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A Quick Look at iOS 6 and Its New Android Features

Whenever a new version of iOS is announced by Apple, we usually take a few minutes to look at the features that were highlighted and compare them to Android, since in many cases, Android users have been experiencing the “new” fun for years. With iOS 6, the same can be said again, but to give credit to Apple this time around, we have to point out that words like “reinvented” weren’t used much if at all. During today’s presentation at WWDC, Apple’s execs seemed to give off the impression that they knew they weren’t changing the game “again,” but were finally adding in features that should have been there long ago.

If you are reading tech blogs across the globe today who insist that iOS 6 is the greatest thing since Zapp’s Cajun Crawtator chips, we are here to show you that you can do all of this stuff now on your Android device and more.

Maps

Apple did indeed kick Google Maps to the curb in favor of their own map solution, dubbed “Maps.” From what we could tell, it’s your standard maps + navigation app that Android users have enjoyed for years now. They have 3D images of cities, turn-by-turn directions with voice, traffic and route recommendations, etc. No reinventing here, especially without transit directions (that we know of), offline maps, and social integration, all of which are embedded in Google Maps.

Safari and Tab Syncing

For those with Chrome installed on a computer and Android phone, you know that Chrome has had tab syncing across devices for almost 2 months now. Apple introduced it to iOS 6 and Safari today, but since no one uses Safari, I’m not sure how useful this can actually be to iOS users. Chrome is the most popular browser in the world and has this feature already included. Then again, this is Apple’s way of getting you to use Safari on a desktop if you want to take advantage of syncing. Sorry, iFolks.

Facebook Integration

As they did with Twitter in iOS 5, Apple announced “deep” Facebook integration. You can now post to Facebook in an instant, share URLs quickly, and allow it to sync with your calendar and contacts. Android users, you can do all of this with much more than just Facebook and Twitter. In fact, almost every single app that needs it, has sharing capabilities. If you want to share something with Pocket or Google Drive or Dropbox or Gmail or Facebook or Twitter, you can, just by hitting the share button. You aren’t locked into only sharing things with Twitter and Facebook. Calendar and Contact integration has also been there for longer than I can remember. Google removed it a tad with stock ICS, but custom skins from HTC, Samsung and Motorola all kept it in.

Siri

The coolest thing I saw today during the iOS 6 presentation was Siri returning sports scores and stats. With each Siri knock-off Android app, one of the first questions I always ask  has to do with last night’s games. They always come back empty and ask if I want to search the internet. They also tossed in Yelp, OpenTable, and movie stuff, which could come in handy from time to time. Still though, everyone with an iPhone 4S that I know tells me every time I ask, that they never use Siri.

Google still doesn’t have their own Siri-like app, other than Voice Actions which are limited. At Google I/O this month, they are expected to show something off that should compete in this space.

Phone and Quick Reply

Quick replies during incoming calls! Nope, not an iOS 6 original. Through Android, stock or a variety of skins, if you quickly hang up on someone, you are almost always prompted with a menu to either text them or be reminded of that call at a later time. With most, you can even create canned text messages that can be fired off in an instant. It’s a great feature, just one that has been around for a while.

FaceTime over Cellular

In previous version of iOS, you were not allowed to FaceTime video chat with people unless you were connected to a WiFi network. In iOS 6, you can finally make FaceTime calls over a cellular network, however, this is not new and has been done with a variety of video chatting apps on Android, but most importantly, natively through Google Talk for some time now. Hell, I think it has been around since Gingerbread almost 2 years ago.

Passbook

Apple announced a new app called Passbook which stores flight information, coupons, movie tickets and loyalty cards. It’s time and location based, so if you enter your favorite coffee shop, your phone will automatically pop up your coffee rewards card for quick scanning. As you enter an airport, it will pull up your flight info and potentially notify you should your gate change. This is actually a cool idea. There are Android apps out there that do similar stuff, but not as an all-in-one application.

