Apple brought its new update for iOS last week, and so it goes on, and once again we can enjoy a new round of comparisons between the two titans of mobile industry. As we already know their main strengths and weaknesses, one need only to face them and see what happens next in this never-ending struggle between these two of the most powerful corporations worldwide.
In hindsight, iOS 7 is really a major update, but if we separate the wheat from the chaff, maybe it isn’t time to start the fireworks yet, showing that Apple speeches are every time more about blaming Android rather than showcasing groundbreaking technology as they did in the past. Anyway, iOS 7 is a major update and deserves all our attention and, above all, it’s a step toward iOS 8, because in the end it seems that’s the only thing that really matters.
First things first: iOS 7 may be the most revolutionary update in Apple’s OS since ever, or at least that’s what Apple told. We aren’t into contradicting that, most likely because it’s pretty true, but when we compare the two major players on board, we must bear on mind that Android updates a little step at a time (Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean…) and iOS does big changes but less often. Therefore, if we are to compare, we find that we must face iOS 7 against Android since 4.0 in order to be fair. We are not talking about two operative systems, but about two different philosophies as well.
When you run iOS 7 for the first time, you may realize that its design seems a step back. It’s flatter and lighter, and icons are not as rounded as they use to be. Color palette is more basic. When Android bet for sci-fi-like Holo and reception was unanimously positive (and if you don’t like it you can change it anytime), iOS’s new design reception has been unalike, seemingly in a love it or hate it case. Early users tell that it’s great once you get used to it and it transmits clearness and clarity, but it isn’t love at first sight anyway. By the way, some major design changes seem traced from Android 4.0, take the unlock screen for example.
An other important feature in iOS 7 is a hot bar with all basic adjustements: wifi, airplane mode, bluetooth and so on. Android users should be smiling by now, because they had it since Android 2.3. No doubt iPhone users will welcome this, and perhaps they wonder why they haven’t such a useful help before. However, iOS has taken it further and includes calculator and camera shortcuts along the usual ones. Last, and definitively least, access is through an upward swipe gesture, and not downward as Android users are used to.
Along the same lines, iOS 7 users are able to access their notifications from the unlock screen (hey, remember when iPhone hadn’t a notifications bar?). These notifications are displayed by category and date. It’s a nice touch, but only actually useful when you are distanced from your beloved i-stuff for a long time. What it’s really a newness is the 3D effect the iOS launcher has. As far as we know, there aren’t many similar alternatives in Android. Oh, yes, there are 3D launchers galore, but nothing as cool as iOS’s. Nonetheless, it’s just a vanity effect, so it’s up to you to get it appraised in the way it deserves.
One of the most interesting topics about iOS is multitasking. Apple assures that iOS 7 can not only run any app in the background, but also save a significant amount of battery life by doing so. It’s hard to measure, but iOS 7 is as smooth as any other previous Apple iOS, if not smoother. When you toy with an iPhone, you still get that characteristic feeling of lightness, typical of iOS products. Believe us when we say that we are not against Apple, but Android multitasks since 4.0, including miniatures on a sidebar. If there’s something that makes the difference is that iOS seems smoother, no matter how things work inside.
One of the major updates will regard the radio service. Yes, we’re talking about the radio, that invention that was going to be overthrown by TV, later by VHS and lastly by the Internet and it’s still alive. Apple has added to iTunes an Apple version of Spotify, free yet ad-supported unless you go premium. On the greener side of the fence, Google Music will be launched worldwide soon.
AirDrop allows to share files with devices nearby, and looks really good. Nevertheless, we haven’t heard a thing about NFC, so it looks like that Apple’s playing the lone wolf role again and Apple users will have to use alternative services to share their files with their non-Apple friends and vice versa.
We won’t talk much about Safari. It’s a great browser, and if you don’t like it, well, that’s all there is. You can always install Chrome on an iPhone, though there’s no Safari version for Android and it’s unlikely there’ll be one some day. In the meanwhile, Siri adds info from Wikipedia, Twitter and, hold tight, Bing. This means that Google won’t be the default searcher anymore, and confirms our old prediction telling that Siri was the iOS paladin to fend off Google from the bitten apple kingdom. Android can’t brag of something as cool as Siri even when there is a handful of similar apps, but Google Now recent updates point to a battle fought in two different fronts.
In the end of the day, iOS 7 will be great for iOS users no matter how you look at it. iOS is an extremely good operative system, with unique user experience and feeling, and this iOS 7 is quite revolutionary in comparison to iOS 6. However, when we compare it to Android, it pales because it isn’t as revolutionary as Apple says so aloud. We are afraid that Apple’s struggling to keep its name, and when we talk about innovation we must turn to Android. Yes, Apple ads are wonderful, and people loves Apple stuff, but we wish Apple to be really groundbreaking in iOS 8 if they don’t want to see how its name in innovation is eroded beyond any remedy, and it wouldn’t be the first time: think of Blackberry, or Nokia, where they were and where they are.
In case you have jumped over the whole article and reached this paragraph of conclusions, here it is: this round’s for Android. For competence’s sake, we’d have liked a draw after a tough exchange of blows, but we’ll have to wait till next round to see if Apple stands up and brings out its best.