An iPhone retrospective!

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Krimsonmyst, May 29, 2013.

  1. Krimsonmyst macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #1
    So here I am with an iPhone 4S.

    A couple of years ago I ditched iOS for something different, something new, something Android. I went from the HTC Desire HD, to the Galaxy S2, to the Galaxy S3, and now the S4. For the most part I've been happy with Android - anything I've wanted to do with it that it couldn't do out of the box I've been able to figure out a way to get it to work.

    But then, a few days ago, for the first time in 2-3 years, I had my phone play up. My S4, which was only 32 days old, crapped out a dead display. One minute it was working fine and the next it was dead. The phone still turned on, received calls, had functioning capacitive buttons and notification LED, but there was no display.

    I took it to where I bought it and I was told that because it was 2 days outside their return window, they couldn't just do a swap and had to send it away to have the display replaced.

    But they offered me a loan phone - an iPhone 4S.
    Not wanting to be without a phone for a week, I accepted, and honestly had been looking forward to seeing how iOS had changed in the few years since I'd used it properly.

    After 4 days, I've compiled a list of what I feel is great, what I think, frankly, sucks, and what I'm on the fence about.

    Just to brief you, the unit I was given is a 64gb iPhone 4S with latest firmware, wiped completely fresh and set up as a new phone in iTunes.


    What I like about the iPhone 4S/iOS 6:

    - 'Slide to unlock' notifications. I love that you can open a message/email/facebook note by sliding the icon across when it pops up. Very well implemented and easy to make use of.

    - 'Grid' uniformity. Stale though it may be called, I feel there is still a decent amount of charm in iOS' simple approach to a home screen. The fact that each icon is uniform and aligned is pleasing aesthetically.

    - Camera. Though definitely not cutting edge anymore, it still holds up relatively well against some of the newer shooters. Certainly not at the level of the S4/One shooters, but definitely capable of taking great photos that I wouldn't be ashamed to share around.

    - iTunes Syncing. Even though I can get Android to do this with a 'middleman' app, I find the iTunes music sync still has a place. Its quick, painless and efficient.

    - iCloud. Initially someone who didn't like the idea of iCloud, I do see its benefit. Though I probably won't have this phone for long enough to need to use its backup capabilities, I've always liked how iPhones can restore a 'freeze state' of your iDevice. Google would do well to try and replicate this.

    - Siri. Even though Google Now is streets ahead (imo), Siri is working a LOT better than I remember her doing last time I used it. I live in Australia, so a lot of the US commands don't work here, but it still gave me pretty accurate results.


    What I don't like about the iPhone 4S/iOS 6:

    - No back button. I realise that this is just something that has been bred in from using Android for such a long time, but I find myself constantly reaching for the bottom right hand side of the phone to go back. I know that a lot of apps have the back arrow in the top left corner, but it doesn't always work the same.

    - The screen. God damn it. After an hour I was already very uncomfortable using this thing. People say that 5" is too big, but after using a 5", the 4S feels stupidly restrictive. Screen quality is still good, but it's just too damn small.

    - Apple apps. I know it's been said time and time again, but I HATE that I can't set Chrome as my default browser. That's all that really needs to be said. Hate it hate it hate it.

    - Non-customization. I literally spend 2-3 minutes trying to move my 'Music' app to the bottom right hand corner of my homescreen before I realised that you can't do that. As someone who spends a lot of time initially setting up a homescreen to look and function how I want it to, this REALLY irritated me.

    - Scrolling. This is something that I didn't give a thought to until I realised what was going on. If you have a really long vertical webpage and you perform a long flick on an Android device, the page will stream down a long way. If you do a short flick, the page will move a short amount.
    In iOS, if you flick short, it will move a short amount. If you flick long, it will move the same short amount. This is driving me NUTS.

    - iTunes Syncing. Yeah, I know I said it was something I liked, but it's also something I hate. I like it for music, but I hate it for everything else. On my S4 I had several TV seasons that I could just drag across and then delete when I was done with them. With iTunes I need to import them into iTunes, convert them if iTunes doesn't like the format, then sync them across, and when I want to get rid of them I have to go and unsync them. It's a whole ordeal.

