Moving from Windows Phone to iPhone – Day 13 and FINAL!

To start, the usual disclaimers:

  • I’m a Microsoft employee, and the opinions shared here are my own and not those from my employer.
  • Most of my experience with Windows Phone has been with the Lumia 920, 1020 and 530, so some of these remarks are only applicable to those phones.
  • Despite over 2 decades of history using Microsoft products, I’m trying to be as objective as possible.

Now, the post.

First, I want to apologize for not updating my blog since last week. As I mentioned before, I want my blogging to be fun and achievable and not a chore.

Another reason why I haven’t posted anything, and perhaps the main reason, is because I’ve been feeling pretty conflicted about my final decision between keeping my iPhone or going back to a Windows Phone. So without any further delay or suspense, today I decided to go back to a Windows Phone and the winner was the beautiful HTC One with Windows!

I love my new phone and while I was a little concerned about the size of it and how well it would fit in my hand, I have to say that it feels pretty good. But I want to add some detail explaining my final decision, so here we go:

Things I will miss from iPhone 6.

  • The hardware. This is perhaps THE one thing I’ll miss the most. I said it before and I will continue saying it, Apple has built an amazing device. It’s light, feels solid, fits great in my hand and the screen resolution is superior.
  • The Apple Store. Ok, I will not miss it too much. After all, I’m not one of those who installs tons of apps. I try to keep it to only those applications that I know I’ll use. The only app that I will really miss and that is not available yet in the Windows Store is Monument Valley.

Things I will not miss from iPhone 6.

  • Bluetooth. In a matter of just 4 days, my old iPhone dropped about 6 calls when using a Bluetooth connection with 3 different devices. Perhaps I got a defective phone? If that’s so, then that’s only more argument for my next topic.
  • Apple’s software quality. For the longest time, Apple was the poster child when it came to software quality. Apple customers raved about the quality of its products. However, if you search the Internet or follow some of the most important technology magazines online, you’ll see that in the last year or so there have been an increasing number of articles talking about the decline of Apple’s products/software quality. And I got to feel it for myself. I had a number of applications crashing at least once on me, and sad enough, the one crashing the most was a very popular game these days. I won’t mention the name of it as I don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of having played it, but for sure is at the top of Apple’s chart.
  • The Camera. Yes, it could arguably be the fastest camera in the Wild West. But it is terrible with low light conditions. It even resulted in a decrease on my Instagram posts. However, this is more a testimony to the great cameras in all the high-end Lumias than the software itself.
  • The Home Screen. I only installed about 20 application on my iPhone and I even created app groups and deleted some that came with the phone in order to try to keep my screen as clean as possible. Unfortunately, iOS just doesn’t do a good job in keeping the home screen clean. It can get really messy really fast.
  • iPhone adds on Facebook. I cross my fingers that Facebook will not bring Windows adds to its Windows Phone counterpart.

So with all these positive and not-so-positive points about iPhone, I think it’s only fair to mention the reasons why I like Windows Phone.

  • Live tiles. It’s so great being able to get a snapshot of the local weather, or a stock quote, or a recent Facebook post just by looking at the application’s tile and not having to execute it. And not only that, but it brings life to the phone!
  • Apps screen. It’s so easy to navigate. You just scroll up, down or search by the first letter of the app name. And it keeps the full list of apps in a space, leaving the Start screen for you to make it yours! Do you want your favorite apps in the Start Screen? You just pin it there. Do you want your favorite people at the tip of your fingers? You just pin their contact tile on, yeah, the Start Screen.
  • Calendar and email snapshots in the lock screen. I don’t want to see the sender or the subject text when I get new emails. In that way, I’m very minimalistic. I just need to see the envelope icon showing me the number of new emails I’ve got since the last time I went to the Outlook client. And I can also see the title, room and time of my next meeting. All of that without having to unlock my phone and without eating my battery life. Yes, iPhone allows you to see new emails and calendar reminders on the lock screen, but not as clean and with such simplistic approach as Windows.
  • Cortana. She is a really smart cookie, and I love how sassy she can be. She has personality and can hold a conversation with you, or to be precise, she has contextual search. What is contextual search? It means that if you first ask her “What’s the weather in Seattle?” she will give you the answer, and then you can ask her “What about Boston?” and here is where the magic happens: she will understand that what you are asking about is the weather in Boston, without having to explicitly ask about the weather. Siri, well, she just doesn’t know how to hold a conversation. And let’s not even say anything about the fact that she doesn’t tell you jokes.

