Recently I’ve been thinking about giving the iPhone 5 a whirl when it comes out later this year. I had an iPhone 3G back in the day and loved it, but I switched to Android when I started working on apps, and now I’ve owned the G1, the Nexus One, the Nexus S, and the Galaxy Nexus, which is my current phone.
Since I’m noodling a move back to iOS, I thought I’d make a list of things that I’ll miss about Android — things that might make my shiny new iPhone 5 end up on Ebay.
Better yet, there might be some folks out there who have workarounds for some of my complaints about iOS. But before you suggest it, I’m not too interested in jailbreaking my phone to get access to some of these things in iOS. I don’t want the tech-support headaches.
Android allows third-party keyboards, and I absolutely love Swype. I find tracing my finger across the keys vastly superior to all hunt-and-peck keyboards, including the one in iOS. Swype feels just “magical” when the correct word pops up on the screen.
Locale is hands down my favorite app for Android, and there’s nothing comparable on iOS. I use it to change phone settings like 3G data, volume, and ringtone, based on conditions like location, time, Wi-Fi, plugging in headphones, and more. It’s fantastic.
I used to hate when my phone went off in a meeting. Now I don’t even think about it.
I do a lot of online reading on my phone and I often want to save, share, or post my current browser URL to a different app. Android apps can register themselves for “sharing” and then they appear in the list of options to share a URL from the browser.
I can send URLs to Pocket, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and a whole host of other app providers with one click.
On iOS, the options are basically email, SMS, Twitter, and Facebook. That’s going to suck.
I cringe every time I open iTunes on my MacBook to copy a song or movie onto my iPad.
It’s so much simpler on Android. I just connect my phone via Micro-USB cable and drag-and-drop files directly onto my phone in the Finder.
The same goes for photos. It’s a ton better for me to drag-and-drop photos onto my computer versus opening up iPhoto and “importing them.”
I really love being able to spin up a hotspot on my phone when I’m out and about. I’m not a heavy user, but when I need it I’m really psyched to have it.
With iOS, I’ll end up using Tether or one of the other paid options for iPhone.
Google Maps has been a killer feature for Android over the past few years, thanks in large part to turn-by-turn driving directions.
From the iOS 6 beta versions I’ve been playing with, it looks like Apple Maps is a reasonable replacement. But they don’t have transit directions (yet), so I’ll need a second app for that.
I’m also a big fan of the +/- buttons in Google Maps on Android. I use pinch-to-zoom too, but I like the option to just hit the on-screen button, especially when I have something else in my second hand.
If you’re an iOS user and can point me to apps or tweaks that’ll help me make the switch, I’d love to hear ‘em.
Full disclosure: I used to be a product manager at Google but I’m agnostic when it comes to phones.