On The Unwind Podcast, two friends and I discuss topics related to tech, games, gadgets, and geek culture each week. Here is a soundbyte where we talk about the newly announced Microsoft Surface 3 and whether it challenge the dominance of the iPad. This is an extension of my post about whether the Surface 3 can replace the iPad in the classroom.
Am I Blue??
I have to say, my initial experience (well pre-experience) with Apple was almost enough to turn me off to this whole experiment altogether.
I went to the AT&T store, who informed me they were sold out and there was a week or longer wait. So I tried the Apple store. There was a line outside the store waiting for an iPhone. The thing released over a month ago, and there are still lines. I sure as hell never had to wait for a Windows Phone. I could rock up to the AT&T store the afternoon of a WP release and have no worries about getting one. I didn’t even have to wait on the line, however, because there wasn’t any stock of the 64gb model for AT&T anyway. I asked to back order/reserve one when it came in, but Apple doesn’t let you do that. You just have to show up every day until they happen to have one in stock. Ridiculous.
I almost decided to call it quits on this whole experiment, but gave it one more roll of the dice and went to Best Buy. As if it was meant to be, they had gotten a shipment in only minutes before I arrived, and I was able to secure one. The girl helping me buy it asked what I was switching from.
She looked at me for a second, “Seriously??” – as if she’d never actually seen someone use one before. I’m used to this reaction though, and it felt like a fitting way to go out.
As she was taking my information, I already felt like a sheep. Everyone and their mother (mine included, Hi Mom!) has an iPhone. I’m no longer the different one that stands out with a Windows Phone. As I was about to leave, a guy decided to buy a low end Windows Phone. She gave him a sideways glance and said under her breath, “He wants a Windows Phone?!?”. I was a little offended, but at that point, I could no longer say I was a Windows Phone user anymore anyway.
I got back home and took it out of the box, again marveling at just how sleek and light this device is. I created an iCloud account (I’m probably the only one that used a Hotmail account to sign up), and I was off. I didn’t tell too many people about making my switch, so it was fun seeing some of the reactions of iPhone friends realizing I was on iMessage for the first time. Those who were aware of this coming switch I sent, “Am I blue??”. For those of you not familiar with iMessage, messages sent to other iPhone users show up in blue, while all other phones are sent in green. Those in on my experiment also knew that switching to an iPhone could cause me to fall into depression (I think I’m clever at least).
I only had the phone for a few minutes before I got back to back calls, so it wasn’t until later in the evening that I had a chance to really play around with it. Before long, I realized that there was a single dead pixel in the middle of the screen. I had always been one to make fun of the “Genius” bar, so I figured it was time to see what it was all about. My iPhone wielding friend advised me to set up an appointment through the phone app, which I will admit, is pretty cool despite the fact I think it’s insane you have to set an appointment and can’t just go there and get help whenever (*ahem* like the Microsoft Store *cough cough*).
I set the appointment for the following morning and when I got there, checked in and was soon seen by a “Genius”. He informed me that I would actually have to exchange it where I purchased the phone, so I made my way back to Best Buy. I had no issue exchanging for a new phone (thankfully they had one left in stock), although the process ended up taking around an hour due to their slow systems (You would think Best Buy would have decent computers for their Point of Sale systems…). I talked them into giving me a discount for a screen protector, and got the glass Zagg Invisible Shield. I’ve been super careful with the phone, so I can’t vouch for how well it protects the iPhone screen, but the phone seems just as responsive with the screen protector on it.
I had all of the next day, Sunday, free, so I finally got some quality time with my device.
Coming up on Part 3 – Switching Over and Initial impressions
My love, Microsoft
I’ve been a diehard Windows Phone (WP) and Microsoft (MS) fan for years now, so much so that it’s become part of my identity. You tend to stand out with a WP these days – in fact, I can’t think of one person I know personally who doesn’t own an iPhone or Android phone now (besides my Aunt, who got WP after me raving about it). I always get really excited when I see a WP in the wild. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve defended my WPs though. Despite the fact that a lot of people like the live tile look, many didn’t even know what Windows Phones were up until recently. Those who know now are quick to criticize that there aren’t the same apps, which I’ll admit, since I don’t really know what I’m missing, that hasn’t been a big issue for me.