Mail

In iOS 6, Apple added a “VIP” mail category that acts in a similar way to Gmail’s priority inbox. You can set up select people (or I’m assuming groups too) that will hit your VIP inbox while those boring work emails will slide to your regular folder. It’s a handy feature, but like I said, Gmail’s priority inbox does something similar, but actually learns on the fly so there is no manual setup. They also tossed in easy photo embedding into emails, something that has been in Android since the beginning of time.

Fragmentation

Oh, they didn’t announce fragmentation? Those little footnotes at the bottom of the Maps and Siri pages that read, “Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later” and “Siri will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad (3rd generation)” made it seem like they did. So let me get this straight, iOS devices are updated to the newest versions of iOS at some incredible pace, making Android look so silly on giant projector slides, but those new versions of iOS don’t even include all of the same features? There you go Android OEMs, now you know the trick – just start pulling features from your updates to push them out faster. (Cheers SR!)

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And that’s pretty much it. Apple said that there are some 200 new features, but these were the big dogs that they showed off on stage and are likely the most noteworthy. What we can take from this, without being too nasty to this other mobile operating system, is that both Android and iOS are becoming more polished with each new release. There probably isn’t much room for something dramatic to happen at this point, so it’s the little things that they’ll continue to add in. This latest iOS release includes a whole bunch of stuff that has been in Android for a long, long time – most of it is incredibly useful by the way – so we are glad to see our frenemies get in on the action. If you were looking for that game changer though, it didn’t happen.

  • http://twitter.com/ItsE34 Hi I’m Steve

    There’s really no need for manufacturers to send out updates more often, just root and get the Jelly Bean ROM you know you want haha

  • mcdonsco

    I would love to see someone go to one of these Apple events someday with a prepped and ready Android device and question the speaker on each point “how is this different from this feature we’ve had on Android for the last year+?”…

    That would be entertaining to watch!

  • Sean

    I agree that it is frustrating being an iPhone user some times due to the fact that Android users seem to get some features before Apple. But, I think Apple really shines in learning from Droid’s mistakes and taking the time to make everything really seamless for the user. iPhones are slick both in hardware and software design. Androids feel clunky to me – I really don’t like the UI. That’s just my opinion and why I’m an Apple user. Plus, I really like how all the devices work together.

  • ChrisTraeger1

    LOL @ Apple patent trolling for the past year only to come out with new ripped off Android features

  • Nismo350gt

    Everyone here is a hater!!!! Apple is the best OS and you guys know it… Never does it force close like andrroid does…. No wonder that’s the motto “DOID DOES” … Why do you think all of the best apps are on the iPhone?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Viewtiful.Ben Ben Carron

      If you prefer iOS fair play to you but to suggest it’s the best mobile OS is laughable. I have a third gen iPad on 5.11 and multiple times apps have force closed on me. Meanwhile I’ve only had a handful of problems with my Android 2.3 Galaxy S2 for the 14 months I owned it and zero problems with my Android 4.04 Galaxy S3 in the month and a half I’ve had it.

      “Why do you think all the best apps are on the iPhone”
      Considering ‘best apps’ is subjective and will depend on the category and requirements of the user you should just quit spouting nonsense now. There are thousands of high quality apps available on both iOS and Android for almost every purpose you could think of.

  • subshell001

    Most of this article is pretty fairly written but unfortunately it falls apart with the few hyperbolic statements strewn throughout it. 14% of internet users use Safari. 7% of Android users use Ice Cream Sandwich. By your logic, nobody uses Ice Cream Sandwich, so if you really want to be consistent and fair you should avoid mentioning any features exclusive to ICS :). Also, I think it’s pretty fair to say that 3rd party apps simply don’t count when you say “Android Features” as in most cases, there are also iOS 3rd party apps that do the same thing. I don’t consider that to be a strong argument in this case.

