Why I prefer the iPhone for listening to music

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: May 25, 2012

A few months back, I explained that I carry two phones every day. I always have an Android phone on hand, and most of the time, I carry an iPhone as my secondary device. Between the two, there are specific tasks I prefer to handle with each. For example, the Gmail app on Android is infinitely better for me than the Mail app on iOS, so I use Android for handling email. On the other hand, I like TweetBot for iPhone over just about any Android Twitter client.

With the HTC One X and maturing of Android, a lot of these things are changing. For instance, I said that I used the iPhone as my primary camera device. But since picking up the One X, I take most of my pictures with it. One thing that has yet to change, however, is media. Specifically, I prefer streaming music from the iPhone (but use Android devices for videos and movies).

It's worth noting that the One X is a close second to the iPhone for streaming music. But after just a couple days of switching to the Bold 9930 from the iPhone 4S (just as a refreshing step back), I realized just how much I missed the iPhone for listening to music. Why, you ask? The reasons may seem rather petty, but they make a big difference to me – someone who listens to and streams music at least five hours per day.

 

It has nothing to do with iTunes or Apple's ecosystem

Unlike most people who prefer the iPhone over its counterparts for its media capabilities and broad ecosystem, that actually has nothing to do with why I choose the iPhone for all of my music listening. In fact, I can't remember the last time I manually synced a song to my iPhone or even used iTunes.

All of my music is streamed, either by Pandora or Spotify. And for listening to music locally, for those times when signal may be spotty, I save my favorite Spotify playlists for offline use.

To be perfectly honest, I'm much more invested in Google's Android ecosystem than I am iTunes and iCloud, especially when it comes to music. I have all of my personal music uploaded to my Google Music account, and when I buy music, I almost always buy from the Play Store.

 

Access to controls without leaving the app

If you let your display time out on either the iPhone or an Android phone (depending on the model and software installed), you can access the music controls (play/pause, next, back, etc.) straight from the lock screen. Simply double-tap the home button on the iPhone. And as for Android, there are various lock screen music controls either pre-installed or available via third-party applications.

That said, if you are within an application, access to music controls for third-party applications are easier and quicker to access via iOS. Some music applications on Android put the music controls straight in the notification shade, allowing you to at least pause the music without having to leave the current application. Spotify, my music streaming service of choice, however, does not. Instead, you have to switch to the application to control the music playback.

Despite the multitasking system on iOS, which is widely regarded as sub-par, controlling music from within applications is extremely easy. Just double-tap the home button and swipe left to right with your finger over the recent apps tray. This will display music controls and allow you to play/pause and skip forward or back a track.

 

External controls 

At CES in Las Vegas, Nevada earlier this year, I was given a nice pair of earbuds, Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Pro Performance Fit earbuds – ones that actually stay in my ears for a change. On the cord came music controls and an integrated mic. Plug said headphones into the iPhone and hit the center button and the last track I was listening to on Spotify will being playing again. The top and bottom buttons are volume controls and also work as intended. And if you double-tap the middle button, it works as a skip track button.

I have plugged this very set of headphones in the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy Note and a slew of other devices ... just to see. The play/pause button works without a hitch. But the volume controls do not work at all and the skip button (double-tapping the play/pause) ended up calling the last person in my recent calls list.

 

Battery life

This is a big one. I have been using the iPhone for listening to music for over a year now. I can judge about how quickly the battery will drain while streaming or while playing local music. I can listen to local music for most of the day and it will keep on ticking. With streaming music via Spotify, the battery drains at roughly 10 percent per hour on 3G, and it drains even slower over Wi-Fi.

While I was using the BlackBerry in the iPhone's place this past weekend, I resorted to using the One X to stream Spotify in my car and while working. Battery drain on the One X while streaming Spotify or playing locally stored music (also via Spotify) ranged from 15 percent per hour to 25 percent per hour, even on Wi-Fi. I can literally watch the battery drain away. And it's not necessarily just the One X. The Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus and every other Android handset I have used to date has been terrible about dying quickly while listening to music.

Generally, I plug my phones into any available power source when I stream music. But there isn't always a power source readily available and the slower drain on the iPhone makes it an obvious choice.

 

For what it's worth, I still use the One X from time to time, especially when I get an itch to listen to one of my favorite songs that isn't on Spotify. I whip out the One X, fire up Google Music and play some of my own stuff for a while. But, when it comes down to it, I try to keep all of my music listening to the iPhone. It's just better that way.