Disclaimer: I have been an Apple Biggot since 1984 so naturally I think the iPhone is the best.
On the other hand I have participated in the religious discussion for and against various computers and later various phones since 1984 and when I analyze all the smartphone pros and cons, I can find no real reason to pick either an android based phone or an iOS based iphone. The basic function of all smart phones is more or less the same and any one of them will get the job done.
There are many vendors to pick from when you choose an Android based phone, but the iPhone only comes from Apple. Oh yes I almost forgot, there are also some that just love the new Windows phone. Having said that, I will make the following observation about Apple products vs others.
In my view, Apple makes tools, while the other companies make devices. By that I mean Apple integrates the hardware, and software into a unified user experience. IF you like their choice of user experience Apple is great. If you want to change the user experience then you will hate the iPhone. Devices made by companies other than Apple, have lots of options and choices that you may make to form your own personalized user experience. Each company makes some of the initial choices for you so each company provides a slightly different user experience out of the box. Many of these choices you can change to your liking with either options or downloaded extensions. I believe that this tool vs device is the real difference between Apple products and other similar offerings.
I personally like the Apple user experience and find most Apple choices to my liking, but as I noted above many others hate the restrictions and would never own an Apple product. Each person should make their own choices based on their own circumstances. There are more non-apple phones in the market, but Apple products seem to be used more often by the less technical ones of us.
In summary: If you want to fiddle with your smart phone and taylor it to your exact needs then by all means get an Android device. According to my daughter, the Samsung brand is high on the list. If on the other hand you just want it to use a smart phone as it comes from the box, then you will likely find the Apple products to your liking. I live in a split family, 2/3 Apple devices, 1/3 Samsung devices with service split between AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. Everyone seems happy with their choice.
As to whether or not you need a smart phone. Only you can answer that question. I, like others above, resisted for a long time. Yes they are clever little computers that fit in your pocket. Why would I want one of those, I have a lap top with a real keyboard, etc,etc. Well - I finally gave in purchased one. What I found is: 1- I seldom if ever use my home phone any more. People I know have my personal number and call me directly. If they want my wife, they call her directly. No jumping up to answer the phone for someone else. My home phone is used primarily by marketeers and politicians that I don't want to hear from anyway. 2 - Because my wife, and family all have phones and calendars that are all inter-connected, it is possible to look at my phone and know if my daughter is available for lunch today and if she invites me to lunch next week, my phone beeps to ask my permission to add that to my calendar. If that time is OK, one tap adds it to my calendar. If it is not OK then one tap rings her phone so we can discuss the issue, which brings me to the best part of carrying a smart phone for me. 3 - I can, in a 2 x 3 x 1/4 inch space, carry my entire contact list with telephone numbers and addresses. I call my daughter by pressing the button and speaking "Call Christa" The iPhone does the rest. I can look up the address and number of the nearest coach repair facility and call it, store it for future use, or tap to see a route to the exact location. I have all my doctors numbers and appointment at hand so when I make a new appointment, I never double-book and when I need to change an appointment, I select the name and tap the number to dial. The list goes on and on. After my years of reluctance, I am now happy to pay over $100 per month to have my life organized through my iPhone. Never mind the actual telephone function.
In addition, I can read the latest medical news while waiting for my tires to be rotated as my iPhone is in my pocket all the time, which is exactly the point. I do not always have my laptop, main computer, iPad, or other device with me. I tried to carry a laptop for years, they are large and bulky. Because my iPhone lives in my pocket and is available at all times the calendar, address book and music are always available. I almost forgot to mention that I can take a picture of my license plate, Disney FastPass Schedule, or broken part so I can look at them from my pocket later. Yep, I would not like to do without my iPhone, yet many still maintain they do not need one and they are probably correct. It has been my experience that If you don't think you need one, there is little anyone can say or do to convince you otherwise. I know personally that no one was able to convince me.