People get excited about phone features. Productivity is more important yet often overlooked.
My work involves looking at a lot of new phones. Most are premium Android phones. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one that I couldn’t recommend. Within limits they are all good.
The last phone I looked at was the Huawei P20 Pro. It could be the best Android phone on sale at the moment. I haven’t seen anything better in 2018.
When I spend my money on phones — I don’t have to because there are lots of loan models for journalists — I buy Apple iPhones. 1
For me, productivity is everything
There are two reasons for this. First, I use iPads and Macs.
Apple devices play well together. There’s something almost magic about cutting text on the phone and pasting it into a desktop Mac document. Likewise, everything syncs between devices. I started writing this post on an iPhone and finished it on a Mac.
I have spent a lot of money on iOS and MacOS software and services. Some of those tools are not available on Android. When they are, they can be as good. But more often, there is either no equivalent. Or the equivalent is second-rate or involves compromise 2.
My productivity plummets when I switch to an Android phone during a review. Apple won’t work for everyone, but it works for me.
Some people reading this will question my choice on the grounds that Apple is a walled garden. By that standard so is Android and so is Windows. Apple may be a walled garden, but it is a productive one for me.
Linux may be the pure ideological choice, but so is North Korea — and that’s how it feels sometimes.
Second, with Apple there’s never any question about security updates.
Apple is quick to patch and repair iOS, updating is often immediate. I can wake up and be ready to go from the day after a security issue appears. Some Android phones never get updates. Many get them, but slow. Even the better known brands can be slack.
Again, that won’t bother everyone, but it bothers me.
Apple isn’t perfect
This doesn’t mean I’m biased in favour of Apple3
Apple is not perfect. There are flaws. Most of the tech media is happy to pounce when one appears. This, by the way, is a good thing in general although it can get silly.
Either way, Apple’s flaws are generally things I can live with. The productivity gain is too precious to trade away.
One notable exception at the moment is the controversial new keyboard on MacBook and MacBook Pro models. I see it as a backward step.4
No doubt you can be just as productive with Android if you have the right mindset. It takes a different form of mental discipline. Whatever that is, it isn’t me.
- If I was going to buy an Android phone I’d pick one without a software overlay. Google Pixel and Nokia phones are good candidates. That’s because I have yet to find an Android overlay that isn’t frustrating. ↩︎
- Like handing over private data ↩︎
- Until Windows 8 I was happy with Microsoft’s walled garden. Switching back to Apple was an eye opener. My productivity soared. I accept this wouldn’t be the case for everyone and, yes, Apple kit can be more expensive. ↩︎
- I’m working on a personal answer to this. It may not suit you, but stay tuned anyway. ↩︎