Phone features: Android is not for everyone

Apple's rounded iPhone feature set is a feature in itself.

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Today, through the power of metaphor, we will see that you are phoning all wrong.

Writing for CNN, David Goldman says “The iPhone is for people who drive Toyota Camrys.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @desingheretic.)

Goldman’s point is that Apple makes iPhones designed to appeal to the largest swath of people possible. This differs from Android because if you’re a refresh rate fetishist you can buy an Android device with a crazy high refresh rate. If you’re a folding phone fetishist, you can get a folding phone. A phone with a corkscrew? Uh, probably? The Macalope hasn’t looked. The point is, there are all kinds of Android devices and only a few kinds of iPhones. Advantage: Android.

Overall, the metaphor actually works pretty well. It probably shouldn’t be surprising that one company doesn’t make as many different kinds of models as hundreds of companies each trying to carve out a niche in what is for most Android OEMs a low-margin market. But the metaphor works. It’s the conclusion that’s the problem.

But the iPhone is designed for everyone. You can find an Android phone that feels like it was designed for you.

Really? Let’s leave aside the fact that most people don’t buy phones by saying “Refresh rate is like the only thing that matters to me. The outside of the phone could be covered in used razor blades but if it’s got a high refresh rate, mmm, yeaah, that’s the phone for me.” Most people buy for a rounded feature set and that’s exactly what Apple gets right.

But let’s just consider two specific features. These just happen to be the two most important features for the Macalope. Pure coincidence.

See if you can guess the one word that does not appear anywhere in Goldman’s paean to the superiority of Android phones.

If you guessed “privacy” you win absolutely nothing because we’ve been through this like 9,000 times. Also, the Macalope keeps telling you, his column is not a game show. He doesn’t know where you got this idea or how you got his number, but please stop calling. There are no prizes!

Ironically, at the top of this story CNN has placed a video summarizing Apple’s recent commercial in which people blurt out their private information. It covers the one thing Goldman and pretty much every other pundit who opines about smartphones leaves out.

Goldman was writing before Apple’s “Hi, Speed” event, but it was obvious the company was about to secure its lead in a particular form factor and that is small phones. There are people (and mythical beasts) who never wanted larger phones and Apple has finally delivered us to the promised land. The land that was promised 13 years ago, the time when people where chiding Apple for trying to make the original iPhone look smaller because, LOL, who would want a large smartphone?!

The Pixel 4a is touted as the best small Android phone, but it’s almost as large as the iPhone 12 (non-mini). In fact, all of the “small” Android phones on these lists are larger than the second generation iPhone SE, let alone the iPhone 12 mini.

The Macalope has no problem with people pointing out the benefits of Android. There really are some. But can everyone find an Android phone designed for them? Not by a long shot.

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