iPhone 6 (box)

It may not have been the best decision I’ve ever made, but I chose to pre-order an iPhone 6 on September 12th. It was my first time participating in the iPhone purchase process. As those who know me well, I’m not a big fan of the Apple ecosystem and have been using an Android device since the release of the original Nexus device in 2010. I figured it was time to truly understand how the other half lived.

The device arrived last Friday, and I’ve been using it extensively over the weekend. Here are my thoughts and first impressions, which are going to decidedly biased since they are coming from an Android user’s point of view.

Hardware

It’s a very nice phone. The build quality is better than most Android devices I’ve had, although it’s not as far ahead as it used to be. I must admit that the screen is vivid and crisp. It’s definitely among the best screens, if not the best screen, I’ve ever used on a phone. It’s also very thin and light, but it still feels solid. Ergonomically, Apple has done a phenomenal job with the design.

Software

Coming from Android, there isn’t anything that I’ve found that is truly earth shattering or ground breaking. All of the features I’m familiar with are there, just in different places. In other words, it’s like I’m still living in the same house except all of the furniture’s been re-arranged. On the other hand, I haven’t used Apple Pay yet, or Wi-fi calling, so it’s possible my impressions could change once I have more time with the device.

iPhone 6 size

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5The device is much larger than the current iPhone 5/5s model. Even though it’s about the same size as most modern Android phones, such as the Nexus 5, something about it makes it feel a lot bigger. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but it could be that iPhone icons are arranged from top to bottom, while Android phones are more flexible in their icon placements. Therefore, with an iPhone, you are always reaching toward the top of the screen, which isn’t nearly as common on an Android device. I’ve just discovered Reachability on the iPhone 6, which cuts the screen in half by lightly tapping the home button twice (not pressing it, but tapping), so I may get more comfortable with the size over time. Supposedly, according to others on the internet, Reachability makes the phone’s size much easier to tolerate.

Apps

So far, the app transition has been very smooth. Since I only use mainstream apps on Android, everything I need is in the App Store. Thanks to the cloud, my application data transitioned seamlessly as well, so things like Evernote, Dropbox and Runkeeper have been a breeze to migrate from one device to the other. I still have a couple more to go, but I’m not expecting any major problems at this point. My only concern over time is the Google app integration. So far, apps like Gmail are working fine, so I’m hoping that the rest of the Google services work just as well.

Notifications

I know Apple has made a lot of improvements with regards to notifications, but there still not as good as the Android model. I’m just not a fan of badges. Maybe it’s a case of resisting change, but getting used to notifications could be my biggest stumbling block with the iPhone.

Overall

After a weekend’s usage, I haven’t found any compelling reasons that would make me want to switch ecosystems. In fact, I’m surprised at just how similar the two ecosystems have become. Outside of the rearrangement of settings and user interface conventions, everything I can do on an Android device is capable on an iPhone and vice-versa.


To form a more complete opinion of the iPhone 6, I am going to do a 30-day challenge where I attempt to stop using my current Android phone, a Developer’s Edition Moto X. I’m going to transition my apps and services over the next week and plan to use the iPhone 6 exclusively during the month of October. It will be the best way to really get to understand its strengths and weaknesses. I’ll report back with my findings at the end of my challenge. Who knows, I may even get converted to the other side. Anything’s possible, right?