iOS 7 is the biggest redesign for Apple’s mobile operating system in years. It’s also coming when Apple is in a very different place than it was during the introduction of the iPhone. Apple’s no longer a disruptor, doing something radically new; it’s one of several major forces in a tight competition.
So it makes sense that Apple would borrow some of its competitors’ strengths for iOS 7. Here’s where else you can get some of iOS 7’s flagship features – and where you may have been able to get them for years.
The ability to transfer files peer to peer, like Apple’s AirDrop, is one of the flagship features on Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 phone. Of course, Samsung uses NFC, which Apple mocks.
14. Automatic Updates
Android phones have been able to update apps on the fly (and on Wi-Fi only, if you so choose) for quite some time now.
13. Business Security Features
“Features such as better protection of work and personal data, management of app licenses, seamless enrollment in Mobile Device Management, wireless app configuration, enterprise single sign-on support, and default data protection for third-party apps” have been the mainstay of BlackBerry’s system for years, and have recently found a fresh home on Android as Samsung Knox.
12. Camera Filters
Windows Phone’s “lenses” option puts Apple’s camera filters to shame, as it’s an extensible set of filters and camera tricks to which third parties can add. But if you just want filters, take a look at the HTC One.
11. Control Center/Quick Settings
Android phones have had quick settings that you can swipe down from the top bar for years now. I particularly like the approach on LG’s Optimus G Pro, where you can add the settings you use most often.
10. FaceTime Audio
Apple’s new voice-over-IP system lets you make phone calls that are integrated with video messaging, instant messaging and the OS … just like BBM on BlackBerry 10.
9. Find And Kill My iPhone
Lookout Mobile Security on Android has provided phone-finder features for a while, and remote location and wipe is built into the Windows Phone 8 platform, but nothing beats BlackBerry’s “find and disable” function, which has been running for more than a decade.
8. iCloud Keychain
It automatically fills in account names and passwords and keeps them securely encrypted, just like LastPass for Android.
7. iOS in the Car
BlackBerry is weeping right now. The company bought automotive software firm QNX in part for its already extant in-car platform. Microsoft’s Windows CE, meanwhile, powers Ford’s MyTouch system.
6. iTunes Radio
It’s Pandora with a store option.
5. Multitasking with Cards
Apple’s multitasking menu now shows you miniature screens you can flip through and “flick” up to dismiss. That’s almost exactly the approach Palm’s WebOS took. Full multitasking, meanwhile, has been an Android hallmark since the beginning.
4. Notification Center with Today
It’s a little bit Android, a little bit Google Now. Android has had a notifications pane for years, and Google Now introduced the idea of proactive weather alerts, for instance.
3. Safari Enhancements
A unified search field and tab view? Check out Chrome for Android.
2. Type-Centric Design
Apple’s new design philosophy relies on plenty of white space and large, sans-serif fonts. This is straight from the Windows Phone 8 playbook.
1. Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0
A feature that auto-joins to known Wi-Fi hotspot networks. U.S. Cellular and MetroPCS have included a similar app from DeviceScape on their Android phones for a while now.
Nope, Still Doesn’t Matter
Okay, so now all you Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry owners can feel a pointless moral satisfaction which has no effect on the market. As I said in my column on Monday, what matters in the smartphone world is whether a company can execute on a complete strategy – not whether it introduces a particular feature first.
Mobile technology is an iterative industry; everyone borrows from everyone. That’s one of the ways competition makes everyone better. Apple popularized finger-friendly mobile design. BlackBerry led the way integrating messaging into a mobile OS. Android has shown everyone how to do notifications. Windows Phone struck out for design elegance rather than clutter. Everyone gets better all the time. Those who don’t, die out.