What They Copied From Android
There’s no other way to say it, iOS7’s new UI is a rip off of Android. Yes, this website as called “The Droid Effect” and many of you might see my opinion is biased, but let’s face it, Apple didn’t know what else to create. The simple fact of the matter is that the design iOS7 is nothing more than the Minimal UI found on Android. This departure from the skeuomorphic design was one we’ve all seen coming, but to directly copy the best design elements of Android and call them your own is down right criminal.
Lets start off with the elephant in the room, the icon pack. Android has always given the user the option to change the look and feel of their device. One of the most popular themes is Minimal UI. Its flat look and bright colors has become an instant favorite of many themers (including myself). Apple has claimed this look as their own in iOS7. Given Apple’s reputation to never change anything, we can expect this look to be part of iOS for several years to come. Giving Apple fanboys everywhere the incorrect notion that Android devices using MIUI are copying the look and feel of iOS.
Control and Notification Center
The control center is Apple’s answer to their lack of quick controls in previous versions of iOS. They basically copied Android’s control settings, made it translucent and made the users swipe up from the bottom instead of down from the top (how clever).
The notification center gets the Google Now treatment, sort of. You can now see your notifications from the lock screen as well as get told the weather and traffic information for your commute. It’s a step in the right direction, a direction that leads you towards Android.
Multitasking is also all Android. They made the same subtle changes with multitasking that they did with the control center. On Android, the multitasking pane scrolls vertically and apps are killed off with a swipe. On Apple, multitasking is horizontal and apps are killed with a swipe. Good job Apple.
Airdrop is Apple’s answer to Samsung’s S-Beam and Android sharing in general. Being able to share photos and other “files” amongst multiple friends is actually a great idea, one that I can actually see a lot of people using. It’s only taken Apple 4 years to add a feature that Android has always had, let’s see how well it works.
Safari and the Camera
Safari gets a facelift with all new Android features, like scrollable tabs, unified search bar and keychain. It’s pretty apparent at the rip off Safari has with tabbed browsing, but at least they got rid of the redundant search bar. Keychain is Apple’s solution for Google’s autofill feature in Chrome. None of what’s in Safari is new, all of it has been taken from the best mobile browsers.
The camera gets a refresh and while I don’t believe the software behind the camera is an Android rip off, I do think the organization services are. Google’s I/O introduced us to a new photo sharing and organization service through Google+. Organizing your photos is now much easier and can be done by location, album or date. Sounds a lot like Apple’s “new” service.
What They Didn’t Copy From Android
Find My iPhone is a very useful feature, one that is very similar to the Cerberus app I have on all my devices (only more limited). This is an area I feel Google has been lacking in.
iOS in the car is a feature that many will think was taken from Android, but it wasn’t. Due to the lack of peripherals to activate it, “Car Mode” is a forgotten feature of Android. When I was using both my OG Droid and Droid 3, Motorola’s car dock activated the “Car Mode” feature. Since upgrading to a VZ Galaxy Nexus, the dock is non-existent and since Google pulled the the capability to open the app separately, we are left with 3rd party options. While third party options aren’t necessarily a bad thing, they don’t promote that capability for those who don’t know they exist.
iTunes Radio is not a rip off of Android, since Android took the idea from services like Pandora Radio and Spotify. What I will say though is that All Access is superior to iTunes Radio. One key feature All Access has is the ability to save music you like to your phone for offline listening, even if you don’t own the song.
Customization is nowhere to be seen. As pretty as they want iOS to look, it’s still a grid of icons. The basic design of iOS hasn’t changed. There are no widgets or any other useful features to add to the home screen. You still can not set default applications. So if you want to use Google Maps as your go to maps application you’re out of luck. No app integration, so apps still can’t talk with one another.
This keynote displayed, yet again, Apple’s weakness in innovation. Almost all of the “new” features in iOS7 are available in Android. Not one thing they introduced is a game changer. Apple continues to criticize Android manufacturers of copying their designs while at the same time failing to meet their own ethical business standards by which those lawsuits are based. The hypocrisy demonstrated in this years keynote is palpable and while many will hail it as innovation, it is nothing short of pure desperation in a company that’s stock went down 1% after the presentation was finished.