Let me start this post off by saying that I did not – and have no plans to – pre-order/buy an iPhone 7. This is the first time I’ve attempted to go 3 years between phone upgrades, and it’s probably not for the reason you’d expect (MUH HEADPHONE JACK). The reason I’m waiting is because other than the A10 Fusion processor, I find the iPhone 7 to be a pretty lackluster upgrade. That combined with the fact that my iPhone 6 still works well means I just can’t justify the $649 purchase. Then, there’s the another big reason: the rumors for the iPhone 8/10th anniversary iPhone/2017 iPhone are all things I’ve been wanting for years: wireless charging, smaller bezels, OLED display…literally some of the only things on the small list of Android phone features I’m jealous of.
But I’ve seen and heard a lot of stuff floating around on the Internet that’s just been ridiculous, and I just had to write about it. So let’s do that.
The elephant in the room – the headphone jack is gone.
I get it. You can’t use your favorite pair of $300 headphones anymore. If you can’t afford or don’t want to buy new headphones to go along with your $649+ pocket computer, then the choice seems obvious: switch to Android. Honestly, if I was an audiophile with $300 headphones, I might be weighing my options as well.
But let’s make sure we look at the big picture first. Lenovo has already dropped the headphone jack from the Moto Z. More flagships will likely follow. Not all, but many. You may only be delaying the inevitable, but that’s just speculation.
I think the real kicker here is something I’ll cover later: Android devices don’t last as long as iPhones. You might save $300 now, only to spend it later upgrading phones. Note: this isn’t an empty claim that I will leave hanging. It will be quantified and qualified later in this post.
“Bluetooth streaming quality isn’t as good.” Legitimate argument if you’re an audiophile, which is why there are audiophile-quality lightning headphones out there that have interchangeable lightning/audio jack cables.
Yes, it is completely ridiculous and inexcusable that the EarPods you get with the iPhone 7 can’t be used on your Mac. That’s why Bluetooth is the way to go, in my opinion. A few weeks ago I pulled my (normally neatly wrapped) EarPods out of my bag and they were a twisted mess. I spent about 3 or 4 minutes untangling them, and it just hit me: I get it. Wires suck. There was a sale on some Aukey Bluetooth earbuds for $9.99, so I bought them, and they’ve been pretty great, actually. They’re kind of ugly, but I can deal with that until I buy something nicer.
The point here is that the argument that Apple is trying to move to a proprietary standard is completely bogus. You can enter the Bluetooth earbud market for as little as $10, and you can get Audio Technica 4-star rated Bluetooth headphones from Amazon for $130, and for audiophiles, there’s the Bose QC35.
“I can’t charge my phone and listen to music with my old headphones at the same time.” You’re right. You can’t without a somewhat bulky $40 dongle from Belkin. I’d be surprised if Mophie or someone else didn’t come out with a battery pack case that has a built-in Bluetooth transmitter, so you can plug headphones into the case and stream to your phone, but that’s not really the point. Apple took away the 30-pin dock adapter and people were pissed. But lightning is better. Apple took away the floppy drive, and life is better without it. If you think that Bluetooth technology won’t leap forward because Apple is taking away the headphone jack, then you don’t understand the precedent here, or possibly just markets in general.
Apple has almost always held a smaller marketshare than their competitors, but they have a dedicated user base. Honestly, I’m pretty sure the only people that are saying “I’m going to switch to Android” after seeing the iPhone 7 are people that were on the edge anyway. The iPhone 7 very likely won’t be a flop. Maybe it’ll sell less than the 6S or 6, but that’s not very telling of the headphone jack as much as it is of the 7 in general.
“Welcome to 2014, iPhone users! Android has had all of this stuff for years!”
I saw this image floating around on reddit, and it’s one of those things that makes me wonder if the creator knew s/he was lying, or they are actually that braindead. For some reason, some people can’t wrap their head around the fact that a spec sheet is not the end all, be all when it comes to phones. I guess they have it in their head that “more is better” and there’s no convincing them otherwise.
