An iPhone Lover’s Three Months Exile With Android

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brokeniphone

 

You never meant for this to happen. In your rush to dive into the ocean, you forgot to take your iPhone out of your pocket, and didn’t realize it till you came out of the water. It’s a disaster. You leave your drowned iPhone 4S in a bag of rice for three days, praying to God, Allah, Jehovah, Moses, Shiva, and Oprah Winfrey that some magical power will make it work again. It doesn’t. You blow-dry it. Nada. Every conceivable way to resurrect your iPhone is met with failure and a blank screen.

Because you know the iPhone 5 is coming out in three months you decide not to waste your money and upgrade eligibility. Once you get home you rummage through your desk and find the Galaxy Nexus Samsung sent you three months ago. You sit in your chair staring at it almost hesitant to turn it on. You run your hands along the contours of its plastic grey body, pop in your new SIM card, take a deep breath, and then you dive in. This is it – your new digital home and the beginning of a three month exile into Android.

“The first thing that you try to make yourself believe is that this is going to be fun”

Just thinking about not having an iPhone anymore bums you out. You and your iPhones have been together since 2007. While all your friends were still T-9 texting, you were jailbreaking and downloading apps like crazy. So when your exile to Android starts it’s painful and disorienting.

The first thing that you try to make yourself believe is that this is going to be fun. “Android can’t be as bad as all the Apple fanboys say it is,” you think to yourself. You start thinking of this exile period as a three month research project to help you understand how Android lovers live, and it starts off great. You’re infatuated and curious.

Within your first month you decide to move your calendars, email, cloud storage, everything, over to Google’s services so you can feel the full torrential power of Google syncing. It works better than iCloud, which surprises you at first. Then you try Voice Text and are blown away that it actually gets 97% of your words right, unlike Siri. Features like turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps even gets you excited.

You think you’re going to make it. You think that Android isn’t that bad and that there’s some cool stuff here. But then the little things start creeping up on you. On a Friday night you discover that you’ve been left out of your friend’s group iMessage conversations because you’re stuck on Android. You read about an amazing new app that was just released and go to download it on the Google Play Store only to find that they haven’t come to Android yet.

You start missing stuff about iOS that you never knew you loved. Stuff like the ridiculous emjoi icons you’d  grafiti your texts with. Or the fact that Rdio never crashed five times a day on your iPhone 4S. Even the annoying alarm sounds of iOS start sounding fantastic after you fail to wake up on time because your Nexus only has lovely futuristic robotic ringtones.

It’s fine. It’s only temporary. Only for three months. But then you know shit is about to get real once you discover that the best Twitter app for Android is The Twitter app. To top it all off you start carrying your nice camera with you so your Instagram pictures don’t look like crap.

You think it’s not all that bad, like seriously, it’s just a phone, right? You decided to embrace it even more. You research how to flash your Nexus and dualboot Linux, or Unix, or whatever it’s called. Humbled by this new foreign operating system, you ask your Android user friends what apps and hacks they enjoy the most, and if they can help you figure out how to turn off the annoying tactile feedback of the keyboard.

You just want this to work out. To be fun. You download five bucks of “live wallpapers” thinking that will change everything. Now your phone will feel cool. But your five dollar live wallpaper investment turns into ten bucks, then twenty bucks, before you realize that silly background animations can’t transform the way you interact with your phone.

“You want to love Android more than you wanted to love your amazingly beautiful ex-girlfriend whose one flaw was a serious case of the bitch-fits.

Once you embark on your exile to Android you start reading a lot more tech news. Each morning you wake up and scan Gizmodo, The Verge, TechCrunch, and all the Android blogs hoping for a glimmer of news or rumor that Samsung or Motorola or HTC is about to launch their newest flagship Android phone in two weeks and that it will be your salvation. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll get some things right this time.

You read every site’s guide to “50 Essential Android Apps” and find like five cool apps that you actually use longer than four weeks. It’s going to be ok, you tell yourself, but then you see your friend’s iPhones and ask them if you can just hold it. You swear you won’t read their texts, you just want to get lost in Apple’s iOS wonderland for a bit.

When friends ask, “Why don’t you have an iPhone? Aren’t you an Apple blogger?” you try to wax intellectual about how it’s a great idea to try new things, and that your Galaxy Nexus does a lot of cool stuff your iPhone didn’t. “Like, it’s got a little LED that lets me know each time I have a text or missed call or new email. It’s sweet!” you explain. You even show off NFC even though you’ve never had the chance to use it yet.

The craziest thing that happens is you actually sit through the entire Google I/O keynote completely enthralled with the announcement that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be released soon. You stay up all night pressing the software update button waiting for Google to fill your Nexus full of delicious Jelly Bean goodness. The update finally comes three days later, and it’s good, and the new Google Now feature can almost read your mind. It makes you excited to use your phone again and discover new things.

You want to love your Android phone. You want to love it more than you wanted to love your amazingly beautiful ex-girlfriend whose one flaw was a serious case of the bitch-fits. You want to love this phone because the thought that Apple might be the only tech company in the world able to make a completely great phone just depresses the living hell out of you.

You want someone else to make a phone that you love because you’re afraid that your love affair with Apple has transformed you into critical asshole that can’t appreciate variety or alternative view points. You worry that you’ve morphed into a monstrous troll when you see your friend’s new Galaxy S3 and ask if they actually bought it or if it was forced on them by their company.

You start thinking about allegiances. You start thinking about how much you just don’t want to care anymore. You start thinking about how when you were a kid you just wanted to play with really cool gadgets and technology like you were James Bond. Back then you didn’t care which famed designer or company created gadgets and phones, or which of your friends had one. You just loved them. You start to worry that your inability to truly love or even enjoy Android and other gadgets means you’ve lost that magical power. You think you’re an idiot.

“Everything is finally good enough and you really don’t care that a new iPhone is coming out in two weeks.”

Three months into your exile you finally realize that all of this nonsense is stupid to worry about, so you stop. You reach that moment of total satisfaction that you can call your niece 800 miles away and have a conversation about her first day of school; that you can organize a hangout with all your friends in like two minutes no matter what brand of phone is in your pocket. Everything is finally good enough and you really don’t care that a new iPhone is coming out in two weeks. For the first time in years you are fine.

You decide not to pre-order. You made it this long, why not see how long you can go on Android? Why not try Windows Phone 8 next? You sleep in on launch day and smile at the pictures of everyone waiting in line for their iPhone 5. Everyone at work is busy chatting about when they think their pre-order will be delivered and you’re happy that you’re not anxious. Happy that you feel like you can finally wait.

During your lunch hour you decide to stop by the Apple Store and see how long the lines are. It’s swarmed. You drive down the road a few miles and walk into an empty AT&T Store. The employee tells you that a guy bought the last iPhone 5 about 10 minutes ago, but then the manager interjects and says they have one last iPhone 5 remaining.

You pause. You open up your wallet. You buy it.