am a Mac user. This means that with Windows Phone I no longer have apps that effortlessly synch across iPhone and Mac. This is just one of the sacrifices I’ve had to accept by choosing Windows Phone.

Because of copyright restrictions, I no longer have full, unfettered access to all the songs and videos I’ve purchased over the years through iTunes.

There are far fewer apps and most apps are of lesser quality on Windows Phone.

Maddeningly, the very latest Windows Phone keyboard remains determinedly stuck in 2011. The keyboard is cumbersome and stupid, rarely correcting my obvious typos.

As much as I dislike the iPhone 5 design, it adheres to what should be a cardinal rule for smartphones, despite everything I have said about big, beautiful displays: for every smartphone, it should be possible for every action to be performed with just one hand.

Games? There are great games on Windows Phone. Microsoft also appears intent on offering a gaming experience that truly integrates phone and Xbox console. Then there’s that bigger display. However, there are far more games for all types of gamers available on iPhone.

Mobile Safari and Mobile Explorer are equivalent. FaceTime and Skype are not, however, with Skype more a global and business telephony service and FaceTime the world’s most accessible video chat service.

Nokia offers highly granular camera controls that are sorely lacking on iPhone. My Lumia takes much better pictures at night. However, iPhone 5(c/s) takes great pictures and is faster to operate.

Email is simpler to use and to set-up on Windows Phone.

The Windows Phone equivalent of Siri is of absolutely no use. As I am at a loss to recall a single instance when I have found Siri useful, this probably doesn’t matter.

Winners & Winners

Clearly, whichever device and whichever platform you choose requires trade-offs. I expect this to become even more pronounced as the smartphone wars morph, move into entirely new arenas, enable new devices, like wearables, reinvigorate old device, like automobiles — and steadily connect more and more billions of people across the world.

For millions of people every month, and for nearly all of us at least once every year or two, an opportunity presents itself to embrace a new or different platform. This is a good thing as it keeps the combatants ever vigilant, always striving to improve.

The smartphone wars are not over. Rather, the first smartphone war has ended.

Brian S Hall

Brian S Hall writes about technology and change. His work has appeared in Techpinions, ReadWrite, the Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn, The Push, CIO and Business Insider. His latest novel, "Love in the Time of Caller ID" is available from Amazon and on iBooks.
  • Idon’t Know

    Is Microsoft paying you? That’s about the only way this article makes sense.
    You must have never used an iPhone in a car. The choice of device is pretty critical unless you want to be stuck with the car manufacturers options.
    There is no potential return to life for Blackberry..because Southeast Asia supposedly loves keyboards? Ok then. What?
    The iPhone does not remotely feel flimsy and there is no such thing as too light.
    You say iPhone accessories cost too much and give the example of a car charger..again…what? Newsflash….lighting cables plug into any USB car charger. Yeah.
    iOS 7 crashes and freezes? No.
    I actually laughed reading that email is easier to setup on Windows phone or that you don’t want to give Google more of your data when Microsft sells your data and turns it over to the NSA as fast as they can. Apple doesn’t.

    • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

      What’s the point of insisting that the iPhone uses a USB standard charger? The iPhone (every version) has it’s own proprietary charger. You must know this.

      • NeilM

        @Brian: Huh what? iPhones don’t use proprietary chargers. Never have. Now they do include Apple designed chargers, and pretty well designed ones at that. But these have a standard wall plug on one side and a standard USB socket on the other. You certainly don’t need to use the Apple charger. Apple doesn’t even offer a car charger, so for that you always have to use a third party product.

        I do find your comments about the iPhone 5s feeling flimsy and too light to be very odd. Most people say it feels dense, heavier and more solid than its size would suggest, like a metal ingot.

        That said, I think your choice of a Win phone is interesting. I find the interface-formerly-known-as-Metro to be full of promise, much of it unrealized and, alas, apparently destined always to be little more than a promise. So far we’re not seeing Win phone able to make much headway against either iOS or Android; but you can usually count on Microsoft for stamina. The Lumia 1520 itself is indeed a very attractive phone, so for someone who wants a larger screen it makes a fine choice.

