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18 shiny, happy things iPhone and iPad users say to feel better about themselves

David Gewirtz counts down the 18 most common things iOS users say to feel better about themselves, their devices, and their choices.
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1 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

What makes you feel better?

Our readers are nothing if not opinionated. I enjoy writing on somewhat controversial topics (heck, I do the government column) because our readers get involved, both (or many) sides start discussing the issues, relative merits, and weaknesses of whatever is being discussed. The result is that I never fail to learn something new, and I'm sure that most of you derive the same benefit.

So here we go again. A few months ago, I traded in my aging iPhone 4S for a Samsung Galaxy S4 (yeah, I traded the 4S for an S4 -- gotta love the folks who name products). Anyway, after that, I realized that features in the new Android phone made my iPhone seem very dated. So I wrote, 25 things my new Android phone does that makes my iPhone feel like it comes from the 1990s. The thing is, the iPhone also has its advantages, so I also wrote, 10 things I miss about my iPhone now that I'm on Android.

In the four or so weeks since, I've come to discover that a lot of the iOS users are absolutely convinced that the iOS devices are better (even if better is really an eye-of-the-beholder thing). I have gotten tweets, posts, emails, and discussion posts describing to me, with no shortage of detail, exactly why the iOS devices are better than anything Android (or BlackBerry or Windows or Kindle — you get the point).

After reading all these missives, it seemed to me they were more about justifying purchases and feeling better about the gear they carried than real details (although some of their points were dead on). I also noticed that a set of these points seemed to be common among many, many iOS users.

So, that's what follows. These are the 18 most common things iOS users say to feel better about themselves, their devices, and their choices.

By the way, I'm doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

Licensed image courtesy GraphicStock.

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2 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#1 "All iPhone users get the latest updates."

Many iPhone users are looking forward to iOS 7. Personally, one of the reasons I moved to Android was what I saw of iOS 7. You can read about that here: iOS 7: why I'm finally dumping my iPhone for an Android.

The assertion, "All iPhone users get the latest updates," like most other tech assertions, is somewhat true. All phones from the iPhone 4 and later will support iOS 7, but the old iPhone 3 and 3S won't be supported. Likewise, the original iPad won't upgrade to iOS 7 and is being effectively abandoned.

This problem occurs on the Android side of the house, of course. The Google-reference versions of phones and tablets get upgrades right away, but the devices made by other manufacturers may or may not ever get an upgrade. My year-plus old Nexus 7 got upgraded to Android 4.3, but my three-month-old Galaxy S4 is still running 4.2.x and there's no date for when that will upgrade.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Sure, if you are a recent purchaser. Otherwise, you're in the same boat as the Android folks.

Image courtesy Apple.

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3 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#2 "We have iMessage."

This is one of the most common statements I've heard, and it baffles me a bit. Of course, I send maybe ten text messages a month, so I'm not the target audience. If you dig into the comments here, you'll see a detailed, almost overblown discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of iMessage.

Android certainly has apps that bypass the pay-as-you-go SMS system, most notably Google Voice.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? I guess, if it makes you happy.

Image courtesy Apple.

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4 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#3 "Apple is less evil."

The gist of this boils down to one of two themes: "Google watches all your data to sell you ads," and "It's not Microsoft" (corollary: "It's not Google"). No doubt there are some issues of evil-itude from both Microsoft and Google, and yes, in return for free email, Google does scan email messages. They don't hide that fact. But Apple runs iAds, which also try to sell you stuff, most notably a whole lot of in-app purchases that no one really needs.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Nope. Here are three articles about Apple (and yes, they've reported improvements) that should show you the company is like every other big company (they even use the same manufacturers, in some cases): 

 Licensed image courtesy GraphicStock.

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5 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#4 "99% of all malware is on Android."

Here, the Apple users have a point. I cited a lot of valid data in my webcast, Mobile Data Security: Why the Industry Must Improve…Or Else and even more in my Android security deep dive.

