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Can you throw away Apple once you’ve taken a bite?

BlogUncategorisedCan you throw away Apple once you’ve taken a bite?

Can you throw away Apple once you’ve taken a bite?

An interesting Question. It’s one I’ve been asked several times over the years and until very recently my answer has always been “Why would you want to?”. Trends have changed over the last few years, however, Apple Devices are seen as the most common status of wealth having 45% of the UK Market in the Mobile Device Sector.

So why would you want to move away from Apple Devices? Possibly since Apple seems to be losing its technological edge. Back in April (2018) I decided to look for an alternative to my iPhone 7 Plus (the device I rely on for Business every day) and looked at what else (None-Apple) was available. I’ll start with the reasons why I came to take on the challenge.

I took the challenge to see if you can throw to one side the Apple iPhone and move to another manufacturer for your Day-to-Day mobile needs.

iOS 11.3 was to many people just another update to iOS 11. However, flashback to nearly 3 years ago when Apple without warning, implemented features within the OS to disable perfectly functional iPhones and without good reason. – Admittedly they claimed/claim otherwise. 

 iOS 11.3 released on 29th March 2018, again brought Apple to the limelight of Online Communities when users hit the Forums and Chatrooms to vent their frustrations, namely, that since this Update their iPhones 8/8 Plus screens were unresponsive to touch. These users had screens repaired either by themselves or by Third-Party Repairers who use Third Party Manufactured Screens. This, however, wasn’t just limited to Third Party Manufactured screens, elements of functionality had also been affected with original screens exchanged between identical new iPhone 8 devices “Refurbished or not” if these screens weren’t part of the phone originally. Similarly, 3 years ago Apple hit the mainstream media with the famous “Error 53”. This related to the iPhone 6/6 Plus with users who had exchanged the Home Buttons seeing their Devices fail to update and losing any data on the Device. I’m not here to moan about Apple, there is plenty of sites online that will happily spend all day doing that. 

The Huawei P20 Pro, a fine contender for the battle of the high-end phone market. Huawei, unknown to the masses in the UK for a number of years have been the backbone of the most impressive technological breakthroughs throughout the last Decade. Firstly, anyone, that has ever used a 3G/4G dongle, (if you still have it to hand, take a look at the label) you’ll most likely find it has been made by Huawei and rebranded by your network operator. Likewise, Huawei has been a name across Eastern Europe for a number of years where Apple has taken less of the market share.

Huawei P20 Pro – Hardware

On paper the new Huawei P20 Pro is impressive. In practice, It’s unbelievable. The screen – Good, The Power – Good, The Battery charge time – Good, Face Recognition – Good, The Camera – Unbelievable.  Its low light performance is stunning with good clarity, sharpness and colour. I can’t help but think Apple is lagging behind the competition. Huawei’s Facial Recognition seems to be quicker and faster than the iPhone X and the only downside I can see on the Hardware front is the lack of inbuilt wireless charging. The USB-C connection for Charging and Transferring data is becoming industry standard, however, I would say. Stock up on USB-C cables.

Huawei P20 Pro – Software

The Huawei P20 Pro runs their own flavour of Android personally, one of my favourites. EMUI seems very fluid far more advanced than Samsung’s “Samsung Experience”.

Out of the box, the Huawei setup process is not too dissimilar to the iPhone. Language > Country > Wifi etc. EMUI being Android-based offers Google Cloud Services. I opted to bypass this though I do have a google account, the purpose was to see how the Huawei P20 Pro integrates with other Apple Products. Hence, I’m looking towards iCloud for Contacts, Calendars & Note for synchronisation across my devices. – Yes, I could use Google’s Cloud Services across my devices, however, I’m already well invested in iCloud.

I was looking to integrate the Device into my day to day business work, alongside my Mac and iPad.  Syncing content across all platforms.

Once the setup process has been completed it’s straight to the Play Store to download all the required apps. Even though flavours are individual manufactures tweaks, the Android base is still the same and the Play Store works across all flavours. Any apps I previously purchased on the Samsung are available to re-download. It’s worth, however, noting moving from Apple to an Android-based device may become costly. Similarly moving from a Windows-based PC to an Apple Mac or vice versa any purchased app would thus need re-purchasing from the play store. 

The first and most important apps come from dmfs GmbH:  SmoothSync apps. SmoothSync Contacts and SmoothSync Calendar offer the ability to sync your iCloud Contacts and Calendar with your Android Device. Once Purchased (these apps cost £2.99 and £2.19 respectively) it’s a simple process to get up and running, sign in with your iCloud account and away you go. It is worth noting these apps do require Two-Factor authentication to be switched off. 

Communication: Simply how do we all communicate these days? iMessage was launched back in 2011 and since then iPhone users have enjoyed its ease of use. Once you remove yourself from the loop however, how  does everyone else take it? not very well. Both Colleagues and (more importantly) Customers commented about the fact I was no longer in communication on the messaging service. I distributed again my icloud email address which still functioned on the Mac and the iPad with imessages and looked for a solution. After a quick Google search wemessage, seemed the answer. Wemessage, offers an imessage style app on your Android device. Unfortunately, a brilliant Service with a few downsides. Firstly, there is still no ability to assign a mobile number to the service, you’re still stuck using your icloud email address. Secondly there is an app which requires installing on a Mac also requiring command line setup. Thirdly  your Mac has to be running 24/7 to push messages to your Mobile Device. This posed no issues to myself the WeServer app was installed on one of our Apple Servers and once complete the setup process was completed within 15 minutes. Users unfamiliar with Terminal and the command line may find this daunting.

The Huawei P20 Pro was integrated into my working life. A colleague joined me in the process a number of weeks ago and they love their device. Not constrained to iCloud service and this being their personal phone, it gave them the ability to move forward without the above setup requirements. 

I’m not going pretend all is happy sailing. Continuity is a big feature of Apple’s integrated iOS. Not being able to AirDrop files from your phone to your iPad or Mac is a little frustrating and as some of your eagle-eyed readers will have noted (no pun intended), I was unable to find an app to synchronise notes. 

Verdict….  So, it got to  July (2018) and I’d  been using the Device for 3 months. I targeted myself 6 months for this test, so where am I now? Well… I’ll be honest. I’m back with the iPhone. The Huawei P20 Pro is a fantastic phone, its integration into an Apple family though is just not there. Disappointed? me too.

Firstly, messages. Yes, wemessage is a free app developed by an individual. It has the potential to go far, however, it’s just not there yet. Its buggy and unpredictable and I’ve been at times unable to send important messages and  also not received messages from contacts which have arrived on the Mac and iPad found hours if not days later. I’m hoping that the build continues on and in the near future it’s something I can look at again. Many of you will be screaming at the screen now saying use another platform, Whatsapp, Messenger, Text Messages etc. However, if the other party doesn’t use these Services it’s hard to ask them to install these just because you’ve decided to change your phone. Very much like roaming charges, you pay the bill for someone calling you because you’re the one enjoying your time on holiday. 

Secondly, software. Android still isn’t as refined as iOS. Little bugs and elements just don’t hold up against iOS no matter how polished EMUI is. I also carry an iPhone as my personal phone and I found myself constantly using this when required to check anything quickly and in all honesty as a general preference. 

To conclude: The question “can you move away from the iPhone?”  The answer, in short, is yes, but it’s not easy.

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