    - Lack of share options. I know Apple added FB and Twitter in iOS 6, but I miss being able to share anything to anywhere I wanted.

    - Lack of a file system. I know, again this is something that has been bred into me by Android itself, but it now feels like something that seems so simple and obvious. Contrary to popular belief held by iOS users, a file system does not make the user experience more complex. In fact, in most situations you can go without ever using it. But having it there is fantastic, and I miss it on here.


    What I'm undecided about RE: the iPhone 4S/iOS 6:

    - The build quality. We always hear the Apple is the master of build quality etc, but to be honest - after ergonomically rounded plastic, glass and metal feels really inhospitable. It's always cold with sharp edges and the corners dig into the fleshy part of my thumb. It's not terrible, but it's certainly not overly pleasant.

    - Removal of useless apps. I know iOS doesn't have an app drawer (or rather the homescreen IS the app drawer), but being able to disable/hide apps off the homescreen would be really nice, and I'm unsure as to why we can't do this. It actually makes the whole lot look REALLY messy having to stow them away in a corner. They look so out of place.

    - Claims of 'lag free'. It's not a dealbreaker, but iOS is certainly not as lag free in contrast to Android as everyone is claiming. Every time I swipe left to get to the search box, it stutters. When I open the camera, it stutters. When I quickly scroll through facebook feeds, it stutters. When I open the settings menu, it hangs for a second.
    Now I understand that the 4S is a generation old, but surely the previous generation shouldn't struggle as much as this. The HTC One X, Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S3's aren't this bad.





    So those are the points I can think of for now - I'll update this list if I think of anything else, but I've had an interesting time with the phone over the past 4 days, and I should have it for another week or so, and will be updating this if anything changes!
     
  2. bmac4 macrumors 68040

    bmac4

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta Ga
    #2
    Nice post. I to had iPhones first then went to android. I had the iphone 3G and the iphone 4. I then got the HTC inspire, nexus s, galaxy nexus. I then bought the iphone 5 to try iOS out again after being away for about 2 years. Got tired of it and got a galaxy note 2. Shortly after that I got the nexus 4. I am using the iphone 5 at the moment, and I am enjoying it.

    All that to say I agree with most of what you said. I just tend to switch a lot. I can get past a lot of what you dislike and still like my iphone 5 a lot. I do understand that after being on android for so long it seems you are taking a step back, but I think it just takes time. You then start to understand what Apple is doing with the iphone. This all may just me, but I thought I would say my thoughts as well. You may start to like your loaner iphone better, but if not android is great. I am sure in a couple of months I will be back. That is why I have a sim adaptor.
     
  3. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #3
    It confirmed a hunch that I had, which was that iOS will feel like a step back straight after Android, but you'll get used to the working order of iOS after using it for a while, until you get to Android again, at which point it'll feel like you're jumping forward again.

    At this point I only have the 4S until my S4 (4S, S4 derp) is back, and I honestly can't see myself wanting to go back to an iPhone full time, but it's been an interesting experience.
     
  4. bmac4 macrumors 68040

    bmac4

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta Ga
    #4
    Yea I was using the nexus 4, so I was missing LTE a little. I still love android and if I had to just pick one I would pick android, but since I can swap back and forth it works out. I still love a lot about iOS, and can bare the things I don't like. Really the big thing is the small keyboard. You should try the iphone 5 if you get change. It will a little faster than the 4s
     
  5. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #5
    Yup. My month with the iPhone 5 resulted feeling the same way. There are a few things about ios that were nice but the overall experience is a step back from today's android experience.
     
  6. thatgirl87 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #6
    Jailbreaking fixes some of the issues you listed. Even though I prefer iOS over Android, one thing I admire about Android phones is that they're always rootable.
     
  7. durant35 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    #7
    Im reminded of how small the iPhone screen is and how iOS works on a daily basis with my 4th gen iPod touch. I use my iPad mini almost as much as my Galaxy S4. Why choose one OS over the other? I prefer both :)
     
  8. daveathall macrumors 68000

    daveathall

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    Location:
    North Yorkshire
    #8
    I agree, I have the same setup and find that I really enjoy both (iPad mini and SGS4) :)
     
  9. adder7712 macrumors 68000

    adder7712

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    I had a go with a relatives iPhone 5. It's a pleasant phone and I can see the appeal but all in all, it felt too limited for my needs, so many things are missing that are already present in Android.

