Sunday, December 27, 2015

iPhone 6 - Part 4

This is a continuation of iPhone 6 - Part 3.

Back Button

iOS 9 has a "Back to..." button in the top left corner if you go from one app to another, e.g. Hangouts to Settings. But this is only one level and doesn't always persist if you navigate within the second app.

Screen Resolution

The Moto X is 720 x 1280. The OnePlus One is 1920 x 1080. The iPhone 6 is 750 x 1334 unless Zoomed (then 640 x 1136) which is the same resolution as the iPhone 5. Zoomed gives you 1 less row of icons.

SmartLock vs. Touch ID

Lollipop's SmartLock with Trusted Devices, Trusted Locations and On-Body Detection only requires unlocking the Android phone with a PIN a few times per day. The iPhone's Touch ID requires unlocking the iPhone with a fingerprint every time you want to use it. Further the sequence that you use, e.g. notification displayed, tap Home button, pressing thumb on Home button vs. swiping notification, pressing thumb on Home button, have different results.


I had to call AT&T to activate the hotspot although it had been working fine under Android. And you can't change the SSID without renaming the phone.

Google Voice Voicemail

Something in the back and forth migration disabled my Google Voice voicemail. Almost certainly a one time issue.


iMessage was turned on by default. There are stories about how difficult it is to migrate from iMessage back to native SMS. After weeks of discussions with Apple Care I'm still not receiving group MMS from some iMessage users.

Also, you can't integrate Google Hangouts into iMessage so I had 2 different messaging apps.

Voice Controls

I hadn't realized how much I depended on Android's voice controls, Moto Voice and Ok Google. I had to turn off Ok Google detection on the OnePlus One but I still could dictate brief text messages using the microphone icon on the keyboard. And on the Moto X I could listen to and respond to text messages without even taking the phone out of its holster. None of this is available on the iPhone.

I didn't exercise Siri.

Motorola Connect

The Motorola Connect app on the Moto X connects to a Chrome extension on a PC to giving me bi-directional connection to the Moto X's SMS. I din't realize how much I used that until it was gone. iMessage has this function on other Apple devices.

Motorola withdrew Motorola Connect in November 2015.


Obviously accessories for the iPhone are widely available. I've struggled with my niche Android phones to find holsters and charging docks. More mainstream Android phones likely wouldn't have that problem.

I like carbon fiber on my smartphones going back to my Samsung Captivate. The iPhone 6 I bought was space gray so I added a nice carbon fiber skin.


I loved the size of the iPhone 6 but with the differences in how iOS operated compared to Android I couldn't rationalize the $500 expenditure.

Yahoo! News had this related article.

As I discussed this journey with the president of our company he said "iPhone users just don't understand what they're missing." I'll leave that attributed to him.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

iPhone 6 - Part 3

This is a continuation of iPhone 6 - Part 2.


Next I wondered how to get photos from the iPhone to my PC. I had been using Bluetooth on my Android devices. (I will discuss Dropbox and Google Photos later.)

Again iTunes came up. The only alternative I came up with was a USB cable. Not as capable as I expected.

Non-Apple App Configuration

Hangouts notification sounds - You can't setup a custom notification sound for Google Hangouts.
Notifications for Hangouts didn't work at all (not even an icon badge) until I had the Hangouts app active when it received a message. Hangouts worked anywhere after that.

GasBuddy startup - You can't set a startup page for GasBuddy like you can in Android. If the app has closed it starts at the "Find Gas Near Me" page. Otherwise it returns to the last used page

Pocket Casts - You can't set a unilateral playback speed. Changing the "Up Next" sequence requires an extra step to "Edit" the list where in Android it's just tap and hold to move. It's very unusual for an Android app to have a more optimal user experience.

Direct dial icons - You simply can't do it. This would be a homescreen widget in Android. There are some workaround apps that use Safari but they aren't very elegant.

Swype - Swype caused the Gmail app to terminate when tapping the "Search" button on the Inbox screen. This worked fine using Apple keyboard. I'm sure that will be fixed. Also, Apple switches back to the Apple keyboard when entering passwords. Probably a good idea but a little disconcerting.

Google Maps - When using Google Maps navigation with the origin being the current location, iOS doesn't seem to give Google Maps the current location. It seems to give Google Maps the location that you were at when you last used Google Maps.

Other iDevices Ringing with iPhone

By default all devices on the same iTunes account ring when the iPhone rings. It took a little while to find that setting with some spousal consternation.

