by Dan Newton
My family, friends and coworkers know that I have been a big proponent (often called fan boy) of many of Microsoft’s products. I’ve been a Windows mobile user since my days with a Motorola Q and have been with the MS phone platform ever since then.
Over the past couple of years it has not been easy to stay with the Microsoft mobile ecosystem. Much has been said/written about the lack of apps which many say is the downfall of the platform. For me, there were other issues that I’ve just lived with… until now.
This past Saturday, I walked into my local AT&T store and said something I thought I’d never said – “I’d like to get an iPhone”. Here are the issues that drove me to this:
- High-end phone – I’ve been waiting for a while for a release of a new Lumia 1020-like device, but nothing has been announced – (it’s been nearly 2 years when MS announced the 1020). All the phones Microsoft is releasing are mid-to-low end phones with nothing high-end…they’ve hinted at something in the future with Windows 10…but no announcements.
- Broken Nokia 360 – My wife bought me a pair of Nokia Play 360 Bluetooth speakers and they worked great…until the Cyan firmware update on Windows Phone (my wife’s iPhone 5 works fine with them).
- Xbox Music and gapless playback – I’m a huge music fan and loved my Zune – but Xbox music was a step backwards in one key area for me…no gapless playback (listen to the Beatles’ Abby Road and you’ll get a space between tracks that should seamlessly go to the next).
- Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phone – the preview build is very rough and looks to be moving even further away from what made Windows Phone unique….and now moving many of the cool OS features into apps…and these apps are available for iOS and Android.
- Better on iOS – Paul Thurrott wrote a post last week that details how well the Microsoft apps work (even shine) on iOS/iPhone 6.
- Losing apps – I don’t use a lot of third party apps or games….but I’m a Bank of America customer and used their mobile app on my Windows Phone regularly – in January, BoA announced they were dropping support for the Windows Phone version of the app… many other major players are doing the same. Delta airlines is reportedly no longer updating it’s app… another app I use and like.
My iPhone is a very Microsoft centric one – I’ve got all the Office Apps and OneDive and my photos are backed up to the OneDrive camera roll. Lync 2013 works like a champ as well. Xbox Music is workable, I’m hoping that this will be updated as well. The Remote Desktop client is great on iOS (best on an iPad) and supports Azure Apps and RDS Gateway/RemoteApps. This will come in handy on the occasions I need to access the Newton Lab and don’t have PC access.
If you are an Outlook user and you have an iPhone or Android you should check out the updated Outlook app from Microsoft. This is an updated version of what they bought from Acompli. It is diffidently a highlight for my iOS experience thus far. Swipe feature in Outlook has more options than the built-in iOS mail app.
The transition has been fairly easy with only a few things I miss from my Windows Phone:
- Live Tiles – this is where Microsoft got it right. iOS will display a red circle with a number inside for updates on a given app…Live Tiles will flip and show more detail
- Glance Screen – a cool Nokia feature that displays the time/date and notifications on the screen without having to press a button to wake
- Custom ringtones – Windows Phone was much easier to assign a music track as a ringtone. With iOS it’s a bit of a process to create a special file (.m4r)
The future of Windows Phone depends greatly on the success of Windows 10 and the new “Universal Apps” (apps that can run on mobile device and desktop computers). If Bank of America, Delta and others develop and support a new Universal App then there’s a good chance I’ll move back to the platform. Only time will tell. As for now…I’ve joined the iCrowd.