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Why iOS 5 Isn’t Enough To Make Me Switch From Android

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iOS 5Apple finally announced the top ten features of iOS 5, which included a few of the features that iOS 5 needed to make me switch from Android to the iPhone, but ultimately iOS 5 is too much catching up and not enough innovation to get me to make the jump.

Granted we are still learning about iOS 5, but my initial hands on with iOS 5 on the iPad hasn’t convinced me to switch to iOS on my phone, though it has solidified the iPad’s hold on the consumer tablet market.

Why iOS 5 Isn’t Enough To Switch From Android

Better Notifications – Apple has delivered a much improved notification system, including lock screen information, but the new features haven’t yet proven to be more than a catchup to where Android has been. The new notification system includes the ability to swipe to take actions, which Android does with a tap.  As far as the lockscreen goes, there are multiple apps and implementations of lock screen notifications available for Android which provide fast access to alerts and notifications. The HTC Sensation 4G and Evo 3D for Sprint also support a new and improved lockscreen with notifications and other information

HTC Sense 3.0 lockscreen

I was hoping that Apple would deliver a new notification system in iOS 5 that would put Android on notice, but Apple seems content with catching up to Android in terms of notifications.

Widgets - We still don’t have widgets on iOS 5. For a company that talks about simplification and the user experience it is stunning to see that in the 5th version of their operating system, which Apple calls the, “world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” you still need to tap on an icon just to see the weather, your appointments, email headers and status updates. I can live without widgets on a tablet, but when it comes to a phone, that I want to be able to glance at and get back on the move, widgets are a must.

Evernote for Android Widget

Evernote for Android Widget

Non Apple App Store – I never expected Apple to deliver this feature, and with more thought it isn’t absolutely necessary to make me switch, but iOS 5 didn’t deliver the stunning capabilities needed to make me overlook the lack of an ability to install non approved apps.

Turn by Turn Directions – Another shocker was the lack of a better maps app in iOS 5 with turn by turn navigation. At this point, the map solution on iOS 5 is getting laughable. We know Apple isn’t holding back on turn by turn navigation for the sake of developers, since they dropped several new apps that replace many apps, so why is Apple still lagging behind here? If it’s a matter of not being able to come to an agreement with Google, it’s time Apple started looking to an app maker or to Bing.

Alternate Keyboards – Apple hasn’t opened up the App store to replacement keyboards, but the new iPad split keyboard shows that Apple is at least paying attention to this space and one can hope innovating the iPhone keyboard as well. If you spend any amount of time trying to type on a phone and then try it with a better keyboard like SwiftKey, you’ll realize I’m not just a cranky writer with a keyboard fetish.

iPad split keyboard

At the very least Apple needs to allow me to long press a key on the iPhone keyboard to enter an alternate character like you can on Android. This speeds up text entry considerably, especially when it comes to punctuation, symbols and numbers.

iOS 5 Isn’t the “World’s Most Advanced” Yet

For all that Apple introduced with iOS 5, including cutting the cord and iCloud downloads, the company still has a long way to go in delivering a mobile operating system I want to use on my phone. Rather than delivering maps or other features that are important to the mobile user experience Apple has placed a greater emphasis on the Game Center and Media, which are important, but secondary to the inclusion of features like turn by turn navigation and advanced keyboard functionality.

Ultimately, one of the biggest reasons I won’t be switching is that Apple is still of the mindset that everyone needs to be using Apple products. iMessage looks cool, but just like FaceTime I can’t use it to interact with my friends on Android, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry. I don’t want to go back to a time where I need to worry about what phone my friends and coworkers use. At least everyone can get a Google Talk account for free, and use it on devices that aren’t running Android.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

29 Comments

  1. Ryan Collins

    06/07/2011 at 3:13 pm

    After using the Pre, a Droid with the default keyboard, swype, and swiftkey, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Apple onscreen keyboard is the best there is. That’s probably why they don’t worry about additional keyboards. I can type on my iPhone at around 40-50 words a minute, it really is remarkable how good the autocorrect is. The secret to typing on iOS is to just type. Don’t pay attention to whether you’re hitting the correct letters. Let autocorrect do its magic and then go back and clean up any mistakes. It’s hard to explain the “just type” command… :-)

    • Josh Smith

      06/07/2011 at 3:58 pm

      I’ll try to just type more and see if I come around. thanks for the tip.

    • Anonymous

      06/08/2011 at 1:27 am

      “It really is remarkable how good the autocorrect is.” Try this site: damnyouautocorrect.com and find out what others are saying.

      • itovertakesme

        06/08/2011 at 8:32 am

        that website is completely fake. i want those five minutes back :(

    • Joe T.

      06/09/2011 at 2:43 pm

      But if you have big hands …

      A MessagEase (3×3 rather than 3×10 keyboard) user on Android (with big hands).

