Moving to the Dark Side

Well folks, after eleven years of Android usage which began auspiciously with the much hyped Motorola DROID line of phones, I finally did it; I switched to iOS. My Android user friends and Windows/Linux/Android fellow devs (colloquially called ‘Windroid’) gasp in horror as I pay the famed Apple tax for access to their much lauded (or maligned) walled garden.

Why did I make this change? In short, its nothing sinister nor is it a given to be permanent. For starters, Apple’s recent move to crack down on spying applications over Google’s supreme disinterest in reigning in even the worst offenders was a major motivator. The comparatively closed ecosystem allows Apple to say “my way or the highway’ and it frustrates Zuck so much that he took out full page ads in the New York Times to come and complain about it.

Apple’s attitude of selling you hardware fundamentally changes their business model; they make the process about devices. Since you’re paying a premium for the device, this means that YOU are not the product. You don’t need to have your information sold because you’ve already paid for a modicum of privacy. So no, iCloud is not analyzing all of your files and selling the useful bits to advertisers. In fact, iCloud’s privacy policy is strong but is augmented further by the fact that a lot of data never leaves your phone by default including your Face ID or Siri training. This has meant a little bit weaker support AI and voice assistance but that’s a tradeoff I was willing to make.

My hatred of Zuckerberg’s (un)ethics of Facebook is reason enough but I had a few other simple motivators, one being the simplest:

I wanted to try something new.

I’m very familiar with the Android ecosystem so it doesn’t seem fair to criticize a platform I’ve never used. I wanted to try new hardware, new software, new cloud platforms and see how tight this famed tight integration is.

Another motivation is lifecycle: Apple commits to five years of supported updates where Google can barely eke out three years, if you’re so lucky to be a much supported Google device. Incidentally, I owned a Pixel 3a before this and liked the phone but was weary it would even last that long. A fellow coworker’s 4a just bricked three weeks ago and my Nexus 6P bricked after fourteen months of usage. I didn’t want to chance it, so I sought out a different device in advance with that phone being a fallback if needed.

A device that I can own for more than the traditional 24-month cycle is not only good for the environment but is also good for my wallet. Folks often complain about the Apple tax and their relative high prices, but if my device’s cost over its lifetime is amortized over four or five years rather than two, I think these concerns melt away.

A future post is going to focus on my review of the device after a few more weeks of acclimation but for now I wanted to summarize the reason for my transition. It’s not likely that I’ll dive deeper into the Apple ecosystem because I prefer to be cloud neutral and my job requires that I retain Windows computers for work. At any rate, I am open to the bevy of comments these sorts of decisions always result in. Let em fly!