Recently I’ve been shopping around for a new carrier, and oftentimes – although not every time – when you switch to a new carrier it’s also a good time to shop for a new phone. As I’m browsing through the phones and considering whether I want to stick with Android or go back to iOS, I realized something: If iOS didn’t have Google’s apps, I don't know how much I would actually want to use iOS.
Maybe it’s because I was late to the Apple party. I didn’t get my first iPhone until 2011, when the iPhone 4S came out. I bought my first iPad in 2013, and I didn’t own a Mac until last year. Despite my numerous Apple products, I never owned more than two Apple products at a time, so I never considered myself invested in the Apple ecosystem. Google, on the other hand, has been my go-to for a lot of services for a very long time. It’s been working out pretty well for me so far, and since most services are offered on both Android and iOS I haven’t really needed to change. Well, except for the times I switched to Windows Phone.
In fact, lack of Google services is a big part of what ultimately kept me away from using Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile for more than a month or two at a time. Sure, there are workarounds to use third party apps most of the time, but the amount of effort it took to find a good workaround that worked well was moot point for a smartphone’s purpose. And then there were the times where there wasn’t a workaround at all. Of course, a glaring Google void in the Windows Phone ecosystem was only part of the problem; the other part was the barren app store. It’s a shame, really, as I’ve always considered the “bones” of Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile to be excellent, and with more love and care I do believe it could have stood a much better chance at competing with both iOS and Android.
As it stands, however, right now the best two options for most people ends up being iOS and Android, and while I’m generally dismayed about there no longer being a true viable third platform to choose from, I am grateful that both of these platforms feature nearly identical app store offerings, especially in regard to Google’s services.
It seems silly to peg whether I use iOS or not solely on the existence of Google services, but at this point I am so intertwined with Google’s ecosystem that having the apps available is a necessity for me. I use Google Drive daily. I’ve grown to prefer Google Assistant over Siri. I have better luck with Google Maps over Apple Maps. I have since moved from Apple Music to Google Play Music simply because I get more for the same amount of money with the inclusion of YouTube Red. I even prefer Duo to FaceTime these days as it’s simple to use and a lot of my family and friends hopped on board with it.
But as much as I’m intertwined with Google’s services, I still have a soft spot in my heart for Apple’s hardware. As I’m faced with switching carriers and most likely phones, I find myself eyeballing the iPhone SE as I yearn for a smaller smartphone once more, and you just can’t get a small phone with great quality like the iPhone SE. I’m also a fan of iOS, so the fact that I can jump between Android and iOS as I please and be able to access the apps that I want either way is a pretty sweet deal for me.
Now if only Apple could allow Android to use iMessage, then I would be a super happy camper.
iOS users, what’s your take on the subject? Would you still use iOS if Google services weren’t available, or have you already distanced yourself from Google at this point?