  • GeorgePR

    “…but since no one uses Safari…” I’ve been using dolphin on different android devices for 3 years now and facebook has always recognized all my connections as “Safari on MacOS”. I think this explain a bit why market researches think apple is so spread on mobile use

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Emberton/100000627165100 James Emberton

    Love me some Zapp’s Cajun Crawtator chips. That iOS thing…not so much.

  • Counsel Dew

    Isn’t Apple’s” map app Tom Tom Data (or Apple’s spin om Tom Tom’s App)?

  • N0X

    While the “maps” app is nothing innovative at all, it was a really smart move by Apple.. How much money do you think Apple is paying Google per year for this feature? Apple attempted to get turn by turn navigation with Google, but it was blocked and deemed an android feature (which I was okay with). As an ex android user, this is probably the only feature I truly missed. I obviously had “Choices” (everyone loves that word :P ) for other GPS/turn by turn apps (some of which are free), however Google Maps is just extremely polished.

  • Tyates420

    I dnt understand all of the people complaining about the Iphone 4s battery..I currently have a 4S and a razor Maxx. My 4s will last me 1 1/2-2 days on a single charge

    • GeorgePR

      that’s because the
      fisherprice iphone screen and features are half than my android and your Maxx is faulty

  • Artistan

    I wouldn’t really call it fragmentation… Everyone know how obsessed Apple is with their user “experience”. I would imaging the reason they don’t support some of the new feature is due to the apps not performing the way they want. Personally I would give Apple kudos for supporting their older hardware one way or another instead of just dropping support to it a year later like the majority of Android phones.

  • Rei-chan

    The only Android feature missing from iPhone is, iPhone doesn’t blow.
    Huge win for android here, it sucks like a vacuum cleaner on steroids.

  • EatUrCrap

    What the iPhone, iPad, etc. need is a Notification LED.

    • K. Nelson

      The notification LED was number 2 on my list of reasons not to stay with the iPhone 3G (that’s when I gave iOS a spin). I’m always giving my Apple fanboy friend crap because he is always missing calls/texts and claims “he didn’t see it”. My GF doesn’t have a problem, but that’s because she has the iPhone “twitch”…i.e., turning the phone on & unlocking it every 10 minutes to check for missed events.

      The number one reason is that it’s just far easier for me to get the info I need from my Android phone compared to an iOS device. I mentioned this in another post, but my GF is jealous of my OG Android…she has the iPhone4.

  • http://twitter.com/trophynuts Jeremy

    Name one thing that Apple does that Android/Google has no idea how to do. Give out firm dates of releases.

  • Andrew

    So Android can’t copy iPhones at all and it is totally wrong, but they can steal every aspect of it and then also showcase it as their own? Wow.

  • JustinUnderscore

    “… greatest thing since Zapp’s Cajun Crawtator chips…” — I was so sure you had made this up, until I googled it: http://www.cajungrocer.com/zapps-cajun-crawtator-potato-chips-p-762.html

    Yes, these do actually exist. Wow. Mind = blown.

    Seriously, though, great article. Nothing too unexpected, although I’m a little surprised they didn’t do anything more impressive with their map service. They probably realized that, with last-generation hardware (i.e. the current Apple devices), they couldn’t achieve the kinds of things they wanted to. I’m also a little surprised that they don’t care more about fragmentation. This will more or less cripple one of the main arguments in favor of iOS over Android. It will be interesting to see the implications of that over the next year or so.

  • InvaderDJ

    None of the iOS features are hugely inventive or revolutionary, but they do seem to be all well done. Maps and Navigation was one big thing I thought iOS was missing and it has it now. If Apple comes out with a 4″ iPhone as rumored that is another major problem I had fixed. After that I just need some better Google services (Gmail and Voice) and my major problems would be gone. I’m intrigued to see where iOS will be in 2013 when I’m out of contract.

    And as far as fragmentation goes I would much prefer your option (removing some features) than what we get already. Especially since it already happens in Android, I know for instance that at least on Sprint’s Evo LTE you can’t disable all built in apps and of course all of these ICS phones that aren’t Nexus devices “disable” Holo.

