Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple copies a bunch of features from Android, calls it iOS5

At WWDC 2011, Steve Jobs took the wraps off iOS5, the next major release of the operating system used by iPhones, iPod Touch, and iPads. According to Apple, iOS5 has over 200 new user features and 1500 new developer APIs. But how many of these are really new?
Apple is known for their innovation, and for suing other companies that copy (or as they put it, “steal“) ideas from them. So we were curious to see how iOS5’s features stacked up in the originality department. In particular, we looked at the 10 main user features highlighted during the keynote today and compared them to features in iOS’s main competition, Android.
1. Notifications. In iOS5 notifications will appear at the top of your screen and you can drag the bar down to see all the notifications in one place.
Original? Definitely not. Android has had that since version 1.0. Recently they improved it in Android 3 so developers can make rich notifications that are more than just text and an image. So iOS5 notifications have caught up to Android 1.0 notifications. The only original part is integration of notifications into the lock screen. Some 3rd party apps provide that for Android but it’s not built-in.
2. Newsstand. Now you can subscribe to magazines and newspapers and have updates downloaded in the background.
Original? So-so. Android relies on programs that are not part of the core operating system to view content, in order to allow 3rd parties to compete against each other. Android apps, including the Market, are still catching up on subscription and in-app purchases. But the OS has had background updates and sync for quite some time. The nice thing about the Android story is that the APIs for this are public.
3. Twitter. Apple has integrated Twitter into the operating system and its major applications. Whether you like it or not.
Original? Absolutely. Nobody else is stupid enough to do this.
Seriously, Android has these standard messages called “Intents” so that if your app wants to have a Share button it sends out an Intent indicating what it’s trying to do. The OS will go out and find all the apps that can do Sharing and give the user a list of them to pick from. That can include Twitter, Facebook, SMS, GTalk, and whatever else you have installed. Even social media apps that weren’t invented yet when the program was written can be supported.
iOS5 provides single sign-on for Twitter. Android does the same, but for any application. It lets the developer write an account manager for single sign-on for any service you can think of including Twitter, Google mail, Exchange, and more

By Ed Burnette - ZD Net