A long time Android user, I made the switch over to my first iOS phone this week. I've never used any Apple phone before, in any true capacity, despite knowing a good number of iOS devs. I'm excited to finally see their work. Here's a few of my first impressions on the platform!
The Gestures are Intuitive
I've watched other people swipe their way through iOS interfaces and wasn't really all that confident that I'd be able to figure it out. Surprisingly, it didn't take me all that long to get to a point to where I could get them working. I did need someone to show me how to get to the notifications screen though -- I kept landing on the screen with all the widgets instead. Otherwise, they're pretty great. I especially love how the camera and flashlight buttons on the lockscreen feel like actual buttons.
Getting Back is Hard
Sometimes I end up back on the 'home' screen and it sucks. Luckily, apps seem to have a really good memory of where you left off, so tapping into them from the home screen is super intuitive. Unlike Android, where tapping the home icon has fairly unpredictable behavior, based on how they programmed the original launch intent to work. Flexibility is nice, but this is one place where having a predictable user experience is really reassuring.
Everything animates so smoothly. It's incredible. The way chat bubbles slide around on the page. The smooth swiping motion I can make in the Twitter app and get back to the previous page. I can't get over how great it is, how pervasive. Everything moves in beautiful ways. This phone is an absolute delight to interact with.
Moving All My Settings Over from Android
I tried to use the Move to iOS app to get all of my accounts and things moved over from my Android phone, but couldn't get the bluetooth pairing to work. It suspect there was something wrong with my Android phone, as I also had trouble when trying to pair it with my Garmin running watch. I eventually ran out of patience and went ahead and set up the phone without it, only to realize later that there's no way to come back and make it work without wiping the phone entirely. Luckily, most of the Google apps transfer over pretty cleanly. That's been nice!
The one biggest exception would be the Signal app. Switching cellphones changed my safety number, so now I can't use Signal on the Android phone as well. I also had to re-link my desktop app since I switched phones. I really thought it'd work as a secondary device that I could just add to my account, but it seems that the whole ecosystem is pretty strongly tied to a concept of there being a Single, Blessed install of the Signal phone app. Kind of a bummer for wanting to be able to switch between phones on the reg, as your messages don't get propagated between devices (and you'd have to reregister every time you make the switch). I don't think I'll be switching that often, but it is a bit of a bummer nonetheless.
Switching SIM Cards
I use Android, which also means that I use Project Fi. I spent a decent amount of time and effort researching alternative ways to use a different phone provider but T-Mobile was hellishly expensive (the iPhone is locked to T-Mobile) and there wasn't a clear cut solution for what I really wanted to do (have one number ring two phones). I really want to be able to keep my phone number the same, so that I'm easy to reach by anyone, anywhere, but Project Fi isn't supposed to work with Apple phones. Turns out that it does work, somewhat. I hear there's limitations (it only uses the T-Mobile network, none of the international data works), but since I'm not planning to get rid of my Android phone anytime soon, I should be able to switch back without too many problems.
How to Share Things
I'm still pretty confused with what that arrow out of a box even means. I hate it. It's ugly. I don't like it. Someone make it go away.
The Notch and Other Unaesthetic Things
The title for this section is a lie. There is only one unaesthetic thing that I've observed so far about the iOS XS that I've got, and that's the notch. It's terrible and you're lying to yourself if you think otherwise. I can smell the Stockholm Syndrome from here.
Discovering Which of Your Friends Are Discriminating Assholes
"Hey you're blue now! Whoohoo". Fuck you. Fuck all of you.
That color discrimination runs deeper than you think, man. The last company I worked at the full time employees had blue badges. The contractors's badges? Green.
You're Not Getting My Face
Or my finger prints. This is platform independent, but it does suck. I'm pretty anti-dead man switches in general, as in anything that lets you into my phone when I'm dead or otherwise incapacitated is generally off limits. I hate how sexy smooth the login experience looks though. I also resent how they only switched to face detection (and away from the equally problematic fingerprint scan) because they needed more screen space.
They got rid of the fingerprint scanner but they couldn't get rid of the notch. Terrible.
I'm incredibly impressed at how easy it's been to switch over, even without the Move to iOS app working as intended. In a lot of ways, this is because Google has made so many of their apps available for iOS! Thanks Google.
All in all, I'm a little embarrassed at how long it's taken me to give iOS a try. I really love it. I feel a bit bad for how quickly I've come around to liking it, given how staunch and how deeply entrenched of an Android user I've been. I've always known that the design practice at Google left a lot to be desired, but seeing and experiencing an iOS machine in practice has really been eye opening to how many misses Google made at some really serious decision junctures.
Or maybe Apple just patented all of it. Assholes.