Opinion: Why the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ won’t tempt me from my iPhone XS Max

Craig Grannell’s not wooed by Samsung’s latest shiny – he’s sticking with Apple. Here’s why…

Samsung recently revealed some impressive new phones. Stuff editor James Day reckons this is the push he needs to finally flip from iPhone to Android. But has he flipped himself?

I get the appeal in jumping ship, but it’s not something I’m planning any time soon, even if Samsung drives to my door and dangles its goodies in front of my face. Yet this has nothing to do with any kind of Apple fan-boy card-carrying status some readers will have likely decided I hold on reading the previous sentence.

Spoilt for choice

When it comes to hardware, it can be tempting to look further afield than Apple. On Android, there is something for everyone, up to the endearingly bonkers giant PSP that’s the Moqi i7s (depicted above). From a swish design perspective, Android’s come a long way, too. Some devices match iPhone’s turns on the catwalk – although it’s baffling how many can’t keep their bezels even. (If you’re going for minimal, don’t give your phone a chin.)

From a hard cash perspective, it’s easy to see why people might gravitate towards Android, too, rather than selling a kidney to pay for an iPhone. (Some Androids are kidney-priced as well, but you tend to get more bang per kidneybuck.) And then there are Apple’s services, which remain… variable; James doesn’t use them often, hence that being another reason for him to switch.

Guess what: I don’t use them much either.

A little bit appy

Given that in this head-to-head, I’m on Team iPhone, you might with good reason wonder when I’ll start banging the Apple drum. And, look, I’ve not changed my mind about the iPhone XS Max. It’s still the best smartphone I’ve ever used – ludicrously powerful, hugely capable, and with an awful lot going for it. But for me, sticking with iPhone is more about sticking with everything else: in short, it’s about the app ecosystem.

Across Android and iOS, I’ve used and written about thousands of apps and games. I love mobile gaming; my phone is the computer I always have on me. I therefore need it to be able to do everything. Android… really can’t do everything. Google Play for apps is a wasteland once you move beyond the basics, customisation, and retro emulation. Even for games, the platform falls short – an Amstrad to iOS’s ZX Spectrum (yes, I'm old), getting some of the good games – often later – and forever lacking some of the really top titles.

Keep it private

With iOS 13, Apple’s also preparing to give Android another bloody nose regarding privacy. Your iPhone will inform you whenever an app’s being properly shady in the background, and you can cut it off. For sign-in, you’ll be able to use your Apple ID, obfuscate your contact details, and stop a developer contacting you if you don’t want them to. This is what happens when the business model is about making money from hardware sales rather than people – when you are the customer rather than data to be mined for advertisers.

For me, these two things – apps and privacy – are trump cards. They make iPhone worth the premium, and worth sticking with. Perhaps if you don’t care about privacy, and only use a phone as, well, a phone (along with a bit of web, email, gaming and telly), this will be a baffling stance. But until there’s Korg Gadget on my Android gadget, along with Ulysses, MindNode, Pixelmator, Overcast, and a slew of other app and mobile gaming exclusives Android can only dream of, even the shiniest Samsung offering’s not going to prise me away from Apple.