So there you have it. I ended up going back to Windows as my phone platform. Not really because I was used to it, but because it clearly was the best solution for my needs. There are other minor things that contributed to my decision, but I’ll keep this post short. Apple has great products, but it feels like they are lagging in innovation, and in their effort to accelerate their release cycles, they are sacrificing the quality they were known for. It was a great ride and I had fun. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough.

As for this blog, well, I’ve been thinking of a couple topics I would like to write about… but that is something for our next post.

Until then, have fun!

Pablo.

Moving from Windows Phone to iPhone – Days 7 and 8

Between the first day of work after the holidays and going back to my gym routine, I was too tired to write yesterday’s post when I got home. One thing I’m reminding myself is to make this blogging experience a fun activity and not a chore. So this post will cover the last two days with my iPhone.

Now, the everlasting disclaimers:

  • I’m a Microsoft employee, and the opinions shared here are my own and not those from my employer.
  • Most of my experience with Windows Phone has been with the Lumia 920, 1020 and 530, so some of these remarks are only applicable to those phones.
  • Despite over 2 decades of history using Microsoft products, I’m trying to be as objective as possible.

Going back to a normal working rhythm meant that I had to use my iPhone a lot more for work-related activities, namely, reading and replying to work e-mail and checking my calendar. I also went back to my gym routine, so I put my iPhone to the test as a music device. Here is what I found:

  • The Windows Phone Outlook client is second to none. Granted, my work e-mail service is delivered by Microsoft’s Office 365, so it only makes sense that our own e-mail client in our mobile OS has to excel at it. I’ve tried the iPhone native e-mail client, Acompli, and Microsoft’s OWA for iOS and my conclusion is that the iPhone native client is the one I feel more comfortable with so far. I do miss the ability to create individual live tiles for each e-mail account, which makes it a lot easier to separate work and personal e-mail. With the iPhone and Acompli e-mail clients, I have to constantly switch between mailboxes which means some more clicks than I was used to. I didn’t set up my personal e-mail on OWA for iOS, but I did find that its performance is not the best. On its defense though, it was the only client that allowed me to read e-mails protected with Rights Management Services without any special configuration, and its UI was very familiar to me.
  • My iPhone’s battery life is the same as what I had with my Lumia 1020. This is the consequence of reading a lot more e-mail on the go than during the holidays as well as checking my calendar more often. Since I listen to music during my gym routine, and I use a Bluetooth headset for this, I had to charge my iPhone before going to the gym. The good news was that after 90 minutes of listening to music, I was glad to see that my battery charge had only gone down by 10%, so music playing doesn’t seem to be too taxing.
  • I need to find a good podcast client. I love listening to music or podcasts during my commute to and from work. Today was the first time I used the podcast client on my iPhone, and to my surprise, after subscribing to three of my favorite podcasts, I had to kill and re-start the podcast client at least four times until it started working. Another annoying thing is that one of my podcast subscriptions got duplicated, that is, it showed listed twice in the client. Changing the settings on one of them, replicated the same change on the other. I was able to delete one of them but this was clearly a bug.
  • TouchID rocks! I configured this feature yesterday afternoon, and I love it. I haven’t used it with Apple Pay yet, but I love how I can now unlock my iPhone, or authorize the purchase of applications on the Apple Store, just with my finger print.
  • Some iPhone users love Windows Phone, but…  I’ve chatted with a few iPhone users lately, and I’ve been surprised to hear that a few of them love Windows Phone and think that its OS and UI are a lot better. Still, there are two common themes that come out as reasons not to switch to Windows Phone:
    • The lack of applications in the Microsoft Store. This is no news, and possibly the one reason why Windows Phone takes a third place after Android and iOS in the smartphone market.
    • The lack of high-end Windows Phones other than the Lumia 1020, 1520 and HTC One. The hardware and features of these devices are great. However, people would like a Windows Phone with a great camera, great construction, and that fits in their hand. Not everybody wants a fablet and with the Lumia 1020 being over a year old, some people are turning to non-Windows devices. In fact, this was one of the reasons that made me experiment with the iPhone 6 in the first place.

