So here’s a question I never, in a million years thought I’d find myself asking – could an iPhone be a decent or even great Google phone? The iPhone 6 release is the probably the most fundamental shift in Apple’s smartphone strategy since the dawn of the iPhone all those years ago. I had the opportunity to take spend some time with an iPhone 6 Plus today, and the answer to my question is a resounding —-
What happened there? Okay, so before we come to any conclusion, let’s look at the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch screen, with a very subtle curve on the edges of the glass to complete the rounded sides. Apple are very good at tweaking their products to give them a premium, upmarket finish and the iPhone 6 Plus is no different.
It fits nicely in one hand but I doubt it will be used by just the single hand for most functions. You can see how thin it is, with the toggle and volume on one side, the lightning port, speaker output and headphone jack on the bottom and the nano sim card slot and power button on this side.
The screen size was one aspect that attracted me. The other was the camera – a new sensor for better light gathering, faster focus, optical image stabiliser and 240 frame per second slo mo feature – what’s not to like about that? So put the screen size and resolution along with the camera and put aside the platform, it sounds compelling. But add the iOS 8 and what happens then to a heavily devoted google user like myself?
Well the answer is not much. Notice I said Google user, not Android. Now I love android and I’ve been rocking the latest android phones this year and love a lot of them, particularly the Nexus 5 and the HTC One M8 – the HTC for its build and very quick and bright images. And of course I’m very much in the Google ecosystem, using most of their services daily. And I also haven’t had to type on a keyboard forever – I swype everything.
So enter iOS 8 on the iPhone 6 Plus. We go to the app store, type in google, and I have to say, it’s amazing how many Google Apps there are within the Apple ecosystem. Google Plus I get, but even Google Music and Google Movies, which are in direct competition to Apple, are on here. And just to make the camera that bit more functional for a google user, the photo sphere app is also available on iOS8.
After downloading a few google apps, here’s what happened – I signed into one, being Google Plus, and I actually liked the look and feel of the app on the iPhone. Then I launched Google Play Music – and was able to sign in using the same profile as my google plus account. I know that sounds like it makes sense, but I didn’t expect it to be that easy. I was able to fire up my Google Music streaming right away, as if I was on an Android phone.
Then this shocked me a little – when I opened google movies, and selected the movie Gravity, the movie started playing on the iPhone 6 plus where I had left off on my Android phone. That cloud-based cross-platform integration is awesome and unexpected from Apple.
So then of course I had to try swyping on the iPhone 6 plus. I plonked down a dollar twenty nine, made a few adjustments in the settings of the iPhone 6 plus, and for the first time ever, I was swyping on an apple product.
Now from a wearable point of view, that’s no problem either. I use a Pebble Steel during the weekdays, and it is supported by iOS 8 with it’s own app as well, so there’s no big drama in migrating from that perspective either.
So here I am, with a 5.5 inch smartphone, engineered beautifully, a fantastic camera, with all my google services including content subscriptions, and my choice of keyboard input. And.. it’s an iPhone. The scary thing is? It works really well, and I don’t even have to be an iTunes devotee, in fact I don’t have to change a thing as far as my other subscriptions go – kindle, zinio and netflix are all just an app away from being consumed.
So is the iPhone 6 Plus the best Google phone there is today? Well, you can’t fault the depth of support Google has for the Apple ecosystem, not just in services but in content too. I’ll leave final judgement while I dig a little deeper, but as crazy as it sounds, Apple just became a contender as a great alternative Google phone.
I’m sure I’m opening myself up here to a world of pain, but, what do you think?