Jun 7, 2011
While Apple did not announce a new phone on Monday at their WWDC 2011 keynote, a lot of what Apple announced will bring iOS up to speed with Android. iOS is finally getting a dropdown notification bar, just like Android has had since day one. Notifications can also pop up in a non-obtrusive way during games; while some notifications don’t show up during games, period, it’s still at least non-obtrusive. Apple has introduced cloud-based data storage, including the ability for system and app settings to be saved to iCloud; this is something that Google has done on Android as well. Twitter will be deeply integrated into iOS 5, with the ability to share most everything to Twitter straight from iOS. While Android’s sharing isn’t as integrated as iOS 5’s, it offers more options, the ability to share via the app of the user’s choice, and to other services besides Twitter. Say what you will about Facebook, but it is important to a lot of people, and Apple just left them in the dust. Android does not.
Apple has also finally caught up with Android in the post-PC era. iOS 5 will finally support not only over-the-air updates (with support for delta updates, meaning that only changed bits will need to be downloaded, not the entirety of the OS), but will no longer need iTunes in order to operate. It will also support wireless syncing from iTunes. Granted, these are all things that Android has been capable of for a while, especially being free of the PC, but this should help to shepherd in the end of the PC as a necessary device. Lately, I’ve found myself working more from mobile OSes as they tend to be far smoother than working on Windows, for example.
The real blow that Apple struck against Android was in their music service – iTunes in the Cloud, with the iTunes Match service. This subscription service ($25/year) will scan user libraries and give them access to DRM-free 256 Kbps songs, only uploading songs not on iTunes. Considering that both Amazon and Google’s services both require direct uploads and Google hasn’t revealed a subscription price (if any) for their service, Apple has a trump card here. The drawback is that it still requires iTunes to access; Amazon and Google’s solutions both work through the browser for listening to music, even through iOS’ Mobile Safari browser.
The excitement of iOS 5 and iCloud is largely over the dramatic improvements that they will bring to the iOS user experience, even though on further inspection, this may be slightly less impressive and innovative than iOS-only users may expect. Hit us up in the comments if you’re an Android-only or even a multiplatform user with your thoughts on how what Apple has announced will affect Android, and if it impresses you. We also accept replies on @AndroidRundown!