      • Ryan Collins

        06/10/2011 at 1:21 am

        Funny thing is that I just type with my thumbs, and my right thumb is particularly large… Hard to explain, but if I tell people I lost it in a farming accident and they put my big toe in place, they believe it. :-)

        The iOS keyboard is really good, you don’t have to worry about hitting a particular key most of the time.

    • Michael Markman (Mickeleh)

      11/18/2011 at 8:14 am

      When you say 40-50 WPM are you deducting cleanup time?

  2. Anonymous

    06/07/2011 at 3:24 pm

    Eh, Totally, completely disagree. Apple delievered SO MUCH in this update. I never expected them to do some of the things they did this time around. This update was absolutely shocking to me. And, basically you’re saying Android notification system isn’t any better, right? So why is that a point against Apple?

    There are a multitude of things that iOS does far better than Android, and Android is not even close to catching up on them. 

  3. Anonymous

    06/07/2011 at 3:24 pm

    Eh, Totally, completely disagree. Apple delievered SO MUCH in this update. I never expected them to do some of the things they did this time around. This update was absolutely shocking to me. And, basically you’re saying Android notification system isn’t any better, right? So why is that a point against Apple?

    There are a multitude of things that iOS does far better than Android, and Android is not even close to catching up on them. 

    • Josh Smith

      06/07/2011 at 3:57 pm

      I agree they delivered a lot, but for my use it’s a lot of catch up. Regarding notifications, it’s a a ding in the sense that there’s no reason to switch if they both offer the same functions. Apple’s notifications are better than iOS 4, but on par with Android.

      Are you jumping when iOS 5 comes?

      • Anonymous

        09/21/2011 at 12:33 pm

        you should have just wrote, “because i’m a fanboy”

        widgets are in the notification center. I’ve made one, and i have several 3rd party ones as well, I don’t know how you missed that; one could argue that it’s easier to get that fast info on iOS 5, as from any page in the ui it’s one swipe away, compared to unto 4 on android. 

        You also, unforgivably completely negate the 3rd party presence in GPS apps etc. (which at this point apple relies on) I’ve had turn by turn since day one of owning an iPhone, it’s irresponsible to write it how you did. 

        This is why i called you a fanboy. Because your a fanboy, who no one should listen to in regards to tech. “tech journalism” is short for to stupid and lazy to get a real job in the field.

        /10 year IT vet in a fortune 20. 

    • Huftastic

      06/07/2011 at 9:22 pm

      ignorance is bliss.

  4. JM

    06/07/2011 at 3:52 pm

    I’m so glad someone finally said it.  Your comment, “Ultimately, one of the biggest reasons I won’t be switching is that Apple is still of the mindset that everyone needs to be using Apple products.” says it all for me.  My sister and a few friends use the iPhone (I use the EVO 4G) , and we’d hand our phones off to each other to see how they work…everyone of them says that after using my phone, they hate their iPhone.  I won’t go so far as to say I hate the iPhone, it wasn’t that terrible for me; but I do feel like I’m stepping back to the old Palm in a way.  I would miss my live Widgets, and flexibility that is available on Android.  I’d considered W7, but the idea of everyone being linked to everything automatically doesn’t appeal to me either…but if that changes…it’s up for consideration (think I’ll wait for W8 first).

    • WP7

      06/08/2011 at 9:00 am

      @JM: “I’d considered W7, but the idea of everyone being linked to everything automatically doesn’t appeal to me either…but if that changes…”

      You know that the linking features can be turned off in WP7? For example, I used the integrated Facebook link to update all my contact details, and then afterwards I just turned off the Facebook link so my contacts list just behaved like a normal contacts list. It’s worth having a look at WP7 in more detail – you’ll be pleasantly surpised. Plus, the Mango update will be free!

    • Shanecbryson

      07/27/2011 at 3:43 am

      I will keep laughing at this comment for hours. Most android users that use my iPhone 4 hate their phones after and their next phone ends up being an iPhone. When I touch an Android phone, I cringe at it’s ugly, slow, clunky UI. Android is literally YEARS behind iOS.

      • ryan baptista

        10/19/2011 at 7:34 pm

        The thing is, you can change it. Yes, the default interface is ugly, but it is customizable, whereas on the iPhone, you’re stuck with a row of square icons.

  5. AppleAlex

    06/07/2011 at 3:56 pm

    Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on both Operating Systems are driving a better product for the consumer.  Relax people you can still buy a Droid or iPhone.