At the end of my 8th day with my iPhone, I’m realizing that I’m getting increasingly bored of its UI. And the more applications I install, the more cluttered the phone gets. If you would ask me today, I think that there would be a good chance of me going back to Windows Phone. But the finish line is 6 days away, and I won’t make a final decision until then.

Pablo.

Moving from Windows Phone to iPhone – Days 5 and 6

It’s the last weekend before going back to our regular rhythm of work. So I decided to take it slow and relax as much as I could. That’s why this posts covers both days 5 and 6 of my iPhone evaluation period.

Before we move forward:

  • I’m a Microsoft employee, and the opinions shared here are my own and not those from my employer.
  • Most of my experience with Windows Phone has been with the Lumia 920, 1020 and 530, so some of these remarks are only applicable to those phones.
  • Despite over 2 decades of history using Microsoft products, I’m trying to be as objective as possible.

Part of having a relaxed weekend was to actually play with my phone, and so I found some new things I wanted to write about:

  • Apps do crash on an iPhone. People tend to think that things can only go wrong on Windows platforms. Well, I’ve experienced at least 3 app crashes on my iPhone so it’s confirmed, things are not always perfect on the second most popular mobile OS in the world (Android taking the first place). But this is not meant to be a critic to Apple or the quality of their products. It’s only a reminder to people that sometimes, we try to make things look better than they really are. The one thing that I think iOS does better is that apps seem to have a more graceful crash. They just close, while the rest of software on the phone just keeps running without impact.
  • Windows Phone is more organized when it comes to listing apps. Not a new topic but one that gets more and more evident, and annoying, in time. As expected, the more I play with my iPhone, the more apps I discover and install on it. The result: a very cluttered home page, now expanding to 4 pages despite my efforts to group applications. Windows Phone definitely excels in this aspect and I think is because it clearly separates its home page, where you can pin your favorite applications’ live tiles, and the page where you can scroll through all your installed apps. In iOS, there’s no such separation and it can get very busy very fast.
  • More free apps on Windows Phone? My impression so far has been that there are more free apps on the Windows Phone platform than on iOS, and when I say this, I mean useful applications and not just games or limited trials. This is perhaps a reflection of trying to have users move to Windows Phone from other mobile platforms, or maybe I just originally installed them on my Windows Phone during a limited promotion. The fact is that a lot of the apps I would like to install on my iPhone are paid. Until I don’t make a final decision about staying with iPhone or not, I will not invest too much $$ on this platform.
  • One more USB cable to carry with me. One of the most annoying things to me in regards to mobile devices, is the need for having to carry multiple USB charging cables. This is the case of the iPhone Lightning USB cable. But to be fair, this is not unique to Apple. When I got my Surface Pro 3, which I love, the one thing that bothered me was its proprietary charging cable. And then we have the new USB charging cable for the Microsoft Band. At this point, the only mobile device I own which has an industry-standard USB cable is my Kindle. And yes! I bring all these four mobile devices with me whenever I go out of town. Does Samsonite have a charging cable carry-on?
  • OneDrive integrates well with iPhone. One of my concerns was that I’ve been an OneDrive user since it first released under the name of SkyDrive. All my mobile pictures are stored there and while I don’t revisit them often, I know they are all there whenever I want to have a flash back. While subscribing to iCloud for backing up my phone content and settings and for enabling Find my iPhone, I was a little worried that my pictures would now be stored on a second cloud repository. However, all my pics are being saved in both places and I don’t even remember how or when I set it up that way. The fact is that, since installing OneDrive on my iPhone, it started happening.

I’m almost half-way through my 14-day window before I have to make a final decision, and all I can say is that I truly don’t know what my decision will be. Windows Phone has a much better UI and integration with my other Windows devices, but iOS has a very rich app store and the hardware design is superb!

Stay tuned.

Pablo.

Moving from Windows Phone to iPhone – Day 4

Another day, another posts. But as usual, and by now you may be tired of this but it is still necessary, a few reminders:

  • I’m a Microsoft employee, and the opinions shared here are my own and not those from my employer.
  • Most of my experience with Windows Phone has been with the Lumia 920, 1020 and 530, so some of these remarks are only applicable to those phones.
  • Despite over 2 decades of history using Microsoft products, I’m trying to be as objective as possible.

So what did I find today?

