On Monday Apple unveiled iOS 14—and when you’re an Android consumer, the “new” OS might need seemed somewhat acquainted.
The newest improve to the iPhone working system, on account of launch this fall, guarantees enhancements together with a brand new house display screen, smarter navigation, sooner apps, and a contemporary coat of paint on the whole lot. And it is clear that most of the greatest options are impressed, influenced, or simply plain swiped from Android, from the brand new default e-mail and browser apps to the picture-in-picture for movies. You possibly can plainly see the affect on the brand new compact view for Siri and incoming calls, biking instructions in Maps, even the brand new house display screen widgets.
However as I watched Apple unveil the options through the slick and fast-paced keynote, I couldn’t assist feeling somewhat envious. Apple has refined Android’s options to the purpose the place they virtually make Google’s model appear downright inferior. It’s not simply Apple’s slick gross sales pitch—there are quite a few iOS 14 options that I’ve used on Android for years. However they in some way nonetheless appear contemporary and proper at house on the iPhone.
Apple will get a variety of credit score for breaking new floor, however the reality of the matter is it hardly ever does. What Apple does greatest is construct issues that work so nicely and really feel so pure that no matter got here earlier than doesn’t matter. That expertise is on full show in iOS 14.
A drawer by every other title
The obvious function borrowed from Android is the App Library. Comparable in spirit to Android’s longstanding app drawer, it lastly removes the necessity to hold each app you’ve downloaded on your property display screen with no solution to type them robotically.
However as a substitute of simply shifting them to a drawer, Apple has developed a novel function that allows you to disguise house display screen pages however nonetheless entry your apps with a swipe. That’s much like how Android works—apps are collected within the drawer however may exist on your property screens for fast entry—however the iOS 14 model lets you will have it each methods.
Hiding apps from view on iOS is a long-overdue function that Android has had for years, but it surely nonetheless feels new in iOS 14. On Android, you’ll want to nuke each app if you wish to filter out a house display screen and begin over when you change your thoughts. Apple’s App Library retains your property screens organized as they have been earlier than, however allows you to simply disguise and unhide them. Even the App Library itself will get an improve over the app drawer, with good strategies and folders that highlight your mostly used apps.
Successful the widget struggle
Apple has additionally performed a greater job with iOS widgets. Android has had widgets on the house display screen for so long as the iPhone has had a Lightning port, however only a few of them are value utilizing, outdoors of the Google search bar and fundamental climate situations. Third-party widgets are, to place it mildly, principally rubbish, and Google hasn’t performed something to advance the platform other than a couple of Pixel-first widgets which might be put in by default.
However widgets in iOS 14 actually do look good. They’ve a unified design that may lengthen to third-party apps. The sizes completely align with one another and the icon grid. They appear like a pure a part of the house display screen. Most significantly, they accomplish their essential process: to supply at-a-glance info that cuts down on the necessity to launch apps.
It’s the identical outdated story: Android will get there first, however Apple will get it proper. I can’t keep in mind the final time I added a widget to my Android house display screen. Except it comes with the telephone, like One UI’s climate widget or the Pixel’s search bar, they don’t add sufficient to the expertise to hassle. Once I obtain iOS 14, nonetheless, one of many first issues I’ll do is take a look at the app gallery and set up a couple of of them.
A greater Android
These aren’t the one options which might be clearly cribbed from Android. You possibly can see the Android affect in App Clips, that are Apple’s model of Prompt Apps, in addition to the brand new compact interface for calls and Siri, the Translate app, PIP, selecting default e-mail and browser apps, to not point out biking instructions and metropolis guides. Even pinned conversations in Messages is a function on Galaxy telephones.
However in practically each occasion, the implementation is smarter on iOS. Apple could take longer to get there, however most of the time, Apple units the curve for options and designs on telephones, and it’s as much as Google to disregard it to tweak their very own system. We’ve already seen it with notches, gesture navigation and face unlock. I’m prepared to wager Android 12 or 13 may have one thing similar to the App Library contained in the drawer.
Apple may not be the primary, but it surely normally has the final phrase. That’s much more necessary in the long term.