But, and this is a big but... most Android users who don't root their phones, don't download software outside of the Google Play store, and basically don't practice unsafe app usage are generally okay. Likewise, those iOS users who do root their phones are at risk.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Yeah, I'll give this to the Apple fans. Android is almost inevitably going to be more of a security challenge than Apple's more locked-down environment.

Licensed image courtesy IconShock.

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6 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#5 "You're being paid by [fill in the blank]."

This claim is more common than you'd believe, and amusingly seems to happen on opposite sides. One day, I'll pick on Microsoft and some trolls will claim Apple is paying me. The next day, I'll criticize Apple and a couple of cranksters will claim Microsoft is paying me.

It just doesn't happen. 

Each of us here on ZDNet publishes a full disclosure of all our business relationships (mine is here — tap the "Disclosure" tab), and, if there's anything that comes up in individual articles, we disclose additional information in the articles themselves. For example, in an article I wrote this week about the NSA, I disclosed I worked with one of the people who was discussed in the article.

The fact is, being critical comes naturally. My wife once told me that I would certainly come up with enough material to be a blogger because I was always talking back to the TV. Lots of us are curmudgeonly, cranky, and have seen and heard it all. We just reports it likes we sees it.

For the record, I paid for both my iPhone and my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone out of my own pocket.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Nah. This dog won't hunt.

Licensed image courtesy GraphicStock.

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7 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#6 "iPhones are better made and are better quality."

This claim popped up because I wrote that I liked the replaceable plastic back of my Samsung Galaxy S4. Time will tell. While I have yet to have an iPhone fail on me, that certainly wasn't the case with the iPod nano (read What to do when your brand-new iPod nano fails...and it will).

My take on this is that the glass back on the back of the iPhone 4-series phones was simply a bad idea. I locked mine inside a tough Otterbox and that kept it from breaking. But the phone itself was glass. I could drop the plastic back of my S4 on concrete and it might have a scratch. But the glass back of the 4S? The Internet is filled with pictures of broken iPhones.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Not for earlier iPhones, certainly. Maybe new models. For that, we'll have to wait and see.

Image courtesy iFixit.

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8 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#7 "It's old news."

No matter what the criticism, I'll often get back the comment "It's old news." No! If something is a poor design or causes stress among customers, even if you heard about it last year, that doesn't make it old news. That makes it one of the factors you need to consider when judging your next set of purchases.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Not even slightly.

Image courtesy Wikimedia archives.

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9 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#8 "There's an app for that.

This "feel better" statement comes as a retort whenever I mention that the iPhone can't do something my S4 can. And, in many cases, my correspondents are right. However, the general concept that the Apple App store beats the Android market is now faulty.

Here are two stats. Wikipedia claims a million-plus Google Play apps vs. 900,000 iOS apps. More to the point, Google Apps have now surpassed iOS apps in terms of the number downloaded.

And, as my article, 25 things my new Android phone does that makes my iPhone feel like it comes from the 1990s, showed, there are a lot more things (like replacing the launcher completely) that you can do in Android (without rooting) than you can in iOS.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Not anymore.

Image courtesy ZDNet.

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10 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#9 "You just don't know...[fill in the blank]."

This is one of the paradoxically odd, self-referential arguments that fandom seems to hold dear. Take, for example, an assertion like iOS settings are often buried beneath layers of options. The response: "You just don't know how to use your iPhone." Then try this one: the iPhone seems a little old and complex. Some things are rather difficult to do on the iPhone. The response: "You just don't know how easy the iPhone is to use."

See how those kind of chase each others' tails? I've gotten, "You just don't know what's available for iOS." Possibly true, but doesn't that mean app discovery needs improvement? I've been told, "Well, you just don't know how to use it right?" Also possibly true, but with 30 years of technology experience, a degree in computer architecture, and years spent at Apple with the title "Godfather," if I can't use it "right," then perhaps some work needs to be done somewhere to make things easier for civilians.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Sure. But doing so defeats the argument that Apple products are intuitive and friction free.