  • The iOS 8.1 user guide doesn’t have a good search engine. When trying to find where the Location Settings options are located in my phone’s settings, and after looking on my phone without success, I turned to the user guide. When searching for “Location Services”, I got 52 entries. I actually did go through the result list and none of the titles were clear enough to find the correct instructions. So, I narrowed down the search and looked for “Location Services Settings” and this time I got 193 entries! Conclusion: Apple should really use Bing for all their search features and not only for Siri.
  • The iPhone community to the rescue! It seems that a few people are actually reading this blog and one of my friends, Ev, came to the rescue to help me improve my iPhone’s battery life. The truth is that, since the day I got my iPhone, several people have contributed to my learning process and to improving how I set up my phone. This could be a reflection of the number of iPhone users out there versus those on Windows Phone, but also of how nice my friends are J.
  • Settings options are a lot easier to find on Windows Phone. The settings page in Windows Phone has been criticized a couple of times for having too many options. But guess what, those are absolutely all the setting options and they are all at the root level and not nested one or two levels deep inside other settings. No wonder why there are several books about how to use iPhones.
  • Some Windows Phone apps are better than their iPhone counterparts. As most of Windows Phone users know, some of the most popular iPhone apps are not available from their original developers, but there are alternative apps. A great example is Instagram, and it’s Windows Phone version, 6tag. In most cases, the alternative Windows Phone app is actually better than the original. And yes, I know there is Instagram Beta for Windows Phone, but I just find 6tag to have better filters and a slightly better UI.
  • FaceTime versus Skype. Both FaceTime and Skype integrate with their respective phones’ dialer and both of them work flawlessly in each platform. I guess that the only advantage of FaceTime over Skype, is that the former comes by default in iPhone, while Skype needs to be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. So other than that, there is no much that I can say about this one.

I’ll stop here for now. We’ll see what I’ll learn tomorrow.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Pablo.

Moving from Windows Phone to iPhone – Day 3

Happy New Year Everybody!

This blog post comes one day late. On my defense, I needed some rest on the first day of 2015. But before I get into it, a few reminders:

  • I’m a Microsoft employee, and the opinions shared here are my own and not those from my employer.
  • Most of my experience with Windows Phone has been with the Lumia 920, 1020 and 530, so some of these remarks are only applicable to those phones.
  • Despite over 2 decades of history using Microsoft products, I’m trying to be as objective as possible.

My report will also be short, but I want to mention a few points based on my experience so far.

  • The more I use my iPhone, the more comfortable I fell with it. I think this was to be expected and not necessarily a reflection of the quality of one or another platform. However, this also means that I haven’t found any solid reason not to use my iPhone, which in itself, it is a positive note in favor of iPhone.
  • I have a new favorite, and very addictive game: Monument Valley. Thanks Chris for the suggestion! Now, the point here is that this is one of many apps and games not yet available for Windows Phone. There is no need to go deeper into this topic as this is perhaps the one argument iPhone and Android users use all the time: the richness of their respective app stores.
  • I still miss my Windows Phone live tiles. Enough said!
  • Pictures quality. By now, I have taken a number of pictures and every time I have to remind myself: “my iPhone is not a professional camera, my iPhone is not a professional camera”. I never had that thought when using my Lumia 1020 and its 41 megapixel camera. Camera quality is definitely a huge differentiator between iPhone and the high-end Windows Phone devices. But, I have captured a couple of great moments thanks to how fast the iPhone camera is.

That’s it for now.

Pablo.

Moving from Windows Phone to iPhone – Day 2

By the time you read these notes, I’ve been using my new iPhone 6 for over 24 hours and I thought I should document my transition during the next few days, and most importantly, my final decision between staying with iPhone or going back to Windows Phone. But before I share my thoughts, some important notes:

  • I’m a Microsoft employee, and the opinions shared here are my own and not those from my employer.
  • Most of my experience with Windows Phone has been with the Lumia 920, 1020 and 530, so some of these remarks are only applicable to those phones.
  • Despite over 2 decades of history using Microsoft products, I’m trying to be as objective as possible.