  • WickedToby741

    Passbook is where I think Google Wallet needs to head. I mean it’s called Google Wallet and I don’t know about you, but debit cards and credit cards aren’t the only thing in my physical wallet. There’s a ton of gift cards and loyalty cards too and it makes a lot of sense for a wallet app to have all of those as well as payment where the carrier permits it. Adding in the ability to save loyalty cards, tickets, and gift cards in an intelligent way like Passbook should be the logical next step for Wallet. They could even integrate Google Offers where applicable and include Offers coupons right there with your other cards.

    • CapnShiner

      I agree. The problem is, if Google does that now, people will claim they are just copying Apple.

      • Michael Scrip

        “if Google does that now, people will claim they are just copying Apple.”

        Isn’t this whole article basically a “we did it first” from Google?

        :)

    • TornadoRex

      You can put loyalty cards in there now. The problem is it only supports a few companies. Hopefully Google will expand it soon.

  • Liderc

    What I don’t get is they still haven’t gotten widgets, or true multi-tasking. Everything listed here is already possible with android. Not to mention their browsing experience is still laughable compared to android’s many browsers.

    • ERIC REED

      I don’t miss widgets at all. And what is true multitasking? Push the home button twice and all your previous apps and music controls pop up. That is the beauty of the iPhone, simple and easy to use. The only thing I miss from my android days is the ability to turn on/off WiFi, Bluetooth and such from the notification bar.

      Had to edit. Really miss Google maps!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/alkluttz Lewis Kluttz

        This and the lock screen is my main reason to jailbreak besides tinkering. Check into it…

        • ERIC REED

          SBSettings is my favorite tweak for sure!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/alkluttz Lewis Kluttz

      Use perfect browser for iPhone. The multitasking is 99% never a problem. It is preferable to all apps always running. In fact, I believe Google and Microsoft also do not use true multitasking on their phones for battery reasons. I do not remember the reference though.

  • Tony Allen

    iOS Fragmentation is becoming more and more real. With the 3G and original iPad abandoned.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CGLNYK4Z4GAICMSICBKVNG4CWM Richard

    Well, Apple wants to have an ALL-IN-ONE app to manage your wallet because they develop it, they support it and they want it to work better than what is on Android.

    And when is Google going to have more than 7% of their users on Ice Cream Sandwich? 85% Android users are using GIngerbread. Why? Don’t they like Ice Cream Sandwich?

    And why did Samsung invest in Linux? Do they have difficulties with Android? That’s my take. Android also has MORE malware than Apple. Oops. Sometime Apple doesn’t want to copy.

    Maybe Google takes too long to make updates to Google Maps and this way Apple can update their product when they want to and IF you still want to use Google, you can.

    And when is Android 5 coming out? If they can figure out if they can actually people to actually use it. Otherwise why bother.

    • Liderc

      How is it Google’s fault that manufacturers don’t update their devices to ICS?

      Google gives them the source code for free. Do you want them to create the specific builds for everyone for free as well?

    • CapnShiner

      Why is it that the dumbest, most ignorant people are always the loudest?

      Apple wants to have an all-in-one app because they think they can do it better, regardless of whether or not they actually can, and they want to eliminate their competition so they can get more money out of it.

      ICS is only used by 7% of the Android users because the OEMs haven’t released updates yet. Once Google releases the source code, it’s essentially out of their hands. You can’t blame Google for the slow adoption rate or fragmentation of Android versions. The users want it, they just can’t get it.

      Who cares why Samsung invested in Linux? Android is Linux, you ignorant troll.

      You think Google takes to long to update Google Maps? Google Maps gets updates so often I can’t even keep track. It’s constantly improving. Apple’s maps app/service is from TomTom. You think two companies trying to work together will get faster results than one company alone? This is why Android OS updates are slower to be released than iOS.

