When things are roughly similar, I value form over function. It’s that simple. Elegance, beauty, and design are all magnifiers of experience for me, and my daily device is the place where this matters most.
But I also see the other side. Google Now is overwhelmingly superior to Siri. Google Maps makes the current version of Apple Maps look like the result of a weekend hackathon. And there are a number of other parts of Android that I also prefer to their Apple/iOS counterparts.
I see that as a 30% functionality advantage for Google. I don’t like it. I wish it didn’t exist. But I don’t deny truth because it’s unpleasant. But when I rotate the table and consider usability, feel, and overall experience–Apple ends up with something like a 60% advantage. Those are my numbers…obviously subjective.
But now let’s apply the weighting. I weigh functionality at 1x. And I weigh UX at 3x. So Google gets 30 advantage points and Apple gets 210. That’s how extreme it is for me.
I was using my Galaxy S III earlier today. I intended to use it for 24 full hours prior to getting my iPhone 5, but I couldn’t get through a full four hours. The buttons are sloppy mush. The sound preferences are ridiculous. And the overall offense to my UX sensibilities when using the device/OS is enough to make me angry.
And this is WHILE I’m marveling at Google Maps, and Google Now, etc. I’m not eager to hate Android; in fact it’s the opposite. I own both phones, and I can swap my SIM card as desired. If I enjoyed Android more I’d simply switch to it. I already use it for my backend mail services, documents, and numerous other components of Google Apps functionality. I simply cannot do it. It’s too aesthetically jarring. It’s too arbitrary.
The new iPhone is the epitome of extraordinary design. If they did nothing but change the design I’d be camping just as I am now. Turns out they added LTE and some speed stuff I don’t even care about (which I’m sure many Android users will be tracking feverishly due to their obsession with numbers vs. experience).
Benchmarks don’t matter to me. Speed tests don’t matter to me. I want an object of beauty to bring me results transparently–without interference. The idea of using something constantly that is aesthetically repugnant because it has some better features doesn’t compute for me. If someone told me a there was a turd that could predict the future I still wouldn’t carry one in my pocket.
But don’t misunderstand–Samsung could build a piece of hardware like the iPhone 5, and Google could release a version of Android that focused on zero-touch elegance, and that would get me. As it stands, though, having to re-select my keyboard repeatedly on my S3 is utterly asinine. It’s like getting in a car and being asked to configure the gas petal. Every. Time.
In sum, form over function–that’s why I’m getting the iPhone 5. And if Google and crew make something 70% as brilliant as the iPhone 5’s design, and they put an OS on it that is catered less towards tinkerers–I will likely be switching myself.
Until then it’s Apple for me.