Are Apple's famous defectors going to have an impact on the popularity of iPhones?

Are Apple's famous defectors going to have an impact on the popularity of iPhones?

Summary: What if someone famous switched from iPhone to Android? What about two famous people? Andy Ihnatko and Guy Kawasaki both have taken up residence with Android phones. What's the world coming to?

TOPICS: Apple, iPhone

It's true that two of techdom's biggies, Andy Ihnatko and Guy Kawasaki, have dumped their Apple iPhones for Android ones. Guy famously made the switch late last year and Andy opted for Android near the first of 2013. You might be asking, "What up with that?" And you'd be in good company. Myself, for one. I can't imagine why anyone who could afford any available technology would dump the iPhone for an Android. I have both an iPhone 4 (personal) and a corporate-supplied Samsung Galaxy SII. I prefer the iPhone over the Android.

There are a few things that you can do on the Android that you can't do on the iPhone but those things are only relevant to me and a few other ultrageeks. The average user, which is greater than 99 percent of all users, wouldn't care to do those things. Of course you want an example, so I'll give you three.

On the Android, I can actually interact with the operating system by using commands in a terminal screen. You can't do that on iOS. Another example is that I can setup an SSH server on my Android phone and remotely connect to it — not so on the iPhone. The Android phone allows me to "tether" other devices through it so that I can actually connect to the Internet using the Android's cellular network or Wi-Fi connection. I could do that on the iPhone, if I wanted to pay $50 extra per month for tethering. I don't want to pay for what should be a free thing.

I can understand why those guys (Andy and Guy) might have switched if there were more compelling reasons for it. Andy gives the keyboard and larger screen as his favorite features. To me, there isn't much difference in the two for those things. Of course, about all I do on the Galaxy is make phone calls — crazy, I know. I just really don't like the look and feel of that particular phone.

For me, a larger screen means a larger phone. The whole point of a mobile phone is that it's unobtrusive and pocket-sized. I don't like to feel like I can't bend over and tie my shoelaces with the phone in my pocket. The iPhone is the perfect size. It's small enough for my pocket and not cumbersome. It's also very easy to use. I can do what I need to do on it without issue.

The Galaxy on the other hand is larger and more cumbersome. It's less convenient to navigate and I still can't get a good screenshot off the damn thing. I can't make it happen and I've read several posts on how to do it and it just never works for me.

Personally, I think that Guy switched not because of missing features from the iPhone but because he thought it would be the ultimate slap in the face to his former employer. I think he'll go back to the iPhone.

I think Andy will too.

It's cute to make the switch and fill the "airwaves" full of sound and fury over the switch but I'm afraid that, in my humble opinion, it's a lot of hot air. I think they've both gotten exactly what they wanted out of the deal — some ink from guys like me who tell you about their stunts.

That's OK. I'll give 'em some ink. In fact, here's a link to Andy Ihnatko's blog posts that chronicles his passage from awesome Appleton to snoozy Sighberville. And for your reading "enjoyment," here are two posts describing Guy's sour grapes, I mean, switch from Apple Evangelist to Android fanboy.

Now, to answer the lead question, "Are Apple's famous defectors going to have an impact on the popularity of iPhones?"


I'm wondering what's in it for Andy, since he's made a decent living off of writing about Apple stuff for several years. Has some Android phone company hired him? Will he be able to continue his "famed" and "revered" Apple-oriented columns now that he's made the great leap to enemy territory? Who knows? I'm not his editor. But if I were his editor, I would question his sincerity in maintaining an Apple column and using an Android phone. I suppose he could do it, but he'd probably have to come clean to his readers about it, especially when speaking about iPhones.

As for Guy, I think the Android camp sees his defection as a major victory. I think that making the switch public shows that it was for publicity purposes. Perhaps his flame was fading a bit on the speaking circuit because of his association with Apple so he decided to stoke the old fire with Android logs. That's probably been a good topic for interviews, podcasts, blog entries and social media buzz.

Frankly, I don't think the impact has been or will be significant. Now, maybe if Steve Jobs had defected, that would be really newsworthy. Watching Bill Gates use an iPhone would be fun. Or better yet, hand Richard Stallman an iPhone and watch/listen to the ensuing fireworks.