    Also, I keep hitting an imaginary back button whilst trying to return to a previous menu or a previous web page.
     
  10. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    One of the things I miss most about my 4S is the scrolling. I do A LOT of reading on my phone. And the scroll speed was perfect on iOS. Then to get to the top of the page, just tap the status bar.

    Scrolling in Android is faster, there is no doubt about that. But scrolling in iOS is slower for a reason, because that speed makes more sense for reading purposes. And once you are done reading, it is easy to get to the top. If it is a SUPER long web page, it is harder to get back to the top on Android than iOS.
     
  11. Orlandoech macrumors 68040

    Orlandoech

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #11
    What's missing? Can you give me a list?
     
  12. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #12
    Another thing that has come to mind just while tinkering around today is how much faster my S4 feels.

    I went into my S4's settings and changed my animation transitions to a speed of 0.5 of the regular, and everything opens and closes so snappily. It almost feels like when I press the home button here, I need to wait for the zoom out animation to complete. Same with swiping from one homescreen to another. It feels like the time it takes is too long.

    Minor gripe, but it's getting to me.

    ----------

    I know you didn't ask me specifically, but for my money - what I'm missing:

    - Menu button
    - Back button
    - Variable scrolling speed
    - Notification toggles
    - Detailed battery stats
    - Easily customisable message/ring tones
    - Notification LED
    - Larger screen
    - Customisable homescreen/icon placement
    - Widgets (mainly my clock/weather/data in and out widget)
    - Swype - OH MY GOD I MISS SWYPE ><
    - File system
    - Drag and drop onto the device

    There are probably more, but these are off the top of my head.
     
  13. siurpeeman macrumors 603

    siurpeeman

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Location:
    the OC
    #13
    i frequently switch between using an iphone and using an android phone, and i'm never feeling that i'm taking a step forward or backward when i switch. i'm always reminded of each platforms strengths and weaknesses, sure, but i wouldn't make a blanket statement saying one was better over the other.
     
  14. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #14
    This argument makes no sense though. You can control scroll speed on Android so it is exactly like the scrolling in iOS.

    Why don't I have to option to swipe up or down faster if I want to?
     
  15. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #15
    My argument makes perfect sense. Default scrolling in iOS is geared towards reading. Default scrolling in Android is geared towards just going up or down a little faster with no way to jump to the top.
     
  16. ReanimationN macrumors 6502a

    ReanimationN

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    I've never understood the love and need for a dedicated back button. Desktop operating systems don't feature one, each app has their own controls and switching between programs isn't done by a dedicated back button. iOS features more consistent back button placement and behaviour than most desktop programs.
     
  17. Orlandoech macrumors 68040

    Orlandoech

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #17
    I'm in different about the [Back] button.

    While I believe it's useful for android, I'm not sure it would be for ios.
     
  18. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #18
    Sorry, perhaps I should clarify.

    I understand why iOS' scrolling speed may work for some - but (and this is something I come back to a LOT when I try to get my head around some of the design decisions in iOS), why can't we be given the CHOICE?

    Why can't I decide whether I want fast scrolling or fixed scrolling? Why can't I decide whether to remove apps from the homescreen altogether?

    For a company that relies so much on tidy design and proper aesthetic, they force the user to put up with a lot of redundancy. If I have a weather app that I prefer to use over the stock one - then I have to have 2 weather apps on the homescreen, one which NEVER gets used.

    All I'm saying is, now that I've had a proper chance to play with iOS again after a few years, it just seems like it would benefit so much from Apple actually giving users some CHOICE over functions that change the experience so drastically.

    ----------

    Desktops also have access to a whole keyboard and mouse setup.

    ----------

    Do you mind if I ask you to clarify what the difference would be? They're both platforms that run mobile apps from a homescreen launcher. If it works well on Android, it stands to reason that iOS could be built to work well with one as well.
     
  19. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #19
    Chill.
     
  20. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #20
    You know, it's really frustrating when I'm trying to discuss a point in which I feel I have a valid view, and you resort to commenting on my personal position on the matter because (I can only assume), you don't know why you're defending the decisions that you are.
     
