There are thought to be two trains of thought these days, and they get closer and closer to a crash course by the day. On the one side, are the sheep, those who follow blindly, without question, and just follow wherever their leader takes them. The other side are the “rebels,” who do what they want, when they want, no matter what the case may be. The side that doesn’t get talked about that much is somewhere in the middle, waiting for a collision to happen, but understands the aspects of both sides and just wants everything to be okay.
Yes, I’m talking about the age old tale of iOS vs. Android, and their daily battles and hate crimes towards each other. No, these aren’t ACTUAL crimes, with their case brought in front of judge and jury, but they are hypothetical crimes. On the iOS side, you have those users who SWEAR by Apple and anything other than Apple is just useless, and provides no benefit to the end-user. The Android side, seems to take every shot at iOS that they can get, with no regard to anything is. Well here’s a news flash. IT’S STUPID. We aren’t on a playground in Middle School trying to pick out the team for dodgeball, or in High School trying to find the right shirt to go with those shoes you got for your first day of school. Okay, bad analogy, but you get the point.
I LOVE Google+, it’s one of the most interactive and useful social networks, that I have ever been a part of. Not Twitter, not App.net, and certainly not FaceBook. At least not for the geek within. However, I have a large problem with a fair amount of users on Google+. On a daily basis, in some community, or in my feed, I see an image, or a comment, or something that just bashes an iPhone in anyway possible. Sure, I get the whole idea that a fair share of iOS users believe that they are above those who use anything else, but that’s not the point. The point is that this is completely, and utterly unnecessary. Trust me, Twitter used to be the main platform for iOS users to bash Android, and most of the time, it still is, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s not necessary.
I carry an iPhone AND a Nexus 5, AND have an HTC One (M8) on the way. I also have an HTC M7 that my girlfriend uses, and a BlackBerry Z10 that sits in a box all day every day, and was only used for about 3 days before I got too frustrated with BB10. Way back when, I wrote an article that is now lost, on Android Dissected where I discussed my first 30 days with Android. I was enthused, I was amazed, not at what Android was, but more so from how far it came. My first experience with Android was in the Gingerbread days, and boy, was it dreadful. Then I got my Galaxy S3, and I was at a loss for words. It was smooth, it just worked, an addage that Apple claimed for SO MANY years. Android had finally gotten to a point where I felt comfortable using it on a daily basis. Then I got into the customization aspect of everything. The different launchers, the different messaging apps, the different icons, the widgets, Zooper Widgets, UCCW, and everything like that. I was, for lack of a better word at this moment, excited.
I thought to myself, Android finally did it, they finally made an OS that was superior to iOS, and maybe all this talk of fragmentation, and the necessity of having the latest and greatest phone just for the OS to work correctly, was over. At the time, the Galaxy S3, was that latest and greatest phone, other than the Galaxy Note 2, but for me, I didn’t care. I played with, and tinkered with everything that I knew and tried to become a sponge, and soak up every piece of information on this new operating system that I swore to myself after my experience with the T-Mobile G2, I would never return to. Yet here I was, enjoying my device again.
I had grown tired of the constant battle between Apple and “hackers” with their .1, .2, .3 updates, just to “fix” bugs, and to thwart off those who tried to hack into their OS. Yes, I know that Apple frowns upon Jailbreaking, (like that quote from The Hangover,) but if you’ve followed Apple for as long as I have, you know that some of their features came from those who developed apps and tweaks in Cydia, (the Jailbreak App Store.) Yes, I know that a lot of iOS features were “stolen” from Android and then recoded into Apple’s code. To me, it doesn’t matter. Whatever makes the end experience better. Plus, if I remember correctly, Apple and Samsung, (with a little help from Google,) are STILL fighting in court over these things.
Before I get into the whole Jailbreak/Root aspect of my devices, there’s something that you need to know about me, which goes hand in hand with what the purpose of the article is about. I NEED freedom. I need the freedom to pick what apps I want to use on a daily basis, how they look, how they interact with me and how I interact with them. There is not ONE SINGLE DEVICE, that does this. Not one.
Now this is just my opinion, but it’s not out there, yet. Hence the reasoning behind carrying two, completely, different devices, on a daily basis. There are apps on iOS that do exactly what I want them to do, and look gorgeous while doing so. There are apps and widgets on Android, that do exactly what I want them to do and look gorgeous while doing so. However, there are too many apps on both platforms, that either do something well and look ugly, or look beautiful and the implementation of the application is off, which in my eyes, makes the app “ugly.” Implementation is key. If I cannot implement the app into my everyday ritual, then the app doesn’t belong on any of my home screens.
