I have always used Windows Phone. When the iPhone 6 was announced and news surfaced about all the unexplainable excitement and commotion around it, I decided to take a look and see what is it that makes thousands of people around the world so crazy about these devices. I welcome change, especially when it is positive.
So I took out my credit card and pre-ordered (yes, paid for and bought) an iPhone 6 64GB Silver online and got it delivered via Aramex Shop & Ship.
First, a little bit of background about myself – I am always on the go, I do not have a desk job. Naturally I read and write email – a lot of email – on my phone. I use the phone so that I can be productive and so that I get things done faster. And I use quite a bit of WhatsApp.
Second, I am a Microsoft employee and my primary responsibilities do not involve Windows Phone sales, and Microsoft didn’t pay for the iPhone 6 I bought nor do they pay me for writing this post. This is purely my personal point of view.
I was excited when the new iPhone arrived. Gleefully got myself a nano sim and plugged it in, created an Apple ID and started setting it up.
In just a week I’m sad to say, I was disappointed. The iPhone is a great toy. But unfortunately that’s what it is. At least for what I need from a phone, the iPhone 6 / iOS 8 poorly delivered.
Don’t get me wrong. Apple’s iPhone 6 has a great camera, feels good to hold, great screen, reasonable UI, and a lot of “non-standard” apps in the store – but that’s not all that matters.
Let’s take a deeper look:
1. The email experience
- iOS 8 displays a single mail app icon on the home screen, regardless of how many accounts you have, and the icon displays the total number of *unread* email. This is great, except that I don’t care about unread email. I care about *new* email.
- Windows Phone on the other hand lets you create a separate live tile for each mail account on the home screen, with instant notification of new email since the last time you opened the app. Much better, thanks. Below you see two tiles (one large and one medium) showing two different mail accounts with 1 and 4 new emails each. On the large live tile, I also get to see an animated preview of my new messages.
The basics of typing
- OK, let’s go to actually typing an email. Guess what? The period (.) and comma (,) are the two most commonly used punctuation marks in the English language – and both of them are not available on the iOS 8 keyboard, unless you tap on the button for numbers. That’s two taps for a dot. (Yeah, you can type a double space to put a dot, but that’s two taps too)
- On the Windows Phone, the comma and period are on the standard keyboard face. Easy.
- Let’s talk about predictive text. This varies based on the example, but I have seen far better suggestions from Windows Phone than iOS 8.
- iOS limits to 3 suggestions on the screen, meaning you will end up typing more.
- Windows Phone shows more and better suggestions. It also predicts text using your contacts (Jane, Justin and Joseph are in my contacts list), while maintaining your privacy. It also does predictive emojis! 🙂
Now lets try that with Windows Phone:
Arabic Predictive Text
- Doesn’t exist in iOS8, at least at the time of writing this. See link on Apple’s website for QuickType. Yes, I checked Settings too.
- Exists in Windows Phone, and definitely much better. I think some of the intelligence comes from Bing search indexes. I was even able to type some full verses from the Qur’an merely by tapping with the help of Predictive Text Input.
- OK let’s see how to attach a file. If you’re new to iOS, you need to fumble around a bit to figure this out. You need to press and hold an empty space in your email to open a menu, and then choose “Insert Photo or Video”. It’s more difficult than it sounds.
- On the iPhone 6, You cannot attach more than one photo at a time! You need to repeat above process for each file.
- On the Windows Phone, there is a simple “Attach” button on the toolbar (highlighted in red). It doesn’t get simpler than that. And, you can attach multiple photos in one go!
2. Sharing Stuff
I was surprised when I saw how limited a sharing capability the iPhone had.
Sharing from built-in Camera app
- On the iPhone 6, you can’t share a picture directly from the Camera/Photos app to WhatsApp. You need to open WhatsApp, tap the Attach icon, and choose the picture.
- On the iPhone 6, you can’t share via Bluetooth with non-Apple devices. You need AirDrop.
- On the iPhone 6, you can’t share more than 5 photos via email from the camera/photos app.
- On the Windows Phone, you can simply share from the Camera app over Bluetooth, NFC (simply tap the phones to share), WhatsApp, email, and pretty much anywhere.
When you select more than 5 pictures, the Mail option vanishes on iOS 8.
3. The Health hype
OK, so health is not very business-themed, but most people care about health including people who send emails from their phones.
- I found the user interface and capabilities of the new Health app on iOS 8 quite mediocre, compared to what is available on Windows Phone. While the Medical ID feature on iOS is nice, it looked complicated to get the app to work like what it looks like on Apple.com. You needed to define sources for health data (which looks like other apps or maybe the Apple Watch) and only then you see a dashboard.
- Update 10/11/2014: Fitbit just announced they currently have no plans to integrate with Apple’s HealthKit.
- On Windows Phone, the phone starts tracking your steps, distance etc as soon as you set it up. You can also add GPS workouts and track your calories by logging what you eat.
Windows Phone also has an animated live tile that helps you track your steps, distance, etc.
Overall, the Windows Phone provided a simple, easy to use, and more importantly, a connected experience which the iOS lacks.
For the conclusion: What do you expect? I just went up to the nearest Vodafone store in Qatar and bought myself a Nokia Lumia 930 and got 5 free accessories (Wireless charging plate, Portable battery, Nokia Purity by Monster headset, portable speakerphone, and a treasure tag). And it cost me less than the iPhone 6 64GB.
As for the iPhone 6, it will find peace with an immediate family member.