Why I Switched to Android

image credit: Appledystopia

By Chand Bellur

September 12, 2020 at 3:51 p.m

  • I’ve used the iPhone, exclusively, for a decade, beginning with the iPhone 4.
  • Personal experiences with Apple products and support pushed me to switch to Android.
  • Premium Android smartphones are superior to the iPhone in many ways, typically offering better screens and cameras.

I’ve Had it With Apple (Again)

I’ve been using Apple products since I was a child. One of the first computers I used in elementary school was an Apple III. I learned LOGO and a little BASIC. Although my father was a much more significant influence on my technological upbringing, Apple’s presence in education inspired a whole generation of computer professionals.

Like most people, I adopted DOS and, eventually, Windows as my operating systems of choice. I thought Mac users were obnoxious snobs. The Macintosh was a pathetic, overpriced, slow machine, devoid of many essential software applications. All of the primadonna Mac users at work had to use Windows PCs to accomplish tasks that their beloved closed system couldn’t.

Steve Jobs’ return to Apple eventually produced must-have products, such as the iPod, iPhone, and, to a lesser extent, the updated Macintosh. I purchased my first Mac Pro in 2009, and it’s still running today. This is a Bob Mansfield era Macintosh, built to last.

When Mansfield parted ways with the Cupertino tech giant, the Macintosh division fell under Dan Riccio, the iPad lead. The iPad is a well-built device; however, under his management, the Macintosh became an expensive and unreliable burden. Obsessed with thinness, the MacBook sported an unreliable keyboard and display. They seem to have finally fixed these flaws recently, but it took several years to do the right thing.

I purchased two Macs in the past 18 months. One is a 13″ MacBook Pro and the other, a 27″ iMac, which I bought for my mom. She preferred Windows, but I persuaded her to believe the Mac is superior in every way.

Both machines broke within 6 to 18 months. The Fusion drive on the iMac experienced a complete, catastrophic failure. Due to Apple Store closures, this machine has been sitting in a box for five months, awaiting repair.

The MacBook Pro couldn’t charge its battery after only 20 cycles. I literally put this machine on a pedestal and used a wireless keyboard and trackpad, aware of the delicate butterfly keyboard mechanism. I rarely opened or shut the lid, mindful of the weak display cabling that has failed so many users. I had no idea that the battery and power management electronics are also prone to failure.

I brought the MacBook Pro into a nearby Apple Store in the San Francisco Bay Area. At first, they told me it would cost $199 to replace the battery. A few days later, they emailed me and added $475 to the repair costs.

They wouldn’t tell me why I needed to pay more for the repair. Apple’s silent ways made me physically ill. My head started pounding with a stress headache. It’s just not worth it!

The machine itself, brand new, cost $1050. Given that the notebook is ridiculously fragile, I decided to walk away from it. I don’t even want to pick it up at the Apple Store. What’s the point? It’s a splendid, yet worthless, “aluminium” brick. I decided, right there, Apple won’t be getting any more of my money.

Premium Android Smartphones are Superior to the iPhone in Many Ways

I always had a disdain for Android. At first, the operating system was a poor, yet slavish copy of iOS, which irritated me. It was a counterfeit operating system, in my mind. I’m not too fond of derivative things. I want the real McCoy.

Early Android phones were rubbish. They crashed and overheated. The software was a hot mess. Developers overwhelmingly preferred the simple Apple ecosystem over Android’s anarchy. Then it all got better.

Samsung led the way with its Galaxy S series of flagship phones. Samsung always made good phones. Before the dawn of smartphones, I always preferred Samsung phones. Over the years, the company evolved its premium smartphones into high-end models that sometimes cost more than the best iPhone, with features that surpass the iconic device.

The top of the line Galaxy S20 series all feature vastly superior screens to the iPhone. With 120hz refresh rates and QHD+ screen resolution, Samsung mops the floor with Apple. The cameras are excellent; however, Apple’s image processing software is superior.

My Galaxy S20 had some autofocus problems that forced me to use the manual “Pro” mode. It wasn’t difficult, and the photo looked great, but the iPhone does have smarter camera software. It does a much better job of focusing on the intended subject.

The Samsung phone had some other small annoyances, such as two sets of apps — Google and Samsung — that serve the same purposes. It’s ridiculous to have two photo libraries, two browsers, two email clients, two calendars.