Background Processing

Google Photos - Google Photos doesn't upload photos until you launch the app. And if it starts uploading and you navigate to another app it stops after 5 minutes. Here's a "cool hack" to get around this.

Dropbox - To overcome this background limitation Dropbox uses Location Services to trigger background uploads. The effectiveness depends on how often iOS notifies Dropbox that the location has changed. Casual observation indicates that iOS' location granularity is less than Android's. (more later)

Pocket Casts - Pocket Casts doesn't begin downloading podcasts until the app is launched even when plugged in. Don't forget to launch it before you go to bed. On Android Pocket Casts pauses while Runkeeper announces its intervals. On iOS Pocket Casts just keeps playing.

Gmail - My wife (using Gmail on iOS) has commented that she had received a notification of new mail but when she went to the Gmail app there was nothing new there. Then quickly she'd say "There it is." It seems that Gmail doesn't load new mail until the application is launched. There could be some other subtleties here but this is the general observation.

Google Location Tracking

iOS seems to have (or at least shares) much lower granularity of location than Android. Here is a comparison of the same GPS sensitive app (Runkeeper) running on iOS and Android. Notice that there are many more GPS fixes under Android.


Active apps don't have a notification tray icon. This makes it difficult to negotiate back to a running app. For example if you are listening to Pocket Casts and go to Gmail and then want to return to Pocket Casts, there is no notification icon for Pocket Casts. You have to either double tap the Home button and locate Pocket Casts in the task manager (unfriendly to me as is Android's) or you have to tap the Home button to go back to the home screen, locate the Pocket Casts icon and tap it. If you haven't run another app in the interim Pocket Casts has a lock screen "widget" that you can use to manage Pocket Casts. This issue is not specific to Pocket Casts but not all apps have the lock screen interface.

Sending a text has a "whoosh" sound. If you're a "Good Wife" fan you'll remember that's how her son got in trouble. To eliminate the sent text notification tone "u can flip the switch on the side to vibrate and you wont hear anything." Really?

On the Moto X you can eliminate camera shutter sound. The OnePlus wouldn't let you do that. On the iPhone "The only way to turn this off is to turn on the mute switch." See above.

To be continued ...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

iPhone 6 - Part 2

This is a continuation of iPhone 6 - Part 1.

Here's the point by point comparison of my Androids and the iPhone 6.

Operating System

Android Lollipop has been through 5.0, 5.0.2, 5.1, and 5.1.1. The "cellular standby" bug doesn't look like it's going to be fixed in Lollipop and my Moto X isn't getting Marshmallow.

The OnePlus One came with CyanogenMod which I originally thought was a plus. It shipped with CM 11S (4.4.4) and was upgraded to COS 12 (5.0) and COS 12.1 (5.1.1) and has gotten no updates since then (i.e. Stagefright).

iOS 9 has had its share of updates as well with 9.0, 9.0.1, 9.0.2, and 9.1.

Incidentally my gazelle iPhone came with a beta release of iOS 9.1 which caused me problems with Location Services.

Battery Life

The Moto X struggles with battery life as a result of the Lollipop "cellular standby" bug. The OnePlus One didn't have the over the top battery life I had expected. Surprisingly the iPhone 6 battery life wasn't as good as my wife's iPhone 5S. Here's my spreadsheet with battery usage.

Default Apps

As I was using Google apps I was worried about the limitations of iOS of setting alternate default apps, e.g. Safari. What I discovered was that while you're within the Google ecosystem Google can handle directing you to the desired Google app.


There are dozens of ways to get ringtones over to an Android phone. When I searched for how to do that on the iPhone I came across this article.

Really, 16 easy steps?

When I reached out to a friend who is very technical and a died in the wool Apple user he replied:
Lastly, while I don’t really recommend iTunes if you can avoid it since it has turned into a bloated pig... I don;t find I have to use iTunes for anything.
But when I pressed him for alternatives:
I have iTunes running on a shared Mac in the house...
You can draw your own conclusions.

I used iTunes and moved my ringtones to the iPhone.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 06, 2015

iPhone 6 - Part 1

tl;dr I sent it back.

After my OnePlus One experience, I was ready to look at an iPhone. There were 3 major drivers; stability, size and battery life. The OnePlus One was FLAKY and the 2013 Moto X has suffered through Lollipop 5.0 and 5.1. And Motorola has promised NOT to put Marshmallow on it. I expected (and found) that iOS was very stable. The OnePlus One was also BIG. The iPhone 6 was enough bigger than the Moto X but not so big as the OnePlus One. I had expected better battery life from the OnePlus One but didn't experience that.