        My own taste runs the opposite of yours. The iPhone 5s form factor suits me perfectly, with minimal size and plenty of usable screen. I don’t care to carry around anything more bulky in my pocket. But tastes vary, and as you’ve pointed out, Apple doesn’t offer a product to suit your big screen needs. I’m inclined to think that they will at some point, but we’ll have to see.

    • FalKirk

      “Is Microsoft paying you?” – Idon’t Know

      Let’s keep it civil, shall we? One of the great thing about Tech.pinions is its commentators. Please don’t make personal attacks or hit below the belt – (Let the professionals – like me! — do that.) :-)

      • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

        Yep – he made a cogent rebuttal of some of my points but I didn’t bother answering do to the nonsense of his first remark. Wasted opportunity.

  • klahanas

    Here come the pitchforks…

  • Quicksingle

    Interesting article Brian. The diversity of devices and preferences in different regions of the world is amazing. It is fantastic that so many people are starting to experience what we in developed countries have taken for granted. This will change and expand quickly over the next few years and it will be fascinating to see how things play out. One undeniable truth to your article – to email, view video, gaming, reading text and showing photos to friends – a great screen is essential. When you look at 2 phones with different screen sizes side by side , your eyes don`t lie. Smaller screens are a poor experience.

    • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

      Agreed. Once you go big, it’s hard to go back.

      • Space Gorilla

        I expect Apple will eventually make a larger screen iPhone, but we can’t expect a single company (even Apple) to be able to do everything at once. Relax, be patient. I don’t really long for a larger screen iPhone, maybe because I have an iPad as well. But I can see the use case for larger screens. What are sales of large screen phones? Do we have any data?

        • TheEternalEmperor

          Seems to be pretty small outside of Korea. My wife, who I ask to get the non-techie side has yet to hear of anyone complaining about the size of the iPhone.

          Like you said, Apple may do one, but as for a weakness, it seems to be right up there with physical keyboards, sd slots and flash.

          • Space Gorilla

            Yes, I think some people really do need and love larger screen smartphones, but what are the actual sales? We need data.

          • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

            I now spend nearly all my time in the US and I only ever see younger Asians (under 30) and myself with a very large screen. I would love verifiable data on sales of large display smartphones.

          • Space Gorilla

            I suspect sales aren’t tremendous. But I think it’s a solid niche, and probably growing in markets where people can really only afford one device, so a kind of hybrid meets a need.

            I prefer a smaller screen for my ‘pocket device’, but there are many good use cases for a larger screen. It’s funny though, how nerds can’t seem to grasp that what works best *for them* (large screens are awesome!) is not what works best for *everyone*.

        • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

          If and when Apple offers a large display iPhone, I will almost certainly buy one;-)

        • Anders CT

          A lot of pre-ios7 apps has resolution hardcoded into them. Scaling resolution by two cannot be done indefinately. Fortunately many apps are beein recoded for ios7 which has better support for resolution independence.

          • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

            Agreed. Apple is moving app developers toward this but I wonder if scaleability will ultimately harm optimization?

          • Space Gorilla

            I doubt it. Wouldn’t it be much like Mac OSX?

        • Quicksingle

          Once you start using a phone with a larger screen you will realise how poor the user experience of a 4 inch screen has been.

          • Space Gorilla

            Nonsense. I already have devices with various sized screens, I prefer my phone very small, and my iPad as large as possible. I lust for a 13 inch iPad.

            But again, we need actual sales data on larger screen smartphones, and nobody is coming forward with any yet. If you’ve got any, please share it.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            Sorry, but I have an iPad and iPhone and I disagree.

          • Quicksingle

            Just out of interest which phone have you been using with a larger screen so as to compare the experience of a small screened phone ?

          • TheEternalEmperor

            I don’t like pickups. I don’t have to drive one to know that the vehicle is not for me. I don’t have to try Rat pie to know that it is not for me.

