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I remember getting my first smartphone in 2011 when I was still a senior in High School. It was an HTC Wildfire S, offered by AT&T as a "free" upgrade from whatever flip phone I was currently using (maybe a Motorola Razr, but I can't remember). Choosing between Android or iOS devices was moot given I couldn't afford an iPhone and also largely irrelevant; all that mattered to 17-year-old me was finally getting my hands on a smartphone. Thus began my ten-year relationship with Android phones.
Now, that's changed.
After ten years of Android devices, I've made the full leap into the Apple ecosystem after purchasing an iPhone 13 Pro and Apple Watch Series 7.
I want to briefly document my history with Android and why I decided to make the leap to an iPhone in this article. This will lay the groundwork for further articles, where I document my experience throughout the switch, comparing the different operating systems, devices, and ecosystems.
My first smartphone being an Android likely set the course for my hardware preferences more than I would have initially thought. For ten years, I mainly stayed within the Android ecosystem, deviating ever so slightly as I briefly tried the ill-fated HTC Windows Phone 8x back when Windows Phones were still a thing (RIP).
I enjoyed using Android over the years. I typically stuck to devices that provided as much of a "vanilla" Android experience as possible (e.g., Google Pixel and OnePlus phones) since so many Android devices were filled with bloatware and unappealing Android skins. Thankfully, the state of Android skins has improved, although the state of bloatware is still unfortunate, although somewhat moot given the hardware advancements.
And you know what? I loved using Android phones! They typically offered everything I needed out of a smartphone:
- Basic functionality—phone, SMS, internet-connectedness
- (table stakes, obviously)
- Robust app ecosystem
- (although the wild west days of Android apps were a little sketchy and iOS still typically gets preferential treatment from app developers)
- Highly configurable operating system
- (beneficial for power users like me, but possibly detrimental/irrelevant to anyone who doesn't care)
- Affordability for high-end devices
- (towards the beginning of the smartphone evolution, less towards the present day)
With this in mind, purchasing an iPhone never really made sense. I could pay half the price for an Android phone that provided me with almost everything that an iPhone could provide.
In short, switching from Android to iPhone isn't something I feel a strong imperative to do, given my satisfaction using Android.
Without an imperative to switch from Android to iPhone, what inspired the change?
I must admit to my curiosity about using an iPhone for many years. Practicality aside, my inner nerd loves trying out and comparing technology—be that smartphones, video game consoles, etc. I generally don't take a "fanboy" stance on just about anything, so all technology is open for adoption by yours truly.
Having never used an iPhone as my daily driver, I'm immensely curious about the iOS experience and how it compares to Android. My curiosity makes me interested in evaluating the merits of the iPhone from a hardware and operating system perspective. I want to know what's better, what's worse, and what's different.
However, my curiosity extends beyond the novelty of using iOS and comparing it against Android. I'm also curious about the "experience" that Apple offers through the Apple device ecosystem (or walled garden, depending on your perspective).
Apple prides itself on providing a top-tier experience for people who use their suite of devices. When buying into the Apple ecosystem, interconnectivity and continuity is the name of the game, as each device is supposed to work together seamlessly, providing an enhanced user experience.
I'm curious about the interconnectivity between devices in the Apple ecosystem, given I'm an avid macOS user who owns an Apple TV and iPad Pro.
In retrospect, I suppose it's a bit funny that I own so many Apple devices while continuing to use an Android phone for so long.
While my commitment to using Android phones amongst so many Apple devices is funny, Apple devices can stand on their own two feet compared to competitors. I haven't felt too limited using Android over the years, but now that I own an iPhone, I'm curious to see how the interaction between all of my Apple devices is enhanced.
I'm excited to see how it feels to be fully engrossed in the Apple ecosystem and how using an iPhone day-to-day compares to Android. I'm not expecting a world-shifting experience, but I'm hopeful that the tighter integration between all of my devices as well as the polished iOS operating system overshadow whatever complaints I may have.