On Thursday, I published a piece titled 8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android, in which I discussed what I believe to be the main benefits Apple’s iPhone and iOS platform have over Android. I’ve been shocked at the feedback I’ve received since then. The Android vs. iOS argument typically draws all sorts of irrational and illogical “fanboys” out of the woodwork, but the overwhelming majority of emails I received after running that article were well composed and astute. I responded to as many as I could and I ended up having a few worthwhile conversations as a result.
Many of the conversations I had focused on the other side of the story, to the point where it seems like an obvious next move is to discuss the other side of the story here. So that’s just what I’ll do now…
It goes without saying that nothing is perfect and that obviously extends to smartphones. The iPhone 6s is a fantastic phone, a gorgeous piece of hardware and the most powerful handset the world has ever seen. But it’s nowhere close to being perfect.
Consider this article a list of ways that Android outshines the iPhone 6s. But also consider this to be a wish list for the iPhone 7. As I’ve made clear, I have no intention of switching to Android anytime soon and these are all compromises that I’m willing to make. Why? Because the positive tradeoffs far outweigh the negatives.
I wish Apple would address all of my wants in its next-generation smartphone, though I’m certain that won’t be the case. But hey, there’s always the iPhone 8…
The screen on the iPhone 6s is too small. The screen on the iPhone 6s Plus is too big. Wah waaaaah.
Apple has a problem that other smartphone makers don’t have: it needs to leave space under the display for a nice big round home button to house its Touch ID sensor. Sure, Apple could opt for an oblong sensor like Samsung’s or it could move Touch ID to the back of the phone, but either option would severely compromise the user experience. Anyone who has tried the fingerprint scanner on a Galaxy S6 or a Huawei phone and compared it to the iPhone 6s can attest to that.
But still, Apple’s phones are too big for their screen sizes. The 4.7-inch display on the iPhone 6s is painfully small compared to Android rivals. Meanwhile, apart from thinness, the overall size of the iPhone 6s Plus is massive compared to Android phones with 5.5-inch screens.
For me personally, the sweet spot is around 5.1 inches, like the display on the Galaxy S6. To fit that display size in the iPhone 7, Apple would have to dramatically decrease the width of the bezel on the sides and above the screen though, so I’m not sure I’ll get my wish this year. Some day…
Wait, I’m not done complaining about the screen on my iPhone 6s.
Is it gorgeous? Yes. Are the colors vivid? Yes. Do images jump off the screen? They do. So what’s the problem!? It’s simple: Android phones have better screens now.
Apple set the standard when it first introduced the Retina display, and it held its lead for a period of time. But now those days are over, and the Super AMOLED displays on Samsung’s top Galaxy phones are far superior to Apple’s screens.
Normally I’m not a stickler for specs or pixel counts, but the difference between the 720p screen on the iPhone 6s and the 2K screen on the Galaxy S6 is significant. Frankly though, I’ll be shocked if Apple doesn’t jump up to 1080p on the iPhone 7 and 2K on the iPhone 7 Plus. On a screen that measures less than 5 inches diagonally, 1080p would provide more than enough pixel density for a hugely improved user experience.
This is a major one, and I have absolutely no confidence that Apple is going to adequately address it in the iPhone 7.
Apple’s iPhone has long lagged behind Android rivals when it comes to battery life. On a busy day I can barely make it 8 to 10 hours between charges. But shockingly accurate Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iPhone 7 will be even thinner than the 6s — insanely thin, in fact — which means we can almost certainly toss the idea of significantly improved battery life right out the window.
Slightly More Developer Freedom (But Not Too Much!)
In yesterday’s article, I wrote about how Android is basically the Wild West for developers. They can do almost whatever they want. Apple’s developer program is far more controlled and for me, that’s a good thing in most ways. At the same time, there are some more complex apps on Android that I would love to see carried over to iOS. Tasker is a good example. Not everyone needs or even wants a complex app like this, but it might be nice to give developers a bit more access.
What if I want to use a third-party option like Google Voice by default in place of Apple’s Phone app? What if third-party Messaging apps could incorporate iMessage? There are plenty more examples, but Apple is walking a fine line and I’m not sure how much more ground it’s willing to concede.
Deep Google Integration
This is clearly an area where Android shines and it could perhaps be addressed to an extent if Apple chose to give developers slightly more freedom, as noted in my previous list item.
Google’s iOS apps are fantastic and I love that they’re taking over my iPhone. There are some default Apple apps that I would love to replace entirely with alternatives from Google though, and it’s just never going to happen. Apple gives developers new APIs and more access each and every year, but iOS will never go that far.
Last but most certainly not least is expandable storage, which is an area where many Android phones outshine the iPhone. And considering how insane Apple’s iPhone ASPs are, Android phones may continue to outshine the iPhone forever in this area.