Your move, Samsung. For years, big-screen smartphones powered by Google Inc.’s (NASDAQL GOOGL) Android operating system have been chipping away at iPhone's market share, particularly in emerging markets. But with the introduction of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) just copied the killer feature of most Android phones: big screens.
Pre-sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ahead of the devices’ Sept. 19 launch are breaking records. How many of these iPhone buyers are Android converts? We'll have to wait for the sales data. But if you're Apple fan living in an Android world, here are some signs that it might be time to switch:
You only chose Android for the large screen. Devices powered by the Android operating system have dominated the large-screen market for some time, with manufacturers commonly releasing devices with displays that surpass 5 inches and some that even surpass 6 inches. The previous protocol was: If you wanted a large phone, you likely opted for an Android device because Apple stubbornly released device after device with 4-inch displays.
Now, the iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch display and the iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch display. Both devices cater to two very important sectors of the market. Analysts say that devices with displays larger than 4 inches but smaller than 5 is currently the fastest growing market, while devices over 5 inches are a vital niche market that does not have many devices at premium price points and specifications. It is believed that with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple is trying to win back the Android users it previously lost due to device size.
You find Android interfaces too difficult. Apple’s iOS operating system is known for providing a simple and streamlined user experience, while the Android operating system is more focused on customization and ongoing development of applications and other features. Many programmers and hackers often opt for Android for this reason, but the variation in the software might be too much for a layman user.
The Android user experience can also vary depending on the brand of the device due to the custom software that manufacturers add on top of Android. There is pure Android found on Google’s Nexus line, the TouchWiz UI for Samsung (KRX: 005930), the Sense UI for HTC (TPE: 2498), the Optimus UI for LG (KRX: 066570) and many others. But the Apple user experience will be the same on the iPhone 6, iPhone 5s and so on.
You’re frustrated by infrequent Android updates. Apple is also completely in charge of sending software updates to all its supported devices, which means that updates become available for all iOS devices at roughly the same time. The process for receiving Android updates is much different since for most devices, the software has to go through device manufacturers and mobile carriers before they reach users. This often leaves devices without updates for several months following the release of a new Android system version. In particular, this could leave users with unfixed bugs and other issues for an extended period of time. Though Google is making an effort to fix this issue by optimizing its latest system version to be compatible with more devices, most Android devices still run a much older version of the operating system.
Your entire electronics ecosystem is Apple except your phone. Somehow you own a MacBook, an iPad, an iPod; all of your music is on iTunes, yet you have an Android smartphone. Dual fans of Apple and Android know all too well the stringent incompatibility between the two platforms. Connecting an Android mobile device to an Apple computer will prompt the Android File Transfer feature, which allows users to manually move files from one device to another -- instead of automatically syncing files. This is only one of many roadblocks of having incompatible devices. Tried and true Android smartphone fans with Apple computers will be accustomed to this, but if it’s too much of a hassle for you, it may be time to switch to an all-Apple device lineup.
You’re concerned about safety. Despite the major iCloud hack during which intimate photographs of several celebrities were stolen, Apple’s software is considered some of the safest on the market. Apple encrypts both its software and hardware, so that all information on its devices is confidential. The Android platform is considered open source, which means anyone can access the system’s code and modify it to their liking. While most developers and programmers use this ability for good, there are many that do not. The Android operating system reportedly contains 97 percent of all malware on the market. The truth is, no software is completely safe and it is quite easy to protect an Android device from malware threats. But for some, owning an Apple device gives an extra sense of security.
You’re interested in Apple Watch/Apple Pay. Apple also recently announced its new device Apple Watch and its new service Apple Pay. Consumers shouldn’t be surprised that these new products are compatible only with other Apple devices; so if you want to use either, you’d have to bite the bullet and get an iPhone.
You can’t decide on which Android device you want. Samsung recently announced its Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge smartphones; there is also the Sony Xperia Z3 and the Motorola Moto X (2014) among the latest Android-powered devices. In addition, there are many Android devices that released earlier this year, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and LG G3. The question becomes which do you choose? If you’re unsure, an easier question might be: Do I choose the large iPhone or the larger iPhone?
The new iPhone will be available in just a few days. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available for purchase on Sept. 19 and the devices are already available for pre-order. Not only have the new iPhones sold more than 4 million pre-orders, they are expected to surpass 10 million handset sales during their introductory weekend. The iPhone 6 launch is expected to be the largest in Apple history. Additionally, mobile carriers are offering several deals in order to get customers to purchase the new iPhones on their network.
You want the new U2 album. While many iOS users are trying to figure out how to delete the new U2 album “Songs of Innocence” from their iTunes library, perhaps you’re still a fan on Bono. Notably, the album was sent to users for free during the iPhone launch event last Tuesday. This might be a sweet deal for some -- buy the iPhone 6 and get the new U2 album free.