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Why You’ll Still Buy the iPhone, Even As Other Phones Get Better



I don’t think it’s up for discussion any longer: the iPhone, while attractive and intuitive, isn’t a very cutting edge smartphone. I don’t expect that to change when the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C make their alleged début this September either. Apple is perfectly fine shipping this year’s smartphone packed with last year’s toys. So how then does Apple continue to excite millions of potential smartphone users around the world?

It isn’t openness, Apple doesn’t want users customizing its software experience like they do with Android. Even though the company seems to have borrowed much of its new design aesthetic in iOS 7 from Microsoft’s Windows Phone, I’m not entirely sure users are flocking to the devices for the way iOS looks either.

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No, the reason users continue to turn to the iPhone and iPad above all else is something I hadn’t picked up on until I recently began researching a story for GottaBeMobile. It’s the iTunes Store.

For years I’d loathed installing iTunes, and when Microsoft’s Zune and Windows Vista arrived I took the opportunity to cut the Apple cord for good. I sold my iPod Touch, uninstalled iTunes and the four other applications that it forces on users, and never looked back.

After that I moved on to just Microsoft’s offerings. I use an Xbox Music Pass and the Xbox Video Store to buy all of my essential media. For books, I’ve turned to Kindle. Although Microsoft’s offerings have gotten better in the space, they seriously haven’t reached the point of being an all-inclusive solution for media, despite my hopes.

Even when I turned to Google’s Android operating system this year, I had some quaint idea that the experience would finally put all the media I wanted in one place. Unfortunately, the relatively lax requirements for apps to get accepted into the Google Play Store, coupled with the bad usability brought on by its latest update, made that a nonstarter.

So when I found myself installing iTunes and entering my old Apple ID, I couldn’t resist the urge to head into the iTunes Store. I wanted to know if its layout was as clear as I remember, or its ‘Buy’ button still as satisfying to click. I wanted to see if finding the podcasts, television shows, movies university lectures and safe applications was just as easy as I remembered. Of course it was.


And that’s because Apple knows the truth about why people buy their devices. Users don’t care about blazing fast processors when their operating system is optimized for their hardware. Similarly, they don’t care about large 1080P displays when they’ve got the easiest and largest content library the world has ever seen.

People keep buying iPhones and iPads in the face of better offerings because of the iTunes Store. It’s there, it’s always accessible, it has every type of media you could want on the go. It also organizes all of that media in a way mere humans can choose what they want and download it.

The pull of the iTunes Store is so strong that even I thought twice about selling my HTC One and picking up an iPhone 5. If I – a longtime lover of all things not made by Apple — am considering coming back for iTunes, how many average users would consider ever leaving iTunes for other, less greener, pastures?



  1. Anonymous

    08/17/2013 at 11:00 am

    I still choose IPhone rather than Android device.Big Leaps In Apple Ecosystem is excellent apps, I.O.S are excellent even though the hardware isn’t powerful as android device that we could see in HTC One & Samsung S4.You are right when judging about the screen quality and hardware requirement.Users don’t care about blazing fast processors when their operating system is optimized for their hardware.

    • IOU812

      08/18/2013 at 8:52 am

      iPhone does lag but the iPhone is by far best craftsmen ship built and resale value stays high the iPhone is the Mercedes of cell phones!!

  2. Arsh Akash Singh

    08/17/2013 at 12:18 pm

    Well of course it’s easy to use ..it offers you what you need in clean manner.apps work better than android . They don’t hang.

  3. amanda

    08/17/2013 at 12:18 pm

    I will buy the iphone for one reason, alone: its size. I dont want a phone as big as my beloved tablet. I want a nice small, narroe phone that can be essily used for texting and, Gasp!, real telephone calls. :O

  4. Techman

    08/17/2013 at 1:10 pm

    My ios mobile devices are just gathering dust now I’ve moved completely to Android and I don’t see that changing. IPhones are increasingly a relic of the past and will surely go the way of the Blackberry. The innovation that was present under Steve Jobs has gone and the hardware will probably fall further behind. Itunes may be the best thing about Apple and if so, I suspect that the media parts of the iTunes store will be opened up to Android devices as the market now is far bigger than ios devices and there’s money to br made by Apple. If they keep it closed leaving the greater market to others, iTunes will also become a relic. After all, if a Windows user can buy media via iTunes then why not Android. Apple can’t afford to ignore the market and shoot itself in the foot.

