From the lack of movement on Siri to the numerous problems with MobileMe (or whatever it's called this week), the utter mess that was/is Apple Maps, Apple have proved time and time again that they can't excel where big data is concerned- sometimes they will be sufficient (the iTunes store, perhaps) but never great- and often subpar.
Kevin Sookocheff @soofaloofa 3h
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Unfortunately, there's been a rash of proclaiming! (iphones, androids, standing desks, whatever) posts submitted to HN, and you go back a week or a month later and the poster is back to their old ways.
I would rather see submissions that are something like "6 months ago, I switched to x, and I'm never going back!". To me, these are the more insightful posts.
Switching to Galaxy S4 would be downgrading my experience because of ugly and bloated Touchwiz and a display with wrong, exaggerated colors. Switching to HTC One, would be downgrading my camera. Switching to Nexus 4 would be basically be downgrading everything (camera, battery life, call quality, display) but the OS.
>Switching to HTC One, would be downgrading my camera
At worst, the iPhone vs One camera battle is a push. These things are somewhat subjective, but the HTC One's camera is far from a downgrade.
As for thickness, it technically is a bit on the thick side, but the back tapers towards the edges, which are quite thin. This curvature makes the phone feel much thinner than it is, and also makes it fit nicely in the hand.
If you get a chance to hold one, I think you'll see what I mean and why I for one don't consider these elements to be drawbacks.
RE: Display - Just like normal TV set, you can select your preferred display mode on the S4. According to DisplayMate, the movie mode gives you the most accurate colours. Please read their detailed display shootout between the S4 and iPhone 5: http://www.displaymate.com/Galaxy_S4_ShootOut_1.htm
RE: Battery Life - Are you kidding? From my experience, iPhone 5's battery life is shorter than that of many Android phones.
RE: Call Quality - Wow. Really?
RE: TouchWiz UI
RE: Battery Life
Usually it is. But I was just comparing it to Nexus 4 in that sentence (which happens to be the only Android phone that actually runs the latest and unmodified Android).
Applies to Macs as well.
Apple truly makes some impressive hardware, it seems the software side of the company has not received the same focus.
I had to fall back on my iPhone 3GS for a couple weeks while my Android phone was at the doctor's, and I was surprised at how viable a device it still is, despite its advanced age, but I simply couldn't believe that the only way I could use it as a hotspot was to physically tether it via USB, or connect via Bluetooth ("And you really don't want to use Bluetooth for your hotspot if you want to pull any large-ish chunks of data down," the Apple Store genius told me.)
I don't see how anyone who makes an open-minded choice can go wrong when selecting what best fits _them_.
Ignoring the color comment (given that the GS4 passes display tests with flying colors), have you actually used the "ugly and bloated" Touchwiz, or are you just going on the purist talking points (as you clearly did with the AMOLED talking point)?
I regularly use a GS3, Nexus 4, and Nexus 7 (having previously used the GS2, Galaxy Glide, Nexus One, HTC Dream and HTC Magic). Both the GS3 and GS2 offered better functionality long before Google got around to it (notification area quick controls, hardware-accelerated browser, etc), and I absolutely prefer the GS3 to the Nexus 4 from a pure software experience perspective. I haven't used the GS4, but given how hollow most of the pure experience prattle is I wouldn't be surprised if it's again ahead of the Google experience.
I personally used a Galaxy S4 and immediately noticed another very serious issue with the display. You can check out this thread on XDA forums if you are curious. In summary, green subpixels have lower refresh rate, which causes gray (RGB 50,50,50) lines to temporarily turn into purple (RGB 50,0,50) while scrolling. This is unacceptable for a such an expensive and high end device. And this isn't the only issue.
There are things I like about Touchwiz. I perfectly understand if you find it better than stock Android, which isn't perfect either. But my personal opinion is that it just seems to lack the design taste and consistency that stock Android and iOS have.
DisplayMate had significant criticism of the GS2s screen. They had some criticism of the GS3 screen. They call the GS4 screen excellent, giving it the same A score as the iPhone 5s screen.
