So now that iOS’s feature list is out of the dark I wanted to see some heavy hitting features that might allow me to reconsider my current Android ownership. Sure, Apple did its fair job of mending a lot of noticeable gaps in how it differentiates from Android, but it did not make that leap I was looking for. It seems Apple did more to catch up to Android than actually surpass it. Here’s why:
Great, Siri can launch apps, but Android has done this now for years with its voice recognition technology. There are a lot of new prompts that seem to work similar to Google’s knowledge graph through Siri, which is interesting, but will people actually use them? Sure the technology is a great way to demo the phone, maybe even entice people to buy it, but it seems Apple wants people to use Siri more than users actually do. If you’re reading this, and own an iPhone, ask yourself how often and frequently you use Siri? If you do, what do you ask her? Useful service-based tasks, or “the meaning of life?”
2. Facebook Integration
This one is pretty ridiculous. I’ve owned an Android device since 2010, and can tell you that the level of integration Apple describes has been around since the heydays of my original Droid Incredible. I’ll concede one caveat however: If you are running vanilla Android found on Google’s Nexus line of products, it’ll be hard to find this type of integration (Google wants you to use Google+), but modulated versions running HTC Sense, MOTOBLUR, or TouchWiz – which exists on over 90 percent of Android devices – have had this for years.
Facetime is now able to access your device’s 3G network. Once again, something that has existed for over a year with any Android device running Gingerbread 2.3.4 and possessing a front facing camera.
All bookmarks are synced – sound familiar Chrome users? Well once again this is a feature that has been around not nearly as long as the others mentioned above, but for anyone running Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) with Chrome Beta installed, this is old news.
5. Photo Streams to iCloud
All of your photos automatically upload to iCloud. Once again, this feature has been available on Google+ for a year, is nothing new, and relies on people who have Apple accounts. Jury’s out on whether anyone will use the service, but people have been saying that about Google+ as well.
6. New Maps
Finally the iPhone has a navigator and its own maps system. This is probably the most exciting feature, as I’ve waited for what seems like forever for Apple to receive it, and could not live without it if I made the switch. But without StreetView and public transit options, it’s not better than Google’s service – which has spent years creating and accumulating StreetView photos and content.
So all of this is great, but for me, most of it is nothing new. For most, this may be all that the iPhone needs – just to catch up. So with all things being equal in the fall – which is hard to believe – the gap between the iPhone and Android will be significantly smaller. Apple’s shown their hand with iOS 6, so what does Google’s Jelly bean (Android 5.0) have in store?