I don't believe that any one person has enough clout or influence to shift sales of the iPhone either way. Not these days. Sure, William Shatner's appearance on the VIC 20 commercials made me want one and made me buy one but today, you'd be hard-pressed to find another iconic personality that could drive sales like that.

I don't know either Andy or Guy personally. I have no idea what their personal motivations were in switching. I think to use things like keyboards, display size and network speed are pretty lame excuses, though. First, it's a phone. If you're using it for much more than a phone, you perhaps need to move to something larger, like an iPad. And the network speed? Really? What the heck are you downloading or uploading from a phone that you need a lot more speed?

It's a phone, folks. Don't get carried away here. Just because you've gathered a little bit of fame doesn't make your opinions worth any more than anyone else's. That's what you need to remember. That's the real takeaway here. Don't let your dog food eat you.

What do you think of Andy's and Guy's decisions to switch from iPhones to Android phones? Was it personal preference or something more? Talk back and let me know.

Topics: Apple, iPhone


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • android phone

    they didn't switch to galaxy s2. how about the galaxy s3, note 2 or nexus 4. totally different beasts. android is much more flexible and functional. it depends on what's important to the individual. android is the future and ios is not.
    • And...

      widgets etc. I switched from an iPhone to Windows Phone and Android (company and private respectively). Both are superior to iOS.

      The biggest plus, for me, is that I can glance at the home screen and see what is going on - weather, latest e-mails, next appointment etc. at a single glance, without having to go into any apps.

      iOS did steal the message pull-down from Android, which helps a bit, but it isn't the same as having all the information at a glance, without having to interact with the phone.

      Ken's argument is like "why would they dump a PT Cruiser and buy a Ford Flex? I have a 2011 Ford Fiesta and it isn't as good as the 2011 Cruiser." True, but the world has moved on.
    • Re: Android much more

      No, it's still a phone. No matter how smart it is. Just a small computer, that you put in your pocket.

      Truth is, neither iOS, not Android and much less WP is the future. Just use what works for you and don't waste your time with the Tamagotchi. Life is short.
  • Paid

    They got paid, no doubt about it
    • You are probably correct

      But then again, Alicia Keys was paid to use a WP8 phone and she still tweeted from her iPhone. I guess the message is that just because some so-called "celebrity" or other says that they have changed to a particular phone does not mean that they have done so :-)
    • You are correct

      One got hired by Motorola (aka: Google) the other one is getting paid by Samsung (just look at the number of Samsung ads in website).
      • Targeted advertising

        Not sure which of the sites you are referring to, but if I go to the Alltop site I don't see Samsung adverts. I see adverts for Windows phone- why? Because I have recently searching for "Windows phone".

        Is there something that you want to tell us ;)
      • Paid?

        So, I suppose Apple didn't pay Kawasaki for the evangelising he did while he was employed with them?
    • Don't be a jerk

      Dude, not everyone likes the same things. If we did there would be one model car and we'd all buy it and like it. There would be one brand TV, and one destination for vacation, and on and on. get over it pal.
  • Name a few things the iPhone can do that the Galaxy cannot.

    That might answer your question why people leave the iphone for Androids. It is beyond easy to name many features found in the galaxy that are lacking in the iphone5, but a complete struggle to name anything the iphone5 does that isn't easily found in the Galaxy or other Androids.

    So why would those who have left iPhones come back? What exactly is it they will be missing?

    The point is if someone is paying top dollar for a mobile device then why should they pay for something that doesn't have all the top of the line features? The most expensive phone on the market should not leave people hoping to get features from another phone sometime in the future. They should not have to readjust what defines "perfect" every year in defense of what the phone doesn't have.

    Likewise, if all you primarily do is make phone calls from your iphone, perhaps it is you misusing the device and not everyone else who actually uses the features of a SMARTphone. Perhaps you would be best served with a cell phone and pocketing a few hundred dollars for the things you find useless.
    • I can name one and it is the only one that counts

      Android devices cannot run iOS apps. That's all that is important to me and probably to many others who use iOS devices! I like iOS devices and I like the eco-system.
      • use it then...