Add that the GS4 screen has 3X more detail and infinitely more contrast than the iPhone 5, and it seems to be embracing a talking point to focus specifically on the color gamut (especially given that subjectively most users actually prefer it, so unless you're a graphic artist doing color matching...).
To be fair, you are one of the few (actually the first for me personally) that I've seen that prefers Samsung's solution over Google's, though. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
Since then the argument has seldom had much to do with rational evaluation (just as much of the praise for the terrible Chrome for Android is just some sort of default conclusion). People -- speaking specifically of the tech community, having nothing to do with general users -- just seem to assume that derivations from Google's pure experience = worse. Here's the paradox, however: with each iteration Google is stealing those features from the vendor skins, to great acclaim.
Nexus devices, and iOS for that matter, are updated outside domestic carrier schedules, so you don't have the same delays that have given skinned phones a bad reputation.
As long as the majority of Americans use subsidized phones, the carriers will continue to be the biggest obstacle.
As for me, I like Google Now and will continue to use Gmail integrated with my iPhone's mail client, but I'm not willing to walk away from my decade of iTunes use and migrate my media elsewhere, and there isn't an Android equivalent to my AppleTV experience yet (are they even still selling the Nexus Q?), especially over not having to log in multiple times.
I rarely stream to Apple TV from my phone anyways, so that was not a huge issue.
But I find the experience right through the stack from the UI, to the software architecture and hardware, far better on iOS than Android.
What I think I'd really like to see is someone make an open iOS clone. Sony actually started working on this, building on GNUStep but then dumped it. I keep thinking about picking that up myself, anyone what to fund me to do it? :)
This article basically reiterates what others have argued for the longest time. One platform is better than the other, one company better than another. Who cares if you switch what phone model you use? It's not like someone is going to be converted because of what you did. Your phone isn't a religion.
As for Safari, I'm sure he gave it a chance. I did too. However, I use Chrome on all my other devies and I love Chrome's tab and bookmark sync.
Google Voice Search absolutely destroys Siri when asking questions, unit convertions etc.
Definitely prefer gmail, though.
and for Chrome, you can use Xmarks to sync bookmarks. I use both Safari and Chrome on the desktop, and the bookmarks are in sync completely, which makes them in sync with my iPad.
So, no. I disagree. Gmail (at least the app) works horrible on iOS. Likewise, Google Maps and most other Google services are worse on iOS, while with Android everything just works after logging into Google.
It's amazing that Android still does not come with a note taking and reminder app.
I too use Chrome/Google Maps/Gmail instead of Apple's offerings, not because I didn't give Apple's kit a chance, but because Apple's apps are simply bad.
Reflecting on this, I've come to the following conclusion, let me motivate it a bit.
Jobs was a notable fan of Sony's industrial design in the 80s. But Japan's traditional industrial problem has been poor software despite great hardware. Often software so bad that it brings down an otherwise great piece of hardware.
Jobs tried to solve this, great hardware and software, tightly integrated, completes the product. Small details, from the trackpad on a Mac to the clickwheel on an iPod, to the interface on an iPad are all examples of this philosophy.
Fundamentally this puts the focus on building a product, the industrial design, the power supply, the BOM and the software (instead of all the previous bits and then later some software). But a product oriented development process means you build the product, ship it, then move on to the next product. You don't really keep revving a product after it ships.
But software is a fundamentally different beast. As a discipline it has transformed into a continuous practice instead of a discrete practice like hardware. "Cloud" computing, with continuous updates are simply an extension of this understanding. It puts tension into Apple's product focused development practice because it forcibly decouples the software part of product design that Apple has spent so much effort into coupling.
I'm not saying Apple never updates its software, to the contrary, Apple software is generally well supported and receives updates. But it feels like it's done in a begrudging kind of way. Major software updates tend to be lockstep released with major new hardware product launches, not independently (and then some older products can be updated with the new software).
