If you go to this link on your iPhone you can experience what a Samsung Android smartphone feels like to use. It is a clever interactive website that attempts to offer a representation of how it would feel if you decided to move from your iPhone to a Samsung phone.
The problem for Samsung is that more people move from Android to iOS than the other way around, but it isn’t the case that this statistic is overwhelming. We have to remember that the vast majority of smartphone users have little allegiance to a particular operating system and within that a decent percentage barely understand much beyond the apps they want to use. This is not because of a lack of intelligence, it’s simply because they have better things to do with their lives.
For those of us who have nothing better to do or who use their phones so much that certain things become important there is a long list of reasons why it is hard to move away from the iPhone. Some of these are forced upon us by Apple, in good and bad ways, and some are simply because of the failing of other manufactures.
iMessage is often discussed as the killer iOS feature and rightly so. It is extremely reliable, as simplistically presented as you could wish for and it is divisive. The use of green and blue bubbles causes division immediately by effectively stating that you are either on a secure system that will cost you little to nothing (blue bubble) or you are using the less secure and aged SMS technology which can cost you extra through many mobile operators if you dare to include a picture (green bubble). The superiority of iMessage over SMS is stark and for those of us who have used it for many years the thought of going back to SMS seems crazy. And Apple ensures that iMessage is not useable on any other non-Apple platform.
Privacy is always a hot topic and the perception that iOS is more secure than Android is well known. It is true as it happens, but maybe not to the extremes that some people believe, but it remains one of the major reasons why I use a Mac and not a Windows PC, why I use an iPhone and not an Android phone and why I use an iPad in favour of… do other companies still make tablets?
Support is also very high on my list of reasons why I stick with Apple. This is forced by Apple in a good way because it is a critical differentiation to many other manufacturers. Where would I go if my Android phone broke or my Windows PC? I know people who have been through that process and the difference when compared to Apple’s retail footprint and online support is huge! These tools are important to me and I need them to work 99% of the time, and having efficient options open to me is vital should something go wrong.
Pricing is often thrown at Apple as a negative and on the face of it that appears to be a valid criticism. I don’t like how Apple limits certain memory options on iPhones and iPads to push you to buy the more expensive option (and Apple memory is strangely expensive compared to others) and it is often the case that the base point for Apple products precludes many from ever buying an Apple product. However, take a look at the flagship devices from the likes of Samsung and others, and you will see that the differentiation is not anywhere near as large as you may initially perceive. Also, and this is very important, the longevity of Apple products, particularly Macs, can make the initial cost much more viable. I have mentioned it a few times, but my daughter still uses my iMac from 2010 to write and to browse the internet every single day. Her iPhone is 4 years old, works perfectly, my son’s is 3 years old, has never had a problem, and so the story goes on with only my 2016 iPad suffering a big battery issue. I am convinced that the longevity of Apple products, and the many year support for OS updates, makes them excellent value when compared to the competition.
The ecosystem, which is often cited as a part of the legendary walled garden, is a forced feature from Apple that can be viewed as good or bad. As it has grown over time the number of ecosystem tweaks that bring all of your Apple devices together becomes very hard to break away from. iCloud, unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch, automatic copy paste from iOS to Mac and vice versa, AirPods switching between devices seamlessly, SMS and iMessages on all devices, automated backups, Apple One which covers all devices for the family and so the list goes on. The amount of fiddling and manual intervention to do the things you would otherwise have to complete multiple times every day is minimal.
Security, along with privacy, is another factor that I would find hard to leave behind. From apps that are checked before publication on the App Store to the plain fact that macOS is attacked much less often than Windows are cleared advantages in this regard. We do not have to deal with updates every few days like Windows and to this day I have never installed an anti-virus solution on any macOS or iOS device I have owned. The downside is a lack of flexibility that Android, for example, can offer, but I genuinely feel that I can do everything I need to on my devices and in a way that offers some peace of mind for good measure.
The Apple Watch can only work with an iPhone and while this is a forced restriction by Apple it likely helps to grow the number of iPhone users. I have used many other smartwatches from the likes of Garmin, Samsung, Fitbit and Huawei, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Apple Watch, as a daily wear smartwatch, is streets ahead of the competition at this time.
Stability also remains high on my list and the reliability of every iPhone, Mac and iPad I have owned has been extremely high. This, alongside, all of the above breeds a very high degree of loyalty simply because they work every day over so many years.
It is not about being an Apple fan boy or having any loyalty to the brand. Apple is a tech company like any other and likely just a capitalist organisation trying to grab as much money as it can, but there are so many reasons why it is a) hard to leave an iPhone because you have gotten used to features Apple does not offer to other platforms, b) hard to leave an iPhone because it is so ridiculously reliable and powerful enough to cope with anything you throw at it and, c) it works with all of your other Apple devices that have formed a protective cloak around it to stop you ever moving to the Android side.