  21. The-Real-Deal82 macrumors 68040

    The-Real-Deal82

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #21
    Nice OP, seems honest.
    One point I picked up on was the return issue on the S4. You'd only had the phone 32 days and they wouldn't do a straight swap! That is stupid IMO and downright poor customer service. Features and physical product characteristics aside I think if there is one area Apple exceeds all competitors its their customer service. You can return iPhones that are nearly a year old and walk out of a store with a replacement, yet the likes of Samsung can't offer this? I know Apple are a little more exclusive in the respect they have dedicated branded stores, but you'd think there would be an agreement through a carrier or by mail where phones could be replaced.

    I know there have been horror stories concerning Apple returns, but what company doesn't have these? For the vast majority its a nice pleasant service and with Samsung supplying a huge chunk of the overall market, I think they can afford to invest in a reasonable return scheme. I had a faulty HTC Desire HD a couple of years back and was told they had to repair it three times before they would consider completely replacing it. No option to lend me a phone whilst the repair was done either. I sold the device and bought another HTC phone to which I had no issues. Its all down to luck at the end of the day.
     
  22. mib1800 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    #22
    simple answer. a phone is not a desktop/laptop.
    I dont think placement of back button in iOS is consistent at all. Safari has it at the bottom while others have it at top left. And in iOS the back button has to have a visible presence taking up valuable screen space (and requiring user to visually look for it). In Android, the back button is implicit and consistently allowing user to navigate back to previous opened window (i.e. work-centric navigation and not app-centric as in iOS)
     
  23. The-Real-Deal82 macrumors 68040

    The-Real-Deal82

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #23
    As an iOS user I would say a back button would be very useful. It takes more emphasis off the physical home button which is a wearable part too. Hopefully this is something that will be incorporated in future. I know you can place a digital home button on the screen in iOS but I found that just gets in the way when using apps.
     
  24. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #24
    This is the one thing that I really cannot make any excuse or apology for. I thought it was ridiculous that they couldn't help me out just 2 days after the straight swap period had expired, but to her credit, the girl who helped me did everything she was allowed to do and more, including calling her superiors in head office to try and go above her store manager.

    I suppose the only thing you can really say about the reason this happens is that Apple has a retail presence where other manufacturers do not. I live in Brisbane, Australia. Sydney and Melbourne apparently have Samsung stores now, and I could have gotten the same sort of treatment one would get at an Apple store if I was down there, but sadly I don't have the luxury of a Samsung store here just yet.

    That said, as frustrating as the situation is - I've had a HTC Desire HD, a Galaxy S2, S3 and now S4, and in nearly 3.5 years, this is the first time I've EVER had a problem with my droids. Doesn't make the situation any less annoying, but I certainly wouldn't consider it a trend, and if this is the only time I have to deal with out of town repairs, I'm not too worried.
     
  25. ReanimationN macrumors 6502a

    ReanimationN

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    #25
    Yes, and? The methods of switching between apps, or going back screens, are about as efficient as iOS. To go back a screen within a program, you have to hunt down where that program's back button is located, which can vary heavily from program to program. To change programs, you have to employ either Alt/Cmd+tab, expose or the Windows taskbar (or spotlight, the Start menu/screen search, etc etc). Alt/Cmd+tab is quite similar to double tapping the home button and tapping the app you want to switch to. In fact, it became second nature to me because that's really close to what it felt like.
    Yes, a phone is not a desktop/laptop, but why don't desktop operating systems have dedicated back buttons? Why wouldn't a dedicated back button on the keyboard be useful, and why hasn't one been implemented given the various solutions that MS and Apple have developed in response to the program/window switching problem? Why not replace alt/cmd+tab with a back button if they're so great? Why not add a back button in addition to expose and the Windows 7 taskbar? People have survived just fine without a back button on desktop operating systems- I'm not arguing against their existence on either mobile or desktop operating sytems, I'm just curious as to why all of a sudden it's such a must-have crucial feature when people have been using solutions to the same problem (such as alt+tab, expose and the taskbar), which don't behave at all like a back button, quite happily for years and years (and still do!).

    You've also cherry picked one of the few situations where the back button placement diverges in iOS, on the whole, it's very, very consistent.
     

Share This Page