To begin with, this is in NO way an “Android-Fanboy” post, but an article to outline what Apple has borrowed from Android (iOS 8 borrowed features), what are the differences between when things are borrowed from Apple and when Apple borrows things from others, and finally, why borrowing is a GOOD thing between technology related companies.
What Apple Borrowed From Android
“Inspired by Android?”
To begin, let’s establish that Android was not the only OS that Apple borrowed from in the past, and also, don’t forget that Android also borrowed some features from other Operating Systems so there’s no reason to hate on any of these companies. The only thing that I personally don’t like, is when features are borrowed, and then the company who borrows it advertises that feature in a “look at this revolutionary feature we invented” kind of way.
With the recent release of iOS 8 at WWDC 2014, we saw an array of new features, functionality and generally a LOT of new stuff added to iOS which makes it an overall better OS. We are all happy to see this, but take a look at the following list of features included in iOS 8 and see if any remind you of an existing Operating System.
- App-to-App Communication – (Being able to share any app via a compatible app etc.)
- Interactive Notifications
- Cloud Photo Storage
- “Hey Siri”
- Third Party Keyboards
These are just some of the few that I can list without thinking too hard, and all of these can be found on versions of Android that existed way before iOS 8 or iOS 7 was even announced. Of course Apple will polish these features to perfection before releasing them with iOS 8, but the fact that they existed on Android before does not erase itself.
App-to-App Communication – As far back as I can remember, this feature existed in Android, allowing you to share photos from your gallery to any other app currently installed on the phone that could have made use of that photo. For example instead of having to go to a photo editor, browse, find your image in the gallery and then open it, you can simple go on the image and open it using the photo editor instantly. While it is borrowed, it is awesome to see it being implemented natively in iOS 8.
Interactive Notifications – With the introduction of Android 4.0 ICS, you were able to swipe away notifications one by one and even reply instantly from the notifications of apps like Twitter. This feature was made to seem revolutionary at WWDC 2014, while it existed long before on Android.
Cloud Photo Storage – All the current Android users know about Google+ Photo Storage or more commonly, Dropbox. Dropbox is basically cloud storage that you can access via any device with an internet connection and if you edit, delete or add new files, it will update in the cloud, making it available to all the devices. With iOS 8 this feature was announced as if it never existed before, however, seeing that iOS 8 supports this with iCloud out of the box without any setup required, it will be really useful to those users.
Widgets – Android, since its release, is well known for it’s widgets, just like Windows Phone is known for its Live Tiles. While iOS doesn’t include either, they have decided to introduce widgets in the Notification Center in iOS 8. However, having to swipe down the NC to access them will make it less convenient than on Android.
“Hey Siri” – This was one of the features that was the most obvious copy or imitation of all. With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, we got the “Ok Google” feature which made it possible to just say Ok Google to activate the search in Google Now. With 4.4 KitKat, we saw this feature drastically improved, allowing us to say “Ok Google” anywhere on the default launcher to activate Google Now regardless of which screen you are on. Apple announced it’s “Hey Siri” feature, but in my opinion, while being a useful feature, it might not be as useful since the device has to be plugged in and charging for the feature to work.
Third Party Keyboards – The next feature that was an obvious copy/imitation. SwiftKey, Swype, Go Keyboard, Ai.Type Keyboard, TouchPal Keyboard….these are all third party keyboards that existed on Android way before iOS 8 was even near. Of course it’s really nice to see iOS users being able to enjoy this feature, but it’s not as revolutionary as Apple makes it out to be.
As stated before, it is nice to see these features being added to iOS 8, but I don’t agree with it being revealed as revolutionary features.
The difference between what happens when things are borrowed BY Apple, and when things are borrowed FROM Apple
We already covered what Apple has borrowed from Android, but what else have they borrowed from other Operating Systems? Take a look below at the multitasking screens. One is Windows Phone, and one is iOS 7. (Windows Phone’s multitasking screen existed before iOS 7)
Looks Familiar? You can also take a look at this video from a really good YouTube Reviewer (MKBHD) to see other borrowed features that are included in iOS.
Now that we’ve seen what has been borrowed, what happened to Apple after borrowing these features? As far as I know, nothing happened except iOS being a better overall mobile Operating System.
But what happened when other companies borrow from Apple? I think we all remember that Apple VS Samsung lawsuit that happened a while ago. Apple sued Samsung and won patent infringement cases that included the bounce back scrolling effect, pinch to zoom, double tap to zoom and center content and much more. If you’d like to borrow something from another company go right ahead, but it’s a bit unfair to sue them when they do the same. In this case however, it was done backwards which makes it slightly worse. (Samsung was sued for borrowing, then a few years later Apple does the same)
I don’t think it’s fair at all, but that’s how it is. Borrowing in itself is not really the problem here as it can actually be a good thing.
Why borrowing is a GOOD thing between technology related companies
After reading all that content above, we can agree that without borrowing, iOS wouldn’t be where it is today and neither would Android. At the end of the day, the only way to have the best user experience available, is to have the best of all worlds, which means having the features that are available on all mobile Operating Systems on one device. Sure, this is far from possible but the fact is that when these companies borrows from the others, it simply results in us, the users, getting better overall Operating Systems. iOS 7 and 8 would not look slightly as good or function as useful as they do today if they didn’t borrow a few features from Windows Phone and Android. The same thing goes for Android, which would have still been bare, not too easy on the eyes and a lot less optimized if it didn’t have some competition to borrow from.
I think we can all agree and hope that these technology related companies can borrow from each other reasonably and not end up in lawsuits against each other. After all, technology would not advance as quickly as it is currently advancing if there wasn’t some competition.
Click Here to read a previous post about all the new features included in iOS 8.