Re: Coming back to iOS after 4 years of Android
I joined Android and sold my iPhone 3GS after owning the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS and picked me up the Nexus One (still one my all time fav devices). Over the next couple of years I've owned nearly 12 Android devices and 3 Android tablets. I was sick of the non tablet apps so I switched when the iPad retina (3rd gen just like you) came out and fell back in love with iOS especially how smooth it was. I then put my Galaxy Nexus back in the box and ordered an iPhone 4s with intentions of coming back to Android. Over time my Nexus 7 began gathering dust along with my Galaxy Nexus so I decided to sell them. I then picked up the iPhone 5 and it was the best phone I've ever owned. I know most say it wasn't a huge innovation, but I disagree. Almost everything about that phone changed for the better. One year later I picked up the iPhone 5s and I have zero plans of ever going back to Android. These are some of my reasons (hope they help in your transition)
1. iOS 7 is gorgeous. I can't say enough about this OS and it runs perfectly on my iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. It needs a little work on the tablet as my iPad Mini occassionally shows its age, but that is probably more to the fact that it is a much older processor (same as in the iPad 2 I believe). No matter I just sold my Mini and will be picking up either the iPad 5 or iPad Mini second gen (we will have to see what the specs are, but if the iPad Mini has a retina I'll probably grab another one of those, but I really want the A7 processor). I was also really surprised to see 64bit and iOS built on a gaming particle engine.
2. Apple's processors. This brings me back to the iPhone 5. Swift was amazing in the A6 and being a nerd I fell in love and was amazed with what Apple achieved with this processor. They are doing things like hand clocking the cores for the best medium of battery life and pure power. The A7 is even better. One of my favorite things about Apple is they think in advance to what iOS and the iPhone/iPad will be like in 2-3 years down the road and 64bit along side the fully rebuilt iOS is going to blow the competition out of the water even more than they do now. If you haven't had the chance head over to anandtech.com and read the thorough review of the iPhone 5 and 5s. This little A7 core is clocking higher than anything on the market and even will clock head to head with the new Intel chip that should hit the market early next year or late this year. The surprising thing here is that it is benching higher than the Snapdragon 800 when it is running on 2.3ghz and 3GB ram on the new Note 3 (and do I even need to mention that we dont even know if the current benchmarks or any are right after Samsung was exposed in maxing out their benchmark scores by cheating? So how much more is Apple ahead then?). Not only this, but Apple is doing it with a 1.3Ghz dual core and only 1GB DDR3 RAM. Also, it running on ARM v8 which is running a new ISA which helps a boat load. Apple surprised the market with the A6 and then doubled the speeds and surprised us even more with the A7. The competition hasn't even got a road map (that anyone knows of) showing plans for 64bit or ARM v8 yet. Apple really knocked it out the park with this processor. This thing benches as high as the 2011 Mac Mini. Which is amazing for a phone.
3. Hardware. I know some are bored with the design on the iPhone 5/5s, but no one is even close to having as good hardware and attention to detail as apple. It's been over a year and still we don't have anyone challenging Apple. Yes, the HTC One and some of the Nokia devices are nice and look great (I have a HTC One and love it), but Apple is easily a top the industry and I dont see that changing anytime soon.
4. Camera. Since the iPhone 4 (the only iPhone I haven't owned) Apple has led the industry in their camera and I feel they are solely responsible for the markets want for better cameras. The iPhone 5s makes it even more. I've played with the Nokia 1020 and it shoots excellent pictures and is the only phone that does as well as Apple. In some regards I think overall they are better than Apple, but that came with some giant tradeoffs while Apple managed to improve their already excellent camera and keeping the same slim profile and beauty in the iPhone 5s. It amazes me the pictures we can take with phones.
5. App Store/iTunes. Apple's app marketplace is still years ahead of the competition and this was the primary thing that brought me back to iOS and keeps me on it today and now thanks to above apps will work better and feel better in the future which will further the gap lead they already have.
6. iOS updates on day one. This was the thing that I hated on Android the most. If I wasn't running a Nexus (which is the only Android device I would even consider) I was always 1 or 2 full versions behind. It drove me crazy. There is just too many companies with their hands in the cookie jar if you know what I mean. Being able to download iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 and Mini on day one was excellent and I love how APple supports their devices for almost three years after release. As you can see I really dont keep a phone or tablet over a year , but this helps a lot and shows that Apple cares about their customers. Android OEMs like Samsung use Android updates as selling points and lets face it keeping phones on outdated OS is dangerous when it comes to security. Almost half of all Android phones on the market are still running Gingerbread. That is a joke.
7. Fluidity of the OS. This kind of belongs above, but no matter the specs jammed into an Android device it still has that lag (at least I notice it) and this probably wont change until the Dalvik engine is updated or they change how it is run. iOS has consistently ran at 60fps and apps 50-60 millisecond touch response. Even the iPhone 4s is still 2 times faster than even the fastest Android device on the market according to a recent article I read. The iPhone 5 is 2.5 faster and they haven't even looked at the 5s yet. It really took me out of the experience.
8. Hardware/Software integration. This is the last one as this is way long (like I said this is only my opinion and others are free to disagree. I thought I would help as I was in your shoes last year when I came back to iOS so I hope this helps). This is probably Apple's biggest benefit and it looks like Google and Microsoft agree as they now have picked up hardware comanies (Motorola and Nokia). Apple can fine tune everything and Apple is great at the details and it shows in everything you do on your phone and tablet. The A6 and A7 couldnt have been done like this without having this advantage and this helps Apple to look ahead when no one else is.
These are just a few and I could go on. Apple isn't perfect and neither is the iPhone 5/5c/5s, but they are still way ahead of the competition in almost everyhting. There are still things I miss about Android (the notification system is perfect and I wish Apple would do more with theirs, Sharing between apps, and marking apps as default. The last probably wont happen, but hey I can dream, right?) The point is if you want a great experience paired with great hardware, an excellent OS (best in the industry now thanks to iOS 7 IMHO), best app eco system, and great customer service then the best place to look is Apple. I hope companies will stop copying silly things and copy Apple in these places where it counts. It will be an interesting next few years, but Apple knows this. My question is does Android and their OEMs?