I was “that guy”.
I caused green messages in group chats. The Android user in a sea of iPhones.
I'm guessing you now either hate me or love me based just on that.
Well, before you decide that, let me tell the full story. I'll tell you why you're wrong, and also why you're right.
I have been an android guy since....forever. At least a decade.
Then I moved to Florida, far from Louisville where my brother and his family and my parents live.
If you put a plane ride between a grandparent and their grandkids, you damn well better have an amazing picture and video capability.
We relied on GroupMe for that for the most part, but it has grown to be downright terrible. How Microsoft (MSFT) screwed that up, I'll never know.
So when I moved, I decided to switch over to iPhone. I didn't tell anyone I was doing this. And then one day I made the switch and I just started texting the group to see who would notice the blue bubble first.
Not surprising---it was Andy.
The reasons I switched were simple; Apple (AAPL) ostracizes Android users (green bubble people) by making iMessage work poorly with non-Apple phones and turns Android-user videos into videos with resolution designed for an ant.
Also---FaceTime, which I have to admit is pretty nice. I miss many features of Android that, to my surprise, no iPhone users were aware of.
iPhone users live in a bubble of their own where life on the outside is just unknown.
And that’s just how Apple wants it – all of its millions and millions of customers engaging with each other in an ecosystem of devices, apps, and payment systems designed to ostracize the outsiders, and reward the insiders.
But… is the strategy working? Is iPhone gaining market share with consumers, or am I the anecdotal outlier?
iPhone is Gaining Market Share
I’m actually far from alone.
People talking about switching from Google’s (GOOGL) Android to iPhone have almost DOUBLED in the last 3 years, while people switching the other way is down over 30% in that time.
That is absolutely amazing, and part of the reason Apple’s share of global phone shipments is up from 14% to 17%. (Samsung is 21%--shocker huh?)
And with that focused data, we can see that iPhone demand is beginning to ramp up this quarter.
With demand for worldwide smartphone shipments falling 9% year over year, and Apple clearly taking market share from Samsung, investors find themselves in a situation where Apple is fighting against a trend and succeeding.
LikeFolio data shows that consumer demand for all of Apple's products has only moved up by 3% year over year… but with iPhone accounting for over half of Apple’s overall revenue, the 28% YoY gain in iPhone demand could produce a welcome surprise for Wall Street.
Earnings for Apple are after the bell on Thursday, July 28.
p.s If you’re considering the switch yourself, here is my breakdown of the pros and cons of the iPhone life after a year of making the switch:
Scrolling screenshot: On Android, when you take a screenshot, you can hit "scroll" and it will go down another screen length and add that to the screenshot. You can keep going and screenshot massive conversations or whole web pages.
Quick launch camera: When I had my Android in my pocket, I could grab it and as I pulled it out of my pocket I could double tap the lock screen button and the camera would open up. I could go from pocket to picture in 1 second.
Search a PDF for a word: Android allows you to do "find" in PDFs. Very handy. Apple, good luck.
File management: Androids are like computers with folders. You can manage and move files (not just pictures, but actual files like excel or pdf, etc) very easily.
Desktop view on webpages: On Android, you could decide to tell the browser to render the desktop version of a website while in Chrome. You could then zoom in and use it as if you’re on a PC. Many sites have limited features on mobile and this can be the difference between a useable website and a useless one.
Truly waterproof, amazing camera, and wireless charging: Oh wait, Apple copied those from Android already, never mind.
Overall, Android was more customizable and Apple is simpler. There was quite a learning curve where I'd ask my wife or friend "hey how do I do _____?". I would either learn how or learn that they had no idea that was possible with a phone.
Now...I will say I'm impressed with a few things Apple:
Facetime: So easy to use and so great. Yes, Android had apps for that, but everyone has facetime already so there's no need to explain how to install voodoo or some other weird app.
Things just work: With Android, the customization was nearly endless. And with that came some setup. To a tech guy like me, no problem. But with Apple, everything is so non-customizable and simple, that it just works. Buy some AirPods? They just work with your phone. iPhone to iPhone stuff? Just works.
As individual products, Android phones are hands down better, although that lead has shrunk since iPhone copied some of the biggest differentiators listed above. But as one element of your life in a society of (gasp) other people, iPhone is vastly superior, at least in the US.