Once upon a time, Apple was the epitome of cool. The booming tech company (led by a turtleneck-wearing genius) released one innovative product after another. Computers, phones, watches, and more, it seemed as though Apple could do no wrong.
But then, things started to change. Apple maintained its reputable approach, but other companies started to catch up. Attitudes changed. Suddenly, the once nerdy Android was a clear competitor to cool-kid Apple.
Plus, a new generation of users came of age, and many of them— like my daughter— aren’t blinded by the Apple’s dazzle. She might be 12, but she’s no slouch— she’s looking at devices on their merits alone… and she’s enamored with the technical specs and aesthetics of the Google Pixel vs. the iPhone.
So what happens when you’re a devout Apple user and your daughter is firmly in the PC/Android camp? We did a little interview below to share our thoughts. As much as fans of each platform like to duke it out to the death, you’ll see that our perspectives aren’t really black and white.
Annie, your mom and dad are both devout Apple users. They actually met and fell in love over Apple (more on that to come later!). When did you first become aware that there was something else out there other than Apple?
Annie: Well, when I go to my neighbor’s house, he has a PC. He uses a Lenovo [Yoga]. I started playing games on his Lenovo, and I fell in love with so many of its features: the touch screen, how it flips into a tablet, and the FPS (frames per second) when you play games. (Carley does a double-take, having no idea that Annie knew anything about frames per second ’til just this minute). This computer has functionality that no other computers have in my house, like it’s flip-around screen and the touchscreen, and it’s geared toward playing games a lot more than Apple products. That got me thinking about PCs… and Androids.
When did you first become aware of the Google Pixel specifically?
Annie: I saw a lot of ads for the Google Pixel online and started reading about it. I don’t have a phone of my own yet— I’m hoping I get one for my birthday!— but my mom gave me [a tester unit] to try for a few weeks, and I saw all it had to offer. It doesn’t have a home button, so the front just feels cleaner. The fingerprint sensor isn’t on the home button, it’s on the back of the phone. It’s more comfortable when you hold it; you don’t have to move your hand to finger print or type in your password. People also sometimes have trouble with the home button getting stuck or even forgetting their password. With the new version of Apple, you actually have to press the home button twice to get in, so if your home button gets stuck, you’re sort of stuck.
It’s also more detailed and interesting when it comes to design, and it’s more specialized than the iPhone. (Neither of us are not sure what this means, but we both appreciate the conviction with which she say it). Other than the fingerprint, the Google Pixel also has the highest-rated smartphone camera ever. I just appreciate the features more than those of the iPhone. Oh, and it comes with, like, unlimited storage, because you can store all your photos and videos in the cloud.
Let’s switch gears to ask your mom why she loves Apple. Carley, you have tested every phone out there. Why are you still using the iPhone?
Carley: When you sign up for an ecosystem like you do with Apple, all of your devices work well together, and that’s by design. Apple is trying to make sure that it’s easy to sync your iPhone to your computer to your tablet to your Apple TV, and we own all of those products, so it makes sense for us to buy into the entire ecosystem, for better or worse. It’s also an emotional decision— my heart has been with Apple and what it stands for for many years. It’s also a human thing— there’s definitely a comfort level. It’s what you know.
I will concede that some Apple features are not what they could be when compared to the Google Pixel or an Android. If everything from both sides was evaluated apples to apples (Ahem.), some Apple products (like the latest iPhone compared might the Pixel) don’t really win out based on technical specs. It’s also a generational thing; even though Annie’s been using Apple products since she was a baby, as a young person, she’s feels freer to expand her knowledge and move into other operating systems. It doesn’t feel daunting to her, like it might to me, which is kind of exciting.
Mom, even though you use the iPhone, what do you think of the Google Pixel?
CK: I agree with a lot of what Annie said. Androids haven’t focused on design in the past. They were cheaply made, with plastic parts, and they just never evoked any emotional response from me. But the Google Pixel and a bunch of new Android phones are clean, and a breath of fresh air, design-wise. The Pixel is beautifully put together with it’s metal body, and it runs Android’s new Nougat OS, infused with it’s beautiful material design system. Just like Apple, who designs their own hardware and software, the Pixel is a great example of how the phone should be— hardware and software working in concert. It’s no longer a hodge podge— and it’s pretty.
Annie, your mom mentioned that switching from Apple to Android might be a generational thing. How do your friends feel about each platform?
AK: All of my friends have iPhones, because that’s all they know. They’re just focused on having a phone at this point, and they don’t have too much say over which one they get, or maybe they don’t care too much. I have been researching this, plus my mom brings lots of gadgets into the house so I see a lot of them in person, and so I know a bit more about what I want, and what I don’t want.
So you like a Google Pixel, but most of your friends have iPhones. Do you and your friends ever argue about the two platforms?
AK: I talk to some of my friends about the Google Pixel, but we don’t really battle Android vs. Apple. They don’t care as much as I do. And, to be honest, I think grown-ups like to argue about that stuff, but kids don’t.
Annie, we know you love the Google Pixel, but do you see any downsides to the Android platform?
AK: I see no limitations at all. When you use Google Play, which is the Google equivalent to the Apple App Store, you can download anything that you can for Apple. I really don’t see any downside. My mom says a lot of apps are developed for Apple devices only, but I haven’t run into one that I wanted that I couldn’t have on an Android.
OK, Annie’s love for the Google Pixel and Android is clear. Mom, ow will introducing a new platform into the family change the family dynamic?
CK: Well, we’re used to Annie having strong opinions and doing what she wants— so it’s no surprise that she’s going down a different road than the rest of the family. The family dynamic is always trying to shift to allow her to have a curious mind and expand horizons that we didn’t know would need expanding. If the costs are similar, and when it’s time for her to get a phone of her own, I can’t see why I wouldn’t let her use the operating system she appreciates the most. Our oldest child has an Apple device, and we’re able to support his use of it, so helping Annie will be a bit more challenging since she uses an Android. That said, parental controls are much more versatile on Android devices— you can monitor a lot more kid activity than you can on an Apple device— so there’s that to think about, Annie! It’ll be a great lesson to see the strength of each platform as we’re viewing them side by side.
Carley, you run your own business, which adds a new perspective to this conversation. You use an iPhone personally, but you run your business using Google. How do you make this work?
CK: I will say that over the years, it’s become clear that Apple’s apps— email, calendar cloud drive… none of those things can really hold a candle to what Google offers. So I run my business in Google Apps, and those apps are supported by Apple, but they often don’t play nice (again, by design— Apple would rather you use their apps, and Google would rather you use their hardware). So there’s a little bit of tension. The times I’ve tested Samsung or Google or LG phones, I’ve definitely noticed an overall ease of use running my calendar, email and the like. There are pros and cons. But I make it work.
Last question, which we previewed at the beginning of this interview: Do you and your husband really have Apple to thank for your love story?
CK: My husband and I did indeed fall in love over Apple computers when we met on a one-hour plane ride from New York to Toronto. He’s a music guy, and the music software on an Apple has been very important to his career. I started in graphic design and have only used Apple since I got my Macintosh Classic in college. We had the first iPhone and every iPhone since. My husband even had an Apple Newton! We’re just devout Apple people, bound by Apple from the moment we met. With an emotional connection like that, it’s tough to switch, but it’s tempting…
Thanks to Verizon for providing a Google Pixel for the purposes of this post. Annie may or may not be getting it for her upcoming birthday…