Now we’ll get into the Jailbreak/Root aspect of my devices. Another necessity for me with purchasing and actually using any device, is the ability to customize my device. For a little background on me with iOS, we go wayyyy back. My graduation present was the ORIGINAL iPod Touch. No App Store, nothing, just a music app and an internet browser. Oh fun. Then I found out about jailbreaking.
I have no clue where it came from, or who I heard it from, but I taught myself everything I could. The only way to make my device better was to jailbreak it. Cydia was in it’s youth, and there wasn’t much there, but there were a couple of cool games. One specific game that I remember was a weird physics based game, where you had to basically, make the ball move and collect a star on the other side of the level. I remember vividly playing this game while sitting in the back row of the auditorium during my graduation rehearsals. It was amazing. I knew, at that point, that it was a necessity for me to get an iPhone. What did I do when I got my first job that first summer out of school? Bought an iPhone 3G. What did I do a week later? Jailbreak it. Yep, I bricked my first one, but Apple was naive about the possibility of hacking a device at that time, so I was able to swap it out at the local Apple Store, and went about my business. Jailbreaking, tweaking, soft-bricking, re-jailbreaking, the whole nine yards, for hours upon hours, upon days.
Android? I hadn’t heard of Android yet. I knew what Google was, but the only other “Smartphone” that I was even aware of, was Blackberry. My dad had the BlackBerry Pearl, which I played with, decided the keys were too fat for my fingers, and “accidentally” dropped it and broke it at a Washington Capitals game with some friends. Then when the T-Mobile G1 came out, my parents got it for my sister, because there was an app that allowed my parents to track wherever she went, because her being the rebel that she was, decided it was necessary to sneak out of the house every night.
I was jealous. My sister was a simpleton, she didn’t know what a smartphone was, and she got this brand new device, and had no idea how to use it. It made me mad for no reason. (Maybe that’s where my obsession with devices actually began.) After reading up on the G1, I was impressed, but I was still happy and content with my iPhone 3G, and 3GS. Before the iPhone 4 came out, with it’s Retina Display, I had begun to dabble in Android with the HTC Evo.
That phone, man, that phone was a real piece of work. I can’t tell you how many times I soft-bricked that device trying to root it. I thought I had it all figured out, read all kinds of forums, asked questions, asked questions in different places, made sure I had the Android SDK installed and placed in the right folders, then click went the mouse, and dead went my phone. I was scared out of my mind. I freaked out, but was afraid to tell anyone just because of the fact that I know that nobody knew what I was talking about. Similar to my iPhone 3G, I went to Sprint, told them something happened to it, then got a new one. Mind you, this is before the time of “refurbished” smartphones, so I got 2 or 3 new Evo’s.
I remember the launcher being clunky, and lame. I downloaded Go Launcher, and experimented some more, but never really got into the full swing of everything. My iPhone was just simple. Enter the iPhone 4. Apple finally had made it’s foray into CDMA with Verizon. I jumped at the chance. I berated my parents, for days, and days, to make the switch with me, rather, for me. They did, and I wasn’t disappointed. Unlimited data. Yeah, those days.
If you are still reading this, you probably think I have a problem. Switching back and forth already between devices. But here’s the boring part. After I got my iPhone 4, I never switched back to Android until AFTER the iPhone 5 came out. So two generations of iPhones passed, and I stayed true to Apple. Here’s the secret to my alliance with Apple at the time. The iPad. That single piece of technology was truly revolutionary. I don’t care whether you’re a devout Windows user, Android user, BlackBerry user, the iPad did something for the world that nothing else did.
It made everything more portable than it already was. You could actually do work on the go, without the need of a computer, after initial set up of course. I literally worked 95 hours at minimum wage in order to have my parents drive me to Best Buy and get the iPad. I loved it. I miss it, for some nostalgic reason. I was stuck, and I was happy. I started writing, and just grew to love everything and anything Apple. I would mod my Windows computers and laptops, to look and feel like Mac OSX. Anything to get that taste of Apple, I was good. Fast forward to the Summer of 2011.
