to share to other apps, as well as integrate into key Apple apps through extensions. This allows apps such as Camera+ to have their editing tools built into the photos app which is a huge change in direction. Although at this point in time, I’ve mainly seen options to share to Pocket for example but not WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger but this may come with time. Its also interesting that Apple have allowed third party keyboards which I am accustom to on Android and I’ve found SwiftKey to be incredibly useful. However to do anything interesting like predict your typing you need to enable a switch ‘allows full access’,  which is incredibly offputting. Android also does this when you initially enable a third party keyboard but the permissions are listed in the Play Store so you know whether an app has network access for instance. I’ve heard from multiple iOS users how they don’t feel comfortable with allowing this even if the developer is transparent about what its used for. Installing a keyboard also takes up a square in your home screen which I find annoying.  I’m hoping that iOS continues to improve the third party integration as it helps make the OS a bit more connected.

Personally, I miss being able to do things like click a link and it will open the Twitter app or tapping a Youtube link that opens the Youtube app. iOS adds an extra step to getting to the place you want it to go.

Sharing on iOS
Sharing on iOS

When Apple implements a feature that’s been around a while, they generally put a lot of thought into the design and how a regular user would see it. Take tethering for example, on Android, turning on tethering for Wi-Fi is a switch and you have to select Bluetooth or usb tethering explicitly. You would also have to enable a Wi-Fi password otherwise the tethering is open to anyone. On a iPhone, there is only one switch and it explains you can plug in your phone or connect via bluetooth and it even adds a wifi password by default. This is a really nice and thoughtful implementation of tethering and I think Android could learn a lot from the language used and the idea of guiding users for lesser used features. I could see someone discovering and learning how to use tethering intuitively on iOS and this seems possible with a lot of features in iOS. It even has a Tips app with iOS 8 and this seems perfect for someone who’s just got a smartphone.

Also another thing I found was that using iOS made me quite excited for the new update for Android as iOS bears some similarities to the new features of L (the upcoming update to Android). And thats fine as they both get influenced by each other and you wouldn’t have Android without the iPhone and similarly you wouldn’t have notifications or a bigger iPhone without Android. In any case the features I quite liked were the lock screen notifications which were incredibly handy for knowing what was going on at a glance as well as having pop up notifications in full screen apps. This is being improved upon in L in some respects as theres varying degrees of detail that can be shown in a lock screen notification depending on whether you’re in a trusted location or have a trusted device. I’m sure that iOS had some influence so its interesting to see the root of it and how Android and iOS borrow from each other.

The animations of iOS also reinforced the importance of well thought out animations, as well as the importance of not drawing them out. I often feel like Android is very stark in its animations and the way it resizes windows. Animations are often limited to exiting and entering applications and a few small places in the system UI on Android. With iOS, animations are laden throughout the OS and it really makes it a delight to use in places. For instance, when you’re sending a message in iMessage, you can select an image and that enlarges it and adds a checkbox so you can send more and see it more clearly.  Even transitions within apps have some flourishes that help bring some context. The messaging app also has a progress bar thats symmetrical and makes a sound once its sent. There are some cases where drawing the home screen seems a bit excessive but its nice that it has this to make transitions smoother and provide some context to where the content is coming from. Again a whole new design language focused on animations is introduced in L and I’d be interested to see the differences in the implementation of animations in L.

An example of Animations in L courtesy of the Google Design Docs

So at this point if you are still with me, you may be wondering, why are you switching back to Android? Well as much as I enjoyed my time with iOS I ended up missing features of Android, more than I’d thought in places. Paul Thurrott says that if you go back to something and miss certain features, its a worthy upgrade. I realise that analogy was more related to upgrades, but my point is there are features that I can’t live without on Android, and it feels like a constantly evolving system, whereas iOS seems to have a very slow and steady pace of change that makes it feel like its trying to catch up most of the time. Its carefully designed but I like to see companies be ambitious, but its just not Apples way of doing things. What’s worrying is that Apple seem to be catching up instead of leading in some places, but they are still ahead in the camera department. Though it’s not like they need to make huge leaps, its very clear from using it that if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you will be quite happy with the device and unless you’re someone like me who likes to tinker and tweak, its a great platform. iOS has done so many things right and its thoughtfully made throughout. I applaud Apple for that but when I see the new features in L where they’re evolving the design language for a second time and overhauling numerous parts of the OS, it seems like the better OS for me. Also Google Now is just a killer feature that I just cannot live without as I’ve mentioned. I think I leave this with a greater appreciation for Apple but I can’t say I can use iOS as my main OS.


