For the past 10 to 15 years — I’ve used Android-based phones. There haven’t been any strong philosophical or brand-loyalty reasons for that. I’ve jumped between Motorolla, HTC, Samsung and no doubt others over this time.

If I were perhaps to point at one thing I especially liked about Android over its iOS-based sibling it would be the additional degree of customisation on offer.

Now, I’m by no means a power user. Nor do I spend a substantial amount of time on my phone. But I’m also probably not quite a mainstream ‘typical’ user either. For example, I ran a custom loader to further refine the home screen experience.

The main feature I miss is the ability to swipe up on a folder of apps and have it automatically open the first app in the folder. This made placing folders on the home bar worthwhile — you had the full range of options when desired, without losing the quick access inherent in having placed the item directly on the home bar in the first place.

I came from one of these — a Samsung S21 Ultra. Although not either of the colours pictured. I had a forest green one, a fact which surprised me, since I’d had it in a black case until I needed to extract the SIM card from it again to make the switch.

As part of the switch, I also put aside my trusty Galaxy Watch S4, and picked up an Apple Watch Series 9. It took every ounce of my willpower not to jump to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 instead — but honestly, besides the extended battery life, there are no features the Ultra 2 possesses that aren’t in the base Series 9 watch that I would actually use.

And perhaps this is the easiest place to start.

The Smart Watches

This picture actually DOES match the colour and style I got — although I’m using a different watch face setting.

While acknowledging the Galaxy S4 watch is a couple of generations out of date — the Apple Watch is hands down the superior experience. If I had to make the call tomorrow on whether to continue this journey into Apple-land or jump back to Android, it is the watch that would if not entirely hold me to the current course, then at least make me pause in considering before going back.

While again, I cannot speak for the current Samsung Watch experience with the S6 — my experience certainly was that it sent you back to the phone to look at a great many things.

The Galaxy watch was great for letting you know something had happened (be it email, Teams message, etc) that may require your attention — but you’d almost always provide it that attention by another means.

And frankly, I was happy with that! But! I’d find it difficult to go back now.

The Apple Watch, no doubt helped by having a more rectangular face, is capable of acting much more like the mini-computer it is. And while sure, you’re probably not going to want to be composing essays on the thing, consuming content whether it’s a brief instant message or a full-length email, or your calendar appointments(!!), is breezy.

The fact I can add a widget to my watch face that has my next appointment on it almost alone is worth the price of admission to me.

And the Phones?

There were things right off the bat that I loved about the iPhone experience. The one that has perhaps left the largest lasting impression is the lift to unlock with face ID.

Technically, my Samsung S21 supported this as well.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Titanium — this also matches the colour and model I actually got. I went with the ‘boring’ plain Titanium as I heard the coloured versions scratch very easily and end up this colour anyway. lol

… In practice… I generally unlocked it by way of fingerprint. Face ID on the Samsung didn’t work reliably, and even when it did work, it wasn’t very quick. In contrast, Face ID on the iPhone is snappy, and generally completed before you are finished bringing the device up to bear to use it.

That seems fairly typical of the iPhone/iOS experience so far. It is pretty keen to get out of your way and just let you be. Well- after a period of adjustment, and also on the provision that you’re happy to take things more or less the way iOS wants them to be.

The adjustment period was certainly difficult for the first day or so, and even now a few weeks on, isn’t entirely seamless just yet. The screen directional swipes I was used to mean different things on iOS, or sometimes do different things depending on whether you apply a slight delay before the swipe or whether you start from slightly off screen or fully on the screen!

I still occasionally learn another ‘trick’ which I am positive has been second nature to iOS natives for years now.

The main thing I’m just having to ‘live with’ as opposed to enjoy though is around home screen customisation. iOS has come a long way in that regard, with finally adding interactive widgets and the like… But so far as I can tell — please do let me know if I’m being an idiot here — there is no way to adjust the icon grid size.

Four icons per row is it; including for the home screen dock bar.

I’m used to having six. And I miss it a great deal. Particularly when then further compounded by the issue I spoke to in my introduction of not having the ability to swipe up on a folder and have it automatically load the first app from the folder. (Please Apple; steal this next!)

For all that though, I’m enjoying the experience more than I thought I might. The last time we had an iPhone in the house (that was ours) was back in the days of the iPhone 6. My wife had that one but promptly went back to Android for her next phone.

I can’t yet say whether I’d make that same call or not. Far too early for me to say — but equally, I’m not pining every day to go back right now either, and honestly, I thought that might be a potential outcome.

I guess we’ll see how it goes!


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

2 Comments

Nimgimli · October 25, 2023 at 12:42 pm

I’d be very interested to read your thoughts in like a month or so, since I’ve been considering the same switch. I ALMOST did it last time but my old phone had a battery that started swelling so I needed something new FAST so I just grabbed a Pixel 7 Pro.

But I do have an iPad, as does Angela (who has an iPhone) and watching her switch back and forth seamlessly has me feeling a bit jealous. Or maybe it’s just that I am ready for a change. I have a while though before I’ve paid off enough of the Pixel to switch.

For a watch I use a Fitbit Ultra though in all honesty I mostly just use it for step counting.

    Naithin · October 25, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    Feel free to prompt me!

    I would add (perhaps slightly tongue in cheek, but at the same time… not entirely joking either) that the ‘ecosystem’ play is rather insidious!

    With Android, I had 0 desire really to jump from phone to ‘something else’ and continue whatever I was doing on the phone. Just didn’t matter to me at all.

    So I thought watch/phone would be the extent of my combo here, too.

    But I’ve found myself thinking a few times now, ‘Boy… Sure would be nice if I could just straight continue playing this podcast’ or whatever it is I might’ve been doing when I get home, exiting Carplay.

    Having said that, it will probably not go past that as I have below zero interest in switching from a Windows PC setup.

    …But maybe an iPad like you and your wife have? ;D

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