Last night Apple took the wraps off iOS 8 at WWDC and as expected, it gave a glimpse at a host of new features and services. While the list of new features seemed quite interesting and is sure to enhance the user experience of iOS, one cannot help but notice how some of them are similar to what other developers and service providers offer. Let s take a look at these features.
iMessage borrows from WhatsApp and Snapchat
The moment Apple unveiled some of the new features for iMessage, almost everyone thought of WhatsApp. iOS 8 s tap to talk feature seems to have been picked up from WhatsApp, which too has a mic just above the keyboard which you can press and hold to record short voice messages. The ability to quickly share audio and videos too seemed to have been inspired by the popular messaging app.
WhatsApp s co-founder Jan Koum wasn’t the least amused and responded to Apple s unveiling with a tweet:
very flattering to see Apple “borrow” numerous WhatsApp features into iMessage in iOS 8 #innovation
jan koum (@jankoum) June 2, 2014
Additionally, Apple also announced that the attachments shared on iMessage will automatically self-destruct unless the user disables the option. This is quite similar to what Snapchat offers and is in fact the app s USP.
Hey Siri sounds a lot like Ok Google
Prior to iOS 8, one had to long press the home button to call Siri, but now on you will only have to say the words Hey Siri and the digital assistant will come up and be ready to listed to your command. While this surely makes using the service easier, one cannot help but notice how similar it is Google Now s Ok Google command.
iCloud Drive interface echoes Dropbox
The way files are organized on the newly announced iCloud Drive is quite reminiscent to Dropbox s interface. On Mac the iCloud Drive can be found on Finder and each app you use on your devices are given a different folder. Any and every change you make to files in these folders are synced across all your iOS devices. The similarities don t end there either and the photos app will also organize photos in a carousel a la Dropbox.
QuickType keyboard borrows from SwiftKey
iOS 8 boasts a new default keyboard that also introduces word suggestions and predictions. The prediction/suggestion engine is quite similar to SwifKey and like the latter is aware of how you type and suggests words accordingly. The iOS 8 keyboard layout too is similar to Android s default keyboard. The way the suggested words are placed in three boxes right above the keyboard is a layout similar to Android s.
Battery Usage mirrors Android
While Apple didn t show this feature on stage, iOS 8 has a battery usage feature that shows you exactly how your battery is being drained. You can see what apps are draining the juice and you can shut them down. This is another feature that seems to have been borrowed from Android. On Android s settings menu you can see a graph showing just how the battery has run out of juice including the apps that are responsible.
Mail Drop takes on DropSend and We Transfer
Rather than having to attach big files and sending them over an email, now you can use a new feature called Mail Drop. This feature essentially bypasses traditional email attachment size limits and lets you send attachments up to 5GB through iCloud. It is quite seamlessly integrated with iOS s Mail app, while users on other platforms will receive links to download the files. While this will surely prove to be very useful, it is a feature that seems to have been inspired from other such services including DropSend and We Transfer among others.
While many might chastise Apple for copying things from others, Apple doesn t seem too bothered. In fact Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying, Picasso had a saying, good artists copy; great artists steal, and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.