Despite being under the weather for the last week and moving, I’ve still set aside some time to write about my three months with iPhone.
Back in my original post in May, I wrote about my first impressions of the iPhone 6S. It was my first foray into the world of iPhones, after spending years (since buying my first phone in 2013) strapped to Android and budget-conscious LG and Samsung models. (With the exception of one phone – I owned a Nokia Lumia 635 Windows Phone in 2015/16. That phone was probably the worst out of all of them.)
It might be too early to tell for sure: but I don’t think I’m going to look back.
I’m not going to lie: getting used to the iOS interface and using an iPhone instead of Android was different. I had to adapt. But I feel the process of adapting to the changes was very simple. Most of the things on the iPhone work very well, and the user interface is extremely simple to learn and use.
Perhaps the best part of the iPhone is the things I’ve been able to do that my other phones could barely – or just flat out couldn’t – do. I can listen to Spotify, play games, work on a document or even Google Slides/Keynote presentation. While my other phones could technically do those, most of the time my previous phones had so little storage that installing an app was impossible without deleting something else.
The camera on the iPhone 6S is also really good. While nowhere near DSLR quality, and likely nowhere near todays smartphones like the iPhone XS or Google Pixel 3, it’s still good. It’s actually really good for general purpose photography, such as taking pictures for this blog or social media. Videos also come out really good, as demonstrated below.
Speaking of videos, you can edit it directly on your iPhone and upload it to YouTube or social media using iMovie. In the above example, I actually edited it on my iPad – but I also edited another video using my iPhone for testing purposes and can attest that it works. (Although rendering and exporting is much quicker on the iPad.)
The iPhone 6S has a decent battery. I’ve managed to get decent battery life with it. I’ve managed to go a couple days without charging and it’ll still be about 30% with moderate use. Charge time is also fairly decent – although I usually charge my phones overnight. For faster charging, though, you can use a more powerful Lightning charger such as what is included with iPads.
The iPhone 6S also has good speakers. While they are not concert-quality and definitely are not award winning, they get the job done and sound much better than the speakers in all of my previous phones combined.
I purchased the 32GB version – as that is about the only model of iPhone 6S still sold new. I feared 32GB would fill up nearly instantly. While it’s too early to tell, there is one thing that gives me some relief. I sync my photos to my Google Photos account. Google Photos gives you the option to automatically delete photos that have been saved to the cloud off your device, which save a LOT of storage space.
And you may be wondering – what about performance? The iPhone 6S actually is fairly snappy, despite running on an A9 chipset. Apps are pretty responsive and it seems fine playing games and watching videos.
iMovie isn’t the only app included on the iPhone. As with the iPad and Macs, Apple bundles a lot of good software (note – NOT BLOATWARE) with their products. The iPhone even comes with productivity apps like Pages, Keynote and Numbers (equivalents to Microsoft Office’s Word, PowerPoint and Excel.) So if you need to write something on your phone or quickly edit some spreadsheet on your phone, you can do it. (In fact, I’ve had classmates who have written entire essays on their phone. I could never do that.)
Apple also bundles other apps, like FaceTime, Photos, News, Maps, etc.
The App Store
The iPhone, like Apple’s other products, is connected to their controversial App Store. IOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone are “walled gardens” – apps can’t be downloaded directly from the internet or other sources and installed like with Android, Windows and even Mac. Unlike the Mac, there is also no option to turn off this walled garden and allow downloaded items to be installed on iOS devices. This has sparked controversy, with companies taking Apple to court for anti-trust suits and companies and customers angry.
This walled garden approach reminds me of when Steve Jobs was mentioning “end-to-end control” in the 2015 biopic Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender.
But there is a benefit to such a walled garden: security and quality. By only being able to download your app through the App Store – on which every app is approved by Apple – you are almost guaranteed secure apps.
The iPhone also boasts some other really good features that I enjoy.
Well-Integrated Devices: Syncing
Perhaps the thing I like the best is just how well integrated things are, especially with Apple’s own apps that I mentioned above. Most things sync with your other Apple products, so changes made on one device appear on the rest. Ditto for new documents.
The best example is Notes. Since buying my iPhone I’ve extensively used the Notes app to create shopping lists, to-do lists, general notes, etc. The greatest thing is I can pull those notes up on my iPad, edit them, and the changes will appear right on my iPhone almost instantly – almost like in Google Drive. (In fact, I usually compile my shopping lists on my iPad and view them at the store on my iPhone.)
That functionality is on most apps, such as Notes, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Reminders, etc. But this functionality is even usable in an app like Safari – where I can even open a tab that I was viewing on my iPhone on my iPad and vice-versa.
I feel the integration between devices is incredible and such a great feature to have, especially for consumer devices. I can see how it can be used in many facets of everyday life, like shopping and making to-do lists.
Perhaps one of the least used and overlooked features of any Apple device (iPhone/iPad/Mac) is AirDrop.
While your photos, documents, etc. can all sync via iCloud… you can also quickly send a file to a friend’s computer or a work computer via AirDrop. AirDrop is a really good feature that has actually helped me out of some pickles before where I didn’t have a Lightning-USB cable on me but wanted to send a photo to my dad’s MacBook Air.
After talking about the tightly-knit integration and AirDrop, there’s also iCloud. That tightly-knit integration is partially made possible by iCloud, which is a cloud service where photos, documents and other files are stored. Just like Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365, Apple’s iCloud has an online interface that allows you to add/remove/view files in a web browser, and allows you to also use Pages/Keynote/Numbers from a web browser – even on a Windows PC.
The iCloud plan you get free with your products has a very low capacity. To increase that capacity, you must pay a monthly fee.
Overall, I’ve been super impressed with my iPhone 6S. Despite being a model that is a couple years old and is on the cusp of being obsolete, it works well for me and has allowed me to enter the iPhone world on a budget. It’s too early to tell whether things like battery life and performance will last, but right now it seems like I made a good call.