If you want to do anything with your smartphone beyond the basics, there’s no reason not to go Android. So, as someone who has not only owned some form of hand-built computer since age 15, but worked at a PC enthusiast magazine for five years — including being editor of the darn thing — why on Earth am I using an iPhone 5s and before that, an iPhone 4? It’s complicated… but also not.
There’s no conspiracy, no convoluted logic, behind the purchase of my first smartphone: an iPhone 4. At the time, I’d started a job at Flight Control and Real Racing developer Firemint and with an eye to getting into mobile games, Apple was simply the better choice.
This was back in 2011 and iOS was the platform for developers: the market was massive and fragmentation made Android a nightmare. Of course, the landscape is much different seven years on, but the decision was made and I’ve persisted with it.
But why? Why?
Two reasons. Two big ones, both of which stem from the same emotion: apathy. A big, sopping load of apathy.
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1. I want a phone, not a gadget
I’d still be using my Motorola Razr2, killing time with Tetris and Yahtzee, if the punishing march of technology hadn’t forced me to something newer. Despite living and breathing IT the moment I left the womb, the last thing I want to do is spend hours tinkering with my phone.
Make calls. Play a few games. Check my email. Would you like anything else, sir?
Nah, I’m good.
And I get it. You don’t have to tinker with an Android phone if you don’t want to. It’s not like Google is sitting there, tempting you with chocolate-coated bootroms in raspberry bootrom sauce. But iOS gives you constraints — crippling ones — and for me, that’s awesome. Without jailbreaking, I literally can’t extend it much beyond what the App Store provides.
To put it another way, my desire to tweak and customise is an addiction, one that can be incredibly draining, especially when you’re a perfectionist and doubly-so when you can’t get something to work the way you want it to. Given the choice, I’d rather spend this limited resource on, say, my laptop, rather than my phone.
I can guarantee you if I’d owned any sort of Android phone in the last five years, I’d have drowned in a sea of custom firmware long ago. And I don’t like drowning.
So, why don’t I buy a basic handset and be done with? This brings us to my second reason…
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2. I’m locked into the ecosystem
Look, we have a guide on making the switch from iOS to Android, so it can be done. And while there’s some effort involved, saying you’re “locked in” isn’t the strongest of arguments these days.
Until you make it about the money. Why the hell would I want to pay for apps I already own? I like my money and I want to keep it. Few points can stand up to this truth.
Clearly, if it’s all about dosh, then I’m an idiot, because I bought a $1000 smartphone. It’s a fair point, to which all I can say is: I don’t want to be a complete luddite, alright? I’m also still using my iPhone 5s and will continue to do so until it melts because the sun has swallowed the Earth a few billion years from now.
That, or planned obsolescence kicks in and I don’t have a choice.
OK, I might upgrade a bit sooner than the heat death of the universe. Probably when planned obsolescence kicks in. Maybe I’ll like the iPhone SE 2, because the desire for gigantic phones remains baffling to me. But, as long as I can browse the web, message people and make phone calls, me and my iPhone 5s are Thorin Oakenshield and the Arkenstone. Or Richard Armitage and a role as a brooding magistrate in period drama.
And that’s why I own an iPhone.