My fellow ZDNet blogger and friend, James Kendrick, put up a post comparing his Android and iOS 5/iPhone 4S experiences and I agree with his take on the two. Since he has been a much more regular Android user while I have been focusing more time on Windows Phone 7 I thought you might enjoy hearing my thoughts on how the new iOS 5 OS on my Apple iPhone 4S compares to the Windows Phone 7 platform.
Software: iOS 5 vs. Windows Phone 7.5
A person who has used Windows Phone 7 even more than myself is Paul Thurrott and on his SuperSite for Windows he offers some thoughts on Windows Phone 7.5 versus iOS 5 and comes the conclusion that his AT&T SIM belongs in his Windows Phone 7.5 device. Paul emphasizes what I talked about when Windows Phone 7 was first released in 2010 and that is the philosophy of an application based system versus a task based system. In Windows Phone 7/7.5 you don't generally think of apps as much (except for Xbox LIVE games) as you simply perform tasks to get things done, such as call a friend or look at your photos.
iOS 5 and the Apple iPhone 4S may change all of that as Siri grows up, but right now Siri is still a bit limited on what you can do and I personally find it most useful for creating reminders and calendar appointments. Since Siri is a beta, I am hoping to get more integration into 3rd party apps and even Apple apps. I would love to just say something like "Download the latest MobileTechRoundup podcast and start playing it." It is not yet that advanced though and as I mentioned in an earlier article the Windows Phone 7.5 Tellme voice integration is excellent and deserves consideration.
Apple rules the smartphone world with the number of applications, but I personally find all the apps I want and need on Windows Phone 7 in their catalog of 30,000+ applications. I find the notifications in iOS 5 to blow away what limited notifications we see on Windows Phone and would love to see a bit more work in this area.
Speed and consistency has always been a hallmark of iOS, but Windows Phone 7.5 beats Apple here with an extremely snappy performance even on old hardware. Windows Phone 7.5 is as consistent as iOS and maybe even more so with less menu options and settings available to the end user. Windows Phone 7.5 does an excellent job with service integration while Apple forces you into the idea of working with specific apps, such as separate Facebook and Twitter apps.
There is no question that the hardware of the iPhone 4S blows away anything we currently see in Windows Phone. Hopefully that changes very soon when Nokia joins the picture and if they release a device as amazing as the Nokia N9 I am looking at then we'll have a real competition going on. HTC, Samsung, and others need to step up their Windows Phone game and I think a couple of the upcoming Windows Phone 7.5 device look to do that.
Which do I prefer?
As regular readers know I have been a major fan and advocate for Windows Phone 7 and still am a strong believer that you need to try it before tossing it out for consideration. My daughter liked it so much that she helped pay for her own unlocked Samsung Focus to use on T-Mobile and said the same thing.
I really enjoy my new Apple iPhone 4S and love that you now get a rock solid zippy experience with a ton of tweaking options, similar to the Android platform, and a platfom that is consistent like Windows Phone. The iPhone 4S hardware is awesome and with a camera that performs as well as anything on the market I recommend the iPhone 4S for many people. However, like Paul I still find I enjoy using Windows Phone 7.5 even more than my iPhone 4S. Windows Phone 7.5 is my primary phone on T-Mobile and the iPhone 4S is my primary on Verizon and there is nothing I see from Android that will knock either one of those out. I am enjoying the Nokia N9, but with a dead end software platform that is a tweakers device and not for the masses. I cannot wait to see what Nokia announces next week at Nokia World, I will be there covering the event, and hope to soon replace my aging HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro.