Admitting defeat.

Smartphones are one of the most impactful items in our lives. For many people, they are able to (and do) entirely replace the personal computer. Just like everyone, I use my smartphone daily, whether it’s for checking the news, for listening to music, or for interfacing with a multitude of bluetooth devices from earbuds to satellite communicators.

My first smartphone was a Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia 521 specifically, and honestly, Windows Phone is probably the best Microsoft product of the past few decades, far surpassing its desktop counterpart. It’s my favourite mobile operating system to date. I even had the equally ill-fated Microsoft band, and if you’ve seen my smartwatch tier list, you’ll know that I think it’s one of the best smartwatches I’ve ever used. Honestly, if it had replaceable bands and better fitness tracking, it’d probably be number 1 or 2.

Windows Phone isn’t the focal point of this post, but taking a moment to admire and appreciate the beautiful consistency of the OS and ecosystem is vital to understand why I must finally admit defeat.

Before and after Windows Phone, I used an iPod Touch (4th gen) and an iPad Mini (1st gen). They were the first and last Apple products I ever owned, and using them caused me to realize several problems I had with Apple’s mobile ecosystem. These issues primarily fell into the category of “lacking customization” or “too expensive.”

For many years, I have viewed the iPhone’s complete distrust of the user as abominable. One thing I have a problem with to this day is the launcher (home screen). I think things should almost always be in a vertical ordered list. On my Pixel 7 Pro, I use Niagara Launcher, and it’s a near perfect embodiment of how my ideal launcher works. You have one page with a few important apps, and then another with everything else sorted in alphabetical order. Windows Phone did this in a similar, but different way.

Apple doesn’t allow the user to make this choice. They don’t even allow the user to align apps wherever they want them on the screen. Android does, and even if they don’t most environments allow you to completely change the launcher. Unfortunately, it looks as though this peeve won’t be resolved any time soon, however, as the years have passed, Apple has begun to allow users to hide apps and entire home screen pages, and locate those apps in the “App Library.” While still not ideal (I’d kill for Niagara Launcher on iPhone), this, for the most part, solves my biggest problem with the home screen of many iPhones I’ve used over the years: clutter.

This brings us to Focus Modes. If you’re unaware, Focus Modes allow users to “stay in the moment” by controlling when (and if) notifications, home screen pages, and more are seen. These can be automated based on a number of factors.

Focus Modes are one of the killer features that I hoped would reach Android within a generation or two, but that has yet to happen. The closest I received on my Pixel 7 Pro was “Rules” which basically allow for automatically changing whether the phone is on silent, vibrate, or ring. I have no utility for this, as my phone is constantly on vibrate, but the framework for something similar is there. Google just clearly doesn’t care to implement anything else.

Finally, as someone who has working memory issues, I misplace things ALL THE TIME. For years, I’ve looked at Tile as a relatively viable solution to this problem. However, Tile has never had a great system, nor are they very reliable in the tracking department. Despite this, I’d always considered them, that was until Tile was purchased by Life360, a company that I personally do not trust near anything I own.

Enter the Find My network and AirTags. These are what Tile could’ve been. They actually work.

In general, Apple has opened up more, while Google and Android have slowly gotten more and more locked down. The only major problem I still have with iPhone is the lack of USB-C. That’s it, and it’s looking like that’s going to be solved with the iPhone 15.

USB-C has been a game-changer for me. When I travel, I only bring one cable as long as my trip is less than 14 days. I can use one charger for my phone, laptop, a multitude of cameras and microphones, my Garmin inReach device, and so much more. USB-C has firmly planted itself as the DC power and data transfer standard, and it’s beyond glorious to live in the world of only needing one cable.

With my hesitations surrounding the iPhone slowly being squashed, I can’t ignore the draw of the convenience and security that the iPhone offers anymore. It’s undeniable that the iPhone provides an all-around solid and reliable experience, even if it doesn’t allow as much customization as Android. It’s a trade-off, but I believe it’s one worth making.

One day I realized that despite the fact that I’ve long championed Android, I can’t just keep sitting here hoping that Google will adopt the features I’m metaphorically drooling over. That’s when I made the decision. I have to admit defeat. It’s bittersweet. Android has long served me well, but it’s time for me to move on.

I won’t forget the freedom of customization that Android granted me, the kind of liberty that made my device truly mine. But times change, and as technology moves forward, we must adapt. That’s exactly what I intend to do.

So yes, I admit defeat. Not because I no longer value the principles and features that once endeared Android to me, but because the world of technology is never stagnant and to continue thriving in it, one must keep moving, exploring new horizons and embracing change. And that’s what I am doing - embracing the iPhone and Apple’s ecosystem.

This isn’t a goodbye to Android. It will always hold a special place in my heart, and who knows? Maybe one day, if the winds of technology shift yet again, I’ll find myself back with an Android device in my pocket. But until that day, I am ready to start a new chapter in my digital life, ready to explore all the possibilities that Apple has to offer.

So, I’m pronouncing it here: if iPhone 15 embraces USB-C, I will embrace it.