Pet peeves aside, there’s so much to like about the Samsung. I always thought Android was sluggish, but the user experience is remarkably speedy and flexible.

With 12 GB of memory, the inferior Snapdragon 865 processor felt faster than Apple’s A13 Bionic. I played Asphalt 9 at the highest resolution. Despite warnings from the app, I didn’t experience so much as a hiccup or dropped frame, let alone a crash. It ran entirely in memory, with no pauses to load extraordinarily detailed scenery and race tracks.

The experience was smooth, stable, and visually appealing — far beyond anything even the newest iPhone could provide. The Samsung phone was barely even warm and only dropped 20% in battery charge after three hours of gameplay at a 120hz refresh rate with the brightness cranked up. Color me impressed!

iOS is Buggy

iOS users often live in a bubble, believing that Android is an unstable and defective operating system. iOS has its own share of severe flaws.

Try selecting, copying, and pasting text on an Android device, and you’ll be amazed at how well it works. Working with text is a struggle with iOS and iPadOS. I literally scream when I’m trying to select text on my iPad or iPhone. Attempting this task on a web page is even more disastrous.

With both of Apple’s mobile operating systems, selecting text is an erratic and frightening experience. I’ve deleted hours of work. I once wrote an article in Grammarly and selected it to copy and paste it into WordPress. The entire selected article disappeared while attempting to display the pop-up menu (another long-running, severe defect).

When I switched the keyboard, the disabled undo button sent horror through every fiber of my being. The app autosaved a blank document, and the gray, inert undo button didn’t work. This iPoS deleted three hours of work.

This happens far too often on an iPad. I estimate I have lost over 120 hours of work on the iPad — a machine which Apple suggests is some sort of laptop replacement, until the next MacBooks come out. That’s an outright lie. The iPad is an expensive mistake that will delete hours of work, which may end up costing you thousands of dollars. In terms of lost work, the iPad is the biggest time thief imaginable.

The iPad itself is a decent device; however, iPadOS has gone the way of iOS. Apple’s priority is to give Millenials and Generation Z whatever cute features they want, countering any pragmatic and sensible designs. Apple will spend countless hours on Animojis, while their devices still don’t work with text very well.

iOS and iPadOS are buggy, defective garbage. Android isn’t perfect, but iPhone users are in denial about Apple’s inferior quality. The company ignores basic flaws, spending time on glitter to attract young hipsters. Apple cares more about Messages than fixing severe, entrenched defects.

Android is Stable and Innovative

When I first started using Android, I expected a poor experience. After all, from most Apple users’ perspective, a Samsung is, quite literally, the poor man’s iPhone. From my first few minutes to now, I have been nothing but impressed by the stability, performance, and innovative features of the best Android implementations.

My Samsung phone has a screenshot feature that I absolutely love. When I take a screenshot, a menu appears with options. One option lets me capture almost the entire scroll of an app or webpage. There are limits; however, as it stands, the feature is quite handy. It shows that Samsung makes devices for working professionals, not trustafarians.

Apple would never think of such an innovative feature, as its product managers are mainly concerned with Millenials and Gen Z. Cute text messaging gimmicks take priority over sensible, productivity-enhancing features.

Android really is your phone. Even on a stock device, there are so many options. You can install other Android variations, root your device, and do just about anything you can imagine. You can install apps outside of Google Play.

Freedom doesn’t come at the expense of usability. My Galaxy S20 is so easy to use, so far, I only had to look up how to take a screenshot. Although its camera software could be a bit smarter, I take amazing photos on this thing.

I’ve been with Android for five days now, and haven’t had one crash. In all that time, while writing this article on my iPad, I am reminded of how pathetically defective iPadOS and iOS are. I want to throw this iPad in the trash, but my new Windows PC hasn’t arrived yet.

I remember when iOS seldom crashed. Now it seems like apps close randomly at least a few times a week. iOS is now more defective and less innovative than Android. It’s amazing how quickly the tables have turned.

Some Android Phones are Well Made

Apple has a reputation for quality; however, this only pertains to some devices. iMacs and Macbooks built over the past several years are horribly defective. The iPhone and iPad, however, are remarkably well-built devices. As much as I’m disappointed with Apple, it’s a fact I cannot deny.

Apple is not the only company that makes high-quality smartphones. Consumer Reports ranks flagship Samsung and OnePlus phones as having comparable reliability and build quality to the iPhone.