            Similarly, I don’t have to try every phone size to know what I like.
            I LIKE the 4″ iPhone. I also liked the 3.5″ iPhone. I don’t think that the 3.5″ iPhone was a poor experience because the 4″ was larger.

            If you think that the experience was poor FOR YOU, great! But don’t project your tastes to others.

          • Quicksingle

            Looks like you are never going to try a phone with a screen bigger than 4 inches because you know what you like and it certainly isn`t a phone with a screen bigger than that. I just thought by your comment you might have tried other phone screen sizes, and were open and interested to experience other things. I guess you don`t need to. You know what you like, without having to check them out.

          • steve_wildstrom

            Why can’t we all accept that different sizes work best for different people? I find myself firmly in the small screen camp–I’ve tried bigger phones and keep coming back to the iPhone–but I can certainly see why other folks prefer a Galaxy S4 or even a Note 3. It’s a bit silly to argue about this; we all like what we like.

            My personal guess is that Apple will do a larger iPhone, perhaps this year if it can figure out the scaling issues, because there is a premium market it is not addressing with the 5s/5c, Maybe then I’ll figure out for sure whether my preference is really for small phones or for iPhones.

          • Quicksingle

            That`s my point Steve, have an open mind, try things out and then make up your mind what suits you.The beauty of tech now is the consumer has so many great choices and are not limited.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            Having an open mind doesn’t mean you must try everything and it certainly doesn’t mean you project your tastes on everyone else.

            By your logic, one cannot decide that one likes driving manual cars(which I do) unless they try every automatic on the market. And when you say, “No thanks, I know what I like. I like sticks.” you have to deal with blowhards who suggest that they don’t know there own minds and must surely be close minded and not open to new things because they don’t feel that driving a manual is a poorer experience.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            Indeed. Could be as simple as that. Of course, there are hundreds of Android models I haven’t tried, so I may just be closed-minded about this. I mean, what does one know about one’s self?

          • TheEternalEmperor

            You’re projecting again and you aren’t listing. Some open mind. You said and I quote “Once you start using a phone with a larger screen you will realise how poor the user experience of a 4 inch screen has been.”

            What I didn’t say was that I wouldn’t try a larger phone. What I DID say was that I disagree that a smaller phone is a poorer experience and that I don’t need to try every phone size.

            Your problem is that you aren’t as open minded as you think you are. You project your tastes and beliefs on others and don’t seem to have room in your head for the fact that people have different tastes. I guess from your comments that you are open to shaving off your eyebrows, tattooing an eight ball to your cheek, setting your foot in fire or eating a bag of roaches. I mean, an individual as open minded as you are must surely be interested in experiencing other things.
            Or perhaps you don’t need to. You may know what you like without having to check those things out.

          • Space Gorilla

            There’s some discussion of phablet sales on a different Techpinions article, the post-tablet era article, we’ve established phablet sales are in the single digits percentage-wise for each manufacturer, quite low, but growing. Could be the reason we don’t have a larger screen iPhone yet is that the opportunity simply isn’t large enough today. Right now among Android makers almost all the smartphones they sell are NOT phablets. So, as I suspected, phablets aren’t that popular. Yet. Could be they grow over the next couple years to become a significant portion of each Android maker’s sales. But today, they’re not.

      • jfutral

        Wait. Are we still talking about phones?

        Joe

        • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

          ;-)

  • klahanas

    I saw one at the mall the other day. Absolutely gorgeous. Seems very fast too. My family has three upgrades available, but there are three things that made me stop from pulling the trigger.
    a) Of the three OS’s under the Windows brand, it’s likely that WP will be going away, and Windows RT will be renamed and used for non-Intel devices. This is what makes the most technical sense anyway. As some fun mischief, I dare them to name it iWin.
    b) I wish it had an active digitizing pen. That would have made me disregard point a).
    c) With AT&T reacting to T-Mobile, I can save $45/mo on my plan by not upgrading anything.

    • Chris Bordeman

      a) Um NO, WP isn’t going anywhere. The APIs of the OSes are merging, that’s all.
      b) active digitizing pen on a phone?