So I jumped and ordered a 64GB iPhone 6 from gazelle. Their selection was good as was their price and given that I was trying an iPhone I wanted a generous return policy.

The iPhone 6 is the perfect size for me. And it's so thin.


Motorola Moto XApple iPhone 6
Device typeSmart phoneSmart phone
OSAndroid (4.4.2, 4.4, 4.3, 4.2.2)iOS (9.x, 8.x)
Dimensions5.09 x 2.57 x 0.41 inches (129.3 x 65.3 x 10.4 mm)5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches (138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm)
Weight4.59 oz (130 g)4.55 oz (129 g)
Physical size4.7 inches4.7 inches
Resolution720 x 1280 pixels750 x 1334 pixels
Pixel density316 ppi326 ppi
Colors16 777 21616 777 216
FeaturesLight sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass)Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass, Oleophobic coating
Camera10 megapixels8 megapixels
   FlashLEDDual LED
   Aperture sizeF2.4F2.2
   Focal length (35mm equivalent)30 mm29 mm
   Camera sensor size1/2.6"1/3"
   FeaturesDigital zoom, Autofocus, Touch to focus, Geo taggingSapphire crystal lens cover, Face detection, Smile detection, Digital zoom, Self-timer, Digital image stabilization, Back-illuminated sensor (BSI), Autofocus (Phase detection), Touch to focus, Geo tagging
Camcorder1920x1080 (1080p HD) (60 fps)1920x1080 (1080p HD) (60 fps), 1280x720 (720p HD) (240 fps)
Front-facing camera2 megapixels1.2 megapixels
System chipMotorola X8 (Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro MSM8960)Apple A8
ProcessorDual core, 1700 MHz, KraitDual-core, 1400 MHz, Cyclone ARMv8-A 2nd gen., 64-bit
Graphics processorAdreno 320PowerVR GX6450
System memory2048 MB RAM1924 MB RAM
Built-in storage32 GB64 GB
Maximum User Storage28 GB
Storage expansion
Talk time12.00 hours
Stand-by time10.0 days (240 hours)10.4 days (250 hours)
Capacity2200 mAh1810 mAh
Not user replaceableYes
Music player
   Filter byAlbum, Artist, PlaylistsAlbum, Artist, Genre, Playlists
   FeaturesAlbum art cover, Background playbackAlbum art cover, Background playback
SpeakersEarpiece, LoudspeakerEarpiece, Loudspeaker
YouTube playerYesYes
Built-in online services supportYouTube (upload), Picasa/Google+YouTube (upload), Picasa/Google+
GSM850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
UMTS850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz
FDD LTE700 (band 13), 850 (band 5), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1900 (band 2) MHz700 (band 13), 700 (band 17), 700 (band 28), 800 (band 18), 800 (band 19), 800 (band 20), 850 (band 5), 850 (band 26), 900 (band 8), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1800 (band 3), 1900 (band 2), 1900 (band 25), 2100 (band 1), 2600 (band 7) MHz
DataLTE, HSDPA+ (4G) 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRSLTE Cat 4 (150/50 Mbit/s), HSPA (unspecified), HSUPA, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, EV-DO Rev.A, EV-DO Rev.B
PositioningGPS, A-GPS, S-GPS, GlonassGPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Cell ID, Wi-Fi positioning
NavigationTurn-by-turn navigationTurn-by-turn navigation, Voice navigation
Bluetooth4.0 EDR4.0
Wi-Fi802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac
   Mobile hotspotYesYes
   FeaturesMass storage device, USB chargingUSB charging
OtherNFC, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA syncNFC, UMA (Wi-Fi Calling), Tethering, Computer sync, OTA sync, AirDrop
NotificationsHaptic feedback, Music ringtones (MP3), Polyphonic ringtones, Vibration, Flight mode, Silent mode, SpeakerphoneHaptic feedback, Music ringtones (MP3), Polyphonic ringtones, Vibration, Flight mode, Silent mode, Speakerphone
SensorsAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Thermometer, BarometerAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Fingerprint (touch), Barometer
Hearing aid compatibilityM3, T3M3, T4
OtherVoice dialing, Voice commands, Voice recordingVoice dialing, Voice commands, Voice recording
Officially announced01 Aug 201309 Sep 2014

Next I'll do a point by point comparison of my Androids and the iPhone 6.