        Who cares what you use. Use what you like and others will do the same. I could care less what you like, or why you like it. It's your money and you have to use it. May as well get what you like. Just one thing. There is this concept that what you like others might not. I know crazy huh. Different people with their own opinions. Must be so difficult to understand.
        • Listen stupid

          He put out the challenge. All I did was respond to that challenge. My point was to show the stupidity of the question. I've always favoured people just using what suits them and I don't go for this "my OS is better than your OS" debate.

          I suggesst that next time you pay attention to all that is written, rather than just jumping to conclusions. You seem prepared to give yo0u opinion just a little too fast.
          • Get a grip

            Dude, don't get your panties all wound up your yahoo.
          • The author made claims that "they will come back"

            and I was posing the question of WHY?

            If you are locked into iOS, that is fine, but what does that change? If you have no choice in phones then you are stuck eating whatever dogfood is served.

            For those who are not locked into iOS they can openly compare the iPhone5 vs the Galaxy S3 (or whatever). It is extremely easy to fill a rather long list of features the S3 has that the iphone5 doesn't. It is extremely difficult to name nearly anything the iPhone5 has that the S3 doesn't.

            Is it hard to believe that people might opt to walk away from that as the author of the article believes. Paying more for less isn't smart.
          • The Why

            First, lets make it clear, that you are not locked into anything. Even if you invested "a fortune" in iOS, Android etc apps, that does not prevent you from just switching over. Are you locked in when you eat at McDonnalds?

            It actually does not matter whether you think iOS is better/worse than Android, just as it does not matter if you think McDonnalds is better than Burger King or the other way around. The guy next table might have exactly the opposite opinion than yours, but he might be sitting in McDonnalds that days just because he doesn't care much -- food is food -- or he just was hungry at that moment.

            Back to the why question:

            The iPhone is still an relatively expensive piece of art. Even the bare-bones iPhone is way more "cool" to show to your company than any Android phone, because your company would be more concerned how the thing looks, not what it does. That is, you can even show them an iPhone mock up, or hide an dumb phone inside. Nobody will care, or question your choice.

            Remember the "good old days", when IBM computers were "the" thing? Back from that time comes the saying "Nobody got fired for buying IBM". It's the same with Apple today.

            Unfortunately for Android vendors, Samsung included, Apple was before them in this market, they set already the rules. So even if (say) Samsung are able to produce a plasticity phone with better spec inside, or more open OS for the geeks to play with -- they can't do the beauty outside and all the glamour - at the same time. This is why those people will return back to the iPhone.

            My bet is, they will wait for the next "greatest" model to use as an excuse.
          • Art, serioulsy?

            Comments like that are laughable. Sorry but they are, especially after you go on about how opinions don't matter of which is better.

            However, I'm not talking about opinions, but rather facts. Name the features the iPhone5 offers that the Galaxy S3 doesn't. Doing that doesn't require someone to like one operating system over the other.

            The fact is the Galaxy S3 has more features than the iphone5 and the iphone series in general has been falling behind android in features for years now.

            75% of the market disagrees with your theory as to people returning to iphones.
    • @Emacho

      Amen... Who writes garbage like this anyway? Seriously, I guess anyone can publish here no matter how pointless and stupid their point of view is.
      • ZDNET needs clicks

        'nuff said.
    • Don't put so much faith on any Tamagotchi

      Doesn't matter the Tamagotchi is made by Apple, or Samsung, or Nokia. It's still just a small computer that you put in your pocket.

      Thing with computers is, they are only as useful as the software that you can use with them. People buy the computer to run their software, not the other way around.

      It so happens, that most quality apps are on iOS. Not that there are not good apps on either Android and WP, there are. But try explaining to the non-geek that they should use Android because "it is better", or use WP because "it's made by Microsoft and they promised the Bright Future". All they will ask you, can they run the same app their friends use on the iPhone: when you tell them "no, but there are better..." you already lost them.

      Then, everyone gets to chose their own flavor of Tamagotchi. Use what you like. The Russians have a saying that could be roughly translated "when it comes to color and taste, there are no friends"