      • klahanas

        Can we change the name anyway? ;-)
        Yes, active pen, like the Galaxy Note. I would have gotten one on the spot. (this thing is big)

        • Chris Bordeman

          Yeah, the name is embarrassingly bad. :)

          • Space Gorilla

            Metro was a great name, Microsoft should have fought for the name. But perhaps it was a fight they couldn’t win?

          • Chris Bordeman

            They were never going to name the OS Metro, just the interface. I can’t imagine how anyone would confuse a computer interface with a grocery store. Probably Germans just being Germans. ;)

  • Kizedek

    A bit rambly and disconnected. Anyway, a couple of things jumped out at me:

    “I recently purchased a car charger for my Windows Phone at a gas station — for less than $10. The low price was due, of course, to Windows Phone’s use of the micro USB standard. Similarly, I lost my Jambox charger. Luckily, it also uses micro USB so I simply swap with my phone charger. Standards make life easier.”

    Funny, I recently purchased a run-of-the-mill car charger, dead cheap, that had two standard USB ports on the top of it. I simply plugged the cable into that came with my iPhone, iPod and iPad. You see, only one end of the cable that Apple supplies is “non-standard”. The other end (the one you plug into chargers and whatnot) is, you know, standard. The non-standard end is there so there is the potential to do lots of stuff with it that goes beyond the capability of plain USB.

    “Apple, meanwhile, saw its global smartphone share drop to a shockingly low 12.1%. That’s not 12.1% of global mobile phone sales but of “smartphone” sales. I never expected it to be so meager.”

    Hmmm, I wonder if that’s because the “smartphone” segment of the global phone market is ever increasing at an ever increasing rate? Just about every new phone manufactured these days is considered a “smartphone”; and if it runs “Android” (that free, default OS that is showing up on anything and everything), then it is almost considered a “smartphone” by definition, whatever it’s physical specs.

    So, the “smartphone” segment of all phones is growing extremely quickly, and any phone that is not growing it’s marketshare as fast (but growing in relation to all phones, nonetheless), could be said to “drop” in marketshare. But, that’s a little disingenuous, don’t you think?

    • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

      You aren’t surprised by how low Apple’s smartphone market share is? I sure am.

      • Space Gorilla

        I’m not. And market share is kinda pointless.

      • TheEternalEmperor

        The problem, Brian, that is you leave out the context. Many people, by now, have argued many reason why a pure marketshare number is at best, misleading. I think people are surprised that anyone who isn’t going after shock value would stick to that particular point.

        It just seems up there with “The next Steve Jobs will destroy Apple.” type of conversation. It seems to me that one should have had FAR more expectations about MS’s place in the mobile world

        But let’s face it, when any companies give away phones for free with haircuts or suits, why would you be surprised at Apple’s share? The real surprise is that Apple is slowly, but surely swallowing up all the money and bringing the largest carries in the world under their umbrella and on Apple’s turn.

        Verizon. Docomo. China Mobile. All three were thought to be invulnerable to Apple and all three sent up the white flag and fell in to line.

        All at the hands of a company with a meager 12.1% market share. How unexpected is that?

        • FalKirk

          “The problem, Brian, that is you leave out the context.” – TheEternalEmperor

          Good point. Does iOS have 12.1% market share or does it actually have 75-90% of that part of the market that supports a platform? All the objective evidence points to the latter conclusion.

          • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

            I’m not sure what that means: “supports a platform”? They clearly dominate that section of the market that is willing to pay a premium for great hardware.

          • jfutral

            I think a different way to ask the question is, how much of the Android market is actually, by any reasonable assessment, the smartphone market? If all other indices of engagement and utilization are an indication, not much.

            Joe

          • Space Gorilla

            Think about it this way. There’s a phone market, a smartphone market, and a mobile computer market. The phone and smartphone markets are dominated by Android. The mobile computer market is dominated by Apple.

      • Herding_sheep

        About just as surprised as I am about Mercedes Benz’s marketshare of the automotive market, or even their share of the luxury automotive market.

