July 2016, marked a milestone in the history of my smart device principle. I made a move, I have been asking people to avoid. Finally bought an Apple smartphone, the latest variant iPhone 6S (space-grey). The iOS 10 announcement, succeeded in getting me interested in the iPhone. Overtaking my Andro-mind. This was a good reason, compelling enough to burn the hole in my pocket. Opening the possibilities of doing better reviews from the perspective of Android and iOS. After a lot of to 'n' fro, I picked up the iPhone 6S. This replaced my Nexus 5. I still carry the [Nexus 6P] along with iPhone 6S.
My experience with stable iOS 9.3.x lasted only 4.5 days after which I switched to iOS 10. So I may list down features that you've not experienced yet, which may or may not arrive on the final release of iOS 10. This post will have references to features on beta iOS 10 with beta Android Nougat.
The moment I held the iPhone 6S for the first time, the slim profile amazed me. Few times I went looking for my phone while it was in my denim pocket, all due to apt size and being slim. The metal material is tough (no more bend-gate, google it) yet smooth. The material did not feel slippery at all. I'd rate it better than Nexus 6P when it comes to grip on both these metal phones.
The 4.7" size is ideal for one-handed control. At times, I was struggling to reach the top corners, a quick double-tap on the Home button helped. Oh! First, let me tell you something about the Home button, I wasn't aware of. There are two ways to use it, tap and a click (physical pressing the button). Going back, the double tap lowers the display to the middle of the screen. Making it easy to reach those top corners. A quick double-click of the Home button shows the apps running in the background.
[TIP: Do not remove apps from the background, it does not save the battery. This, in turn, will consume more resources when you launch the app again]
iPhones have always had the Silent switch. This is useful when you want to mute the ringer. This saved me from unlocking the phone to silent the ringer by pressing the volume down key. Talking of ringer, the volume key controls all the sounds on the phone. There is no way to setup the volume of the phone, notification, keyboard or even media separately. Media is quite dear to Apple. Media links to the speakers, which is placed at the bottom. They are loud and clear, there are chances of these getting covered when you hold the phone in landscape. This is best handled by the front-firing speakers on the Nexus 6P.
iPhone 6S has a feature called 3D Touch. Apple has planted sensors on the display, which detect the amount of pressure applied on the touch screen. This allows the display to detect a touch (normal tapping), touch to move the icons or uninstall the apps and the 3D Touch for additional action. 3D Touch is much like a right click on the computers. It requires time to adapt the change. 3D Touch has some nifty tricks up its sleeve, check this out.
The 3D Touch also turns the keyboard into a trackpad. While editing the text, press hard on the keyboard and now you can use it as the trackpad. It enables a cursor to move to any position in the text field.
Nexus 6P had me addicted to the fingerprint scanner. Known as the Touch ID on the iPhones. Touch ID is present well throughout the iOS for secure authentication. eliminating the use of password where-ever possible. The location of the fingerprint scanner on iPhone 6S is in the Home button, I've come to terms with it. Home button integration allows quick unlock. iPhone allows only 5 fingerprints, which is same as on Android. The Home button offers a feature, to enable the screen brightness when it is about the auto-lock.
Now if both Nexus and iPhone could use this scanner to scroll within apps, that will be super awesome.
Battery is like another feather in the iPhone 6S's hat. Looking at the specifications it might look small compared to Nexus 6P, at just 1715mAh. This in reality stands at par with Nexus's massive 3450mAh. It makes through the whole day with the similar usage as on Nexus, all thanks to iOS power optimisations. The Lightening Charger does a great job with charging the device rapidly.
iOS compared to Android is not as customisable. This is due to iOS being a closed operating system. This control of Apple over the platform ensure delivery of more streamlined interface across. All apps, native or 3rd party follow the strict User Interface guidelines set by Apple. Due to this control by Apple, even Google apps look better on iOS.
Something quite small yet noticeable, the switch in the colour of the status bar. The colour of icons changes to black or white depending on the background is well implemented. iOS delivers a uniform experience of the text selection commands across. This is true for the sharing menu too. To share media among the native apps or 3rd party messengers, the interface is same. Message app on iOS is quite an intelligent app. Message knows when you are texting to another iPhone user and uses data instead of SMS for delivery. During the time when data is not working (mobile or even wifi), the same and deliver your message via SMS.
Recently, Apple (with iOS 9) and Google (Android Nougat beta) introduced the Night Shift. Night Shift, changes the colours of the screen to make them more yellow at night. This makes the screen look less glaring in the darkness of the evening. It's said to make it easier to go to sleep after looking at your device. Night Shift can be setup to work based on the sunset and sunrise times. This requires access to location settings. I've been using an app [f.Lux] for a long time. f.lux enables the same feature on the Mac. Check their website, it works for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
iOS has one more useful gesture feature that has made the life easy. Across all apps, tapping on the status bar takes you to the top of the screen. This gesture comes handy, when viewing the contacts, messages, telegram chats or google plus stream to jump to top.
