Something I’ve noticed over the past five to seven years as a tech writer is that those on the Android side of the fence are a lot noisier when the phones aren’t “right”.
Take the Pixel 6 for example, as the first true “Google phone”, it was riddled with bugs for months. Some of these were quick fixes, but the long list of issues Google had to fix left some Pixel fans with no choice but to switch to another OEM altogether.
I’ve also noticed that it’s rarer for Apple to release a new iPhone that requires a day one update just to work. The iPhone 14 series just launched, and sure enough, as soon as I unboxed my own iPhone 14 Pro Max, there was a prompt to install iOS 16.0.1. Added to this is the eSIM debacle, as Apple decided to fuck everyone in the US by ditching the physical SIM card altogether.
Flip the script
Weird launch bugs and Apple’s slowness to become its own (unlikely) MVNO aren’t the only problems the iPhone 14 has had. More recently, it seems the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a combination of some type of software and hardware fault that is causing the main 48 MP camera to vibrate uncontrollably. At first, it was limited to some third-party apps like Snapchat and Instagram. But in one instance, the iPhone 14 Pro camera was unable to focus even when using the stock iOS Camera app. (Apple has since released iOS 16.0.2 to address this issue.)
But what if Samsung pulled out the same kind of shenanigans? Not only announcing an eSIM-only phone, but also encountering the same kind of negative response we’ve seen. There are still users I’ve seen who have tweeted about their inability to continue with the carrier or MVNO they’ve been using for years. All because eSIM support isn’t as widely adopted as one 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 issues as Apple’s latest iPhone. There would be plenty of editorials wondering if “this was the end”, with memes and jokes about how Samsung would gain even more market share, while comparisons were made between these companies and LG.
Samsung was very aware of this and was smart when it launched the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 3. Samsung didn’t initially include eSIM support out of the box on select carriers for much of the year. If you intended to use eSIM specifically, that would have been inconvenient for a bit of that year, but that didn’t matter much, as you still had the physical SIM card to rely on as a safety net.
Does Apple really get a pass?
As someone who constantly beats the “ecosystem” drum, this might help explain why we don’t hear about these issues as much. No, it’s not a “you’re wrong” argument. That’s because if you have a problem with your iPhone, there are Apple Stores that can handle diagnostics and an exchange. Don’t have an Apple Store nearby? Best Buy is also an Apple Authorized Repair Program partner, and chances are you have one nearby.
On the Android side, it’s far from 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 full fledged mixed bag, or you can hope there’s an authorized repair shop, like UBreakiFix, nearby. But you might not even know you have that option, and I’m not talking to you more precisely, aimed more at the general public.
Yeah, I think Apple is getting a free pass for releasing a new phone with software flaws, and possibly 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. It’s a bit of a nod to the delayed release of iPadOS 16, as Stage Manager is a confusing mess that should never have been announced, and probably won’t be released until next year, if that. .
Contempt or closure?
My signature might be for Android Central, but if there’s one thing you’ve taken away from my time here, it’s that I’m more of a fence keeper than ever. I’m definitely leaning in Apple’s direction, simply because of the ecosystem. It’s not the cameras or the iMessage lock. These are just the tools I use to make a living and better serve my needs on iOS and macOS.
Android and iOS have different roles and purposes, but they’re still smartphones that (mostly) do the same thing. Using the best Android phones allows me to do things that I don’t want my iPhone to do. Having a phone with a foldable screen continues to blow my mind, allowing me to have a portable emulator station with me wherever I go. If something happens and I need to help out our great news team, but I’m away from my desk, I can unfold my phone and get to work.
Seeing the overall response to the growing problems with the iPhone 14 series of phones is really a bit surprising. I haven’t had any of the issues that others have, but that doesn’t change my position at all.
Apple is screwing up its reputation, and it’s only a matter of time before we risk seeing Tim Cook announce an impromptu press conference to tell everyone they’re using their phones badly. It probably won’t happen, because it’s going to be a press release that’s been edited over 100 times before it hits the Apple Newsroom.
The bottom line is this: if it’s not acceptable for the Pixel 6 to have issues for the majority of the first year after release, why does the iPhone 14 outrage look more like a muffled rumble and not a complete crusade? Who knows.
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