Last week Apple released iOS8, the so-called ‘largest iOS release ever’ for users of their iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. Every year around iOS update time, Twitter goes wild with user impressions both praising and despising the update.
There is, however, another group of people that pop up on Twitter at this time – Apple Bashers or, more broadly, users of Google’s Android phone operating system.In previous years the focus of Apple Bashers has been an emphasis on the closed nature of iOS, as it can only be used on an Apple made device. More recently though, they are suggesting that Apple’s exclusive mobile operating system isn’t even worth getting mad over.
One popular image circulating social media pokes fun at both iOS8 and the newly released iPhone 6. Titled ‘iPhone Users – Welcome to 2012’ it compares some iOS8 features to its Android counterpart. The punchline being that these features have existed in Android for over 2 years.In a way, they’re right. Android phones have had features such as NFC payments, custom keyboards, SwiftKey-style typing suggestions, battery statistics, and widgets for at least a couple of years now.However, the belief that this means Apple is failing to innovate in such a competitive field is perhaps unfounded.
Looking at mobile payments (NFC) for example. Your Android phone has NFC on it, brilliant, but what can you do with it? Have you ever used it? It’s likely that you haven’t. There are many reasons for this but put simply, it has been up to Apple to secure the partnerships with payment processors and retailers. This ensure that when iPhone 6 users get a software update with shiny new Apple Pay capabilities, they are able to actually use it somewhere. Apple have signed some huge partnerships including McDonalds, Subway and Disney to help launch their mobile payments system. This is, in fact, what Apple does best. And it is still innovation. What good is a technical specification if it is of no use to the vast majority of users?
The aforementioned spoof image suggests some features of a future iOS update that, once again, Android users already have. Looking at it simply reiterates the point. App installations via the browser and ‘virtual buttons’, are features that in all likelihood Android users have never considered using. Apple continues to periodically update its mobile software with a swathe of improvements and not all are necessarily brand new. But all are well thought out and developed to an exceedingly high standard. This is innovation in its own right!