Switching from Windows Phone to iPhone

It’s official – I’ve switched from Windows Phone back to an iPhone.

Back in 2013 I attempted to use an Apple Mac and iPhone for an entire month with the Microsoft ecosystem. I lasted only 4 days.

At the time there were very few apps for iOS and the experience infuriated me. However also back then Windows Phone had a number of differentiators being baked in functionality instead of app handoffs.

Jump forward just over 2 years and we’re in a different world. Windows Phone hasn’t moved beyond a tiny slice of the pie chart and as a result Microsoft’s own product groups are focusing on iOS and Android.

A few months ago I had some Microsoft people (both local and from Corp) trying to convince me to get an iPhone as the Microsoft app experience was better. Around then my Lumia 930 broke and I was on the fence. I ended up getting the phone repaired and decided to stick with Windows Phone – waiting for the Windows 10 Mobile experience and the promise of Universal Apps.

The problem here comes down to timing. Last week my 1 year old daughter got hold of my phone for a couple of minutes and managed to drop it in a way that the screen broke again. Again I was faced with the choice to repair or replace.

I chose to replace my phone with an iPhone 6 Plus, and here’s why:

  • The Microsoft app experience is FAR better on iOS than Windows Phone
  • There are more Microsoft apps available for iOS than Windows Phone
  • Windows 10 Mobile is still very buggy and isn’t expected to come out until October
  • Even then many apps will need to be updated/rewritten to handle to the new multi-screen system and will take months to come out

The key apps I need to use when mobile are:

  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Skype for Business
  • Yammer
  • Dynamics CRM

In every one of those cases the app experience is superior on iOS. I even have screen rotation with several of them!!!

The only app experience I find Windows Phone did much better than iOS is around the Microsoft Band. On iOS there are very few 3rd party apps. Also a number of the functions are missing such as the ability to reply to a call or text message with a quick response.

Within a short period of time of getting my iPhone I had all my personal and business apps up and running. One frustrating component was that I had to enter my credentials (as well as MFA codes) for every single app.

As I am deeply embedded into the Microsoft ecosystem professionally and personally I would not have been able to make the change if my investment in services such as Office 365, Groove Music (formerly known as Xbox), OneDrive and others weren’t feature-rich on iOS.

So will I now switch to using iTunes and other Apple services? Absolutely not.

Do I still think of Windows 3.1 whenever I look at my phone? You betcha!!! (I really miss the tiles of Windows Phone!)

Am I going to stick with the iPhone going forward? Most likely not. I’m sure when Windows 10 Mobile is released and the apps have caught up (and running Android apps is commonplace) I’ll come back. For now, I’m having a better Microsoft app experience on the iPhone.

Auto-sleep feature on the Microsoft Band

The title of the blog is actually incorrect, as it’s more of a Microsoft Health feature rather than the Band.

Let me explain, as well as dispel some myths around the feature.

Late last week a new version of the Microsoft Health app was released that introduced the auto-sleep detection feature. Fantastic news, everyone was excited! However after installing the updated app there was no firmware update for the Band. There was a fair bit of chatter about the update not working, or the firmware coming later.

Most nights I sleep about 5-6 hours and it’s enough to get me by. Last week in particular had been a bit exhausting as I’d been in Seattle the week before, had a couple of evening functions and overall was just more tired than normal. I went to bed a few hours earlier on Friday night and thought I’d have a nap, wake up, enable the Band sleep tracking, then go back to sleep.

That didn’t happen. I slept for over 8 hours straight (that’s a big thing for me).

Later that day however when I looked at the Microsoft Health app it showed my sleep for the night before. I noticed though that it said “(Detected)”, as seen in the screenshot below:

So what kind of sorcery is this? The next night I thought I would test it out and didn’t enable sleep mode. When I awoke and checked the Health app I was disappointed to see that it didn’t record the sleep.

I was however wrong. It had recorded the sleep, however takes a few hours before it shows up.

The reason being is that the data is uploaded to the Microsoft Health service where it analyses your movement (or lack thereof), heart rate, and whatever else and makes the assessment that you have been asleep.

I gotta say, this is impressive functionality. I know others have it, but compared with everything else the Band is capable of doing this is shaping up to be one smart device & service!