March 6, 2013

iPhone like clothes from Walmart?

I found this 3-part piece by tech writer Andy Ihnatko interesting. Customize and collaborate: Why I switched from iPhone to Android, Part 2 | TechHive. His priorities aren't mine, and I doubt if I'll switch anytime soon. Except that I'd love the bigger screen. (Hint, Apple. iPhone Maximus—I'm ready to buy.)

...Customization

If I don’t like the way my iPhone works, I don’t hesitate: I search online. I can count on finding an answer. Not a way to make my iPhone work the way I’d like it to; rather, a Perfectly Reasonable Explanation of why Apple believes that the iPhone should work that way, and why it refuses to let me override the default behavior.

If I don’t like the way my Android works and I look online for solutions, I can usually find a way to change it.

I encountered many—oh, wow, trust me on this: many—annoying quirks when I took the Galaxy S III for its first test spin. I gave those quirks a chance, but by the end of the first week, I’d turned off almost all of them. And by the end of the first month, I had a phone that felt custom-fit to my personal likes and dislikes.

iOS is beautifully designed. And I myself am usually the first to present the argument that a designer (who spends all day, every day, thinking about how a phone ought to work) starts off with a much better understanding of what’s good for the user than the user (who’s slotted “buy new phone” in between “drop off dry cleaning” and “refill cat’s fungus cream prescription” on today’s to-do list).

At times, however, the iPhone and iOS feel like the clothing styles available to me at Walmart. They’re designed to be Good, or even just Acceptable, for a very wide range of consumers. I want something that’s going to be Excellent, for me.

Android has a consistent core philosophy that I find instinctively compelling: why wouldn’t a phone give its sole user a vote on how their device works? And because Android mostly hides its customization features where they won’t be discovered without a deliberate search, these options are unlikely to confuse anyone....
Posted by John Weidner at March 6, 2013 4:43 PM
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