It’s that time of year again. The time when the tech world stops and breathlessly awaits what Apple will give us for the next year. The WWDC has always been a holy time for the Apple faithful. And it seems that Apple didn’t disappoint it’s followers. For this piece, I will be sticking to just changes in Apples mobile platform and leaving Mac OS alone. Below I go over Apples hits and misses of day one.
Apple took what Hangouts gives you and improved upon it. The ability to share small video and audio segments in you messages is a very nice touch. While you can share you location easily in Hangouts, Apples messaging app now lets people see exactly where you are for a predetermined time. Perfect for families who want to have a close eye on where their children.
Health related apps seem to be all the rage and now Apple has started to let a few of these apps communicate together, kind of. Giving the user a central location for his or her health related information seems like a no brainer. What would have made this a truly killer feature would have been the introduction of a smartwatch with a built in heart rate monitor and pedometer. Nevertheless, Apple is starting to allow more 3rd party developers to have access to their system, which is a good thing for an iOS user.
Owners of Apple devices will now be able to seamlessly switch between them when doing certain tasks. You can even send sms/mms messages and respond to phone calls from any of your devices and it does not require the end user to also be using an Apple product. While 3rd party apps have allowed Android users to do this as well, having this kind of system implemented directly into the OS is a huge plus and one I am envy of.
iOS takes Android interactive notifications a step further and allows for responses to be made from the notification shade without leaving your current app. This is a nice touch, one I wish Android would employ with their notifications. Widgets will also be making their way to the notification shade. Let’s see how Apple implements one of Google’s greatest features.
Let’s just get this out of the way, it’s Google Photos. Without a doubt, Apple saw the Google Photos app and used it for their inspiration. Being able to backup all your photos and view them on any device is what Android users have been enjoying for a while now. And given Googles ability to make highlight videos and now story mode, Googles offering far out does Apples attempt.
This is Apples version of Google and Microsoft’s cloud storage and to be honest it looks incredibly child-like. Their is absolutely zero innovation here, just catching up. The fact they are featuring a service that MS and Google has had for years shows how little out of the box Apple was willing to think for this years conference.
At first glance this should be in the “hit” section. A universal search app that finds all the relative information on what you type. Seems like a winner, until you think about it. For the past three years they have been pushing Siri as your personal assistant. You’re supposed to ask Siri what it is you are looking for and she is supposed to give you the answer. Why not just expand Siri’s capabilities as a universal search program? Let’s use a movie as an example. Type in X-Men: Days of Future Past and you get the Wikipedia, show times, apps and iTunes media. But if I’m just looking for show times why not just ask Siri what the showtimes are? How often is it that you would want to have all of this other information on a particular subject? In fact, what is it about Spotlight that makes it better than Google Now? The answer is nothing. Google Now trumps Spotlight because it learns about you, the user, and gives you information you might like without asking for it. It’s Google’s greatest addition to Android and is second to none.
This is Apple’s attempt to unify all iOS devices in a family. This way the user is allowed to keep their Apple ID and password without having to give it away. With Android, you could simply create a family Gmail account and connect all the devices. My best friend does exactly this so that he and his wife can share the same content. Since you can sync multiple calendars and email accounts to one device, this route is a no brainer for families with Android devices. You can even require a password to allow for app purchases. I’m actually shocked that Apple was not able to do this before and surely doesn’t warrant the attention it’s getting now.
Apple meets Android of 2010 with its latest innovative leap. With iOS 8 you now have predictive typing (which I have never found very useful, just my opinion) and developers will now be able to make their own keyboards. Anyone who has ever customized their Android device has been able to do this for years now. It’s become part of the Android ecosystem. Why it’s taken this long I will never know, but now iOS users will finally get a taste of what real customization is like without jailbreaking.
Attacks on Android
Tim Cook attempts to be like the Emperor himself, Steve Jobs, and belittle the competition. This classless activity is something we’ve all become accustomed too, and as always falls flat. First he boasts that only 9% of Android users are running KitKat, while forgetting to mention that 100% users with a Nexus 4 and up all have KitKat. The Nexus line has always been Google’s answer to the “fragmentation” issue. Google has no control over when and how phone manufacturers distribute the latest version of Android, and Tim Cooks comments don’t address the development time needed to implement the changes to Android with their overlay. Google Play Editions are also available if the consumer is concerned with getting the latest software as soon as it’s available.
While on the subject of percentages, Tim Cook also stated that 1/3 of all Android users were using an OS version that was four years old. Thanks to Derek Ross doing something I like to call “fact checking”, we can see that Tim Cook pulled that 1/3 number right out of his ass.
In the end there is one number that Tim Cook did not mention, 79%. Why is the number 79% important? It’s the percentage that Android takes up in global smartphone marketshare. While iFans will state that this has nothing to do with anything more than the price, I disagree. More and more people are switching to Android from iOS everyday. Android devices offer something that Apple still doesn’t grasp, variety. Despite all the negative comments and Android bashing, Apple is losing ground. The funny thing is that Google rarely mentions their competitors. They sure as hell wouldn’t plaster statistics against Apple on a presentation to try and convince everyone that they’re the best. Google has always been classier than that.