Why I switched from iPhone to Windows Phone 8

June 24, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

What?  Heresy, you may say!  Windows?  You've turned to the Dark-Side!  I've had many comments like this from the very people I have convinced to buy Apple products over the many, MANY years I've been an Apple user (my first Apple product was an Apple IIe).  Granted, I'm typing this on a 27" iMac, but I've been doing some thinking over the last couple years about Loyalty, and it's place in the modern economy.  My switch to a Nokia Lumia 920 is a reflection of the conclusions I have drawn - allow me to share my reasoning.

First off, there's a lot to like about WP8 as an OS.  The GUI is simply gorgeous, very intuitive, and customizable enough.  It's also comparatively lightweight and incredibly fast compared to iOS, in spite of the high level of graphic quality, and advanced feature-set.  I like the LiveTiles, and the ability to scroll through an alphabetical list of everything on my phone with a simple swipe.  Folders/stackable tiles would be a nice addition, but being able to make tiles either fill the screen horizontally, go to the halfway point, or a quarter of the way means I can group them thematically or however I want.  Font choice and the way messaging and all the icons have been integrated and finessed is superb - the graphic design of WP8 is untouched - clean simple and brilliant (perhaps that's why Apple has taken so many cues from it for iOS 7).  Photography fans will love the way "lenses" are integrated with the phone's camera software, eliminating the need to navigate through the phone's OS in order to track down your HDR app, or Instagram, or whatever your photo app of choice is.

The hardware is another reason.  To be honest, the design of the iPhone 5 never really did it for me.  The 4 and 4S, in my mind, are some of the most beautiful mobile hardware ever produced, but they have drawbacks that limit my desire to use them, and it extends beyond not having LTE.  Size is a major factor.  I appreciate the efforts of the Apple Design team to make sure any pat of the frame could be accessed with a single thumb easily with the phone in one hand, the small form factor makes many common tasks more difficult.  Typing in portrait mode, for example, especially if in a reclined position, is very uncomfortable.  Typing mistakes are routine (so routine in fact that whole websites have been set up to showcase autocorrection and typing mistakes).  Not liking what I had isn't enough reason to change though.  Inductive charging, an incredible camera, perhaps the best mobile phone display I've ever seen, LTE, NFC (with secure credit card storage too), true Gorilla Glass with a dense polycarbonate case for exceptional durability, and a physical form-factor that has won it numerous awards and critical praise, the Nokia Lumia 920 is a tempting buy even for someone who was so entrenched in iOS as I was, having owned 4 models of iPhone previously.

There are drawbacks, to be sure, as there are with everything.  The first thing I'll have to mention is the App selection - it's not as good or as expansive as Apple's App Store and Google's... whatever.  That being said, it's growing rapidly (as is the platform itself), and there are a number of excellent apps available.  Part of the benefit of being on a new and growing platform is the amount of support and money Microsoft is putting into WP8.  They're paying developers to create apps and games for WP8.  Nokia has developed a number of their own apps which are all top-notch.  Notably absent are Google Apps.  Apparently Google sees WP8 as the biggest threat to their market share and is taking every effort to sabotage them.  Eventually, I'm sure that they'll cave and create WP versions of their apps, so in the meantime you may find it hard to limit your life's connections with Google.  You can sync contacts and email with Google, but Calendar takes a bit of effort.  I typically just use a pinned webpage for my google calendars, and although I initially greatly bemoaned the lack of Google Chrome (my favorite browser by far), IE mobile is actually very fast and usable in spite of (because of?) only being able to have 6 tabs open at a time.  Hardware drawbacks?  Sometimes my hand brushes against the "bing" button when reaching for something with my thumb.  ...and the battery life isn't better than my 4S (about the same, really).

There's far more to this than a list of reasons to buy something or not.  The key is emotional connection - the real secret to Apple's success.  Apple's marketing and devices are carefully crafted to give you an emotional connection with the experience.  They want you to think they care.  They realize that emotional connection to brands builds loyalty, which means repeat customers.  This is strategy to them, and nothing more.  Corporations owe us no loyalty, their primary legal obligation is to make their shareholders money.  That's it.  Your loyalty will not be returned, because ultimately they don't care about you, unless caring about you means you'll buy more of their products and make them more money.  Businesses are not people - they are machines that involved people as individual pieces and mechanisms in said machine.  I've resolved to reserve loyalty for living beings capable of returning it.  That's not to say I'm immune to feeling emotional attachment to my things - I really will only buy things that I love.  I bought a Mini Cooper S because I loved it.  I bought a Land Rover Discovery because I loved it.  I bought my Nokia Lumia 920 because I loved it.  Several weeks in, I still do.  ...but that doesn't mean I owe it anything.


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