Does additional Apple products help?

In late January I wrote on my embarkation into the Apple ecosystem, with the switch from Windows to macOS, and from Dell XPS to Apple Macbook Pro. Could this switch be enhanced with the switch from Android to iPhone?

With the switch to my Macbook, some friends questioned me if the iPhone would be next? My direct answer was no. Yet here we are now, with an iPhone as a daily phone for testing purposes. When getting the phone, I thought having an iPhone would make it possible to log into my mac, by just coming near to my machine with my phone. Well that is not possible, without either a third party app, or a Apple watch. What a bummer.

That unlock feature was not the only reason why I decided to test out the possible perks of having an iPhone. There has also been the other known reasons:

  • Seamless file/photo with iCloud and AirDrop.
  • Autosync between Apple native apps like Notes, Reminders, Contacts, Calendar and others.
  • Have your iMessages on all devices in sync.
  • Answer and call phones on any device.
  • and more.

There is a whole continuity page on apple.com that exhibits the features. And watching the features one can get the feeling; “Wow, thats great!”. But when starting to look with a broader view, there are no features, that you can’t do on the other platforms as well. I can almost hear all Apple fans screaming in their heads, “but with Apple devices, it’s made so easy!”.

With either Google account or Microsoft account you are able to sync cross device just as easily. You have Notes on Apple side, and OneNote in MS world and Keep in G world. Out of these, I personally thinks OneNote is the clear winner.

On the iMessage part I’d say Apple wins. There are third party apps for Windows machines, to sync your Android phone messages real time, just like with WhatsApp web interface or desktop app. One I’ve used is an app called Franz, which I wrote a blog post earlier HERE>>>. I’ve also used Dell Mobile Connect for Android which worked really well for some time, but then suddenly it started glitching. Uninstallation and re-install did not solve the problems and I quickly reverted back to Franz.

Blue vs green bubbles.

What comes to the phone call feature, the continuity does not work that well at all. If I sit with my headphones on, with phone on my right and Macbook on my left, the phone stars ringing way before my machine shows the incoming call. I have also noticed that now and then when answering the call on my Macbook, the sound doesn’t find it’s way to the Macbook at all. And sometimes when answering the call from my phone, it takes a noticeable time for the call to actually be connected.

Phone calls on your Macbook smoothly? Not always and reliably for me.

AirDrop is a good function and wins the sharing functions when it comes to native sharing, although there are third party apps for this as well for Android/Windows. Personally I’ve used Dropbox earlier and it works great. What I specially like with Dropbox is that I can personalise exactly which folders to sync to which device, hence streamline the experience on device in question. While using AirDrop, I’ve found no larger problems, but still returned to primarily using Dropbox.

Apple AirDrop

On the Apple continuity page, they showcases something they call “Start it here. Finish it there.” Essentially this is the function of for instance start typing a mail on you phone, and halfway jumping over to you Macbook or your iPad. The function is pretty good, but personally I haven’t seen much use of this yet, as each device needs to be in close proximity to each other. Sure I can see the use case, it just hasn’t been needed for me yet. For the example of mail, every mail account and client has the draft function that does the same things.

About connectivity when using your phone as a hotspot, it’s showcased as the best. Well this has been so well configured on Windows & Android side, I can’t see any noticeable winner here. Actually I had connection break ups between my Macbook and my iPhone. I went to our office in Salo last month twice, and there I thought I’d test out the fluent usage of my phone and Macbook connection. The connection stayed up for little over an hour, where after it was closed down. In mid usage. Some connecting and it worked again, but where was this dependent and fluent usage of the devices?
Sure, there’s the same possibility of lost connection between an Android and Windows phone, but as many Apple evangelists preach on this as one main function, it not working on two separate times feels a bit ironic.

Apple ecosystem hotspot working only so-so.

One of the biggest disappointment was still the need to purchase a Apple Watch to get the automatic Macbook login. I tried a third party app for this function, but there also one needed to purchase the premium version of the app to get the, in my mind, bare minimum availability of unlocking the mac. This is a prime example on hooking users into the ecosystem.
I’m not going to purchase a Apple Watch for a couple of clear reasons.

  1. I’ve had a Fitbit since May 2016. So for five years soon. And as Apple is so closed of as a ecosystem, I’m not about to throw away five years of statistics due to switch over to an Apple Watch. There should be some supernova like hook to get me to drop Fitbit.
  2. Price! As it happened, my Fitbit broke just a couple of days ago. And while the new Fitbit Versa 3 is 229,90€, the cheapest Apple watch is 218€, and that’s a series 3 which was released September 22, 2017. That meaning it’s 3,5 year old at this point. The newest version of Apple Watch is Series 6 ,which would cost 418,90€.
Fitbit Versa 3

As I was in contact to Fitbit support about my watch, they offered a 35% discount on a new product purchase, meaning the Versa 3 ended up on 149€. Versa 3 was released September 2020, so the tech inside the product is 3 years fresher. In addition, the Fitbit product is dedicated at the exercise / wellness, with a hint of smart watch functions, when the Apple watch is more focused on the smart functions.

Another noticeable difference is the need to recharge the device. Fitbit has a best of 6 days, while the Apple Watch 3 is 18 hours. I already have so many things to keep charged up, I don’t want a watch that needs to be charged daily too.

Apple Watch Series 3

So what could the first conclusion after approximately 2~3 months of usage of a Macbook and now a little over one month of iPhone?

Well they work pretty well together. But to gain more benefits of the same ecosystem, theres a need of more Apple gadgets like the Watch. But nothing really revolutionary has been discovered with this combo. (Apple MacBook Pro 16″ & Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max)
What comes to the iPhone itself, I think I’le make a own blog post of my comparison between iPhone and Android. There’s some noticeable irritation points there. 🤨

But if you are content with your Android phone, I can’t see any “super feature” gained by switching to an iPhone, when using a Macbook.

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