Licensed image courtesy Vectorain.

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11 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#10 "Why would you want to tweak your phone?"

The general intent of this comment is to imply that the iPhone is just perfect as it is. Of course, if it's so perfect, why is Apple changing the interface so radically in iOS 7? To be fair, Zack Whittaker spent a month with iOS 7 and reports it's a pretty solid OS that's reasonably pleasant to use.

But here's the thing. What if you liked the way something worked in iOS 6 and don't want to change it? Let's say you liked swiping the home page in from the left to get the search box. Once you upgrade to iOS 7, that's gone forever. In Android, if that's what you want, there really is an app for that. The system isn't so locked down that you can't add and use utilities.

Here's one that's annoyed me since the first day of iOS: folders. I dislike the mini-icons. I want my folders to each have an icon that clearly indicates what they do. You can easily do that in Android, but there's no way ever to do it on the iPhone or iPad.

It's not that you have to tweak your device. But since it's just about the most personal technology we have, it's nice to make it fit our needs rather than force ourselves into a mold someone in Cupertino thought would be a good idea.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Nope. This is merely a failure of imagination.

Licensed image courtesy IconShock.

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12 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#11 "Why would you want to use a Back button?"

The Back button didn't even make it into my list of 25 things my new Android phone does that makes my iPhone feel like it comes from the 1990s. But the fact is, the Back button is integrated quite elegantly into the Android experience.

Now that I'm using Android regularly, I find myself trying to press Back on my iPhone (which I now use like an iPod touch). Sure, I could always tap the Home button and go back to what I was doing, or remember some weird Boy Scout three-finger-salute to rub across the screen, but the little Back icon is there, it works in everything and it just works.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? No. The Back button is a simple and obvious user interface innovation.

Image courtesy PowerPoint.

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13 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#12 "Why would you ever want to do... [fill in the blank]?"

I've already highlighted a few "why would you ever" questions I've been asked, but the interesting thing about my correspondents is "why would you ever" seems to be applicable to virtually everything.

"Why would you ever use a spare battery?" Because some days are long days. "Why would you ever need a Micro SD card when you have the cloud?" Because the cloud isn't everywhere. "Why would you want to copy files straight to your device's USB port?" Because it's convenient and can even be scripted.

Oddly, enough, whenever there's some neat feature or useful function that another system has but Apple lacks, the fanbois tend to feign bafflement and ask, "Why would you ever want to do that?" as if "that" were jumping off a bridge or putting your hand on a hot stove, rather than simply having a spare battery.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? No. This is just a lame excuse for not having some feature or another.

Licensed image courtesy GraphicStock.

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14 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#13 "You never need to close all your apps."

I can't begin to tell you why this seems like such a big deal to the iOS faithful, especially since I never made much of a fuss about being able to close Android apps. But eventually, somewhere in almost all email discussions I've had about iOS and Android, an iOS fan will act as though he's pulling out a trump card and then throw down "You never need to close all your apps."

Well, first, you do. I can't count the number of times I've had to hard-restart my iPad or iPhone because something got wonky inside. And, second, you can close apps on the iPhone with the little minus-sign. You just can't clear them all at once without restarting. And the why is simple: because a fresh system often runs better, especially when some piece of code or another decided to go off the reservation.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? No. This one is just silly.

Image courtesy iOS.

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15 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#14 "iTunes is awesome, you just don't understand."

Oh, yes I do. I do understand. I dislike iTunes intensely. I have many gripes about it, including how it bogs down my PC, jumbles my files around, and more. My biggest complaint these days is that iTunes on my Mac OS X Server launches on its own, on a machine that has never, ever had an iOS device connected into it, and where I've turned off all the settings that would cause iTunes to launch. Plus Mountain Lion doesn't provide a clean way to just uninstall iTunes.

