Sean Ireton

Former UX / UI Designer

Posted in app

The release of the next heirs to the Apple device throne, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch (which is saved for another post) have churned debate over the last couple of weeks. Should I get the 6, the 6 Plus, the new Nexus X, or the Moto X? There are so many great products out, that it’s giving me “consumer psychosis”.

However, the purpose of this post is to explore a couple of options so that you can get through the psychosis too. My upgrade is slated for November 11th, so here are my considerations:

First at bat: Apple

Announced on September 9th and released on September 19th, the new iPhones have sold over 10 million units during the first weekend, reaching a new record for Apple. Holy Toledo, Batman… However, that number alone is not enough to get me to buy one of their coveted new devices. I had a chance to play around with the iPhone 6 (4.7”), and it does not impress me like previous models once did. I’m still waiting to get my hands on the 6 Plus.

They’re lighter, faster, bigger, and have impressive graphics, but I’m concerned that Apple is not attempting to truly innovate. The biggest innovation I’ve seen with the devices is the introduction of Apple Pay, which like the larger screen isn’t new technology either; remember Google Wallet?

While “it’s not about who does it first, it’s about who does it better” is true with most things, how long will Apple fans use that excuse for the mighty tech giant? I’ve been back and forth between iPhone and Android over the years since the first iPhone was released in 2007, and both the beauty and usability of iOS continued to win me over.

From traditional squared-off style back to the original rounded frame set forth by the first iPhone, and even the change in hold/power button position from the top to the side, I find the drastic change in industrial design of the iPhone 6 interesting. Could these “back to square one”, mixed with modern technology changes, be Tim Cook’s way of becoming the new Jobs for a new generation of Apple customers?

iOS7 and iOS8 are great revisions of the platform as well, and the introduction of Handoff has been an incredible, yet subtle shift in the way we use our phones alongside our computers and tablets. I think this method of transferring data so seamlessly will change the human/computer relationship forever. Unfortunately, this functionality is not cross-platform compatible for good reason.

Second up: Google

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is argued to be the best iPhone alternative on the market, but to me it is the most gimmicky phone out there. From Samsung’s TV ads directly poking fun at Apple to their claims of being waterproof, they have yet to find their way into my heart.

They are practically indestructible (watch the durability test), but if you’re someone like me who is very good about maintaining the longevity of their device and isn’t Jamie or Adam from Mythbusters, then this is not enough.

After being an iPhone user for so long, it’s refreshing for me to see what Google and Motorola have done with the Moto X and Nexus devices. For me deciding between Android phones, the Moto X’s wide variety of customization options gives it a huge leg-up against the competition.

Moto X

Weighing in almost exactly between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a user can train the device further than Siri by giving it it’s own name or being a touch more casual with your language. Watch the voice control throwdown. It’s also physically customizable to your heart’s content; change back panel color, back panel texture, front panel color, accent colors, wallpaper, device boot greeting (splash screen opposite Apple’s standard logo boot), engraving, wall charger color (white and black). Whoa.

The Moto X also runs on stock Android, which will receive OS updates quicker and a user doesn’t have to wait for the manufacturer to release a special version of the latest software. That software will usually come with their proprietary “bloatware”, which can be annoying by cluttering up the homescreen and the app drawer. This bloatware can be disabled (not deleted or removed as I’ve noticed with the Galaxy S5), but I’d rather not have to go through the ritual of removing unnecessary applications I never wanted in the first place. The Moto X however, does come with a few preloaded apps, but these are significantly more functional.

Read the Moto X review

Nexus X (codenamed: Motorola Shamu)

Not much is known about the newest release coming from Google, but it’s speculated that this or a 2015 LG device will be the chosen hardware to be released housing the all new Android L OS.

Recently as of September 25th, a leaked photo of Motorola (which looks very similar to the Moto X) hardware has been released showing off a monstrous 5.92” display. This display is rumored to be QHD (498ppi), with the internal guts including: “a Snapdragon 805 CPU, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, a 13MP rear cam, 2MP front cam and a 3200 mAh battery”. (src: Android Authority)

That is a beast compared to the iPhone 6+ (5.5” at 401ppi) and Galaxy S5 (5.1” at 432ppi). I can’t hold my breath though, because the Shamu is just a rumor for now.

Final Thoughts

I have decided to go with the Moto X because of its wide range of customization options, as well as the stock Android OS. As an Apple user, I have always loved the update process. Over-the-air updates made it possible to update any time and anywhere, which is possible for both stock and non-stock Android devices (of course depending on the carrier’s choice to support it or not).

I’m also very much looking forward to the voice control for this device (although technically non-stock as it’s Motorola-based software), and how it seems to work more fluidly than Siri or the standard, “ok, Google” stock functionality on Android.

Some of the features listed in this article may be considered vanity features, but I think it’ll be nice to once again use a phone without an ‘i’ preceding the title. As of now this is not a goodbye to Apple for me, it’s more of a “Big Gulps huh? Well, see ya later!

Which device will you upgrade to this Fall? Or are you waiting for a 2015 Android phone?