So here I go, my impressions so far:

Most impressive things from iPhone 6/iOS:

  • It’s very slick and responsive. No lagging at all so far, but of course, that could change as I discover and install more complex apps.
  • The phone feels great in my hand. I have been able to do everything single-handed. Unfortunately, Windows Phone doesn’t have a high-end phone that fits this well in my hand and in my pocket. This was the first thing that motivated me to explore other options, but not the only one.
  • The construction of the iPhone feels solid and very high-quality. This doesn’t mean that the Lumias 920 and 1020 doesn’t feel good, but I love the metallic feel of the iPhone. Perhaps the HTC One for Windows Phone has a better feeling, but the size of that phone does not appeal to me.
  • Taking a picture is super fast. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have used a Lumia 1020, or read reviews and comparisons on the Internet. Loading the default camera app on a 1020 and taking/saving a picture takes a few precious seconds. Given that I take a lot of pics with my phone, this is a key factor for me. I lost count of how many great moments I couldn’t capture with my phone just because the delay in taking the picture.
  • The screen definition is impressive. I’m not going to go into technical details, but the definition and resolution of the iPhone 6 seem superior to those of the Lumia 920 and 1020. So no matter how many technical details we throw at this topic, perception is the final judge.
  • Setting up my e-mail accounts was easy-breezy. I was actually expecting issues when integrating with my work’s O365 e-mail account, but it actually works great.
  • Siri is not Cortana, but she’s not so bad after all. It appears that the people at Apple are working on improving some of the shortcomings from Siri. It even has some traces of personality and even a little sarcasm, which I miss from Cortana. For example, I asked Siri “What do you think about Cortana?” and the answer was “It doesn’t really matter what I think about that”.
  • Siri understands me every single time. Yes, I have a thick Spanish accent and that’s no secret to anybody. So finally, having a voice activated app that gets me all the time is just fantastic. Cortana may be destined to save the Universe in some 500 years from now, and yet, she doesn’t understand me all the time.

Some not so impressive things of the iPhone 6:

  • I had an old apple ID that I created a while ago. However, when trying to subscribe to iCloud in order to backup my settings and content, the configuration wizard on the phone will just not accept my apple ID and it’s asking me to create a new one. Why? I have no clue, in particular when my apple ID works perfect when accessing and downloading content from the App Store and iTunes. I plan to visit an apple store sometime this weekend.
  • It took me a lot to figure out how to disable vibrations for my notifications. I have 4 e-mail accounts I setup on the phone, including my work’s O365 e-mail account. While disabling sounds and screen notifications for the accounts was not hard to figure out, the option to disable vibration was so hidden, that even the people at the store where I bought the phone (a major US carrier) couldn’t figure it out. I actually found it with them. The reason why disabling vibrating notifications is so important to me is a key one: battery life. With vibrating notifications over my work e-mail, my battery went down from 100% to 64% in only 5 hours. And this is during the current holiday time when I’m only getting about 10 e-mails an hour.
  • Battery life. Several people told me that their batteries are lasting longer than 24 hours. Well, I may need your secret OR I have a defective phone. I disabled almost all types of notifications, and finally vibrating notifications, and by 3pm I had to charge my phone again. Granted, I’m a smartphone addict and I use my phones a lot. To be fair, this is exactly the same experience I had with my old Lumia 1020, so for me, battery life continues to be an issue.
  • Facebook integration. This is an area where Windows Phone really shines. What I miss the most is the ability to import my contacts’ Facebook pictures into my contact list. Well, no such luck on the iPhone so far. Another question I will leave for my visit to the Apple store. Ideas?
  • There is no Outlook mobile client like the one in Windows Phone. Even though the native e-mail client in my iPhone works flawlessly so far, the UI and overall user experience is far from that on Windows Phone. I also installed Acompli, which was recently acquired by Microsoft. While the experience improved a little, I still miss my Windows Phone outlook client.
  • I miss my live tiles! This is perhaps the thing I miss the most from my old phone. My iPhone main screen not only looks a little cluttered even after creating groups of apps, but it is just boring.
  • The camera is ok but it is not the best. Of course this is a point that only applies to the Lumia 1020, and perhaps the 1520. The quality of the pictures taken with a 1020 are far beyond and one very important feature that not everybody knows about: the Lumia 1020 saves pictures in RAW (.dng) format which is perfect if you are into post-processing with professional editing tools.
  • Adds on the Facebook app for iPhone. I’m not even going to go there on this one. Sometimes, not being in the mobile devices radar from Facebook is a positive thing.

So this is it for today. Sorry if this was too long, but the first 24 hours were the most interesting. I expect my next updates to be more focused on specific features and apps, and shorter for sure.

Happy New Year Everybody!