After what seems like an eternity and a half, iOS 14 has, at last, made a splash. This new OS from Apple brings with it a host of usability and customization options that are bound to get Apple fanboys applauding.
However, upon closer examination, some of these new features have already been available on the Android ecosystem. That is not much of a surprise, as iOS and Android seem to relish borrowing, polishing, and implementing nice ideas from each other all the time. No one has been tied up and shot for that. At least not yet!
Below are a few of what the latest Apple software release appeared to have copied from Android:
The App List
Google devices have an app drawer, while Apple devices will now make use of what is known as an app library. Both are similar in function and list all apps on a device, no matter its visibility or otherwise on the home screen. However, Apple will make it possible for users of its devices to manually hide their apps so that it doesn’t appear on the home screen but can still be seen in the app library. We guess this is done for privacy reasons.
Rather than blindly copying Google, Apple has however polished up the app list experience. Thus, it categorizes all the apps in its app library, which Google is yet to do.
Access To Third-Party Browsers And Default Email
Some say Apple can be rather anal-retentive and nowhere makes that more obvious than in its policies as regards default email and browsers on its platform. Usually, users on the iOS ecosystem have little in the way of options when it comes to default emails and browsers. Now, however, Apple has finally decided to stop being the stuffy grandparent and give folks the option of choosing their default email and browser app.
However, it is not all rosy as all iOS browsers are still obliged to employ Apple’s very own rendering engine and app developers will need to update their apps to enable support for the new feature.
More, the wind of change appears to be affecting just email and browser apps for now. That means Apple Music and Apple Maps are still the default choice for users on iOS, even if there are similar apps they might prefer.
Widgets On The Home Screen
For years, Apple has stubbornly refused to place widgets on the home screen of its devices. It seems it has now had a change of heart, with iOS 14 finally enabling the placement of widgets on the home screen.
Widgets have long been a Google product and can be found on some of the earliest devices running the Android OS. Google seems to be in love with widgets and has long focused on expanding its usability and functionality. Apple is now doing the same, designing widgets of varying sizes for its apps and optimizing their performance.
Siri Goes All Modest
For iOS 145 Apple is coming out with a new “discrete” mode that will change the way Siri interacts with users. Siri will now be much more discrete than it formerly was and rather than occupying an entire screen will show up miniaturized near the screen bottom.
Also, all query results will now show up in small windows atop the screen, rather than blocking the view. This is very similar to how Google Assistant operates on Android, though in this case, all search results appear at the bottom of the screen instead of at the top.
Apart from its Siri makeover, Apple tinkered with the way incoming calls appear on the screen. Such calls will now occupy a portion of the screen real estate, rather than filling it. Android has options for this kind of thing and it is nice that Apple finally decided to copy this feature.
Google released a password protection mode for Android users on Chrome late last year. Apple is now getting in on the act by providing a password protection mode on its Safari browser that alerts users when their password has been compromised and must be changed at the earliest opportunity.
Google Maps is widely perceived as preeminent, with Apple Maps gamely ambling along but failing to catch up and pass it. This state of affairs just might have changed with the launch of iOS 14. This new OS comes with a mode specifically designed for bike riders and is packed with the features necessary for them to make the fullest use of it.
Sure, this sort of feature has been available on Google Maps for like a decade, but their appearance on Apple systems just might mean that Apple is keen on closing the gap between Apple Maps and Google Maps.
As of now, the aforementioned cycling directions are only available in a few cities in the US and China, but there’s good reason to think it will see a global release soon. When it does, Google better watch out or else!
Lost In Translation
Google has perhaps the best free and useful translation software in the universe by the name of Google Translate. Now, Apple is muscling in and has released a comparable translation app on the iOS 14.
This just like on Google Translate permits the translation of both spoken and written words. Translation does not however appear to take place in real-time, like on Google. Apple Translate is also integrated with Safari and can thus be used to translate as many webpages as users fancy. As of now, just 11 languages are supported, but this can only grow.
App Clips and App Slices
iOS 14 is introducing a couple of rather interesting features. The first of these is App Clips. App Clips makes it possible for app developers to offer bits of their apps. Users can thus download and install these bits, rather than the whole app itself.
Google was the first to try out this idea, introducing what it called “slices” on the Android P in 2018 and Instant Apps far back in 2017. Apple’s remake of Google’s earlier attempt appears to be more polished. Time will tell if it proves more successful and goes fully mainstream.
The picture-in-picture mode has been available on iPads since the release of iOS 11. Android devices got it on Android 8.0. However, access to it was not possible on iPhones. This has now changed, courtesy of the almighty iOS 14.
FaceTime calls are supported by the new feature, which brings with it lots of possibilities indeed!