My MacBook has found a companion in the iPhone. The integration (understanding) between the two delivers a WOW experience. MacBook and iPhone maybe used to access URLs opened on each other, like a sync. I can now dial numbers on my iPhone via the MacBook.
Airdrop is a great feature when you have a Mac and an iPhone (or any iOS device). AirDrop lets you transfer files between the two devices from Apple. It uses Bluetooth to discover and connect via ad-hoc Wi-Fi to transfer data. This makes it fast and secure. It works for photos, videos, contacts, map locations, and more.
Additionally, I bought an app MacID. It uses iPhone's Touch ID or vicinity to allow locking/unlocking the MacBook. MacID even works with Apple Watch to allow control of MacBook. It even features an option to setup a custom tapping pattern on the touchpad to unlock.
Next level of integration between the Mac and iPhone is Personal Hotspot. Once the Hotspot setup on the iPhone, Mac can request for enabling the hotspot on demand. WiFi menu on the Mac lists a new section called Personal Hotspot. This section would show the iPhone along with mobile data network type - 2G, 3G or 4G. Once selected, the hotspot gets activated on the iPhone 6S. After the completion of the task, the same gets disconnected via the Mac itself as well.
iPhone has been the envy for the Android users in one aspect, the Camera. iPhone shoots some great photos. Over the last one month, I've been using the iPhone and Nexus cameras side by side for comparisons. The photos from Nexus 6P are better than any other Android phone. iPhone still delivers better colours and faster. The area when Nexus beats iPhone is during low light situations.
Both iPhone and Nexus have the HDR feature. HDR is when the camera takes 3 photos with varied exposure to get better pictures. The phone usually takes the time to process these photos and present the output. iPhone is way faster than the Nexus to process the HDR photos. There is no option to make the camera stick to the HDR for all photos as possible on the Nexus.
iPhone also packs a neat camera feature called Live Photos. This was first available on the BlackBerry phones running BB10 OS and later on HTC phones as Zoe. A Live Photo, captures 1.5 seconds of audio-video. This is both before and after you press the shutter button to capture the shot. As an add-on to a 12 megapixel still JPEG image, you also get a 3-second Live Photo. A Live Photo works only with other iOS 9 devices such as an iPhone or iPad. These maybe shared using Messages, AirDrop or iCloud Photo Sharing.
The camera allows different modes for videos: Time-Lapse, Slo-Mo and Video (4K support). For still photos: regular Photo, Square (instagram’ed) and Panorama.
One thing quite consistent on the Android phones is the notification light. I miss it on the iPhone. It would have been great, had Apple added the notification to the Home button ring. To resolve this, Apple did include the Raise to wake on the iOS 10. The screen turns on, the moment you pick up the iPhone, much like the Ambient display on Android.
iPhone lacks the option to quick launch the camera. To launch the camera, the screen has to be ON, then swipe from right to left.
iOS while being quite streamlined and under control lacks few things. A major challenge, the app sizes are large on iOS compared to the Android versions.
No wonder my 16GB iPhone 6S, will not survive for too long.
The Phone app, requires some skills when coming from Nexus ecosystem. The app does not have a global contact search option. To search for a contact, you need to be on the Contacts tab. Nexus (vanilla android) on the other hand allows for easy searching of the contacts. iPhone has added an extra step to make a call. Its even more complex when making a call from the exchange address book.
iOS way of handling the volume is different. There is no way to control volume for ringer, notifications, media and the keyboard. Increasing or decreasing impact all at the same time.
Last but not the least, iPhone has restricted my experience with my Pebble Time. It lowered the worth of Pebble Time to the level of my Original Pebble. iOS does not allow using the reply feature on the Pebble. It only allows to receive notifications and not revert to them. The microphone for voice to text has become useless as well. Apple wants people to hook on to Apple Watch, which is not fair. Apple needs to appreciate the other technologies as well. Pebble for me still rocks, only if other smartwatches could get similar battery life experience I'd switch.
I never thought I'd own an iPhone. I'm happy to be exploring a new world. I'm enjoying the iOS 10. Running the beta operating system has its own risks too, to which I've adapted over the years.
Exploring the iPhone needs more time. There are more features that I need to understand and relish. I've not used the inbuilt apps much, like health, Apple Music, Maps, iCloud storage and much more. Keeping in mind the restrictions as well.
I think I'll stick with both the iPhone 6S and Nexus 6P. Each of these has its own Pro's & Con's. Not to forget I'd be able to taste two pies at the same time.
-- Sign off !!!