My Samsung Galaxy S20 exhibits more quality than any iPhone I have owned. The side buttons don’t wiggle, unlike every iPhone and iPad I’ve owned. Wobbly Apple device buttons don’t break, but they feel cheap and imprecise. Everything about the Samsung phone looks and feels premium. There’s no goofy notch. In my opinion, the Samsung looks and feels like a higher-quality device.

More Reasons to Ditch Apple

While going through tech support purgatory with Apple, I finally watched Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs movie. Two hours later, I lost a lot of respect, both for Steve Jobs and Apple.

I was aware of Steve Jobs’ narcissistic, controlling nature. I live and work in the Silicon Valley, and I know people who worked at Apple when Steve was alive. They were afraid of him, for good reason. He was a tyrant, and his tyranny still extends to the customer, long after his passing.

The iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch are unique computing devices. Unlike most consumer computing products, you can only purchase apps for these devices from the App Store. Unlike Apple’s own Macintosh and every other device on the planet, its more popular products force users to stay within the ecosystem. Apple uses this control to shake down developers for 30% of their revenues.

Tim Cook claims this is a fair practice, and every developer is subject to the rules. Netflix and Facebook, however, abide by a different set of rules and pay lower fees. There’s nothing fair or equitable about it. You can’t even install Fortnite, the most popular game on the planet, on an iPhone! Ridiculous!

Apple Services Suck

Apple designs some fantastic gadgets, but it’s usually too little too late when it comes to services. iTunes was revolutionary; however, it became ridiculously convoluted. Users endured so many strange UI overhauls. Next to Adobe Flash, it was the second most crash-prone app on my Mac. When it didn’t crash, I often found myself staring at a beachball for several minutes.

With iTunes, at least Apple demonstrated innovation and leadership. Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and Apple News+ are all derivative and vastly inferior to long-standing competitors. Adding insult to injury, we have to watch Tim Cook and associates crow about innovation! I tried all of these services and abandoned them after a few days, due to defects or shortcomings.

Amazon Music is vastly superior to Apple Music and is one of the few services that doesn’t ape Spotify. With an original user interface and an upper-tier HD audio subscription option, the service looks and sounds absolutely beautiful. Hearing one of my favorite Yes albums in Ultra HD quality was a transformative experience. Apple Music can’t deliver anything beyond mediocrity.

I briefly tried Apple TV+, but found the shows to be typical, lame Hollywood pablum. While Apple updated its home page to brag about 11 Emmy nominations, Netflix ended up earning 160. There are so many amazing Netflix and HBO shows, but nothing on Apple TV+ appealed to me. It’s yet another lackluster Apple service.

Almost a relic from the past, Apple Arcade arrives as mobile gaming shifts from a native experience to a cloud-based one. Platforms like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud offer a high-performance desktop experience on virtually any mobile device.

Due to App Store policies, Apple will not approve either of these platforms. This means that iPhone users will not be able to enjoy a superior cloud-based gaming experience. Only Android smartphones can play these amazing games. iPhone users will be stuck with games that are limited by the phone’s hardware capabilities. If you want a better gaming experience, you’ll have to buy a new, more powerful iPhone. Cloud-based games provide an excellent experience, even on older devices.

That Obnoxious Android Guy is Right

We all know that guy — the one who chastises you when you whip out your iPhone at a party. You end up trapped in a long and uncomfortable conversation about smartphones with someone who seems to have prepared years ahead for this opportunity.

I’m reduced to a technically inferior “iSheep”, even though I’m a senior software engineer. He claims the iPhone user fell for seductive marketing, forever trapped in an extortionist ecosystem. With the fervor of a guerilla warrior, the Android enthusiast tries to liberate the iPhone user from Apple’s tyranny. “Google good. Apple bad.”

The problem is, this guy was regurgitating the party line back when it simply wasn’t true. That’s why most of us just try to humor, ignore or avoid the Android fanboy. Some claims are still not valid. Neither Apple nor Google are good or bad. Corporations are amoral, driven solely by profit, and accountable only to shareholders. Apple’s best product is their stock.

It is, however, true that the Android ecosystem offers devices vastly superior to the iPhone. If you want to switch, don’t make the mistake of getting the cheapest smartphone on the market. Many of these run older versions of Android and are obsolete by any measure.

Today’s flagship Android smartphones surpass the iPhone in so many ways. The iconic smartphone’s few advantages no longer compensate for its shortcomings. Overpriced, stale, with some stubbornly annoying and persistent kinks, long term iPhone users will likely be impressed by modern, premium Android devices.

