Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Is it time to jump ship from iOS?

I've been wrestling with this for a couple of weeks so thought I'd throw it out there.  I, like many others I suspect, waited with baited breath for the recent iPhone 5 announcement.  As a current iPhone 4 user whose contract had ended, I am looking to upgrade and although tempted by some of the Android offerings out there, wanted to see what Apple would come up with before I made any decision.  My reaction to the new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 can best be described by the sound 'meh!' (sp?).  Which got me thinking, have I fallen out of love with Apple?  Do I expect too much?  What's the best next step for me personally?

Now to be clear from the outset, I have no wish for this to turn into an Apple fans vs. Android fans debate and I'm also aware this is a very personal choice with no real right or wrong answer.  I simply want to try and get my thoughts down (hopefully) coherently and gather the comments of people within my personal learning network to hopefully help me come to some decision in regard to my next step.

To clarify my earlier comments about the new iPhone and iOS announcement - the new iPhone 5 is a great phone and would certainly be an improvement on my current iPhone 4 in almost every way.  Most of the things they have changed in the hardware (bigger screen, size, better performance etc.) would certainly benefit me.  Again, many of the improvements to the software in iOS 6 would also improve my mobile experience, Siri and other features such as the turn-by-turn navigation, aren't available to me on my current iPhone, even on iOS6.  My problem with it was, I wasn't blown away.  There are many commentators who have already written (far better than I could) about how it feels an incremental upgrade but is that more about my expectations than the phone itself? Can Apple continue to innovate in a way that amazes us every time or is technology at a stage where the competition is so fierce and so close that innovations will now happen more slowly?

I have also begun to become frustrated with Apple's business model.  The Apple connector has always come across as a way of Apple making more money out of accessories (not a bad business model from their point-of-view obviously), but why not microUSB, and seriously, £25 to get a connector to make an iPhone 5 work with my current accessories?  The recent patent court cases, although I don't understand the technicalities of it (and yes, you have every right to protect your patents), but to me at least, it appears Apple want to patent rounded rectangles and human gestures older than Apple itself.  Finally, Apple's move away from Google (not just maps) is affecting me more and more as since I became a Google Certified Teacher, I find myself using more and more Google apps and finding I can get different apps to get around problems but it just seems more difficult than I expect it to be.

My final consideration is the cost.  Having spoken to my current mobile provider to compare tariffs with the Samsung Galaxy S3, the same tariff would cost me £5 per month extra as well as an extra £60 upfront.  So over a standard 24 month tariff the iPhone 5 would cost me an extra £180 over that period.  Is that 'premium' something I should be still willing to pay with so many close competitors out there?

So, with all that going through my head, I leave the floor open to sensible comment and opinion.  In regard to what I would use my phone for (other than phone calls!) it's just what I would imagine is fairly standard i.e. web browsing, taking and looking at pictures and videos, social networking, games to entertain my 5 year-old, taking notes at conferences and work events and using maps/sat-nav apps in my car.  All of that I can do with both Apple and Android so is it time to jump ship?