Switching from Windows Phone to iPhone 4? Here's what you need to know!
How to make the switch from Microsoft Windows Phone (Windows Mobile) to Apple iPhone 4
iPhone 4 with its 960x640 retina display, easy-peasy FaceTime video calling, high quality 5 megapixel, back-illuminated camera that shoots 720p 30fps video, and the silky smoothness of iOS 4 convincing you to switch from Microsoft's Windows Phone (Windows Mobile) to Apple's newest handset? Worried about moving over your personal data like contacts, finding apps, getting used to the differences? Wondering where to get help?
Deep breath. We're here to help. Just hit the jump link for everything you need to know (more properly, everything the <a href=http://forums.imore.com/">TiPb iPhone Forums have taught us) about switching from Windows Phone to iPhone 4 and iOS 4.
Windows Phone to iPhone - the paradigm shift
Sincerely, we don't think many people switched from iPhone to Windows Phone (and won't until Windows Phone 7 ships), though some of you may have had Windows for work, and many of you, old-school power warriors all, may have been Windows Phone users for years, eschewing the iPhone until its functionality caught up with its form. It's all good. We're back to the future now -- iPhone 4 and iOS 4. This is about getting you up to speed and ready to go.
Moving over contacts, calendars, and email
If you're heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, you probably use Exchange -- especially for business. Good news, iOS 4 can handle multiple ActiveSync accounts, including Exchange proper and Google Sync's implementation. Just tap the Settings icon on the Home Screen, tap Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, choose Exchange, and enter your credentials. If you're more casual and personal about your Microsoft Mail and Hotmail/Live Mail is how you roll, ActiveSync support is coming for that as well (and some users seem to have it working already).
If ActiveSync isn't to your fancy, you can tap Other and set up pretty much any POP3 or IMAP account you have in your collection, and MobileMe, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail, and anything else you can think of.
You can also load up any webmail account you like in the Safari web browser.
And you can access all of it in the new iOS 4 unified inbox and threaded email client. It's not the "best of breed" Exchange experience like Windows Mobile, and it's not WinMo Outlook, but it gets the job done.
What about customization, file system access?
Um... with iOS 4 you can change your wallpaper, both lock screen and home screen? Seriously though, the iPhone isn't about tinkering and customizing (except for Jailbreak, see below). It's not about working hard to make the phone the way you like it. It's about not having to work hard and the phone just working. Apple controls the experience, which will drive you control freaks crazy, but there's no such thing as a perfect phone so every advantage is matched by an equal and opposite disadvantage (and each of those varies by user).
Same deal with diving into the bowels of the file system. There isn't one -- at least not a user-facing one. You're supposed to spend your time using the phone and apps, not fiddling with directories and hierarchies.
With iOS 4 Apple is struggling towards file utility -- you can open documents from email, online storage, or synced via iTunes, but it's not where it needs to be yet.
Again, think 80/20 rule. For most people not seeing how the sausage made is a huge plus. For former Windows Mobile tweaking junkies, it will be frustrating at first.
Hopefully the modern UI, great web browser, and amazing apps will distract you long enough to get past the DTs.
Finding other apps (and games)
Windows Mobile had apps since before there was an iPhone. Fair point. But what Apple lacked in early deployment they've more than made up for with modern adoption. Make fun of fart apps all you want, but there's like a hundred of them. There's like a hundred of every app type and that means there's a huge chance that there's 5 or so amazing apps of just the type you want.
The power of the ecosystem, whether it's apps or accessories, is something you're just going to have to experience.
And there's even Bing (iTunes link) and Windows Live Messenger (iTunes link) to help make you feel at home. (Or at least in a familiar home that's been recently redecorated with a really slick user experience...)
Root meet Jailbreak
Windows Mobile, especially HTC devices, seem so easy to root and cook ROMs for that, hey, even Phil and Malatesta can do it. (I couldn't).
If you want to get into the root jail of your iPhone, you need to break it -- hence, Jailbreak. That's also the only way to side load apps outside the iTunes app store -- via the Jailbreak app store, Cydia (or Rock). Now, if you don't understand what any of this means, just skip along to the next section, we'll be there waiting. If you're a diehard themer and patcher, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled to our Jailbreak coverage, and more importantly -- our Jailbreak Help Forum, and Jailbreak Apps, Games, and Themes Forum.
No. More. Keyboard. Or. Stylus.
No front facing QWERTY like the Treo Pro. No side slider like the Touch Pro. No "Pro" appended physical hardware keyboards of any kind. Apple hates buttons and keyboards are nothing if not homes for dozens of buttons.
We kid. Apple prefers the flexibility of a virtual keyboard, and they do flexible keyboards better than anyone in the business. Seriously. Multitouch capacitive interface of any kind on glass can be a transformative experience.
Apple likes their keys virtual so they go away when you don't need them (without creaking, oreo'ing, popping batteries, or coming to the rescue when virtual keyboards just won't do). On the plus side, if you're multilingual or international, the iPhone keyboard can easily be switched to any alphabet, script, stroke, or pictographic symbol you want to use. It can also become optimized for numbers, games, or pretty much anything you (technically, a developer) can think of.
Best of all, if you really miss your physical keyboard, with iOS 4, you can tether up a Bluetooth one and knock email -- and yourself -- out.
As for the stylus and resistive screen, well you can get a stylus if you really want to (cold weather users especially), but resistive screens have gone the way of the dodo. (Nature selected them for extinction, not Apple). And yes, you can input Chinese just fine with a stubby finger on iOS, thank you. (There's a built in input method for that).
Okay, about iTunes
iTunes doesn't run as well on Windows as it does on Mac and with an iPhone you're stuck with iTunes for OS updates, and for local sync if that's the way you want to go.
Performance is a pain point for many, no doubt. Functionally however, it keeps getting better. It does so much now, we're actually a little surprised it's still called iTunes and not iSync or iStuff.
Buh-bye platform, hello product
Which brings us to the nut of it -- Microsoft is all about platforms, Apple all up in products. It's a huge difference. Most users appreciate the flexibility of platforms but just want their products to ship on time and work. You can, ideally, do anything with a platform and that's a blessing and a curse. With a product, again ideally, it does what it does well.
For every one of the frustrations you'll face in leaving Windows Phone and coming to iPhone you'll experience one or more moments of -- don't laugh -- childlike wonder. iOS is a modern mobile operating system with the best user experience in the business. Apple worked on it for years while every other player in the game slept on the sidelines and it shows.
It won't do everything your old Windows Phone did, but what it does it will do incredibly well and while Microsoft is just now readying version 1.0 of their new Windows Phone 7 platform, Apple is only 8 or so months away from releasing their iOS 5 product in beta.
More Windows Phone to iPhone help and information
If you haven't already, check out our complete iOS 4 feature walkthrough. There's an incredible amount of stuff in iOS 4 and you can save yourself some serious time cribbing off of us.
If you need help, or have a story to share, check out TiPb's iPhone forum.
And if we forgot anything or just plain got something wrong, let us know and we'll add it or fix it.