Android is a Better Value

Dollar for dollar, you will get more for your money with an Android device. The Samsung phone I purchased cost $800 and has features that surpass the fully equipped $1449 iPhone 11 Pro Max. Apple’s displays are not as good as Samsung’s. The best OnePlus phones have even better screens than Samsung flagships.

It may not seem like a big deal, but the screen is critical and central to the smartphone experience. Once you experience a 120hz refresh rate, it’s hard to go back. It looks like reality, not like a digital display.

It’s not just about screens and specs. There’s a lot to love about the Android ecosystem. I asked Google Assistant why the sky is orange, and it told me about the wildfires and the inversion layer. Siri just popped up some links, announcing that it “found these on the web”.

Switching to Android is Easy

For the most part, the default premium Android experience should be quite comfortable for an iPhone user. The two operating systems are now so similar that there’s not much of a learning curve. iPhone users can also easily port their phone’s configuration and most data to Android. Samsung provides tools making it easy to move from an iPhone to one of their many Android devices.

For the most part, smartphones are what we use to experience apps. Apps available to Android devices and iPhones are essentially the same; however, the former ecosystem has more options. After using Android for a few days, the iPhone seems like a small, limited subset of the Android experience.

My Samsung can do everything the iPhone can do, and more. Settings reside in neat and meaningful groups and categories, with intuitive controls, so I’m not overwhelmed. Apps, even resource-intensive games, are faster, more responsive, and more fluid than on iOS. Playing Asphalt 9 on my premium Android phone with the graphics cranked up to 11 is a truly visceral experience.

Love the Samsung, Getting a OnePlus 8 Pro

Although I love this Samsung phone, I’m sending it back. The phone itself is impressive; however, the cellular service doesn’t work well from my home. Since the phone is part of the deal, I need to return all of it for a refund.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is a great phone, but without the $200 discount, there are better options. Before I was aware of the promotion, the OnePlus 8 Pro was my first choice. I just ordered it today and await its arrival in a few days.

Apple Thinks Differently Now

There are many reasons I left Apple almost entirely. Soon, apart from a 3-year-old base model iPad and an iPhone stripped of its sim card, I will be absent from the Apple ecosystem.

When it comes down to it, it’s really the terrible experience with Dan Riccio era Macs that had me leaving Apple. I bought two lemons from Apple, and the company took no accountability. There’s no way I can give them any more money.

The worst part of this experience is that I sold my mom on the Macintosh being superior to even the best Windows machine. Her $700 all-in-one Lenovo is still working after three years. It’s back on her desk while the iMac is in a box, and egg is on my face. 

It’s so upsetting to evangelize a product that ends up being utter trash. It’s not an anomaly.

THE LAST TWO MACINTOSHES I PURCHASED WERE THE WORST PRODUCTS I HAVE EVER BOUGHT IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT’S THE RESULT OF POOR DESIGN AND HAPHAZARD, RUSHED MANUFACTURING. SHAME ON YOU, APPLE!

A specific era of Macintosh is akin to an expensive, purebred dog. Inbred with group-think, arrogance, and denial, these fragile Macs can fail spectacularly from a few grains of dust and need constant trips to the Apple Store until their untimely demise. For all the expense, you could have bought at least three premium Windows machines with similar specs. Unfortunately, Apple still sells these highly defective Macs, although the newest models may have addressed these issues.

The iPhone is a great smartphone. If it were the last smartphone on earth, I would get two paper cups connected with string. This is not about the iPhone. This is about how Apple has become one of the most deceptive and Machiavellian corporations on the planet. Although all corporations are amoral, Apple’s size and stature allow it to engage in blatant robber baron tactics.

There are other options — better options. Apple is self-destructing like a supernova, flaring up with a spectacular stock price before it implodes. When the Apple bubble bursts is anyone’s guess.

iPhone users can’t even install the most popular game on the planet. None of Apple’s phones offer 5G networking. Premium Android devices charge 2-3 times faster than the iPhone and have significantly larger battery capacities. Apple devices don’t have the best screens or cameras.

Next to its stock and piles of offshore cash, Apple’s second-best asset is a powerful reality distortion field, closely followed by a cult of young, hip sheep. If you really want to think different in 2020, switch to a premium flagship Android phone.

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