Why I'm now using Android and might skip the iPhone 8
I could forgive you for not reading this piece.
This is exactly the kind of article I hate reading from other people, because of its introspective and highly speculative nature. I prefer to make my judgments on available facts, not on hearsay or rumors. This happens, of course, every year.
I’m talking about the shared experience of anticipatory anxiety among my breed of technology writers preceding the release of the new iPhone, which, this year, is Sept. 12.
Should I buy it? Should I pass? What should I say? Should I say anything? When should I say it?
Arguably, there are much more important and pressing things going on in the world to worry about. I liken this to being a fashion, luxury goods writer or art writer in Europe during the 1930s.
The world outside is very scary, but we must continue to focus on the industry we know — and pretend that it is still important, which, I guess, it is.
It’s good to look forward to something, even if it’s a fragile $1,000 glass, aluminum, and silicon sandwich most mortal humans cannot realistically afford.
Every year since the iPhone 5 was released, I’ve elected to say, “Yes, I’m buying it.” I’ve bought a new generation of iPhone every single year. I’ve also done this with iPads, without fail.
Well, first, the obvious, which is to stay current. You can’t write about this stuff without any degree of confidence unless you have recent examples of the technology to test with.
In terms of staying current, this goes for Android devices, too. I also buy one or two new Android phones per year.
My current devices are the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. I usually keep a SIM card loaded in one of these, and a SIM in the iPhone. I switch back and forth as I need, depending on what apps come out or are updated.
Read also: Google Pixel not so great: There are plenty of better business phones | Why Samsung’s Note 8 made me dump my S8 Plus | Apple is banking on gimmicks and old technology to sell the iPhone 8
What do I feel about both platforms? I like them equally. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses. I have zero religious preference for either. I may have issues with how certain manufacturers implement things on Android, and the way Apple does certain things, but it’s very hard to say one mobile OS is better than the other. They aren’t. Not in any meaningful way.
So, normally, I would not change the way I would do things. I would buy a new iPhone (and trade the older one in or give it to my wife) and a new Android.
But this year is not like all other iPhone release years.
My wife has been using my old iPhone 6S for about a year. I gave it to her when I upgraded to the 7 Plus about 11 months ago.
She has been less happy with late builds of iOS 11 on it, which is going to be released as production code in a manner of weeks. So, I decided to trade her iPhone 6S in to Amazon for credit, because at this point, two years after I bought it, the value of the phone is only a small fraction of what it originally was.
It makes sense to cut my losses with it now, regardless of what Amazon actually offers me after it gets it in to evaluate. So, I sent the iPhone 6S back to Amazon and gave my wife my iPhone 7 Plus.
She likes it. I ain’t getting it back.
I have a few Androids, so it’s not like I’m going to go without a phone. Now, both my Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus and Google Pixel have active SIMs. I’m using them every day.
So… wait a few weeks and order the iPhone 8, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
There are few things that might keep me from ordering the new iPhone. First, the iPhone 8/Pro is reputed to be $1,000 or more depending on the SKU, so that’s a big obstacle right there — if that is true.
I didn’t mind spending $1,000 on a 12.9-inch iPad, which I use as my main computing device, but a smartphone? That seems like a lot.
The other consideration is that my car, which is a GM vehicle, uses either CarPlay or Android Auto. Now, I’ve tested both iOS and Android connectivity, and while CarPlay is better than most built-in car navigation systems, it definitely is not as good as the Google Maps app in Android Auto.
And, with CarPlay, you can only use Apple Maps, not Google Maps. So, there’s that.
I like Google Maps so much better than Apple Maps that I have been known to carry around two smartphones — one specifically to use for car navigation and one for running iOS apps.
It’s odd to do that, but yeah, I was doing that.
But, time and time again, I went back to the iPhone 7 Plus. Why? The camera. The dual lenses, the portrait mode, etc. It was heavier than my Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, but that camera. So seductive. And I do engage in quite a bit of close-up Instagramming.
I could just buy an iPhone 7S Plus to be current. That phone should also have two rear lenses. I don’t have to get an iPhone 8/Pro.
Or do I?
The rumor mill has it that the iPhone 8 will not be iterative like the iPhone 7S Plus. It will have a buttonless, edge-to-edge screen like the Samsung Galaxy S8. It will use gestures instead of a physical home button. It will have the fingerprint scanner in the back. It will have a higher-resolution OLED display. It will also have two rear lenses/sensors.
Read also: iPhone 8: What we think we know | How Apple makes its billions — and no, it’s not all down to the iPhone | Your next iPhone could be $100 cheaper, or $450 more expensive
So, really, it comes down to wanting to be an early adopter of this new iPhone screen tech and paying for that exclusivity.
I could certainly pay for that privilege in a year when the tech bugs get sorted out.
It hasn’t stopped me before. I’m sure this line of existential reasoning will last a whole two weeks.
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