I think I have finally worked out what keeps me using an iPhone and iOS – and no…it’s not the ecosystem
So, firstly, I’m not going to be slamming Android in this story, and simply praising iOS. Nope, I’ve plenty of good things to say about both phones and operating systems – but finally, after a lot of thinking I reckon I’ve worked out what it is that keeps me and possibly you with the phone you like best – and I’ll get to that later.
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of sick and tired of the war and vitriol that continually gets spewed out when talking about iOS or Android. So putting that to one side I thought we could have a reasoned, sensible discussion about why some people prefer one or the other OS.
Making the choice
I pinned my colours to the Apple mast a long time ago and have used iPhones for over a decade. The last two iPhones I’ve used have both been pro models – first the 14 Pro and now the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
They have always done their job and worked well for me but that didn’t stop me from being curious last year and wanting to find out a bit more about Android.
I borrowed a Pixel 7 Pro early last summer and liked it enough to buy the 8 Pro for myself when it was launched. The 14 Pro I’d been using was functional enough, but the looks & design had started to bore me.
The Pixel 8 Pro on the other hand looked fantastic. I guess not everyone is a fan of the camera visor layout but if nothing else it’s different. I’m never a case user which means that the camera bumps on phones can be a problem.
The Pixel sits more easily on the desk whereas the iPhone wobbles more due to the way the camera glass is all to one side. Hardly a deal breaker I know but when you are talking about two £1000 phones the differences are going to be small and to some degree personal.
Talking about the looks though the bay blue colour looks amazing in real life – it is almost porcelain like I always think. The rounded edges on the back are gorgeous but this year Pixel squared off the front glass which just feels too abrupt and harsh. The iPhone 15 Pro Max however went the other direction this year and rounded off their front edges – well all edges actually and makes it so comfortable to use. It’s one of those almost invisible improvements – you are not drawn to it but it just makes the phone easier to use – certainly over longer periods.
Speaking of invisible changes – the titanium rails on the 15 Pro Max are another winner helping to reduce the weight they also show fewer scratches and fingerprints than the chrome edges of the Pixel 8 Pro. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if more phones don’t follow Apple’s lead with this.
While looks are not what draws a person to iOS or Android alone – they certainly are important.
iPhone 15 Pro Max all the way
Flipping the phones over both have been working at keeping the bezels thin and tight if that sort of thing matters to you – but the Pixel wins out when it comes to the display.
There are a few more pixels per inch (489 vs 460) and the Pixel has a slightly higher resolution too (1344 x 2992 vs 1290 x 2796). Even though both are 6.7-inch displays the extra punch of the Pixel display shines through – partly because it’s that bit brighter but partly because the colours just look better on the Pixel.
Apple still has an issue with the glass though – it scratches too easily. Neither phone has screen protectors – but the glass on the Pixel is still scratch-free. Apple needs to look at Pixel and learn from their display technology.
Being larger phones the battery life between the two is pretty comparable.
There was a big improvement for me coming from the smaller 14 Pro to the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max – but between the Pixel 8 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, there is not much to choose between them.
The Pixel 8 Pro with the Tensor G3 chip is a huge improvement over the 7 Pro I used earlier in 2023 and it stays much cooler as well – even with all the AI that is going on inside the 8 Pro.
The UI on these phones are smooth and snappy and the processors on both are fast. I’ve never been left waiting or had a feeling that either the A17 or the G3 are being pushed. The thing is, these phones are not being built or designed for today or next year but with the next four or five years in mind. We are just at the start of the curve now – these processors will be asked to work much, much harder over the next five years so the big three Apple, Google and Samsung are just giving themselves some headroom.
Let’s talk AI…
One clear difference between the iPhone and the Pixel is that Google has AI firmly in its line of vision whereas Apple appears to be playing more of the waiting game.
The Gemini Nano in the Pixel 8 Pro is what’s behind all the new features that dropped for Pixel 8 Pro users in December. Features such as Summarise, Photo Unblur, Video Boost, Night Sight, Google Assistant & Smart Reply all rely on that new Gemini Nano technology. Google is ramming AI down your throat both on and off device in an unashamed fashion.
Apple on the other hand is playing things more patiently when it comes to AI on the iPhone.
While Siri is still flaky – don’t think that is the only way Apple is using AI. Their A17 Pro chip comes into play more subtly in AI tasks such as image recognition, audio recognition, and language processing. But don’t for one moment think Apple is being caught napping with the march of AI though – it’s just that this is one of the big differences between the Pixel and iPhone 15 Pro Max and I think Apple has made that decision intentionally.
When they decide to bring even more AI features to the iPhone it will be with all guns blazing – mark my words.
But this is where we start to begin to see the real differences coming through – how you intend to use your phone.
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Fashions & fads
Multitasking has never been something I’m too worried about. I know my daily setup may be different to yours, but why when I have two or three Macs sitting in front of me all day long would I ever need to multitask on my phone?
It seems to me that multitasking has become a bit of a buzzword recently when it comes to phone reviews or comparing phones – but I can’t help thinking it’s a phase or fashion.
My phone although central to pretty much everything is not used all that much. Sure it’s the brains at the centre of my iCloud life but for much of the day, it sits quietly out of sight. I think the only time I notice using it is in the car with Apple CarPlay.
So although the phone is important, it’s the device I use least in a hands-on manner.
You’ll notice I’ve not mentioned cameras or green bubbles versus blue bubbles at all – and that’s not an oversight.
Firstly messaging…while most of my family are iPhone users a load of my friends including Alex my podcast co-host are Android users and messaging has never been a problem. Not only are changes coming to iPhone with RCS later this year but there are so many options apart from iMessage such as WhatsApp and Telegram. So again I don’t think messaging alone is a reason someone chooses between Android or iPhone.
Sure yes there are differences but this is where the fight between iPhone & Pixel starts to get a bit futile. Neither camera will give you bad or disappointing results and again much of what you prefer will come down to subjective, personal preferences. It is almost impossible to get a bad picture from phones now – particularly these two that I’m talking about here. Even the more basic cameras on the Nothing 2 phone give good enough results.
If you want to go through the hassle of shooting Apple ProRes and log then sure you can go the extra yard with the iPhone and those results will blow every other video from a smartphone away – but how many people are honestly going to use it? It also takes planning and a bit of knowledge too – but if we just look at straightforward 4K/24 FPS video from the native camera apps – both are good.
So – if it’s not the cameras, aesthetics or messaging that keeps some people Android and others such as myself iOS? There must be something else…
Let’s say that your workday involves a lot of dictation, note-taking and tasks where Pixels AI would shine – I get it and understand your choice The Pixel and Android would be better suited to you. You’ll have a great phone and with seven years of updates now promised for the Pixel it will see you years into the future.
In my last video, I made the point that possibly Android users are the more genuine phone fans and lovers – they seem to enjoy tinkering and playing about with their phones – buying wallpapers and icon packs and truly individualising their phones.
The more restrictive nature of iOS means that we don’t sit around changing the layout and look of our phones.
Genuine phone fans probably care about the bezels – but I can’t give that much of a damn about them.
So at the end of the day, it could just be we buy phones that match not only our needs but also our personalities as well. I’m not the kind of person who is loud, gregarious and looking for attention. I’d say I’m a more moderate, quiet guy that gets things done. I don’t think I’m boring but equally, I’m not a loud character.
And the iPhone suits me perfectly. It too is not shouting look at me with glowing lights and fancy designs. Instead, it gets things done in its own sweet way.
It turns out that if I was a phone I think I’d be more iPhone than Pixel.
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