D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

A Windows Guy and His iPhone – Day 1 - 4

Sunday, February 8, 2015 12:05 PM

I was thinking of how to open this blog – to contrast the fact that I’ve been a Microsoft guy for so long and now here I am with an iPhone device, except…it doesn’t matter here in 2015. The days where the devices you used showed some sort of weird loyalty/allegiance to a given company or tech stack are gone. It’s not about lines in the sand, its about collaboration and accessibility across all platforms.

Still, I’ve been a Windows Phone user since 2012 and while I have a Mac at home its basically a Netflix device for my kids; I just couldn’t get over the speed issues of running Windows in a VM or booting into Windows with Boot Camp. My world runs mainly in Windows aside from music and iTunes. So as I transition away from Windows Phone to iPhone, I thought I’d blog my first few days using the device to give not only a review of the iPhone 6 itself but also compare it to the Windows Phone experience and talk about what I like and what I miss.

Day 1

I picked up the device in late afternoon, around 5:30 PM. Space Grey with a Case Mate case and a screen protector made of tempered glass. The phone itself is really slim, but with the case I picked out it has more of an iPhone 5S feel to it which in my big paws feels more comfortable.

Battery was mostly charged and as I write this Day 1 report almost 24 hours later I’m at just under a 1/4 battery.

Friends told me that Touch ID, where you basically user your fingerprint to perform actions (among other things, unlocking your phone), was cool. I thought it was gimmicky but after a day I don’t know how else I’d secure a device without it. Fantastic feature and one Windows Phone should definitely emulate.

One of the great things about Microsoft here in 2015 is their support for iOS. Office apps for iOS are fantastic and work really well! I already have One Drive set up and configured to store any pictures/videos I take. Easy integration and great UIs, better than what I had on my Windows Phone! Well…except email.

I was excited to try Outlook for iOS. I was not excited to hear about the security issues that have arisen. Although I’m thinking I could use it again with notifications turned off, but then there’s still the risk that my corporate IT will block its use which means the win of having a great calendar is lost. If MS can fix those issues in short order, then all good. But Windows Phone’s stock email client is much better than the stock iOS one for handling multiple email accounts…or maybe I just need to be more open to how Apple does it. Hey, its only Day 1 here.

This thing is probably the best iPod I’ve ever owned. Music sounds amazing, better than the Nano’s I used to own! My Nokia 920 was only passable and the XBox Music service never won me over – too clunky and awkward to use. iTunes runs very well on the iPhone 6.

Battery indicator of 20% just came up. Still impressed with battery life. Considering I left it on all night uncharged.

I need to see if I can get a replacement keyboard for this thing. OMG, seriously why is there no period on the MAIN KEYBOARD?! I have to hit “Shift” just to end a sentence?! And no distinction between being in upper or lower case mode? And where’s my “.COM” button?! The Windows Phone keyboard DESTROYS the Apple keyboard. Totes McGotes.

I need to get familiar with how volume/sounds work. On my Windows Phone I would hold down on the volume buttons and when it hit 0 it would go to Silent/Vibrate mode. The iPhone…doesn’t. In fact, you can NEVER get to 0 on volume, you’ll always have some level of volume – unless you toggle a physical button that puts the device on silent?! Why would this not be a software thing? Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad except I can’t actually get to the toggle button due to my case (bad design there Case Mate). So some weirdness there to be addressed.

Day 4

So a few things about my Day1 comments:

The hardware silent button thing – turns out that the design reasoning is that without having to look at or turn on your phone, you an flip a switch and it goes silent. Certain Android phones accomplish this by turning the phone screen side down on a surface. Windows Phone just happens to use the volume buttons. OK, so not a bad thing – just a different thing.

The keyboard isn’t as bad as first made out to be either – it just displays different default layouts based on what application you’re in.

<UPDATE> Thanks to The Lazy Admin for pointing out the shortcut to get a period to show up and how to get .COM (among others) to show up:

image

</UPDATE>

Also the stock email client is actually pretty good. At first I was trying to figure out why I had to go to a different screen to setup my email accounts instead of doing it from the main application, until I stopped and realized that Windows Phone does the same thing – the only difference is that on Windows Phone you get a separate mail icon for each account. When I first mentioned this, my buddy Rodney commented that “Apple could call that ‘clutter’” and I assumed that was just typical Green Bay Packer fan elitism…but he’s right! I way prefer the ability to see all email accounts in one stream (and still have the option to look at each one individually) from a single application. Also handling emails (mark as read, delete, etc.) is fantastically easy in the Mail app.

OK…so those things out of the way…

Camera

Last night was my mom’s birthday and it was my first chance to test out the camera. First impression – really impressed! My Nokia 920 had a good camera but it was SO SLOW to actually take a picture, whether with the software or hardware button. And because of the touch-reactive buttons on the Nokia you had to hold the camera carefully if using the screen button because you could easily go back to the main screen or hit the back button. Those issues are gone on the iPhone! I can take so many more pictures in succession as well! Love the camera, can’t wait to try out the slow-mo and other features (and see if there’s other camera apps available like my Nokia had).

Applications

One of the nuances of switching platforms is discovering how the new one handles user experience/user interface. I’ve found this is somewhat hit and miss in the iOS world.

Facebook – Love it! Fast, responsive, easy to consume content, easy to see notifications. One thing to note though – I don’t post a lot to Facebook, I’m more of a consumer. I make this statement because the Facebook uses the same type of UI paradigm as Twitter, and…well…

TwitterHATE IT! Worst. Twitter. Client. Ever. But let me tell you why.

image

So this isn’t my Twitter feed, its just a pic from Google. Note that Timeline, Notifications, Messages, and Me are buttons at the bottom. Yet for some reason there’s three options of lists I can get to by swiping – one that says Discover and one that says Activity.

What I expected was that if I swiped I’d get to Notifications or Messages or Timeline…but I guess I’ll just push buttons. This is a minor thing compared to my big issue with the UI – tweet creation.

If I’m holding my phone in my left hand, I can’t start a new tweet without either using my right hand to press the “compose” button in the top right corner or switching how I hold the phone in my left hand so I can reach it. In Windows Phone the Twitter application was fantastic – I could browse my lists AND create tweets one-handed.

At first I thought that this may just be an issue with iOS UI standards since Facebook does the same thing (although at least in Facebook the button to compose a post is on the left hand side too…must suck for right-handed users though). But its not. Slack.com has an awesome iOS app, with post-composition right at the bottom easily accessible. The stock Mail app has the compose button on the bottom right, which is still within thumb reach. The Facebook messenger app has the same layout as Twitter though, with compose being in the top right.

I thought there would be better UI/UX standards for iOS, and maybe some of these issues are due to the iPhone 6 and 6+ being so large compared to previous incarnations of the iPhone.


Slack – Fantastic app – although I’m only using the chat feature right now and not any of the other integration channels for attachments and file sharing.

Mail – Like I mentioned earlier, I actually really like the stock mail app that comes with iOS. Outlook was good too, security issues aside, but from a pure mail point of view I don’t see too much difference in UI. I think where that might change is in calendar integration where Outlook includes a calendar in-app instead of spreading it around to multiple apps.

If you have any comments or suggestions on apps I should check out, ping me on Twitter and let me know or leave a comment below! More adventures with my iPhone coming soon!




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