For more than a month now, I’ve been using an iPhone as my main phone and I feel like I’ve developed a deeper understanding with regards to why people enjoy iOS. I certainly have a newly found appreciation for the quality of the software Apple produces. However, even after a month or so on iOS, I still feel like I can comfortably go back to Android.



My first thoughts on iOS were the amazing fluidity of the operating system –  and I get the impression that it has been continually refined, so that there are no hiccups (in terms of UI). It feels incredibly responsive and a common trait within Apple’s software is the focus on responsiveness this has been a key feature for most users. Even though I am using a two year old device, it is very snappy and comfortable to use. It is rare that I encounter a stutter, and when I do, it seems completely unexpected. Its not like my Nexus 4, which I know will start to slow if I’m installing updates in the background, and this is something I’ve come to expect.

The camera has really been the standout feature to me. I’m amazed at the speed of it, and how easy Apple make it to take a good picture without the need to fine tune the settings. It feels like I can take a picture without having to worry about changing the white balance for example which is essentially what I want from a phone camera. I feel a phone camera should enable you to take quick pictures of your life in reasonable quality without having to worry about focusing times. Very few phones seem to latch on to this idea, but the iPhone camera has enough impressive post processing on images to really make the experience worry free. This does come at a price of occasionally too much post processing in low light but I’m happy with the speed at which it takes pictures in low light, even if it’s a bit grainy, it still looks great on Instagram. It’s something I’m desperate for on Android and I’m yet to see an Android camera that comes close to the iPhone. I admit this may not fit everyone’s needs as some people like to adjust the ISO themselves and all that but there are OEM camera apps and third party apps that handle this.


The app ecosystem is something which is often contended as the place to go for polished apps. In my month on iOS I definitely found that the large majority of apps were designed in the iOS 7 design, and it was hard to find an app which is developed using an old iOS 6 like design paradigm. It also felt like the apps looked nicer and felt more responsive, apps like Spotify or even my banking app. I also noticed that the O2 Priorities app had a lot more care put into it in the iOS version to the point where it had a completely different and more fluid design whereas the Android version still felt stuck in the Android 2.x days. I find that this is the case for more commercial apps which may not have a team of developers continually iterating on the app. Often it seems that apps are anchored by the support libraries in Android which may not allow the full functionality of the newer features in Android. Hopefully once the 2.3.3 devices drop in numbers, we will see more companies developing smoother apps which do not require the support libraries and can take advantage of newer api’s that aren’t in older versions of Android. However I found it odd that I still couldn’t find a good replacement for my TV tracking application SeriesGuide which allowed me to track my TV shows using and TvTag. I also found that I enjoyed using Reddit Sync more than Alien Blue as I could dismiss an image faster and move on to the next link. Reddit Sync also features better GIF loading somehow but this may be due to the fact that the developer is constantly iterating the app and listening to the users in a dedicated sub reddit. I’m sure that there are iOS developers who are just as dedicated, but in my usage I couldn’t find replacements which were on par. I should mention that the games ecosystem was much better on iOS where I could find DS games officially ported to iOS like Phoenix Wright and 999. This is mainly due to the limited number of devices to test and I don’t think this will change anytime soon.

I was however disappointed by the voice system on iOS and I completely understand that this is more due to the processing power being on the phone rather than the Google Borg cluster searching through various neural nets for information but its something that I’ve really been missing whilst I was on iOS. Google Now felt much more immediate in its response and I felt like I could ask those dumb questions you ask Google and it would tell you accurately. I could ask “when is evolve going to be released” and it will read out the related bit in Wikipedia about when its going to be released as well as what platforms its going to be released on. Siri would just return what it found on the web. You can get Google now on iOS but I found myself using it less just because i couldn’t swipe up to use it and for the time I was using it, I couldn’t do tasks like play a song or set reminders which I used quite frequently on android. Siri did a good job of reminders and timers however. Siri could also give more snarky responses which is a nice gimmick but Google Now felt more useful, and I feel like that won’t change anytime soon since Google is building Now to be a core feature of their platform.

One of my biggest issues however is the feeling that everything is defined by Apple and if you feel like a third party (such as VSCO Cam) do a better job you are locked down to the Apple way of doing things and this can be fine for some. I like that on Android, I can use something like Aviate as my home screen and that I can share things between apps easily. I also like that when I clicked a link to an IMDB page in Google, it will open the give me the option to open the IMDB app, instead of loading it in the browser. This really improves the feeling of a smartphone where everything is connected. Right now it really feels like each app is completely separate, though I do understand that this is by design and it does enhance security. Others might not find this to be as major of a gripe as it is for me, and I’ve seen other people happily continue to use the browser rather than the dedicated apps.