Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone has always been something of a luxury product, and it’s slated to be even more so if the next iteration ends up costing more than $1,000 as some rumors indicate.
The iPhone 7 Plus already starts at $769. This high price has long been obscured by marketing maneuvers like “free upgrades,” subsidies in exchange for a contract, or amortizing a phone’s cost over a period of time.
Effectively, the phone, like the plan, has become a monthly expense rather than a big-ticket item, and Apple itself has gotten on board on the action, beginning a financing program in 2015.
However, the expected price hike when Apple releases the iPhone 8 on Sept. 12 may turn into a converting tool for Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Android — which could inherit all former Apple customers who can’t or don’t want to increase their monthly phone budgets. While some Android phones from manufacturers like Samsung do have Apple-worthy price tags, many cost much less, something that has long given Android a boost in market share. Android accounted for 67% of phone activations in Q2 2017 and Apple had 31%, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
Why people switch
In a survey conducted by Yahoo Finance, 38% of 853 former Apple users cited price as the key factor for leaving the platform, followed by Android’s software features and customization of the platform.
Unlike Apple, known for its “walled garden” strategy, Android has flexibility that, while less beautiful to some, can allow for a unique user experience. Others cited battery replacement, which is difficult (but possible) on an iPhone.
Here are some other less popular but interesting reasons for switching, according to other Yahoo Finance readers surveyed: Project Fi, Google’s foray into providing service, which is simple, affordable, internationally friendly, but iPhone-free; Apple’s politics, lack of innovation; and gripes about the headphone jack, which Apple ditched during its last upgrade.
The pain points of the switch
Whatever the reason, the switch itself is not difficult, though it might feel like a massive task to migrate your digital life to a new platform. In our survey, 77% of respondents said it was “easy,” and an additional 15% said it was “somewhat easy.”
“The switch was simple. I was completely comfortable with Android after about one month,” Bennet Alexander, a former iPhoner, told Yahoo Finance. “I travel overseas frequently and the biggest issue/complaint I have is the lack of iMessage functionality on Android.”
Apple’s proprietary SMS alternative, iMessage, effectively excludes a majority of the population that uses Android from special message functionality and makes group texts harder. Android texts — which are still SMS — also turn from normal blue in iMessage to green on iPhone screens, like a badge of shame. (“Green with envy,” people joke.) Apple similarly excludes Android users from FaceTime, Apple’s popular video chat program.
Sometimes people may flock to a third-party program like WhatsApp that offers some of the highest levels of security, the international omni-platform ubiquity of SMS, and an ability to use it on a computer as well.
Google’s ubiquity really makes things easier
A Google account is often a common ground between Apple and Android users, and it makes the switch much easier. Many Apple users already use Google Calendar, which is linked to email (often, gmail). It’s the same, though perhaps to a lesser degree, with Google Hangouts, which can provide the video chatting capabilities to both types of phones, supplanting FaceTime.
On the app side, most app developers have an Android version, making those switches less of an issue past installing them all on a new phone. Still, at times Android does play second fiddle to the Apple version in terms of updates and new features.
But besides a few small issues, most people reported “nothing” was hard about the switch. We rely on phones to an incredible degree, so any change may feel jarring — but the operating systems are not worlds apart.