Contrast to other parts of the computing industry where the system software and hardware are completely decoupled. Which is the better approach? I don't know. Apple's innovation tends to come in huge leaps, followed by slow refinement. It's easy for consumers to keep track of and it seems to have worked well. But then every once in a while competitors will move ahead, and if it's early in an Apple product cycle it can take forever for Apple to reach parity since you have to wait for the next major product release to get the next major software release. It can feel like catching up.
Some software development just simply works better with a continuous development process. Maps is a really notable example, all of the data lives outside the product and as the data improves, the product seems to magically improve as well. I think what we're realizing is that voice recognition applications (Siri, Google's Voice Search) benefit from out-of-product improvements to the fundamental algorithms as well.
And this is where Apple is struggling, by viewing software as huge steps with small shuffles in between, they struggle in cases where software development works best as a continuous reasonable walk. It can feel like Apple just can't be bothered sometimes while you wait a year or two for the next major product cycle.
(comparatively, Google suffers from the opposite, by keeping on their regularly paced march, the product ecosystems ends up horribly confused, you might be able to get the latest google tech on product A, but can you get it on product B? Who knows!? It can be frustrating as a consumer)
One quibble, though, with this: "Some software development just simply works better with a continuous development process. Maps is a really notable example, all of the data lives outside the product and as the data improves, the product seems to magically improve as well... And this is where Apple is struggling, by viewing software as huge steps with small shuffles in between, they struggle in cases where software development works best as a continuous reasonable walk."
I happened to be traveling in Italy during the last week of iOS 6 beta and the first two weeks of iOS 6 release, and was amazed to see the sudden dramatic improvement in maps on an almost daily basis during that trip. At the start of the trip, we still preferred the original maps on iOS 5, but by the end of the trip, the iOS 6 maps felt superior in most ways.
Apple was clearly updating both the "cloud" map data and the map functionality without a point release to iOS itself, and iterating incredibly fast. Seems to me if the "new maps" journalism had been delayed about three more weeks after iOS 6's release, the "first" impressions would have been markedly improved.
I also believe, based on the types of things that changed, that the iteration was driven by real world mass usage data that Apple just couldn't get from the beta or GM install base who use iPhones differently.
In other words, I don't think Apple really wants to move to a more continuous software development model, but market forces are simply forcing it to do so. It is surprising that they aren't investing more of their piles of cash into expanding and improving their software development practices.
The iterations, things like building outlines, or on the iPad, 3D building textures for historic Rome, could not possibly have been produced on short notice.
I believe iOS 6 Maps was simply a month behind schedule, and iOS 6 was launched before Maps was ready, with data and features continuing to release until they hit their deliverable. After that additional three weeks, Maps seemed to stabilize into incremental improvements rather than the leaps and strides made during in the three weeks after iOS 6 release.
> It is surprising that they aren't investing more of their piles of cash into expanding and improving their software development practices.
My perception is Apple has a different dev model of sticking with comparatively small dev teams in an effort to keep product lean, focus tight, and quality and polish high. I'm not sure what the result would be if they expanded teams. Some research suggests both quality and output might actually drop.
Like the author of this post, Google apps have replaced most of the common Apple apps I use. I too am looking to switch to Android. If I do switch to Android, this means that staying with OS X and Apple hardware is far less important to me.
Google's iOS team are producing some fantastic products, and I'm considering moving back to an iPhone to take advantage of them.
IMO, you will be switching back to apple.
If Google follows in Microsoft's footsteps -- which is, to support Android in ways that 1) provide an Apple-like experience at a lower price; and 2) make life easier for developers, especially within the enterprise -- then it might win.
One might be tempted to say Apple's design will always win. In reply I present Exhibit A - the IBM PC.
iPhone was built to be the best phone. And for a big part of the market, that's what it is.
Android was built to enable widespread unhindered access to the Google ecosystem. That's what it does.
Apple never built a competing ecosystem. iTunes is now 10 years old. The app store is 5 years old. Are there any other noteworthy achievements in ecosystem and infrastructure for Apple?
Apple has spent a ton on capex recently. One hopes a big part of that is for gearing up to provide a first class ecosystem for core user needs.