  6. Greg Iafeliece

    06/07/2011 at 4:01 pm

    I will give you the lock screen notifications but meh! I too used the Pre when it first came out and felt (still do) that it is the best OS out there. Works amazing but the pissing contest for music syncing combined with poor hardware caused me to downgrade to the EVO 4G. Palm/Hp really missed the boat with the original Pre.  They are not large enough to go head to head with Apple with exclusive hardware that was lackluster on release and slow to update. They should have followed Android and licensed to manufacturers. Would have put the OS in more hands and caused developers to use the platform. Tie this into a idiotic media campaign and you get fail.  They are trying to catch up and they will fall. Sorry, I digress..

    I can live without widgets or some lock screen notifications. But I will take the music sycing, document sharing and messaging.  I use iTunes at home on my Mac and I have tried the various other music apps for sycing and they are laborious.  Take forever to update lists, load and lack features.  The new document sharing with versions automatically updates on all my devices. Come on, that is enough right there.  I have tried google apps and again features are missing, can be slow to update (screen slow to update as I type), etc. Then presentations, well I will stop. 

    I agree that Apple is missing the boat by keep others out. If they came out with iTunes app for android they would sell more music. And it would be nice to sync my work widows computer with iCloud, guess I will just use my iPad more at work.  Anyway, I have grown weary of different programs to sync by calendar and music. And if you travel a lot you know what it is like to try to used web based apps without a internet connection.

    I am sad that WebOS will die a tragic death and I am sorry that Android can be cumbersome and disjointed. Apple products work and they do it very well.  I just hope the Sprint iPhone comes out soon so I can keep my unlimited data. 

    • Ryan Collins

      06/07/2011 at 9:36 pm

      I loved my Pre, I went to the Droid mainly because the lack of apps. I would even put up with the mediocre hardware and lack of battery life if there were apps. :-(

      If HP can get the developers on board, the Touchpad and Pre 3 could really give Apple a run for their money.

  7. Enzo

    06/07/2011 at 10:24 pm

    We will be happy in the cloud while you’ll still be syncing with a cable and trying to delete your Nascar app that carriers stick on your phone. Android is a mess with many different incompatible versions. The new ice cream sandwich version from Google should resolve this, but Google’s ecosystem isn’t that good, especially when compared with Apple’s new IOS 5 and the iCloud.  Apple’s devices like the iPhone, iPad, Macbook, and iMac are the best around and no one else has the whole ecosystem in place with as many books, movies and music as Apple.  You can use whatever you want, but if you want the best experience, Apple is it. I have Macs but I use Linux heavily and PCs too. No other vendor even comes close to Apple’s overall experience. They are light years ahead.

    • WP7

      06/08/2011 at 9:12 am

      Having used iMac and Windows 7, I personally prefer Windows 7, as do a lot of my Mac-using collegues. I also prefer the Microsoft ecosystem because it’s far more open. Again, many of my friends are starting to complain about the Apple closed ecosystem.

      BTW, the cloud already exists with Microsoft. Windows Live Mesh allows me to sync between devices and it works great. There are loads of cloud services with Microsoft, and I’m sure they will continue to improve in the future, just like other platforms improve theirs.

      As for user experience, personally I think that the Windows Phone 7 experience is better than iOS. The UI is different and very slick and has many features that iOS doesn’t have (and some that iOS never will).

      The recent iOS 5 improvements clearly show that iOS is not light years ahead – they were catching up in this case. You see, competition is good for everybody! The consumer is the one who benefits.

    • TechMajor

      09/16/2011 at 6:38 pm

      Really though the best experience around? hmm if that were true android wouldnt be gaining ground on iOS and causing apple to try all types of low down dirty tricks to not allow samsung to get as popular as the iphone. if ios was a lil more like osx where all the apps are in a folder/launcher n the main screen was clear so that you can have a little more flexibility to have what u mainly use or need to check on a regular basis, like having live apps and or widgets and different things then you can say its the best overall experience, you still have to launch apps to see even the simple things. and the worst part is that apple wont play nice to allow google maps on an iphone like really i have seen a nav app as good and user friendly as g-maps apple doesnt have the best overall experience, apple just has the best mind fuck tricks only second to the government. But hey you keep thinking that these little added features are ground breaking while android keeps making waves and apple is making baby splashes. I might one day get and iphone just to say yea i tried it but it hasnt made anything worth giving up the ability to do the things you can do with android.

  8. luís silva

    09/04/2011 at 8:59 pm

    I feel really sad that they don’t take advantage of the notification center to add some sort of widgets and still the folders can’t have more than 8 apps, not cool either :/
    Maybe in some 5.x update, fingers crossed.