  5. Allan

    08/17/2013 at 3:28 pm

    I tried to switch from my ios devices, not because I didn’t like them, but because of all the “newer” and “better” out there (and because I really hate Apple as a company). This included a Samsung tablet (Galaxy Tab 3 8.0) and Nokia phone (Lumina 920). I wound up coming back to ios. The ios devices are more responsive, smoother, and just work. I use these devices for work and play, and the first thing they absolutely must do is always work.

    With the Galaxy tab one of the first things I did was tap the Samsung Apps icon, it crashed. Updated the OS, that app still crashes. Really? Right out of the box with a factory installed app, it crashes continuously?

    With the Lumina the first thing I did was plug it into my computer and try to sync it locally with my Outlook 2010. Guess what? Windows phones will not sync locally with Outlook at all, unless you purchase extra software from a third party. Really?

    Both went down hill from there. Finally took the Lumina back, bought an iPhone 5, plugged it in, it asked if I wanted to sync all my stuff from Outlook, I said yes, done.

    Not knocking on either Windows phones or Android tablets, but for me, they do not do what I need them to do. YMMV. The iTunes store has little to do with my decision, the hardware and the OS just working, working well, and the devices feeling well made are the deciding features that keep me chained to apple land.

    • spaceboy

      08/17/2013 at 5:25 pm

      Really confused by Allan’s post. First of all I don’t know what a Lumina is. Wasn’t that a type of car? As for syncing your Outlook locally, I assume you mean by attaching your phone to your PC? I have never tried doing that with email on my phone (or my car), but I don’t understand why you would want to. Outlook syncs over the network, no computer connection required at all, no 3rd party software required. You can choose which folders to sync and you can choose how much to sync. Why would you ever want to sync your outlook through a hardwire connection? So I have to question whether you really had a Windows phone, especially considering you didn’t get the name right.

      As for the underlying principle of Mr. Pope’s article, it has nothing to do with iTunes. iTunes is a good store, but they are all adequate for most users. The fact of the matter is and was and may remain for the foreseeable future: People buy iPhones because they see them as status symbols and some sort of fashion statement. (Just like every woman in the USA now must carry a Coach handbag no matter whether they can pay their rent or not) I wont knock the hardware, it has always been nice, I will even say beautiful for a phone. But in terms of functionality, it is great, perfect even if you want a toy. I don’t get Android at all, but they also make some nice phones. The HTC One may be the nicest phone hardware I have ever seen and even tempted me for about 3 seconds. But for pure functionality, ease of use, and actual ability to use for work (which is where the smart phone market started years ago before iPhone made them a status symbol), Windows 8 Phone is unrivaled. Don’t go off about the stupid number of apps available because apps are meaningless. Windows Phone comes with everything I need in one package, anything else I add is just for fun or distraction. I don’t now and never will need Candy Crush nor 500 knocking apps. If people would stop worrying about the size of their app stores and actually looked at the Windows phone, they would see how good it is. But there is certainly room in the market for all three phones to thrive if people took the time to look at what they need for their uses versus what they *must* buy because everybody is buying it.

      • IOU812

        08/18/2013 at 8:55 am

        Wow well said there space boy, longest post ever read, well did and said!!

  6. Marc Lee

    08/17/2013 at 5:29 pm

    Then why am I chomping @ the bit wait for the Note 3 to ship???

    Just hope it lands while my iPhone (32GB AT&T flawless) is still worth $330 on Gazelle!

  7. jaulie

    08/18/2013 at 11:21 am

    my neighbor’s mom makes $87/hour on the internet. She has been out of work for five months but last month her payment was $12787 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more………….. goo.gg/Hb

  8. dan

    07/26/2014 at 5:04 pm

    The reason people go to iPhone is because they don’t bother to wiggle their brains to make something better hardware wise, work software wise. Its an American style mentality.

  9. Android all the way

    08/27/2014 at 9:50 pm

    After 13 iPhones and only 2 android, I personally believe android is superior. I work at a cell phone store so I get to play with every phone we sell. I also have a windows icon 929 for work. I still have a mac book pro and all of the music I have purchased through iTunes syncs to both my windows and android phone wirelessly with an app called double twist. So to say that my windows, android and mac won’t sync is a flat out lie! When people say “I buy apple because its simple” it really hits a nerve with me. Some android phones have a simple mode that makes the phone stupid easy. You can also make an android look exactly like an iPhone! You don’t have to use widgets or customize your keyboards or use swype, you can lay the icons out plain and simple just like your mundane life. Its up to you! Don’t be a itard that blindly follows a company…stand out, choose what kind of screen size fits you best, choose if you want the ability to upgrade memory, or have a removable battery.

  10. kobi

    09/28/2014 at 1:35 am

    Android, android and android.

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