Look, if I was building a gaming PC, which I have done, clearly I would be spec’ing that rig out. But when I bought my MacBook, I just wanted it to work. You could look at the spec sheet for a MacBook (non Pro) and have a fit of nerd rage because it has a Core M processor, or you could breathe and realize that what it’s meant to do doesn’t require more power than it has (which is a point that I’m making as a side note, because the iPhone 7 actually blows every other smartphone out of the water in terms of CPU benchmarks).
- 750p iPhone 7 / 1440p Nexus 6
Most people can’t tell the difference between 720p, 1080p, and quad HD on a screen that small. Some can, but most can’t. I also seem to recall reviews saying the Nexus 6 screen was good, but not great. Quad HD displays also consume more battery and use more processing power on graphics. None of these things translate well to spec sheets. The iPhone is faster, has better battery life, and results in an extremely similar experience as far as how the display looks. The thing that Apple is sorely lacking in this department is an OLED display, not some ridiculously high pixel density.
- Water resistant
The Nexus 6 was not rated to be water resistant. The iPhone 6S had water resistance; Apple just didn’t market it because there was no rating. I’ve washed my iPhone 5 with soap under a faucet, and it still works (dropped it on a public bathroom floor, nope nope NOPE). This bullet point is just dishonest.
- 12 MP camera iPhone 7 / 13 MP camera Nexus 6
No, seriously, hahahahahahaha. You’ve never taken pictures with either phone.
- Raise to wake
This feature works on iPhone 6S, SE, and 7. Because iPhones actually get updated.
- Notifications on lock screen
This one is just bizarre. iOS has had this literally for years. This person is clearly just drinking the Kool Aid and hasn’t used an iPhone since like 2009.
- Contextual word prediction
I have this on my iPhone 6 and I can use 3rd party keyboards? Why is this here?
- Photo search
You do realize that Google Photos is available on iOS, right?
And then there’s this weird blurb at the bottom: “In 2018, you guys will love wireless charging, VR support, curved displays, multi-user support, selectable default apps, app installs from a browser, and seamless updates!”
Clearly, the wireless charging thing is legitimate. No Qi charging, lack of OLED displays, and large bezels are my biggest gripes with the iPhone. You’ve got me there. But VR support? You can put goggles on an iPhone. I have Google Cardboard. I’m sure it won’t support Google Daydream, but neither did the Nexus 6 that you’re comparing the iPhone 7 to. Google Daydream is releasing this fall.
Curved displays, app installs from a browser…I just don’t care. I’m not a big fan of the Galaxy Edge and I hope Apple doesn’t do that. Selectable default apps have been addressed with iOS 10, so try 2016, not 2018. Multiple user support barely makes sense for a phone, which is literally the most personal device I can think of. Maybe if you’re handing your phone off to your kid so they can play a game in the car, but that’s it. iPads have multi-user support, which is where that actually makes a lot of sense.
But the real kicker in this closing remark is “seamless updates.” I’m really scratching my head over this one. iPhone updates are a colossal reason that the platform is subjectively better than Android. How exactly is “Google releases update > handset manufacturer releases update for specific phone model > carrier okays update 3 months later” a more seamless process than just going into your settings and pressing “Install update” the day it’s launched, on any iPhone made in the last 4 years?
The person that wrote this is either incredibly disingenuous, braindead, or is so drunk on the Android Kool Aid that s/he’s literally willing to ignore reality.
Remember when I said earlier that I would quantify and qualify my argument that iPhones last longer than Android devices?
I have an iPhone 5 on the shelf across the room. If I wanted to, I could pull it out on Tuesday, press the update button, and be running iOS 10 on a 4 year old phone. Find an Android phone – any Android phone – released in 2012 or earlier that will run Android Nougat. Please, do look. My 2013 Nexus 7 LTE is already obsolete according to Google, and it’s just 3 years old. No Nougat for it.
