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.

The Windows Phone app gap starts with Microsoft

In the past week I have attended the MVP Summit at the Microsoft mothership in Redmond.

During this week we were exposed to a lot of content that can’t be shared due to our Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) however one thing I can disappointingly share is that in the “mobile first” view from Redmond: iOS and Android come before Microsoft’s own Windows Phone.

The business sense is justified: iOS and Android make up the majority of mobile devices in the world so if you want adoption of your technologies then they need to be supported.

I feel sorry for the Windows Phone team. While they continue to grow in developing markets due to low cost phones, their market penetration in most developed markets is in the single digits.

A big reason people don’t adopt the platform is due to the “app gap”. In several sessions at the MVP Summit we were exposed to amazing new mobile functionality coming out – only to find that it would only be available for iOS and Android, with Windows Phone at some point in the near future.

It saddens me when I see a popular application or service with links only to the Apple App Store and Google Play marketplaces. I am often surprised when I see people such as our house removalist truck driver using a Nokia 930 and stating that it was a “beast” and that he’s always used Windows Phone since it was released (only a few years ago).

If Microsoft does not treat its own mobile operating system as an equal – why would others? Microsoft has spent billions on developing the Windows Phone operating system, marketing, purchasing Nokia and then laying off most of its workforce. The technology in the operating system as absolutely amazing. The Universal Apps model is a game changer. Cortana…. well it’s hard not to love her.

Windows Phone has so much going for it. If only Microsoft product groups saw it as an equal 3rd and released apps with the same level of functionality (or even higher) than iOS and Android then maybe other developers might do the same, and maybe Windows Phone would stand a chance.