What an Android User Expects From iOS

Recently on Android.Appstorm, Nathaniel Mott wrote about What an iPhone User Expects from Ice Cream Sandwich, citing what he’s looking forward to and what has him worried as he patiently awaits his new Galaxy Nexus, a phone I claimed was the best on the market. In what seems to be a serendipitous coincidence, I recently received an iPhone 4S from my job, and I too have some expectations as I begin to use iOS more often.

I Have a Disclaimer Too

Much like Nathaniel, my thoughts come with a disclaimer. While I have used iOS devices in the past (namely on the iPad 1 and the iPod Touch), I’m what some people call a Google Fanboy. I recognize this and try to adjust accordingly. It’s not necessarily that Apple makes bad products — I think the market proves it does not. I just really, really like Android.

That being said, at work I was given the option of an iPhone or an Android phone. I took the iPhone because I already have a Galaxy Nexus and I’m interested in actually using the iPhone for day-to-day operations, not just demoing my friend’s. Just know that some of my thoughts may have to be taken with a grain of salt.

I’ve divided this article up into two sections: “What I Like ” and “What I Miss.” Since the iPhone has been out for sometime and I am familiar with iOS (not to mention I already have the iPhone from work), I can spin this more like a review from  the eyes of an Android user. So, without further ado …

What I Like

It would certainly be preposterous of me to say I don’t like anything about the iPhone, and it’s simply not true. It’s a very popular, solid device and it’s got a lot of great features. So what do I like the most?

Easy iTunes Syncing

Syncing iTunes is something you don’t get on Android without having to jump through some sort of hoops, especially in the early days. Google Music has made things a lot better, but even there, it doesn’t really sync with iTunes; not directly, anyway. With the iPhone, I plug the device in and I’m there: I can sync music, movies, apps, and photos all with the click of a button. It’s really nice that I can easily update playlists, etc. in iTunes and know that when I sync, they’ll be updated on my iPhone.

I also like that there is a separate section for Ringtones, but I would like it better if you could make any audio file your ringtone. Please correct me if that is the case, but I couldn’t do it.

Beautiful/Cool Apps

This I think, is an obvious one. The app experience on the iPhone is great because the apps have a consistent UI and there’s no denying they look better than their Android counterparts, for whatever reason.

Google is trying to fix that with the Android Design Guide.

There are also still apps exclusively for the iPhone that I’m excited to try; Instagram tops the list, and Family Feud & Friends in second. It will also be interesting to compare app UIs between both my Android and iOS devices.

Accessories

Yes, I am a nerd that likes to accessorize my technology, and the iPhone is great for this. There are a wealth of cool cases, covers, connectors, speakers and  more that I am now privy to. Specifically, Disney (I’m a Disney nerd too — surprise!) has some very nice iPhone covers that I’m excited to check out. The backplates are a notable accessory for me, because they do for the iPhone what I wish cases did for Android phones — add some protection without increasing the girth of the device.

What I Miss

Freedom

Freedom is the number one thing the drew me to Android in the first place. Not only can I customize my home screen through widgets, I can install third-party apps without going to the Android Market. This means I can easily try betas, buy apps from other sources (like the Amazon Appstore) and test my own apps right on my device. I can also completely customize the UI with new skins and mods without having to jailbreak (or root, as we Android users call it). Your device is truly your device.

Strong Google Account Integration

This one is a no-brainer. Android devices sync perfectly with your Google Account, as soon as you boot the device. While syncing with iTunes is nice, just syncing is even better. And since I use GMail, Google Calendar, Google Music and Google Reader, my email, contacts, calendar, music and news feeds are all synced to my phone over the air, instantly. No wires required.

Android’s Keyboard/Autocorrect

This is something I didn’t think I’d miss until I didn’t have it anymore. I feel the keyboard starting in Gingerbread (2.3) is considerably better than the one in iOS. I think it’s easier to type on and the autocorrect function is much better.

The Android (ICS) Keyboard/Autocorrect

Not only are you given more options for corrections, I feel you’re a bit more aware that you’re being corrected, and Android will automatically present you with punctuation when you type a space. I didn’t realize how nice this feature was until I kept tying to use it on iOS.

Final  Thoughts

So my friends will either rejoice or banish me when they read this depending on what camp they are in. However, I do enjoy some aspects of the iPhone, primarily what I’ve mentioned. I also think the phone is a good size and the screen/camera are incredibly nice. The basic UI does leave me wanting more, and there are some features I truly miss while on iOS. Using the iPhone for a couple of weeks now isn’t enough to make me switch, but I’m definitely willing to give credit where credit is due!