        You mean to tell me you find it shocking that tastes vary wildly, and a company that produces (now) just two lines of phones that are priced above $550 doesn’t have the lions share of the “raw” market share?

        I’m pretty sure just about every industry has a commodity low-priced segment that usually dominates the majority of the market “share.”

        For an author on a website dedicated to providing insightful market commentary/analysis, I’m more “surprised” that you are surprised by this.

        • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

          Perhaps, but market share is a relevant stat. It’s not the only one, as some erroneously insist. In addition, my point was to illustrate the continuous changing nature of the smartphone wars. That iPhone’s share is so low was a surprise to me. I predicted a few years ago that it would reach just over 20% of the global market share and stay there. Wrong.

          • Space Gorilla

            We can’t know what share Apple will have until the market is much more mature, which is still years away. You could easily be right on with your prediction, we just don’t know yet. But overall market share, while it is a stat, it is kind of a stupid one and it doesn’t tell you much that is useful.

          • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

            True — and this is so interesting. The developed world is mature, but even then we switch plans/phones and the phones are becoming so much more integrated in new aspects of our lives. Does that mean Apple sells even more? Also, how do they respond to the really big market — the developing world? It’s a big market out there.

          • Space Gorilla

            It’s not just a big market, it’s gigantic, enormous, etc. Apple will go ‘down market’ with prices when it can (think $49 iPod Shuffle), but Apple can also comfortably dominate the higher end segment and maintain an incredible business. We have to keep in mind that Apple is selling computers, not smartphones. Apple could easily make a cheap smartphone that was pretty darn good, but Apple’s not actually in the smartphone business.

    • A

      Duh, the problem is if you lose “the cable that Apple supplies”. Doesn’t matter if the other end is, you know, standard, because you lost that cable.

      • steve_wildstrom

        Then you buy a new one. The Lightning cable has active electronics, so it costs more than USB, but you can get an official Apple one for $19, an Apple-certified 3rd party version for $13, or a cheap knockoff, which I would personally avoid, for around $6.

        I use both Lightning and USB all the time, and the extra convenience of the Lightning is more than worth the few dollars.

        BTW, third-party USB chargers work fine though most are much slower than the Apple 12-watt unit when charging an iPad.

        • tesla3090

          Not entirely true. For a third party charger to work with an Apple device it has to pass certain voltages to the data pins on the USB as well as the traditional +5v and ground. Apple changes these voltages every few models. Therefore, if you use a third party charger designed for an older device, say an iphone 3, often it will not work on the latest model. I found that one out the hard way…

          • Kizedek

            meaning, Apple improves its battery technology and charging times every few generations. Who’d a thunk?

          • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

            Absolutely. But my point remains: Apple’s use of proprietary accessories means higher costs.

          • jfutral

            I disagree that Apple’s proprietary accessories are what drives the higher costs. I believe it is based on how well Apple believes the accessories they sell both integrate into their ecosystem (we need a better word for what Apple sells, because they don’t really sell devices alone) and their perception of the quality they feel their brand promises. Even non-proprietary Apple branded accessories cost more.

            Joe

          • steve_wildstrom

            Not correct. A tiny bit of research will show that the power pinouts on the 30-pin connector, originally designed for the iPod, has not changed in a decade:

            USB +5V pin 23
            USB GND pin 16
            Firewire +12 V pins 19, 20
            Firewire GND pins 29, 30
            3.3 V accessory, pin 18
            accessory GND pins 1, 15

            Firewire on the 30-pin has, of course, been deprecated for some time and pins for video out have been added and taken away. But the power arrangement is unchanged.

          • tesla3090

            Nope, sorry. I wasn’t referring to the pinout on the 30-pin connector. The actual USB end of the cable is what requires the data pins to have voltage passed to them.

            http://learn.adafruit.com/minty-boost/icharging

            The amount of voltage and current has changed over generations of Apple products.