I’m not going to lie to you, there have been plenty of times when I felt some jealousy – hardware, the lure of always getting the newest apps, etc.
Throughout all of that, I’ve felt this weird sense of brand loyalty.
I’ve always been quick to upgrade to the latest device and software, always staunchly defending Microsoft, etc. Don’t get me wrong, the Surface Pro 3 is by far my choice device of tablet/laptops available right now, but it took me using a Surface RT, Surface Pro, Surface 2, and Surface Pro 2 to get there. I stuck with Xbox One despite the fact the PS4 clearly was the better option for the price (I eventually ended up getting a PS4 anyway because all of my friends went that route). I’ve been an early adopter with the software as well, from Windows 7/8/8.1, Office365, OneDrive, and with the developer previews on Windows Phones.
At the end of the day, what has MS really repaid that loyalty with? They never seem to deliver on promises and are way late getting essential apps and services to come to the platform. I’ve paid $100s more for hardware than if I had waited a matter of weeks after new releases, although that’s pretty common with early adopters. There aren’t nearly enough cross platform (Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox) services and apps as I would like, but that’s supposedly coming in Windows 10. So I’ve been saying that Windows Phone 10 will be my last chance for MS to convince me to keep a Windows Phone. By most accounts, that won’t be released until later in the year in 2015, meaning I have a good 6-12 months before I see a flagship Windows Phone 10 device. My Lumia 920 is starting to show its age by seriously lagging to get basic things done, so I need something to tide me over until then.
Since there isn’t a new high end flagship on the market from MS this holiday (the HTC One M8 for Windows is nice, but I’m not going to use my bi-yearly mobile upgrade on a phone with year old hardware), my initial thought was to buy the Lumia 830 outright and save my mobile upgrade until the 940 or whatever MS decides to call it comes out. One of the nice things about Apple is that you pretty much always know when the next iPhone will be released. MS (who acquired Nokia) hasn’t really told us when to expect this kind of device, and there aren’t any rumors about one on the horizon. I went to the store to play with the 830, and while I love the form factor of that device (finally something decently slim and light), testing it out didn’t prove to be any faster than my old 920.
This was really disappointing. That same day, I was in Best Buy and decided to look at other phones.
What ultimately put me over the edge was the first time I picked up the iPhone 6. Good God is that a sexy phone.
Coming from using a Lumia 920, the iPhone 6 feels like a feather, is razor sharp thin, and the display is mind-blowingly gorgeous. My friends have been trying to get me to switch over for years, but I’ve always preferred the look of live tiles over the icons of Android and iOS. Everything seemed to be adding up though, and this was the first time I actually felt compelled to take the plunge.
My biggest hesitation from switching, though, has been that I am just entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem. Not to say that’s a bad thing. I really like Xbox Music, OneDrive, Office, and OneNote, and I didn’t want to give those up and have to find replacements and migrate all of that to new services. In a timely post, Tom Warren put out an article that morning on The Verge outlining how Microsoft services like Office and Xbox Music are actually better on iOS and Android devices. So after much deliberation and a mini-freakout of trying to figure out whether I was being delirious/trying to figure out who I am, I decided to embark on this experiment.
While I don’t ever plan on switching to Mac computers or iPads, the time for tasting the forbidden fruit of the Dark Side’s phone has come. I’ll be picking up the iPhone 6 64gb and using it as my main device for the next 6+ months, taking you on the ride with me by documenting my experiences. I plan on putting out content that describes how I’m making the switch, which apps/services replace my WP ones, and what new apps I can discover that I wouldn’t be able to live without. When Windows Phone 10 comes out next year, Microsoft will have to convince me that it’s time to rejoin the Rebel Alliance. Or will the allure of the Empire be too much for me to give up?
God, I’m such a nerd…
Coming up on Part 2, initial impressions