On Tuesday, Apple announced the iPhone 5c and 5s, two smartphones we've seen plastered all over the Internet for months, thanks to part leaks.
As expected, the iPhone 5c is essentially an iPhone 5 stuffed into a colorful new steel-reinforced plastic shells. And while it starts at $99 with a two-year contract for a 16GB model, it's no "budget" iPhone.
The iPhone 5s (yes, lowercase "s") is, as predicted, the same sleek iPhone 5 design, but with overhauled internals. It has a new A7 processor, an M7 co-processor that's in charge of managing all of the sensors inside, and better iSight camera with f/2.2 aperture that can burst-shoot and take better photos with its new dual-LED flash. Apple also hauled out the rumored "gold" iPhone 5s and killed the slate/black (I like to call it "stealth black") color, replacing it with a new "space gray" model. But, of course, the biggest change to the iPhone 5s is the new fingerprint sensor called "Touch ID" embedded in the home button.
My go-to smartphone has always been an iPhone. I loved my iPhone 4 to death, and I love my iPhone 5 just as much, but it's hard for even me, a fan of their superb minimalist design to deny the fact that Android has at least one serious contender that rivals the iPhone (any of them) in terms of nailing the overall smartphone experience — both the OS and the hardware.
All Google-d Up
With the exception of a few missing apps in certain app stores, almost all flagship smartphones can do the essentials — making calls, browsing the Web, checking Facebook and Twitter, playing videos and games, etc. — plenty fast and without major issues.
Once my contract is up next year, I'm jumping ship to Android. Not because of the open vs. closed debate, but because my needs have simply changed. Android makes more sense everyday I look at my iPhone and I see that I've replaced virtually every Apple app with a Google one (simply because the Google ones are better designed and integrated).
Chrome has replaced Safari, Gmail has replaced Mail, Google Maps has replaced Apple Maps. The list of other Google apps I use frequently goes on too: YouTube, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, and Adsense. I mean, I have an entire folder called "Apple Crap" and it includes all of the junk like Compass, Apple Maps, Passbook, Stocks, etc.
Forget about fragmentation for a minute. Today, Android — 4.2.2 Jelly Bean — is a very polished OS. And Motorola now sells the most polished Android smartphone to match it: the Moto X.
iOS 7 should be a big refresh, but I'm honestly not digging the flat design, pastel colors and super bubbly icons. It still feels incredibly baby-like. I think the flat design defeats the purpose of the Retina display's ability to deliver rich details in the icons.
The Moto X Factor
As I made it clear in my Moto X review, Motorola's flagship smartphone is the best Android device. Period. I don't care that it's not a Nexus and I don't care that it doesn't have a $300 unlocked price tag as the Nexus 4 did when it was first released. I also don't care that the Moto X is, technically speaking, a "mid-range" smartphone with only a 720p resolution display — it still blows the iPhone 5 out of the water. And I sure as hell don't care about the overblown "fragmentation" scares every iPhone fanboy loves to drop.
None of that stuff matters anymore.
The Moto X is a delight to hold and the soft, semi-grippy plastic is everything the iPhone 5c and 5s aren't. The 5c's glossy plastic, steel reinforcement be damned, will slip out of many hands. The 5s's aluminum, like the iPhone 5 will be just as cold as ever.
I love Touchless Control, where I can just say "OK, Google Now…" and I love the Active Display that shows notifications in a smart battery-conserving manner and displays the time when I take it out of my pocket. While I initially pegged the Quick Capture twist-twice-to-activate camera gesture as a really stupid idea, I find myself trying to do that with my iPhone 5 and other loaner smartphones I am currently testing.
I am also enjoying the 4.7-inch edge-to-edge display A LOT. It's not quite as small as the iPhone 5's 4-inch display and it's not a huge phablet, either. It's really the perfect size, and I have small hands, too.
The iPhone(s) is still a lust-worthy smartphone, but it's no longer the only one that deserves the top spot at the podium. The Moto X is just as good, if not better. And for others, the HTC One with stock Android, too, is right up there.
Had the Moto X been available last year, I would have picked one up instead of my current iPhone 5. I'm sorry, but I think it's inevitable that I'll be breaking up with the iPhone for Android — specifically, the Moto X. The ability to choose custom colors, accents and engrave a personal message on the device is just icing on the cake.
Times change. People change. Whoopee. Death to the mobile wars. Whether it's Android or iOS, it's all good stuff at the very top. Who really cares, except for the lame fanboys?