So after much consideration and the arrival of OS X Yosemite, I decided to go out and lease an iPhone 6 this Friday past. I’ve been thinking about an iPhone for months. When I upgraded my cell phone a few months back I nearly went with an iPhone 5S. Ultimately I decided on the Samsung Galaxy S5, which I got because they told me that the Motorola Moto X wasn’t an option. That turned out to be false, btw. Anyway, I hated the S5 at first but once I got a case for it and got used to the things that were different I came to love it. I never stopped thinking about that iPhone though.
I knew the 6 and 6 Plus were coming out and I watched the tech chatter for a good while as they anticipated their arrival. Once people had the phones in hand I watched all I could in terms of YouTube reviews. Then various friends, coworkers, and customers had picked up their own. I even had the chance to play with both models in an Apple Store and a local Sam’s Club. In the end I wasn’t impressed enough to bite the bullet. iOS on a phone was just too foreign to me and the hardware, while premium, felt almost cheap because of the phone’s lightness (the same problem I had with my S5 initially).
What I was really waiting for was the release of OS X Yosemite and its integration features. Air Drop between iOS and OS X was something I was looking forward to and while this new “handoff” (or continuity as they call it) feature didn’t seem like such a big deal to me, I was curious to test it out. One of the main things I was interested in was having the ability to make phone calls and send text messages from my computer.
So I when I received a message from Sprint saying that I qualified for a discount on their leasing plan I called the company to make some inquiries. Not being satisfied that the foreign representative I spoke with understood my questions I took a trip to my local Sprint store to ask them again. It turns out that I was able to get an even better deal than the one advertised to me in the message from Sprint. So I assumed that I’d have to order the phone and wait a couple of weeks because they’re on backorder in so many places. Not so. They had the exact model (64 GB Space Grey) that I wanted in stock.
So after I walked out of the store with my new phone I almost immediately began to second guess my decision. Right off the bat I liked the size of the phone. It’s perfect for my smallish hands. That was a pro. But iOS is still so foreign to me. Plus they hide their widgets in the notification pull down menu. I don’t like that. I like a nice big clock/weather widget on my home screen; I don’t like having to open an app or drop down a notification screen to see what the temperature is.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to not having a back button. I constantly reach for it only to be reminded that it’s not there. The worst thing, however, is that the handoff feature is as underwhelming as I initially thought it might be. OS X and iOS already synced through iCloud, which was fine. The handoff feature is a slight upgrade on that, but in reality, it’s not really an upgrade at all. I haven’t experienced a lightning fast transition yet. It takes a moment to load a document I’ve been working on on my iPad or iPhone on the Mac.
And it was a pain in the butt to get going in the first place! The feature just wasn’t working at all initially. I read a few comment threads on some websites and was worried that I’d have to wait for iOS 8.1 to fix the issues. Instead it only required me signing out of iCloud on all of my devices and then signing back in. But there’s something fishy going on with this new iCloud Drive. It’s not nearly as good as Google Drive or Dropbox and I don’t like it nearly as much as the regular old iCloud.
But above when I called the underwhelming handoff feature the “worst thing,” I was lying. The worst thing is that I can’t get the iPhone to pair with my MacBook Pro via Bluetooth. From my understanding this is required for placing phone calls and sending text messages from my computer. That’s the thing I was looking forward to most! I’m going to keep troubleshooting and hopefully find a resolution, but the motto, “it just works” isn’t ringing true here!
Other annoyances with this phone concern the keyboard. Apple’s stock keyboard sucks. Always has. Thank God that Swiftkey is free in the app store and that it comes with swype! I hate the text messaging. On Android phones you can avoid long text messages being split up by adding a slide to your text and converting the SMS message into an MMS and have everything come through as one continuous text. Not so with the iPhone; at least not that I’ve found.
But it’s not all bad. There are things that I do appreciate. I like that my numeric keypad doesn’t disappear on me when I’m talking on the phone. That was a constant frustration with the Galaxy S5 (especially when doing something that required me to press keys on an automated menu!). I also like that I can FaceTime and iMessage any iOS or OS X device from my phone now. The fingerprint unlock feature is lightyears ahead of Samsung’s dismal attempt at the same. The camera, while technically not better in terms of megapixels, is better in terms of performance than my S5’s. Slow motion video is neat. Airdrop is great (but is it really that different from using Dropbox, which syncs across all my devices regardless of their OS?).
There are probably a few more things that I like that I’m forgetting at the moment but at the end of the day, I’m an Android dude. If returning this phone was an option, I’d do it. Unfortunately, I’m stuck in a lease for 2 years. Maybe I’ll grow to love it in that time, and I’m sure as I work out the bugs and put a Spigen Tough Armor case (which is coming today!) on it, I’ll like it better. But right now it’s hard not to think that I’ll be returning to my roots the first chance I get.
Long rant. I know. As they say in AA, thanks for listening.