Why I love my iPhone…

As you may know, I love my iPhone and probably say so far too often. This riles my Android loving friend, Steve Hooker, prompting him to leave a trail of Apple bashing replies that follow my comments around the web on FaceBook and Twitter.

Steve loves his Android as much as I love my iPhone and this interests me because a) he’s not stupid and b) he owns some other Mac products. So why would an Mac user choose an Android phone for any reason other than cost?

So I proposed the idea for this blog piece to him: I’ll start off by writing about all the things I love about my iPhone and he’ll respond with a follow up article called, unsurprisingly, ‘Why I love my Android’…

So let’s get the ball rolling..

Build quality

When the iPhone 4 was announced I wasn’t too enamoured with the design – it looked too hard and angular compared to the softer contours of my iPhone 3. But, after having lived with it since launch day, it now feels like the pinnacle of phone design.

The glass and metal ensures that it feels like a quality product – not cheap and plasticky. It’s just feels like an awesome slab of solid high technology

The Retina display is gorgeous – I still haven’t seen a screen that can compare in clarity or resolution. Some reviewers have commented that it almost looks as if the image is painted onto the glass and that sounds about right to me.

There’s been a few complaints about the glass back being a strange and somewhat fragile design choice but mine is still in perfect condition (admittedly I’ve never dropped it onto any concrete though). In fact, my whole phone is still in perfect condition. I look after my gadgets but not obsessively so, I keep it in a case most of the time but it’s just a snap on design rather than one of these military grade rubberised totally encased jobs – the screen isn’t even covered. Every other phone I’ve owned, including all previous iPhone models, Sony Ericsson and older Nokia phones, has also been looked after but all have still showed signs of wear after a few months – tiny cracks in the plastic, scratches on the screen and casing etc. but not my iPhone 4.

Integration

It integrates perfectly with my digital life. I realise that many iPhone owners don’t have a house full of Apple gear and this might not me such a big issue for them, but for me it makes any other choice irrelevant.

I know that if I add somebody to my address book, an event to my calendar, some new music or photos, they will appear on my iPhone. If I lose my phone or buy a new model, I know that I can just plug it into my Mac and everything that was on the old one will be copied onto the new one.

I’ve got an Apple TV and the iPhone acts as a super cool remote control, plus I now have the ability to stream photos, video and music to my TV directly from my phone using AirPlay.

If I’m listening to a new album I can rate the tracks on my iPhone knowing that those ratings will be carried across into iTunes – everything just seems to integrate seamlessly.

iTunes

Don’t even get me started on iTunes. I love it. As far as I’m concerned it’s iTunes rather than mp3s that has really changed the way I listen to music and anything that doesn’t integrate with iTunes isn’t going to get any love from me.

If you’re a real music lover you’re not interested in being able to drag and drop music onto your phone – who wants to do that? I’ve got a large collection (about 30,000 tracks) and I rely on iTunes to keep track of it all for me.

iTunes knows when a track was added, when I last listened to it and how often I’ve played it. I can easily rate music while I’m listening to it on any of my Apple devices and then use all this information to create smart playlists that dictate what music I listen to. If I want to find new stuff that’s been added in the last week, there’s a playlist for that. If I want to listen to some old favourites that I haven’t heard in ages, there’s a playlist for that. You get the idea…

Bottom line is I never have to think about what music to put on my iPhone, iTunes takes care of that for me. So if I’m running out the door to catch a train I know that I’ll already have that new album I bought yesterday, my top 50 most listened to tracks and a selection of old favourites I haven’t heard in ages to listen to on my journey.

Battery life

The battery life is great too. The simple act of plugging the phone into my Mac every day for a few minutes to sync seems to provide it with enough power to just keep on going. I very rarely (if ever) need to put it on charge specifically…

App Store

Having been a veteran user of PDAs in the days before the iPhone, I can appreciate just how incredible the App Store is. Yes, I actually used to purchase and install applications onto my Psion Organiser, Palm Pilot and Sony Clie and let me tell you, it wasn’t much fun. The whole process involved numerous steps: researching what was available, finding the company’s web site, purchasing the software via credit card, downloading, unzipping, copying into the right directory or using a specific app to install etc.

I think I bought more apps in the week after the App Store opened than I had in the previous 5 years…

Now everybody has an App Store (or an Android Store, Ovi Store or whatever). It’s been copied but never bettered – nobody has yet quite nailed the ease of use that Apple got so right.

There’s a lot of talk about the iPhone being ‘closed’ whereas Android is ‘open’ but what does this actually mean? Well for a start you have to pay to become an Apple developer and you have to agree to the rules and regulations. You also run the risk of them not liking the app that you’ve worked on and refusing to release it until you’ve made changes to bring it in line. In contrast, anybody can develop for Android and release their app with no approval process whatsoever – which in theory sounds great.

Call me a fascist, but I’d rather have a closed, controlled environment with a fantastic choice of apps that I know have been tested to meet at least some basic standards of functionality and safety, than an unregulated free-for-all where I wasn’t quite sure if what I was downloading might have a virus or be stealing my personal data.

There’s also dozens of apps which I now rely on on an almost daily basis that simply don’t exist on Android and I’m too ‘invested’ in the App Store ecosystem to want to change.

Accessories

Because the iPhone has become virtually ubiquitous there’s a massive choice of accessories available. From cases, to speaker docks and high end hi-fi systems, there’s simply no point in comparing Apple & Android. You could possibly argue that there’s too much choice but you’d be clutching at straws…

Conclusion

So in conclusion, it’s the perfect mix of hardware, software and all encompassing eco-system that keep me a happy iPhone user. Although I see some handsets from other manufacturers that I think look great, I honestly can’t ever imagine owning a phone other than an iPhone. Apple have got me hooked and I’m quite happy to live with that.

Over to you, Steve.

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  1. Nice honest write-up Dave. Looking forward to Steve’s opinion of the HTC. I’m due for an upgrade soon so looking for options :)

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