But I'm not alone. Go to Google and type in "iTunes sucks". Or go to YouTube and type in "iTunes sucks". There's an entire cornucopia of postings from people who seem to dislike iTunes even more than I do.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? No. You're drinkin' the Kool-Aid on this one, Bucko.

Image courtesy my always-present iTunes app on a machine that I don't want to be running iTunes.

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16 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#15 "The iPhone's lower screen resolution makes games play faster."

So this one is ... unexpected. When I posted that the Samsung S4 had 35.06% more pixels than the iPhone 5 and that it was true 1080 HD where the iPhone had a non-standard size, I got some strange replies.

The most unexpected one, though, has to be the assertion that because the iPhone has to push less pixels for gaming, it is a faster gaming device. Now, to some degree, it is true that the less pixels you push, the faster your game. But who among us is going to want to play a 640x480 video game on our PCs anymore? No, we want both speed and image quality.

I'm going to say this, though, so you know I'm fair. The screens on both the iPhone and Samsung S4 are spectacular. Their processors are lightning fast. I have no speed complaints with either one. You can have a lot of gaming fun on either device.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? No, but not because the device isn't good. The iPhone plays great games. It's just a dumb argument given everything else you need to consider.

Image courtesy Infinity Blade II from Epic Games.

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17 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#16 "Apple sells more according to... [plug in your favorite metric]."

The fact is, there are way more Android phones out there then there are iPhones. This is without dispute. The fact also is, the Android market is far more fragmented than the iOS market. This also is without dispute.

I honestly don't consider either of these a valid argument. When picking a phone, you want to know the manufacturer will be around for the long haul, so Samsung and Apple are both good bets, but HTC (with some financial problems) might not be. You want a phone that meets your needs. And you want a large library of apps. While some apps do come out for iOS first, there is clearly no shortage of apps for either market.

Now, if you're talking Windows Phone or BlackBerry, then I'd say that the minimal impact both have made on the market is a cause for concern.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Compared to Windows Phone and BlackBerry, sure. Compared to Android, it's a toss-up to the point that it just doesn't matter (as long as you buy your Android phone from a solid vendor).

Image courtesy GraphicStock.

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18 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#17 "We have Apple stores."

I don't know what the fuss is about Apple stores, but I've only been in one of them, in Orlando, and it was a zoo. My octogenarian Dad once got sent to a Best Buy when an Apple store couldn't figure out how to get the iPad and printer they'd sold him to work. So my limited experience of Apple stores is meh.

But some of my ZDNet colleagues have waxed poetic about Apple Stores. Just this week, Ken Hess told us, A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Apple store and Jason Perlow has had good experiences there as well.

But I honestly don't think they're all that much better than the local AT&T and Verizon stores. My local AT&T store had some issues, but the Orlando Apple store certainly wasn't more inviting. Our local Verizon store has been quite pleasant, and it's a short distance away, rather than a three-hour round trip.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Apple stores do have the reputation for being quite the spectacle in certain locations, so if you're near one of the spotlight stores, have fun with it. If your Apple store rocks a bus station vibe, then you might as well go to your local carrier store.

Images courtesy Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Jason Perlow, and CNET.

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19 of 19 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

#18 "Apple products are cooler, so that makes me cooler."

Okay, I have a confession. No one specifically said "Apple products are cooler, so that makes me cooler." Many of you have said "Apple products are cooler," and you certainly seemed to imply that your use those products transferred some of their coolness factor directly to you.

Personally, I think coolness is a state of mind, and anything that helps you feel more cool may, in fact, make you more cool. On the other hand, iPhones are starting to seem like the sort of thing grandpa would carry, so perhaps you might want to update your criteria for what makes something cool.

Should Apple users feel better about themselves because of this? Hey, if it works for you, rock it. Why not?

Licensed image courtesy GraphicStock.

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