Might I Switch?

Apple announced their new iPhone(s) today, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  As a confessed gadget geek, I thought I’d throw my two cents in and discuss if these phones are, as the Apple spin team put it, “The best phones ever made.”

If you are asking yourself, “should I get the new iPhone?”, I will answer your question with a question of my own.  How invested into the Apple ecosystem are you?  Do you use an iMac desktop or a MacBook laptop or an iPad?  An AppleTV and iTunes for music and videos?  Own a previous generation iPhone with purchases from the App Store?  Buying a new iPhone isn’t so much about purchasing new hardware, but about buying into the entire philosophy of Apple’s technical engineers.

So, if you have invested years of your life in using Apple’s tech, it is a safe bet to stay where you are.  All of Apple’s products work flawlessly with each other.  On the other hand, if you are willing to make the jump to Android, or even Windows Phone, there will be a price to pay; from buying all your favorite apps all over again to learning a brand new operating system.

My first smartphone was an iPhone 4.  I loved it and thought it was one of the best things I’d ever owned.  I’ve been a Mac computer guy for a very long time, and the two accessorized each other very well.  I held onto that iPhone 4 for almost two years before switching over to Android on the Samsung Galaxy S2.  I couldn’t believe how much more I loved Android.  So many choices!  The iPhone was (and still is) a walled garden.  You get what Apple gives you and that is it.  Don’t like the keyboard on the iPhone? Tough.  Android was ALL about diversity and customization and I really loved that.

This particular blog post will not comment on the Smartphone OS Wars, saying which is better or not.  I want to explore the difference between the newly announced, 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus and the newly announced 5.7 inch Samsung Galaxy Note 4.  I’d like to verbalize my inner thought process as to which phone I would rather spend my hard earned cash on.

I’ve owned the Galaxy Note 1, Note 2, and Note 3 and absolutely loved the larger form factor.  Each iteration only improved upon the latter.  I’d say that the Note 3 is still the king of the Android phones, even though it is a year old.  I actually used the stylus often and the Note 3’s Super AMOLED 1080p screen was gorgeous.

Now comes the Note 4.  Quad HD Display.  1440×2560 display, packing in 551 pixels-per-inch. 32 gigabytes of internal storage, with an SD Card slot that can hold another 128 gigs.  3 gigs of RAM and a quad-core 2.7Ghz CPU.  3,300 mAh battery! Removable back for easy battery replacement. 16 megapixel camera with built in optical image stabilization.  Wireless AC capabilities.  True multi-window multitasking.  This beast of a machine looks so, so beautiful on paper.

If the above paragraph was in another language to you, don’t worry.  Most non-geeks have no idea what most of that means.  Trust me.  It is the new King of the Androids.

Today Apple announced iPhone 6 Plus, a direct competitor of the Note 4.

Sir Jonny Ives explains the iPhone’s huge success over the years:  the integration of hardware and software.  Apple has never been big on comparing spec sheets.  You won’t find how much RAM is in the iPhone 6 Plus.  All you need to know is that it is an A8 chip that Apple themselves developed.  Remember that walled garden I mentioned earlier?  When Apple manufactures the hardware, right down to the CPU, AND Apple writes the software to run most efficiently on that hardware, the results are incredible.

Apple did release some specs for the new iPhone 6 plus.  1080×1980 screen resolution with 401 pixels-per-inch in the screen. A8 chip.  8 megapixel rear camera with some very advanced optics that rival a high end DSLR camera.  NFC chip that will work with the newly enhanced TouchID fingerprint sensor to take the hassle and insecurity out of credit card purchases.  The iPhone 6 Plus does have optical image stabilization as well.

On paper, the Note 4 beats iPhone 6 Plus into a bloody little pulp.  Somehow, though, Apple uses their magic secret sauce to make this phone seem like a real contender.  Believe me, I absolutely do not buy into the Apple hype machine.  I love, love my MacBook Pro, but haven’t loved an iPhone in quite a long time.  iPhone 6 plus makes me think differently.

Let’s make a Pros/Cons list of both the Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Pros for the Note 4

Spec’d out beyond belief!!
Quad HD Display!!
Open ecosystem that gives the user complete control over your phone.
Will play any video or music file out of the box.  .avi? .mkv? .mp4?  .aac? .aiff? .flac? doesn’t matter.
S-pen stylus that works very well
Industry standard micro-USB connector
I’m completely bought into the Android ecosystem already
Expandable storage
Replaceable battery

Cons for the Note 4

(not only does AT&T infest the phone with their crap, so does Samsung)
Touchwiz (Samsung’s version of Android. which can be replaced by a third party launcher)
Does not work well with a Macbook.  have to used the horrible Android Transfer Program
Even though the camera says 16 megapixels, Samsung’s camera software is crap

Pros for iPhone 6 Plus

Nice big display that is full 1080p
Best camera available on any smartphone that is made today
Integrates seamlessly with my MacBook
No bloatware besides Apple’s two or three apps
I can still use all my Google apps on an iPhone
240 frames per second slow motion video recording
TouchID home button that integrates seamlessly with ApplePay
iOS 8 is finally opened up for developers and users can choose different keyboards and personalize the phone a little
128 gigabyte model is available for the first time

Cons for iPhone 6 Plus

1080p displays are so last year.  I want 2k!
No expandable storage
No replaceable battery
Still a very closed system.  Can only play .mp4 movies without a special app.
I would have to buy my apps all over again from iTunes
Proprietary connectors for charging
Much more expensive then the Note 4

Thankfully I’m in a spot where I don’t feel pressure to get either phone the second they are released.  I’ll let you all get one or the other and then tell me how you like them!

In case you missed the Keynote, you can view it by going to Apple’s website.  or you can check out The Verge‘s coverage below.





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