In today’s Exponential Investor:

  • A wife-approved affair
  • My data, my choice
  • What’s next for the titan of fruit?

It is the start of a new love affair. Well, actually a rekindled love affair from a few years back.

I’m a little excited about it I must admit. Also a bit relieved that I’ve finally made the move.

Rest assured my wife is ok with it. In fact, she encouraged it to start with. And who am I to argue with her desires?

Yes, it has finally happened…

I’ve got myself an iPhone 13, sacked my Samsung Note 10 and have jumped ship from Android (back) to iOS.

It’s not my first foray in the Apple mobile ecosystem.

In fact, my first relationship with Apple’s iOS was all the way back in 2008 with the very popular iPhone 3G – a real game-changer for smartphone.

But the 3G I found to be a bit restrictive, a bit closed off. And it broke far too easily.

From there it was a decade-long affair with Android phones. Everything from Google phones to Samsung, Sony and even the Chinese spy phones from Huawei.

They were all great; and the operating system just fine (albeit a bit buggy from time to time). But a few weeks ago I started to really think about what I did and didn’t like about my Android.

What I was increasingly coming to grips with was the constant inundation of spam, junk, phishing attempts, tracking and tracing everywhere… Google was indeed very much the Big Brother looking over my shoulder and I was a bit sick of it.

Also, it really didn’t like talking with my devices. It didn’t communicate well with the Mac computer I work from; it was temperamental at best with the connectivity in my house; and it was just getting harder and worse from a user experience.

Now Apple is no saint either, but it’s Apple’s more recent push towards greater privacy and user choice around what tracks and doesn’t track that has tipped me over the edge. Granted, I’m sure Apple still has a lot of data, but much the way that we’re somewhat forced politically to choose between the lesser of two evils, my take this time round is that the Apple is the lesser of the two evils.

So far… well I’m glad I jumped ship. I’m glad I’ve sacked Google and embraced Apple again. Why? Well the first few hours of my rekindled romance tells the story…

The one-way two-way street

What I had to do before I could properly install everything on my iPhone was to back up everything from my Android phone.

That was a mistake I made the last time I changed phones… and that was just jumping from two phones both based on an Android OS (operating system).

Now, the good thing is that you can easily back up Android stuff to Google Drive. Great, all done, transfer over, should be a breeze.

Nope.

Apple has even created a nice, easy-to-use, Android-to-iOS transfer app that will help bring across data and apps from one to the other.

Happy days, you would think.

The problem is that backing up everything to Google Drive is fine, but then you can’t actually import a lot of that data into the iOS apps.

Data ownership is one of the most important issues of our lifetime. And it appears Apple has realised this faster than Google.

Now at first glance you’d think this was Apple not playing ball with cross-platform data access. But I suspect it’s the other way around.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the iOS apps have a function to export data to Android. That means it’s provided a function that lets users of iOS back up their data and then if they choose, they can take that and shoot off to Android.

My take is that Apple is so convinced it’s got a better operating system and user experience that it’s only enhancing that reputation by providing an easy out for people. Apple realises the customer relationship is a two-way street… while Google appears to think it’s still a one-way street.

But my guess is also that, these days, Apple retention is better than Android. There’s a little bit of evidence to suggest that’s the case. Data from mobile measurement company Adjust in 2018 said that Android apps typically retain 16% of their users after seven days, whereas Apple app retain 18% after seven days.

It’s not a lot to go on, but it’s also not surprising.

Right away the user interface is slicker, easier to use, more intuitive. It works well with other Apple devices; it works well with all the other apps I had on Android that I now have on iOS.

In short, it is just all round better.

Also, one of the great little settings I found was something Apple calls its iCloud Private Relay.

It’s in Beta phase, which means it’s still a testing period and not a fully functional application, but I’m using it and already it’s proving to be quite impressive.

According to the app:

Private Relay hides your IP address and browsing activity in Safari and protects your unencrypted internet traffic so that no one – including Apple – can see who you are or what sites you’re visiting.

That was all I needed to see to tell me I’d made the right call.

This is really a form of VPN (virtual private network). And I’ve used and still use CyberGhost VPN services when I want to jump my IP around to stop tracking and data leaking.

But ultimately to have that integrated into the phone itself is something I’m quite happy to see.

There’s a whole other bunch of reasons around better security and privacy on the iPhone which tipped me over, but that’s one of the most obvious new additions to what Apple’s offering in its iOS.

What comes next if this is its direction?

I’m not saying I think everyone should switch over their phones to iOS. Do whatever you like. For me, though, it’s the right move at the right time.

It’s also going to be an interesting 12 months for Apple. While its iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc) are all huge winners for Apple, standing still is never an option.

What comes next for Apple? What’s the next iPhone or iPad that’s going to shake up how we communicate and interact with each other and our digital world?

If the rumours are true, it’s likely going to be in the form of augmented and cross-reality devices. “Apple Glass” or “Apple Goggles” or something the blends the digital and physical worlds together.

It’s something we’re keeping a close eye on here at Exponential Investor. It’s clear that Apple has a long strategy, it’s clear it’s going to head into the metaverse. That also tells us it’s on the verge cusp of Web3 and decentralised networks too.

Apple may be a titan of industry, but it is also capable of swinging the needle when it comes to technology that can shape society. Will it do it again? Can it do it again?

We’ll see, but it certainly looks like Apple is preparing to have another big crack at a game-changing device. More on that in the coming weeks…

Until next time…

Sam Volkering
Editor, Exponential Investor

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