          • steve_wildstrom

            I’ve never tried to build my own charger. all I know is that I have successfully charged iPods, and Phones, and iPads from a wide variety of third-party USB chargers through 30-pin and Lightning cables. The iPhone prefers at least 5 W, though it will charge at 2.5. The iPad wants 10 or even 12 W; it will charge, a lot more slowly, at 5. At 2.5, it will get a trickle charge only if the iPad is turned off (it will say it is not charging, but it lies.)

    • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

      “A bit rambly and disconnected.” Blame the editor!

  • Air_Cav

    As I have gotten older a bigger screen has some appeal, so I use my iPad. I am OK with my iPhone 5 for most uses but I understand the appeal of the bigger screen, a boom driven by Boomers

  • Anders CT

    Big screen + great keyboard + lots of apps + great Siri replacement + tiles, widgets or static icons = Android

    No wonder it is conquering the world. Its very good.

    • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

      nice

      • Anders CT

        Not the biggest Android fan are you? :-)

        Well I have to admit, those lumias look really good. And they feel nice in the hand too, at least the 920. Almost like at Moto X

  • JoeS54

    I believe this is the first time I’m read anything positive about anything associated with Microsoft on this site. Credit where due. I switched from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S4 recently, largely because of the screen (although there were a number of other reasons). I’m not thrilled with the flimsy feel of the Samsung, and I now dislike Android (almost as much as iOS7). A Nokia Windows Phone may be my next try. Unless Apple fixes what’s wrong with iOS7 (mostly visual for me: glaring colors, text replacing buttons, and white backrgounds instead of black) and makes a larger iPhone. The S4 is a stopgap for now. Not thrilled with any of them.

    • Quicksingle

      Is that a Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 ?There is a big difference between using “pure” Android and Samsung`s version with touchwiz skinned on top. You could all get a Google version HTC, or the Nexus 5. All around that sweet spot of 5 inches.

      • JoeS54

        I tried out other phones that had more of a “stock” Android, but the S4 was too far ahead of them in specs. The design of Android is lackluster, and it’s laggy and buggy. It’s nowhere near as smooth and polished as Apple and Microsoft’s software. Android apps are consistently much lower quality than the iOS (or Windows) version of those apps, which is clearly the fault of the OS. However, I couldn’t stand to look at iOS7, and they made it much harder to navigate and read than iOS6, and the 5s’s screen is too small. So I was in the mood to try something new. I’m not happy with any of my options in phones right now. I bought a Surface Pro 2 a month ago, which is awesome. That has me keeping a close eye on Nokia, while hoping Apple regains its sanity and taste.

        The thing that has really put me off of Android though is Google. The surest way to know you’re getting scammed online is when somebody makes it easy to accidentally sign up (or download their search bar, etc.), and very hard to fully cancel once they’ve got you. Google does that at every turn on Android, while collecting and monetizing your personal information and behavior. They claim their invasive tracking is intended to give you a “better experience”, but anybody who knows their business model knows the truth. Everything they do is like Google.com – a bare bones, plain white site with minimal text, the bare minimum they can do to get by while collecting billions from advertising. I don’t want to be a part of Google+, “Hangouts”, Gmail, and so on. No thank you. But if Android has anything to say about it YOU WILL. Say what you will about them, but neither Apple nor Microsoft uses those kind of tactics to shove you into their services.

  • JoeS54

    For the sake of clarity (and venting my irritation), here’s a specific list of why I now have a Samsung Galaxy S4 instead of an iPhone 5s:

    - 5″ 1080p screen
    - 13 mp camera that shoots 1080p video
    - SD card slot
    - removable battery
    - it doesn’t run iOS7

    All for a lower price than a comparable 5s. This is despite the fact that I do not like Android or Google. Here’s what Apple could do to make me buy an iPhone 6:

    - A model with a larger screen
    - Tone down the colors, especially on the main icons of the phone (calls, messaging, music, etc).
    - Let me choose between a white background for standard text and apps or the black/gray scheme that was in iOS6. A lot of software now has several default color schemes, like “Light” and “Dark”. Put a few of those options in iOS.
    - Put buttons back in where appropriate instead of text links (left and right arrows, for example, instead of the words “Back” and “Forward”).

