Apple dropping numbers to show how iOS is better than Android is par for the course for every Apple event, be it the company’s quarterly earnings call or its annual high-ticket developers event. So it wasn’t surprising when Tim Cook showed charts and graphs to drill down the point that iOS users were satisfied with Apple’s platforms and the lack of a phone with a bigger display or a more open platform didn’t really matter as much as its rivals would like to believe. Also Read - Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels go live in 170 countries starting today
“Over 130 million customers who bought an iOS device in the past 12 months were buying their first Apple device. Many of these customers were switchers from Android. They had bought an Android phone – by mistake. They had sought a better experience and a better life. And decided to check out iPhone and iOS,” Tim Cook said before introducing iOS 8. Also Read - Hitman Sniper: The Shadows mobile game announced: Agent 47 is missing
Yet, deep inside Apple knows it has to keep opening up iOS more to keep up with Android and the things users can do with it. This isn’t something new for Apple, which has time and again “borrowed” features that have appealed to it in the past and incorporated them is iOS. Hello, notification center! Also Read - Apple TV+ free trial will now be available for 3 months instead of a year: What to do?
Having said that, iOS 8 is the one where Apple has ticked most of the boxes that were cited as reasons why users chose Android over iOS. Ability to use third-party keyboards? Check! Ability of third-party apps to talk to native services? Check! Personal assistant hotword? Check! Widgets in the notification center? Check! Interactive notifications? Check! The list goes on…
However, the addition of me-too Android features does not mean Apple is compromising the security of user information and has taken a very Apple-y take on most of these features. Third-party keyboards, for instance, would not get Internet connectivity, by default. Users will have to explicitly grant it permission to do so. Third-party apps that use “extensibility” to feature in native services will also get limited access to user information. They will open within the app that the user is using as a pop-up window and close after the sharing is done, taking the user back to the original app.
With iOS 8, it is clear that Apple is taking away many of the complaints users had when they compared it to Android, while at the same time managed to retain Apple’s promise of a fluid UI and security of the user’s data.