iPhone Life magazine

Apples and Androids Living Together

I’m surrounded by little green men, some people refer to them as aliens, I call them Android users. I’m an Apple in the middle of an Android Galaxy (S3s mostly, but a few S4s and a Nexus). So what’s it like being one of the only Apples in an Android dominated world? Here’s a rundown of my observations:

1. You Have Nowhere to Plug In…but that’s Ok: My philosophy is ABC (Always Bring Cords) this goes for iPhones and Androids alike, but the Androids do need to plug in a bit more often. I realize that there are many (understatement) articles out there on battery life and who beats whom in “real world” observation, but the reality is, living with Android users, they need to re-charge more than the average Apple user. Therefore, there are a million Android chargers around the house, mostly hooked up to other Samsung devices like our TV, and I have to tote my own cord around. Androids use a standard USB charging cable, so my husband uses the excuse that we can also charge my Kindle, our camera, and several other USB devices on the same cable, thus justifying keeping them there. One of the things which annoys me the most about Android charging is that when you do plug a phone into the USB port it interrupts television watching for a few moments as it flashes “new device” on the screen. If you find yourself in a similar situation, pressing the volume button up or down will take the problem away. 

2. That Thing Gets More Updates Than TMZ’s Twitter: If you live with an Android owner you’ll realize that the number of updates they get is almost two to one to that of an Apple device. Most of it comes from the bloat wear layered on top of every Android device. As the Apple owner, it now becomes your responsibility to look up today’s weather, search news stories, and look up stock quotes until your Android partner is able to use his or her phone again. Depending on the exact Android device, some are completely debilitated by updates. 

3. My Apps are Cuter Than Yours: It’s true. Not only do we have more apps as Apple users, we have prettier ones as well. You can find the same app on both the Android market place and the Apple App Store, but the Apple apps look more refined, well furbished, and robust. Traditionally, developers come out with Apple Apps before their Android cousins. I’m not sure if this is the reason why so many Apple apps seem more polished, but the truth is there. At one point I had the desire to own both an Apple and an Android (Note 3) to become more literate in all forms of mobile technology; but after having a Note for one week, I returned it for an iPad…larger screen, simple ecosystem. Which brings me to point #4.

4. What Apple Can Accomplish in One Step, Takes Androids Four: Ok, maybe four is an exaggeration, but I can find directions to the local Taco Surf a lot faster than my husband can. One of Androids biggest selling points is the fact that it is so “open,” meaning everyone gets a crack at development and implementation. That’s awesome for someone who likes to tweak things. My husband is a computer genius; he created his own server for our home and in his classroom (the whole school goes down, my husband’s kids have to keep working because they are on a self-created, completely independent server which my husband maintains and monitors) but openness creates fragmentation. All of my apps work together. Yes, this is because Apple is kind of obsessive when it comes to cohesiveness, but at least I know that when my Scout app updates it will still work with my address book, calendar, and to-do list. Apple has my back on that. Android users don’t have such a luxury. One app may or may not work with another. It’s a crapshoot. We’ve seen updates throw the whole system off and where one app used to communicate just fine with another, everything is now set off-kilter. 

So why do so many of my family members and friends own Android?

1. Screen Size: Androids have larger screens; for people with poor eyesight, like my mother-in-law, that was the one and only deciding factor. If it’s true that Apple will come out with a larger screen on the iPhone 6, will Android users be tempted to switch teams? Yes. Several family members and friends have confirmed that screen size played a pivotal role in their cell phone choice and if Apple were to come out with a larger screened iPhone, they would in fact switch. Why? Mostly because of apps. The iTunes store is easier to navigate and you have less chance of downloading malware. iTunes also traditionally receives apps before Android. In addition to apps, ease of use was at the top of the list. If I want a new app, I go to iTunes. An Android user? Well, you can go to the Google Play store, or maybe Amazon; sometimes it’s nice not to have to shop around.

2. iTunes is Running in the Background and I Don’t Want to Be Spied On: Ok, Android users, you’ve got me there. I can’t think of any reason Apple would want to spy on me (although, sadly, I’d be secretly flattered if they did) but iTunes is always running in the back of your computer. Does it take up battery life? I can’t say, but if I had to make a guess I’d say the whole thing was negligible. The ironic thing about this argument is that Android has more malware. So that spying argument may just be equal on both sides here. And why are you all so concerned about people spying on you? 

3. Androids Are Customizable: True. Androids can run custom ROMs and be rooted. Androids are more customizable than Apple devices. There are tons of widgets out there to help you make your device unique, and that’s great, but I want something that works the way I want it to and how I need it to right out of the box. I’ve heard Android users say that Android users are smarter than iPhone users and that iPhone users just take the “easy road” because they can’t figure out all that an Android can do. I’ve also been told that if I “could” format an Android to my custom specifications, I’d never go back to a “boring” iPhone. The truth is, I can root an Android and I understand custom ROMs; but so much can go so wrong at unpredictable times, it becomes a matter of convenience. I don’t need to prove my intelligence through the choice of a smart phone. I’m busy. I’m a teacher, a grad-student, a fitness model, and an actress. Oh yeah, and I write these blog posts. I need my phone to do what I was promised it would do, when it was promised to do it. I can’t mess around with apps not functioning perfectly because I’ve installed a custom ROM which is no longer compatible with the auditioning app I need to send in my voiceover reading or with Blackboard, which is the standard for submitting discussion threads to my university professor. 

As one of the sole Apple users in my Android dominated world I’ve been labeled everything from a fan girl to a plastic (yes, on Wednesdays I do wear pink). But until Apple stops delivering what I need, when I need it, I see no reason to make a switch. Android has given me nothing for which I feel compelled to take a chance on a whole new operating system and possibly disrupting my way of life. My uniqueness and personalization can come through my wardrobe, and my intelligence through my education. As far as a smartphone, dependability is the key feature I’m looking for, which is why I’m an Apple even if my friends and family are Androids. 

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Carolyn Grayson's picture
As an educator, I am always interested in new and exciting ways to engage my students and prepare them for life outside of a school setting. Technology not only improves the quality of education, it helps indoctrinate students into the professional world. As an actress in Los Angeles and freelance writer, I juggle the responsibilities and commitments of three careers. I depend on my iPhone and a myriad of apps to keep me ahead of deadlines, on time to auditions, and ready for each day ahead.