    In my opinion (and I’m not alone), iOS7 is incredibly bad. I know some tolerate it, but for me it was a deal breaker. It needs a major overhaul, and if “Jony” (is that pronounced like “Joni”?) Ive was the one responsible for it, he should be fired from that job. Simply put, it looks like crap, and you can’t change it. You’re stuck with it.

    If you can’t come up with a non-crap visual design, let the user customize it to suit their tastes. And a bigger screen at this point is a no-brainer. There were 4 or 5 different sizes of iPod. Give people options with the iPhone.

    My hope at this point is that either Apple will wake up and do the above, or Microsoft with Nokia on board will make something that beats them.

    • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

      Great comment. I am surprised by just how much at least a slice of Apple users just hate iOS 7.

      • Space Gorilla

        It’s likely a very tiny (but vocal) slice. If there really is a significant number of users that think iOS 7 is incredibly bad, then we’re going to see a corresponding decrease in sales of iOS devices very soon. We don’t have to guess about this, we can look at sales data.

        And again, to beat a dead horse, we could probably dig up data on larger screen smartphone sales to see if they are actually as popular as some people think. Why is nobody doing this?

        Prediction: When Apple’s holiday quarter sales (Q1 2014) are great the “iOS 7 is terrible” crowd will say a) sales could have been even better, or b) we’re not seeing the effect of iOS 7 yet. And then when the next quarter naturally dips because sales are cyclical, the cries of “See! iOS 7 is hurting sales!” will begin.

        • TheEternalEmperor

          I’ve yet to meet a person in the wild who complains about iOS7. This is noise made by a vocal minority who likes to gripe. I mean, really, who can look at any icons on any operating system and suggest that iOS(or WinXP back in the day) look cartoonish?

          They ALL look cartoonish. Put the iOS 7 hate crowd in the same category as ‘iPad is a stupid name.” crowd. Where are they now?

          • JoeS54

            My experience is the opposite. I have yet to meet a person in the wild who likes it. I could rattle off 4 or 5 people I know who own both iPhones and iPads, and the reaction to iOS7 among them has ranged from “eh, whatever”, to disgust. I was perhaps the first to bail because I’m more tech proficient and willing to learn something new, but also because my contract was up. If iOS doesn’t change for about 3 years, once every current user has a contract cycle on their phone, we could see the effect it’s had. But by then there will be numerous other factors you could use to explain sales.

            My problem with iOS7 is not that it looks cartoonish. The colors are irritatingly bright, and as many have noted, distinctly feminine. That and the change from black/gray backgrounds with white text to white backgrounds with black or colored text, and the replacement of buttons with text links really ruined the overall “experience” for me.

            One of the best examples is the Music app, which is one of my main uses of the phone. The color they chose is some kind of neon pink/red, and the entire app is text of that color or black, on a white background. It just plain looks bad. It provides a poor contrast for the album art. It’s less intuitive. These things that seem completely obvious to me from a design standpoint apparently were lost on Apple. I know it sounds superficial, but when it comes to smart phones, or any highly personalized device, it has an impact.

            Still, the real tipping point was looking at the alternatives and seeing how much more you could get feature-wise for less money with other phones. The Galaxy is the leader in that regard. You’ll notice that my list of why I chose the Galaxy is mostly hardware.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            The colors don’t look feminine. I’ve been writing software professionally for 20 years on command line Unix, a little Vax, Linux and Windows. I’m proficient in multiple languages, frameworks and RDBMs. I’m pretty proficient myself.

            It looks no more colorful, bright or feminine, to me than any other OS. I say that it is more intuitive and easier than before. And I’ll go on record as saying that the only effect you’ll see from iOS 7 is INCREASED sales. How’s that? Why even bother making a prediction three years out?

            It just isn’t a big deal. You were looking to switch and you did. Numbers show pretty clearly that far more people don’t switch and Apple pulls more than they lose.

