One thing I’ve noticed over the last five to seven years of being a tech writer is that those on the Android side of the fence are much louder when the phones aren’t “right.”
Just take the Pixel 6 for example, as the first true “Google phone”, it’s been plagued with bugs for months. Some of these were quick fixes, but the long list of issues Google had to iron out left some Pixel fans with no choice but to move on to another OEM entirely.
I have also noticed that it is less common for Apple to release a new iPhone than also requires a day one update just to work. The iPhone 14 series has just been released, and sure enough, as soon as I unboxed my own iPhone 14 Pro Max, I was prompted to install iOS 16.0.1. Adding to that mix is the eSIM debacle, as Apple decided to screw everyone in the US by ditching the physical SIM altogether.
flip the stage
Strange launch bugs, and Apple’s slow move to become its own MVNO (not likely, actually), aren’t the only issues the iPhone 14 is experiencing. More recently, it appears the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a combination of some kind of software and hardware flaw that causes the 48MP main camera to vibrate uncontrollably. At first, this was said to be only limited to certain third-party apps like Snapchat and Instagram. But in one case, the iPhone 14 Pro camera could not focus even when using the iOS camera app. (Apple has since released iOS 16.0.2 to fix this issue.)
But what if Samsung got up to the same kind of shenanigans? Not just announcing an eSIM-only phone, but also experiencing the same kind of backlash we’ve been seeing. There are still some users that I have seen who tweeted about their inability to continue with the carrier or MVNO they had been using for years. All because eSIM support isn’t as widely adopted as you might think.
Or imagine if Motorola or even Nothing released a new phone with an exorbitant price tag, only to see the same kind of problems as Apple’s latest iPhone. There would be plenty of editorials wondering if “this was the end,” complete with memes and jokes about how Samsung will gain even more market share, while drawing comparisons of those companies to LG.
Samsung was well aware of this and was smart when it launched the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 3. Samsung initially didn’t include out-of-the-box eSIM support on certain carriers for most of the year. If you intended to use eSIM specifically, it would have been inconvenient for a bit of that year, but it didn’t matter all that much, because you still had the physical SIM to rely on as a safety net.
Is Apple really getting a pass?
As someone who incessantly beats the “ecosystem” drum, I might help explain why we don’t listen as much when it comes to these issues. No, it’s not a “you’re holding it wrong” argument. It’s because if you have a problem with your iPhone, there are Apple Stores that can handle diagnostics and a trade-in. Don’t have an Apple Store nearby? Best Buy also serves as an Apple Authorized Repair Program partner, and chances are you have one nearby.
On the Android side of things, it’s not the same. There are very few physical Samsung stores. There are only two physical Google Store locations. Instead, these companies force you to rely on their own support, which can be a mixed bag in its own right, or you can hope there’s an authorized repair shop, like UBreakiFix, nearby. But you may not even know you have that option, and I’m not talking to your specifically, instead of speaking more to the general public.
Yeah, I think Apple is getting a pass for releasing a new phone that has software and maybe hardware flaws. It’s also absolutely ridiculous that one of the richest companies in the world is apparently unable to deliver on the promises made, just from a software perspective. This is a bit of a nod to the delayed release of iPadOS 16, as Stage Manager is a mess that should never have been announced, and probably shouldn’t be released until next year, if at all.
Outrage or fence-sitting?
My signature might be for Android Central, but if there’s one thing that’s taken up my time here, it’s that I’m more careful than ever. I’m definitely still leaning in the direction of Apple, just because of the ecosystem. It’s not the cameras or the iMessage lock. They are just the tools I use for a living and they work best for my needs on iOS and macOS.
Android and iOS serve different functions and purposes, but they are still smartphones that do (mostly) the same thing. Using the best Android phones allows me to do things I don’t want my iPhone to do. Having a phone that has a foldable screen continues to boggle my mind, allowing me to have a portable emulation station with me wherever I go. If something happens and I need to help our great news team, but I’m not at my desk, I can just unfold my phone and get to work.
Seeing the general response to the growing problems with the iPhone 14 series of phones is actually a bit surprising. I haven’t experienced any of the problems that others have, but it doesn’t change my stance one bit.
Apple is ruining its reputation, and it’s only a matter of time before we end up seeing Tim Cook announce an impromptu press conference to tell everyone they’re misusing their phones. That probably won’t actually happen, because it will be a press release that was edited more than 100 times before going live on Apple Newsroom.
The bottom line is this: If it’s not okay for the Pixel 6 to struggle for most of the first year after its release, why does the iPhone 14 outrage feel more like a thud and not a full-on crusade? Who knows.