If you want to buy an iPhone, you are typically faced with three choices:
- What size screen do you want?
- How much built-in storage do you need?
- Which colour option is your favourite?
And that’s all that’s needed.
iPhone owners often take flak for this from non-Apple users, and they are portrayed as “attention seekers” or “posers” who use the smartphone as a fashion accessory.
This was undoubtedly the case last week when Apple launched its Purple iPhone 12 in South Africa, with the only new feature being the colour of its body.
The fact that choosing which colour iPhone you would like is one of the more difficult decisions when buying the device is not a negative, however.
It speaks to the fact that Apple has done something many tech companies cannot achieve – get users to trust them.
iOS vs Android
Apple has built trust among its iPhone user base by providing them with high-quality devices that work well.
No matter which iPhone you buy, there is never any worry about it not being “powerful” enough to run apps or whether it will or won’t receive software updates after a year or two of ownership.
Granted, even an entry-level iPhone is more expensive than competing smartphones running Android, but that price difference buys you peace of mind.
Apple has a huge advantage because they have full control. Apple builds both the iPhone hardware and controls the iOS operating system. This allows the company to provide an incredibly smooth user experience and excellent user support.
A great example of this is when you look at device compatibility at an operating system level.
Apple iOS 14, the latest version of the software, supports devices all the way back to the iPhone 6s – a smartphone which was launched in September 2015.
Full software support for a smartphone which is almost six years old is almost unheard of – especially when you consider Apple’s competitors Samsung and Huawei, and their relationship with Android.
Android smartphone users are often left hanging when a new version of Android is released, thanks to their device manufacturer.
The issue is so prevalent that Google, the primary developer of Android, launched the Android One programme.
The aim of Android One is to ensure that smartphones which take part in the programme “receive at least two years of operating system upgrades”.
Apple also pushes out its iOS updates to iPhones around the world in large waves – and when the update is released, you receive it.
It is not the same for Android smartphones, particularly in South Africa, as both the phone manufacturer and your mobile network – Vodacom, MTN, etc – have to coordinate to deliver the latest version of the operating system.
This has resulted in delays for Samsung devices in the past.
With Huawei, the situation is much worse.
Following political wrangling between the US and China, Huawei was blocked from using Google Mobile Services.
While Huawei smartphones can still use Android – as Android is based on Linux, which is open source – the “Android” everyone knows and uses on their phones contains Google Mobile Services.
Google Mobile Services is a set of applications and APIs that gives you access to Google services like Google Maps and Gmail, and your third-party apps are built to work in this ecosystem.
Without access to Google Mobile Services, Huawei has been forced to develop its own app store and Huawei Mobile Services. Huawei is also developing its own mobile operating system for new smartphones.
It just works
The iPhone delivers a smooth user experience regardless of which model you purchase, for two reasons.
One, Apple builds both the hardware and software for the iPhone. This means it can create the hardware and software to work exceptionally well with the other at all times.
Two, is that Apple uses powerful components and high-quality materials throughout the device.
This means you know you are getting a premium smartphone every time and it results in iPhone users not worrying about the technical specifications of their smartphone.
An example of this is that Apple often does not detail how much RAM its iPhones pack, or how big – in mAh – its batteries are.
This information is only available after the latest iPhone goes on sale and it is torn apart by tech reviewers.
Conversely, Samsung and Huawei go to great lengths to detail the hardware installed in their phones.
Huawei and Samsung both sell a wide range of smartphones, from entry-level to premium flagship, which means the listing of specifications is necessary to ensure users know which phones in a range are the best – and whether Samsung’s phones are better than Huawei’s, and vice versa.
Ultimately, this results in iPhone customers only having to decide which colour they want their new phone in and how big a screen they need.
This may appear to show a lack of “technical” knowledge, but it is in fact the opposite.
The technical fundamentals from both a hardware and software point of view have been covered by Apple, and users trust them to deliver on this.
For Android users, colour is low down on the list of importance – as they first have to check whether their phone has powerful-enough components, find out what software it is running, and research whether they will receive operating system updates in the future.
This is an opinion piece.