Raising the bar

Thanks to Apple, I will not buy a Galaxy Nexus. That isn't because of a ban on the device, or the epic lawsuit that just closed, which saw a huge victory for Apple. No, it has to do with the fact that I have owned two models of the iPhone, and I am completely hooked on the craftsmanship, materials, and quality of the iPhone. I bought my iPhone 4S on opening day, back in October of 2011. If you look at it now, it is impossible to tell that it is almost a year old. Granted I take good care of it, but there is no wear on it, no scratches, and the buttons are just as solid as the day I got it. I had a case on it for a while, but knowing what a great design was being hidden beneath, I stopped putting a case on it. I also have never had a screen protector on it. It travels around in my pocket, occasionally with change and keys, but it doesn't show a single scratch.

Every once in a while, I go to look at the cell phones available for all the carriers. I like to know what's out there. I want to get my hands on the device. The first challenge I have is actually finding a store that has working models. Most of the time, they have non-functioning, empty demo units with a color printout screen. I once went to three different retailers for a certain carrier before I found one that had an actual working model of the phone I wanted to see. I finally got my hands on a Galaxy Nexus. I had heard a lot about the phone, and based on it's specs, it had a lot going for it. When I picked it up, and examined the material of the body, there were numerous scratches, and it was clearly worn. I know that a lot of people have had their hands on it, and it must have taken some abuse, but it just didn't feel like quality material was used. When I add that fact to the fact sheet, I just couldn't see myself owning one. The same can be said for nearly every non-Apple phone out there.

I looked at a phone by Sony, as well as the Lumia 900. Those handsets seemed to be a big step up from the other phones I looked at, at least in terms of materials and design, but each of them had something that just didn't quite sit right with me. In the case of the Lumia, the materials and design look good, but I just cannot get the Windows Phone software. Some people might like it, but I just felt lost trying to navigate around. I have tried a number of times, but it just doesn't work for me. When I picked up an iPhone for the very first time, back in 2009, within a minute, not only did I get it, but I got it. Really, I ordered one within days. I have been hooked ever since.

So, what about that screen size? There are phones with bigger displays than the iPhone, but bigger is not always better. I know what I use my iPhone for, and when I run through the most common scenarios using different cell phones, they just aren't as straightforward and intuitive as what I experience on the iPhone. There are definitely some features that other cell phone OS's have that the iPhone doesn't, but so far I haven't found anything that was enough to sway my opinion. I've never had to struggle with my iPhone to do anything. It just works.

What is the point of this story? In the pre-iPhone world, I would get a new phone every one to two years. I found that I was much less impressed with my phone, after a few months time, than when I bought it new. There were a variety of reasons - the features didn't meet my needs, the interface was difficult, the phone showed a lot of wear, and it was difficult to get help when I needed it. The iPhone, as I started off this article, has set my expectations very high. When I look at another phone, I compare it's materials, thoughtfulness of design, feel, and beauty, to that of the iPhone. The iPhone has done that to me. What was acceptable in the pre-iPhone world does not necessarily fly today. Even when my iPhone is powered off, it represents an interesting juxtaposition - I can easily say that it should be on display in an art museum. On the other hand it should be put to work. I've never been able to say that about any other phone.


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