Well, it has been four years and four generations of iPhones since it’s introduction in 2007. During that time I have owned the original iPhone, the iPhone 3GS and currently using the iPhone 4. I have never deviated for any of the other smartphone platforms even though some have been extremely tempting. Instead, I have opted to read reviews and play with friend’s and coworker’s devices. Now, that the next and fifth generation iPhone is due out in a few months it’s time again to reassess my reasons for still using an iPhone.
The first thing about the iOS platform (iPhone OS at the time) that had me on day one was the iTunes integration. For one too many years I carried around two or more devices to satisfy all my mobile needs. The iPhone instantly solved all that. The ability to just run down a checklist of my playlists in iTunes, check off the ones I want, sync my device and everything is on the phone and ready to go is priceless. While almost any modern smartphone could accommodate my media needs, the iPhone’s seamless syncing with iTunes hasn’t been beat. Back when Windows Mobile was all the rage among us geeks we had to either suffer through Windows Media sync or drag and drop files to a specific folder on the device or the SD card inside it to transfer media for our listening and viewing pleasure. Was that really so hard to do? Well… No, not at all, I did it all the time but, since then no other mobile OS besides iOS has offered a similar native solution that works so well. I find this kind of disappointing in this day and age.
If the software you need isn’t on a particular platform then the amount of software available for it is irrelevant. Which brings me right to the point. I am already accustomed to using specific software titles from my old Palm and Windows Mobile days. To this day none of the other platforms have offered most of the software I use on a regular basis at and away from work. Many do offer what some people would call “equivalent” software but equivalent from my experience means a different thing from person to person. Which usually boils down to “almost as good” or just plain inferior and that just doesn’t cut it for me or my job.
On the hardware side, specifically the iPhone 4; it’s got a screen that’s just kick ass. Although the name is playing on semantics as far as I’m concerned the 326ppi display is absolutely gorgeous. It displays the cleanest, sharpest and the most detailed pictures and text I’ve seen on any smartphone so far. A larger display would be nice but not if that means lowering the current resolution by anything more than just a few pixels.
Design is something of a personal choice. So I’d almost never say one design choice is better than another with the exception of ones that obviously makes absolutely no sense. But, all joking aside, when it comes to phone design, once I find one I like I tend to not want it to change too much. Every iPhone has been solidly built and outside of a few aesthetic changes from model to model each one has kept the same button layout from day one. Some may find this boring but I have no problem with it at all. The layout works well and that’s all that really counts.
This is one of those things that you have to always take with a grain of salt when you read it on specification list. These ratings are performed under ideal and sometimes unrealistic conditions. So until you actually go out and test it for yourself you can’t judge how it will perform for you. I use my iPhone a lot. 90 percent of the time I have 3G and Wifi running while listening to a podcast or radio application via a Bluetooth headset or watching a video at the same time. This type of use can drain a battery rather quickly. The iPhone 4 and every iPhone I’ve owned prior has out performed any smartphone owned by any of my friends or coworkers when used under the same and sometimes lesser conditions on one charge. The iPhone’s battery has been very good which I can only attribute to the power management of the OS.
Everyone has different views on memory and mine is quite simple. If I’m purchasing a smartphone I want as much memory as possible built-in. I should not have to purchase anything extra to store media, files or applications. I really don’t see why some of the other smartphones still ship with anything less than 16GB of memory yet still cost about as much as an iPhone. Memory cards should be an accessory not a necessity. As much as a streaming world as some of us would like to believe we’re living in it’s still not as good as it should be and still not 100% ubiquitous. It’s that 1% of the time when you have no service is when you need it most and you wish you had that media on your device.
The iOS has been very consistent for me from the very beginning. I have yet to experience any random restarts due to the OS. Applications have on occasion caused an issue but even then it just quits and brings me back to the home screen where I can just restart the application and continue on where I left off. I wish I could say the same for OSes I’ve used in the past.
I’ll end this here to say that these are my reasons for remaining with the iOS platform. The iTunes eco-system is irrelevant in my case because I only purchase music via CD and rip them at a higher bit rate than what you get via these music download services and applications for the most part are no where near as expensive as they use to be. The iPhone and iOS platform has worked well for me and looks like it will continue to in the future. Once the next version of iOS is released I’ll have to evaluate it again, so everything is subject to change as platforms and software improves.
In the end everyone should always evaluate how they use a particular platform to make sure it’s really giving them all the functionality they need on a regular basis. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s good for you. See it and use for yourself. Be your own judge and pick what works best for you.