Apple released one of their stupid .1 “updates” and I regrettedly updated. Little did I know, this would break any jailbreak for, what seemed like, a long time. So I decided to just sit there and have an unjailbroken phone. What a drag. So when the opportunity arose to decide between the semi-newly released iPhone 5, or the Samsung Galaxy S3, I waffled. I knew a jailbreak wasn’t going to be available anytime soon, due to the fact that I followed the devs who released the jailbreak on Twitter, and I followed them as close as I could. Again, I wavered, I quivered, I whispered Samsung, and it was done.
I was back to using Android. An old friend, who I still get into arguments with, and is one of very few people to frustrate me when discussing the status of today’s technology, told me to give it a shot. Just play with one. Heck, I had a two week return policy, what could I lose. He got me. I pulled the trigger, and out came the Garnet Red Galaxy S 3. I felt like a kid in a candy shop, everything was different, but for the first time in a long time, it was a good kind of different. I rooted that thing in 3 days. That’s when I learned that I HATE TouchWiz. So it was necessary to root, and get rid of that horridly ugly UI.
So once, the Galaxy S3 was set up the way I wanted it to be, I was content. Finally, happy about a device again. Excited for a device again. It was a feeling that I hadn’t felt in far, far too long. I started writing for Android Dissected, rose to the ranks of Chief Associate Editor, and was happy. For awhile. I began to get bored again, but just in time for the Nexus 4 to come out. As soon as it was announced, I got paid, and I ordered it. I called Google three times wondering about the status of it. It finally arrived on my front door. I borrowed a coworkers car, drove home, got it, went back to work, unboxed it, activated it, and rooted/ROM’d it in 45 minutes. The excitement was back.
I went through this process over and over again during the summer. Galaxy S3, Nexus 4, Galaxy S4, HTC One M7, LG G2, Note 3. The excitement would return, but in the back of my mind, I began to realize something. There was something missing about all these devices. They were all different types of devices, from different manufacturers, with different features. I could never pinpoint what it was.
Enter the iPhone 5S. I watched the keynote, said what every Android user says to themselves, my phone can do that and more. I was lying to myself. Not in the respect of the fact that the slew of my various devices couldn’t do more, they obviously could. There was still just something missing in my day to day life and in my smartphone routine. I missed the minimal feeling of some of the apps that roam the App Store vs. the Play Store.
Since I had a MacBook Pro, I wanted to complete the “circle” and get the iPhone. Honestly, I grew tired of the larger screened Android devices. The iPhone was small and compact, it was sleek, and it looked good. Well, at least the “Space Gray” looked good.
I won the iPad Air in a silent Black Friday contest, and when I received it, my excitement returned yet again, but this time was different. It was time. I had rooted, played around with, and used, so many different devices, that it was time for another change. Time to add a line to the account and get the iPhone. My girlfriend, needless to say, flipped. I had just gotten the Note 3 two months prior. I swore to her that was going to be the last device I was going to want for awhile. Yet here I am, 4 months after that day, I have an iPhone 5S, much to her chagrin.
She’s happy with my old HTC One, it does what she wants and that’s that. She doesn’t like an iPhone. “They’re too small. They look weird. The interface looks childish. Who could ever use a phone like that?” Shaking my head, I would just rather not answer the questions, but being in Cell Phone sales, it’s the same questions and comments I hear on a daily basis. Fine, if you don’t like an iPhone, then Android is for you. If you like the UI of an iPhone, and think Android is too complicated, the opposite is true.
As for the case at hand. I know the bashing between iOS and Android will never come to an end. It’s not supposed to. It was designed to be this way. Maybe not to the extent that it has, but there can’t be innovation without competition. That’s the reason why I carry two different devices. My Nexus 5 does certain things, and has certain features, that my iPhone doesn’t. My iPhone has certain applications, and has certain features that my Android phone does.
That doesn’t mean that Android is better than iOS, or that iOS is better than Android. They both have their use cases, and that when done correctly, can be used in unison. Not one against the other, but together. For the better. For the Common Good. To be honest, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I like carrying two devices. Some days, I use my iPhone more, and my Nexus just sits in my computer bag, but other days, my Nexus is my daily driver, and I’m happy about it. So stop bashing, stop bickering, accept the differences, and live with it.
Pick your poison, but don’t berate someone who makes a different choice than you or me. All that breeds is animosity, and nothing ever comes from animosity. Make your choice, and if you change your mind later? Stick behind it and don’t doubt yourself.