“Why would you want to use a 4 year old phone anyway?” Some people don’t buy phones every year, some people use hand me downs, whatever. That’s not the point. If you’re going to make the argument that Apple is evil for removing a headphone jack that has at least 2 viable alternatives and other less viable alternatives, but you won’t make the argument that Google is evil for declaring 3 year old devices “end of life,” or other Android handset manufacturers taking months to update their flagship phones with critical releases, then you’re the worst kind of person.
Remember how I said specs aren’t everything? This is a fun one you can’t put on spec sheets. Android has crappy battery life, and Google has been taking steps to remedy that with Doze and Doze on the Go. But in the meantime, handset manufacturers have been trying to remedy that with bigger batteries.
So the fanboys look at the spec sheet and say “3,000 mAh battery in my Android and 1800 mAh battery in your iPhone lolololol” when in reality, the phones have the same battery life in terms of actual usage, or the iPhone totally destroys Android in standby. But wait, that’s still not my point.
So suddenly, batteries in Android take forever to charge because they’re so much bigger (iPhone batteries still charge quickly, something else that rarely makes the spec sheet), so handset manufacturers adopt quick charging formats, and of course, this makes the spec sheets and the Android fanboys go nuts again.
But here’s a fun fact: quick charging technologies literally kill your battery faster than regular charging. Yes, they degrade your battery life over repeated usage. Tesla recommends you use their superchargers only when you need them and not all the time for this very reason. So now, you’ve got a bunch of people out there constantly quickcharging their Android phones, and suddenly their big 3,000 mAh battery isn’t keeping up anymore. My iPhone 6 is at 93% of original battery capacity after 2 years, and it charges quickly. Once again, this doesn’t make the spec sheets.
When I switched to the 2014 Moto X (2 GB of RAM), one of the reasons I switched back to my iPhone 6 (1 GB of RAM) after 3 months was because Android got slow. Very slow. Apparently there was a bug in 5.0 that was fixed in 5.0.1 or 5.1 or whatever it was, but wouldn’t you know that the update that fixed that bug had to go through Motorola first? (Not only that, if you look at comparison videos, Apple devices consistently perform better than Android devices with double or triple the RAM.) So I was stuck on a slow Android release at the mercy of Motorola, even though my Moto X was carrier unlocked and didn’t need to go through anyone past the manufacturer.
The fact is if you don’t buy a Nexus device (or I guess Pixel, pretty soon), this is your life. You’re beholden to the handset manufacturer. Of course, Google is trying to rally them to commit to updating quickly, but it doesn’t matter if this means a 1 month turnaround on updates, or 2 weeks, or 4 days, it doesn’t change the fact that Apple can push updates immediately. Even Microsoft is doing this with Windows 10 for Phones, just like they’ve done on computers for years (can you imagine if every Windows update had to pass through Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc? What a nightmare that would be!).
So maybe if you’re an audiophile with $300 headphones, you’ll have have to adapt to the iPhone 7, or maybe you’ll feel like you’re forced to buy new headphones. But you can buy the iPhone 7 and feel confident, based on an actual track record, that you can use that phone for 4 years. And you won’t have to replace the phone after 2 years because battery capacity was annihilated by quickcharging, and you won’t feel abandoned after 6 months because Motorola stopped supporting it, and you won’t have to wait weeks for under-warranty repairs without a phone like many Android users fall victim to, and you have access to most apps before Android users do.
Look, I don’t even hate Android. I just don’t like Android super-fanboys, or people that rabidly hate Apple because ‘muh walled garden’ or whatever the hell it is that makes them so angry about life in general. A lot of Android devices are really cool and do have features that iPhones just don’t have, but you can’t pretend like Android is objectively better than iOS. It’s such an asinine outlook to have, and requires such a narrow view on reality to maintain.
Maybe it feels like the iPhone 7 not having a headphone jack is a big deal right now, but rest assured, Tim Cook isn’t on his way to your house to burn it down (I think that’s currently Samsung’s job…whooaaa sick Galaxy Note 7 burn).