Apple has been playing catch up with Android for many years now. It has always picked features from Google’s mobile operating system, implemented it into iOS, and worded it in a way that makes it seem like the feature is something no one has done before.
Every World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) I would scoff at the company presentation and how they ‘revolutionize new’ features that already exist.
But I won’t deny that every time Apple ‘borrows’ a new feature from Android, they always seem to make it better one way or another. Here are some examples:
Apple’s App Library makes so much more sense compared to Android’s App Drawer
For years and ever since I can remember, Android had a place where with a swipe or tap, you can get access to all the apps that are installed on your phone. If you compare that to Apple, it just has the apps sprawled all over the home screen.
This was a huge turn off for me when it came to managing apps installed on my phone. While you still can organize them into folders in later versions of iOS, there are some apps that I would prefer to be hidden away because I use them infrequently.
But in iOS 14, Apple has introduced App Library, which I honestly prefer over Android’s App Drawer.
Unlike the App Drawer, where apps are organized alphabetically, the App Library places apps into folders based on the type of app. For example, if you have banking apps and e-wallets, these apps would be placed in a folder called finance, all your games will be placed in a game folder, and so on.
It does make the process of finding your apps much easier compared to scrolling around or using the app search bar in Android.
Leave your car keys at home and use your phone to start your car.
This was honestly a big brain move from Apple. Most modern cars these days have probably more computer parts than mechanical parts. One could even say that current cars are just computers with four wheels.
Android has had apps that would allow you to unlock or start your car via a module installed in your vehicle. Still, there’s always that lingering fear that these companies could track your location and whether they are trustworthy or not is a whole different story.
By building a digital key into your iPhone, some of that worry is eliminated. Apple has already announced that these digital keys will work with carmakers like BMW and Ford, with more manufacturers set to join soon.
App Clips are just better than Google’s Instant Apps.
Back in 2018, Google released Google Play Instant. It allowed users to try the app out without installing it. It could be accessed directly from the Play Store, via links, and using Google Search.
But Apple has put a small twist on how it’s App Clips are triggered. While you still can search them on the web or App Store, Apple also lets you generate a QR code that would trigger the App Clip version of the app on your iPhone.
While one could argue that you could just generate a QR code that would link to the app, but again it comes down to would you trust a third-party generating these codes or Apple and Google generating them directly?
A small but smart addition to picture-in-picture mode
If you’re an Android user picture-in-picture mode is very familiar to you. The ability to have whatever you’re watching float around your screen while you’re accessing other apps. While the iPad had this feature in previous updates, it’s finally coming to iOS.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I need to have the full screen of my phone unobscured. In Android, the only alternative is to close the window, and go back to the app to access it once again.
Apple is a little smarter in this aspect. You can swipe the picture-in-picture window to the side, and it will be minimized while the audio is still playing. To bring back the screen, tap the arrow that appears after being minimized, and the window will reappear once again.
I’m am frankly not a fan of Apple products. I prefer Android over iOS because of its flexibility and the freedom of customization, which I always felt was lacking in Apple’s products.
I’m also not a fan of how they take features from Android or other operating systems and market it as something brand new.
But for some reason, I still keep up with the company’s developments because they have a knack of taking something that already exists and making it better.
Perhaps it’s strategy of always being one step behind does make some sense if you think about it.