            As for money. iPhones resale far far more than any other phone out there, so I don’t buy the money argument. Talk at look at eBay or Gazelle.

            As for features, I’ve looked, but I’m not impressed. I took a look at the Samsung camera app. Two dozen useless features that don’t work as advertised. Air Touch? I mean, really. For me, there is no there there.

          • JoeS54

            Eh, to me you just sound like a mindless booster. Sorry, but I think Apple could have a two year old scribble out an OS design and you would say it’s the best thing ever.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            Sure. What a jerk.

          • JoeS54

            iOS 6:

            http://cdn.appstorm.net/iphone.appstorm.net/files/2012/06/iOS-Music-1.jpg

            iOS 7:

            http://www.blogcdn.com//media/2013/06/ios7music61013-1370897354.jpg

            http://assets.ilounge.com/images/articles_ios7/music/1.jpg

            The white background looks bad enough by itself but the pink text makes me instinctively angry, like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I’m getting annoyed again just looking at the picture. They completely ruined it, and whoever was responsible should be fired. The only positive thing I can say about it that I like the new font slightly better.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            I like. My wife likes it. My daughter doesn’t care. That’s 3 to 1 right there.

            Air Touch. A feature that can’t possibly be as accurate as actually touching the screen is touting a touchless, touch screen experience. And that massive insult to your intellect doesn’t enrage you? Have you no sense of decency, sir?!?!

          • JoeS54

            There are plenty of things I don’t like about Android, Google and the Samsung additions to it. I already talked about that below. The difference between those things and iOS7 (for the most part) is that you can turn them off and hide them from view, and you can customize the phone to look the way you want it to. But right now the best-designed touch interface on the market is Microsoft’s “Metro” interface.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            Ugh. We are, amazingly, total opposites. Metro, IMO, is the worse. As for turning them off, I spend more time using apps than looking at the OS, anyway.

          • Space Gorilla

            Your failure here is that you don’t understand that your experience doesn’t apply to others. It’s *your* experience, that’s all. You don’t like iOS 7, and some people you know don’t like iOS 7. All this means is that you and some people you know don’t like iOS 7. That’s it.

            I did notice that you’ve changed your tune on how iOS 7 will affect Apple’s sales, now you’re saying it’ll take three years before it might affect sales. That’s nonsense of course, we can look at sales of new devices to new users. If iOS 7 really is terrible, that has to affect new sales to new users. There’s no way around that. If what you think is true, buyers will walk into a carrier, pick up a new iPhone, be disgusted by iOS 7, and buy something else. We can also look at how many users jump ship from iOS 7, we should see a dramatic increase in users leaving the iOS platform very soon. There’s just so many ways to prove you wrong here, it’s too easy.

            But again, your experience is valid, *for you*. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it applies beyond you.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            Waste of time talking to that one. He doesn’t think too clearly and resorts to insults. Hope he goes away.

  • gdavid2

    Gosh! What a surprise! /s

  • http://www.stuffthatinterestsme.com/ Daniel Gomes

    It seems to me Brian that you are just tired of the iPhone and need a change. Which is fine. If you drink only coffee all day eventually you will want to change to another drink. It’s firmly within your right to want to change your phone.

    There are many comments before mine so I won’t add anything else to that except to say that the rebooting issue is not an iOS 7 issue, in my experience at least, but an iPhone 5S issue.
    I have the 5C and my wife has my 5 and neither of us have had any reboots or similar issues. iOS 7 has been rock solid. It’s also rock solid on my iPad 4. No issues at all.

    But I have seen many people complain about their 5s rebooting several times a day. I suspect therefore that it is either related to the A7 chip or the 64 bit architecture. Or maybe even an app which a dev hasn’t properly configured for 64 bit somehow and running in the background it’s processes are causing reboots. Only Apple knows, but I don’t think iOS is the issue.

    Thanks.

    • http://www.brianshall.com/ Brian S Hall

      Great comment. I heard just yesterday a rumor that iPhone 5s stability was proving to be an issue. Now your comment. Just a bit of smoke, no fire, but I am interested in exploring this.