I’m fed up with my Android phone – why the iPhone is better for frequent travelers

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Don’t crucify me, Android lovers! I know some of you angrily clicked the link in this article to rip me a new one, but listen to me first – I’m one of you. I have the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and it has a host of features that the latest iPhone, despite having the most powerful mobile processor in the world, can’t match.

When a bar is too loud with chatty patrons and wall-shaking music, I pull out my S Pen, scribble my drink order on the screen, and point to the bartender. The look of relief that appears on their faces is priceless, as if to say, “Thank you for giving me a break from lip-reading and shouting ‘Huh?’ ! ” from time to time.”

Can iPhone without stylus do this? I didn’t think that!

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra on a table with S Pen

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Google Assistant and Bixby are my digital servants – uh, I mean “assistants” – who listen to my commands, whether it’s launching an app, setting alarms and timers, playing fun games, tell bedtime stories, etc. Siri, on the other hand, is a lazy chick. If he was impersonated as my real au pair, Siri wouldn’t listen to my request to vacuum my carpet – she’d rudely send me a Roomba instruction manual instead.

I can go on and on about why Android has an edge over iOS, however, when it comes to traveling, I change your tone. To WWDC 2022Apple introduced the new iOS16 the features will be heading to the iPhone later this fall, and as someone with a bad case of the travel bug, the Cupertino-based tech giant may have lured me to the dark side.

With amazing and upcoming updates to Apple Wallet, Maps, and Live Text, the iPhone looks increasingly enticing to hodophiles, digital nomads, and other frequent travelers.

Features of iOS 16 that may entice travelers with Android to switch

I bet Apple’s software development team is full of globetrotters who’ve run into frustrating issues while traveling – and they’ve sought to solve those headaches with updates to iOS 16. Most any inconveniences I’ve encountered during my overseas visits seem to be rectifying with Apple’s new focus on bringing more travel-friendly features to the iPhone.

Below are the new features in iOS 16 that might inspire you to make the iPhone your daily driver, especially if you travel often for pleasure.

Features of iOS 16 that may entice travelers with Android to switch

I bet Apple’s software development team is full of globetrotters who’ve run into frustrating issues while traveling – and they’ve sought to solve those headaches with updates to iOS 16. Most any inconveniences I’ve encountered during my overseas visits seem to be rectifying with Apple’s new focus on bringing more travel-friendly features to the iPhone.

Below are the new features in iOS 16 that might inspire you to make the iPhone your daily driver, especially if you travel often for pleasure.

Translate text on photos and videos

Imagine you’re on vacation in an exotic location where you can’t speak or read the language, but want to try a delicious cultural dish at a restaurant frequented by locals. The waiter gives you the menu, but it looks like hieroglyphics. You start to panic because you don’t want to order the wrong dish. With Live Text, you can take a picture of the menu, highlight unfamiliar words, and get a translation from the foreign language to your native language.

iOS16

Live Text (Image credit: Apple)

Of course, you can also do this on Android via the Google Translate app, but Apple is planning to go a step further and extend Live Text to video for iOS 16. I had an experience where I recorded a walking tour of a city, and when I got to the hotel to look at it, I spotted some interesting signs, advertisements and awnings – all with words I don’t recognise. This is where live text in video shines; I can translate the words of my videos in the blink of an eye.

Multi-stop routing in Maps

Yeah, I’m one of those weird, overly-meticulous planners who create itineraries that flesh out every step they’ll take to their destination. As such, Apple’s new multistop routing feature is music to my ears; it allows users to plan up to 15 routes in advance. Let’s say I’m in Iceland and want to visit a popular hot springs spot, feast my eyes on majestic glaciers, and experience a cascading waterfall. I can enter all of these locations into Maps, allowing me to follow directions from point A to point C. I know, I know – it’s a feature that Google Maps has had for years, but with Apple adapting finally in time, the giant search engine should be shaking in its boots!

Multi-stop routing

Multi-stop routing (Image credit: Apple)

Additionally, with iOS 16, users will have the ability to see previous routes in Recents, making it easier to quickly get directions to places you’ve already visited. Nothing is more annoying than constantly typing in your hotel or AirBnB address, so it’s a total time saver for frequent travelers.

Finally, Apple has updated Maps to give users an estimate of the cost of public transit. For some locations, Maps also prompts you to add transit cards to Apple Wallet.

Digital documents in Apple Wallet

The MacBook maker went nuts with Apple Wallet this year, making it more user-friendly than ever. It’s clear that Apple envisions a world in which physical paper documents are a thing of the past. In the perfect world of the Cupertino-based tech giant, as long as you have your phone, you can pass checkpoints with ease.

TSA-approved Apple Wallet credentials

TSA-approved Apple Wallet credentials (Image credit: Apple)

We’re not there yet, but with every major iOS update we get a little closer. For example, residents of Arizona and Maryland can now enter their driver’s licenses and credentials into Wallet – and Apple said it’s currently working on rolling out this cool feature to 11 more states.

I was over the moon when Corey Fugman, Apple’s senior director of merchant solutions, said, “The first sites that now accept [Apple] Wallet IDs are security checkpoints selected by the TSA. I will celebrate the day when I can simply show my passport through my phone instead of rummaging through my bag to find it. The TSA is a pain in the ass for many, but with Apple’s digital verification strategy, those slow airport lines should move faster.

Easier sharing of hotel keys

I’ve been to hotels that offer apps that allow guests to use a digital key to open their rooms. In my experience, however, the process was janky. On a recent trip to Hawaii, my Android failed to open my hotel room door with my digital key, but luckily I had a physical key card that worked just fine.

Hotel Key Sharing on iOS

Hotel Key Sharing on iOS (Image credit: Apple)

Currently, customers can add keys to Apple Wallet for select hotels and resorts — and I can’t help but wonder if that’s a more efficient process. For iOS 16, Apple said it made key sharing easier, allowing users to send digital room keys to friends and family via Mail, Messages and WhatsApp.

As an avid AirBnB user, I suspect that in the future owners of short-term rental properties will have the ability to send digital keys to guests via iOS Key Sharing. After the client leaves, the owner can deactivate the key remotely. This would greatly facilitate the registration of holidaymakers.

Outlook

I’m not fully aboard the iPhone bandwagon for now. I’ll have to test these features to see how well they work in practice once iOS 16 rolls out later this year. But as things stand, Apple has positioned the iPhone as a more attractive device for backpackers and tourists.

I mainly use Google-based apps to navigate foreign countries with unknown languages, but my patience is running out with them. In my experience, Google Translate can’t pick up fast-talking locals, Google Assistant is inconsistent, and Google Maps often fails to “see” how I’m oriented relative to the map. I’m ready to experiment with iOS 16 and see if it can make my travels smoother.

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