  9. Steffan

    09/06/2011 at 8:38 pm

    Had an iPhone for three years now and they USED to be leading. No more.
    The predictive text function and auto-correct is a joke and so unuseable that I had to turn it off. I have heard from many others who did the same. My old Nokia used to be better.
    The keyboard is a real pain – and i was DESPERATELY hoping that ios5 would at least make the keyboard better. My son and daughter both have Android phones, and I couldn’t believe just HOW MUCH better the keyboards are. Try Swiping or Swiftkey and the typing speed improves hugely. So to me IOS 5 was the last straw. Android has grown up and Apple failed to notice. Anyone who hasn’t tried a current android phone for example a HTC really should play with it. The learning curve is still slightly higher than for the iPhpone. But the differnce is small now. Anyone who wants to enter text fast on a smartphone without errors will have to start looking elsewhere. My next phone wont be Apple unless ios 5 against all announcements does have a better keyboard or vastly improved error corrections. I don’t care who makes a phone – just so long as they look after my needs. Apple has stopped doing that. There new features are more about their bottomline than about making my life easier.

  10. Steffan

    09/06/2011 at 8:38 pm

    Had an iPhone for three years now and they USED to be leading. No more.
    The predictive text function and auto-correct is a joke and so unuseable that I had to turn it off. I have heard from many others who did the same. My old Nokia used to be better.
    The keyboard is a real pain – and i was DESPERATELY hoping that ios5 would at least make the keyboard better. My son and daughter both have Android phones, and I couldn’t believe just HOW MUCH better the keyboards are. Try Swiping or Swiftkey and the typing speed improves hugely. So to me IOS 5 was the last straw. Android has grown up and Apple failed to notice. Anyone who hasn’t tried a current android phone for example a HTC really should play with it. The learning curve is still slightly higher than for the iPhpone. But the differnce is small now. Anyone who wants to enter text fast on a smartphone without errors will have to start looking elsewhere. My next phone wont be Apple unless ios 5 against all announcements does have a better keyboard or vastly improved error corrections. I don’t care who makes a phone – just so long as they look after my needs. Apple has stopped doing that. There new features are more about their bottomline than about making my life easier.

    • Julzz

      10/10/2011 at 2:31 am

      That’s why they have have hundreds of different keyboards on there marketplace…. I hate swipe and the built in keyboard it drives me up the wall! You should actual have real evidence that the keyboard on iOS is shit because im loving the keyboard on my iPad 2 and my iPod Touch!!!

  11. Zalazar_slythein

    10/12/2011 at 11:19 pm

    After Reading this i Can laugh my ass off hey mister andood keep you andood tings we don’t Care
    Really iOS 5 is Nice and it dó the tings it need to dó and thats it . But Here is the ting it Works
    Why dó i want some plastic low crappy andood , the problem with andood is there so ,Many
    Andood phones with version this and version this so you are give mé to Munch options its to hand to find around in, and look again Samsung and other crappy andoods outrere shiting more phones out in what i Can count , for Them its 0 about makeing a good looking phone or a os that have some deep into it , yet i have not a andood phone where i am like wauw it looks cool iam going to buy that THE DESINGS ARE UGLY and Can really go to hell , When i hold a andood phone or tablet in my hard i laugh my ass off to the chep plastic crap only reason i use Apple atm there is notning better out there,

    Give mé a B&O phone with andood then i might buy one but A’s long its some plastic crap and UGLY looking forget it!

  12. Jeremy Snyder3

    10/13/2011 at 11:37 pm

    Ok, let me point out the flaws of this article:
    1. IOS 5 DOES have notifications.
    2. IOS DOES have widgets that you can add to your drop down notification screen so you CAN see weather, appointments, emails and ither such things.
    3. IOS 5 does not have a non approved app download capability, and you know why? Because non approved apps like you would get with Googles OS have been plagued with all sorts of bugs, problems, and even a few viruses. Apple is NOT going to approve an app that could potentially damage their iOS, period.
    4.Apple DOES offer multiple keyboards on their devices, but it is up to you to select the one you wish to use. Oh, and by the way you CAN long press keys to get alternate characters if you wish, but once again you must first customize your keyboard to fit your specific needs.
    5. Ok, turn by turn directions, youve got Apple there. Yes , MAPS is not that good with turn by turn directions, but it is decent if you give the location arrow 2 taps to get it moving. Then you can see the icon
    moving as you move. But Apples intention was not to create a phenominal map app. Their intention was to create a place where other developers could make navigation apps. Navigon, GARMIN, and other companies have made excellent apps to suit customers needs.
    When it comes down to the nitty gritty, Googles OS has had not only compatibility issues with the multitude of android devices, but also has had repeated issues with bugs. Say what you like, but iOS 5 is the most advanced operating system, and will only continue to get even better. But hay dont take my word for it, just look for yourself and see what consumer reports are saying, not just about iOS 5, but about sales percentages of apple devices vs android devices, and overall users of apples iOS VS googles OS. The facts are clear that iOS 5 and apple is preferred over anything else out there, hands down.

  13. ryan baptista

    10/19/2011 at 7:41 pm

    No one can say Android is slow without trying a top of the line android phone like HTC sensation or Galaxy s2

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