      Android 5 will come out after Android 4.1 and most likely before iOS 7. It will come out whenever it’s ready. Since when were version numbers so important? It’s the new features, improvements, and bug fixes that matter most. That can come from apps too. All that changed with iOS 6 is the integration of a few “new” apps. When Google makes a new Android version, they improve the whole user experience, including the GUI. Apple has yet to really do that with iOS. It’s still the same old grid of polished square icons from the first iPh*ne.

      If you’re going to make a point or argument, it usually helps to start with facts. You should try it some time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jorge-Rojas/668093228 Jorge Rojas

    what’s the point of passbook if you go outside US and your phone literally doesnt know where you are.

  • Michael

    And while us iPhone users will ALL get the iOS 6 when it’s available, majority of you will still be wondering, “will I ever get the latest dessert on my clunky, fragmented, outdated device.

    I say this again, it’s iPhone (quality) vs. Androids (quantity) and I rather go with a device that is finely polished, smooth interface, and effortlessly synched with all my other Apple devices at its latest updated operating system.

    Let’s not forget about the resale value of iPhones vs Androids. I will have no problem getting my money back as I can easily sell my 4S for $300 when iPhone 5 comes out. Too bad we can’t say the same for Android owners cause by the time eligibility rolls in for upgrade, a year and 8 mos. old device will be a big “has been” and still have yet to receive its latest OS.

    Go ahead and bash me all you want, but truth hurts sometimes.

    SO sad that only 7% of Android users are up to date with Ice Cream OS while rest are still getting short-changed. Pathetic if you ask me.

    • CapnShiner

      Why are you even here? If you dislike Android so much, why are you reading an Android fan site? Do you have nothing better to do than troll internet comment boards?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Viewtiful.Ben Ben Carron

      If you think Apple are the only company to make polished phones with a fantastic user interface you’re greatly mistaken.
      Android synced far easier and more intuitively to my Windows laptop and several internet services (Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, Gmail, Chrome, Skype) than my iPad has.

      It’s funny how you call Android phones outdated when the latest Android phones have quad core processors, larger 1280×720 HD resolution screens, bigger batteries and 4G (in countries that support it). iPhones are still stuck on measily 3.5″ screens at 960×540 and lack widgets, live wallpapers and until not too long ago they didn’t even have the notification bar.

      Not to mention the lack of a physical back and menu key, it makes navigating iOS more cumbersome than Android any day of the week, the lack of widgets also makes the constant ‘app switching’ on iOS feel outdated and unnecessary.

      The delays in rolling out the latest Google OS is entirely down to individual phone manufacturers and phone carriers not Google. The Galaxy S2 received it’s update to Android 4.04 about 3-4 months after the first ICS 4.0 phone was released which is acceptable. Gingerbread is still an extremely useable and fast mobile OS anyway.

      7% isn’t ideal but again Google aren’t at fault it’s outwith their hands.

    • Tyler Chappell

      Except a 2+yr old version of Android has more features and Apple’s latest iOS, so please try again. The fragmentation argument for Android really is invalid. It’s sad when Google’s 2yr old OS can keep up with Apple’s latest in terms of features etc.

  • http://twitter.com/justblue5ft3 justblue5ft3

    IOS users don’t care who else has them we want what IOS is giving us. My Android device has no ICS… still

  • http://twitter.com/justblue5ft3 justblue5ft3

    Still waiting for ICS after months and months I’ll have IOS faster for my IOS device.

    • Liderc

      You bought the wrong android device then. Blame your manufacturer for being slow.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alkluttz Lewis Kluttz

        No, its sad but true. That is how many makers of phones are that use android. See, the makers make money on the phones they sell only, and not directly by maintaining the software. Thus, this is an inherent problem. I believe this is one of the reasons why google bought motorola. The ugly truth is that person will probably be you later.

        • Liderc

          It won’t be me, that’s why I bought a Nexus. I can put whatever OS updates I want on my phone myself. I don’t have to wait for manufacturers or carriers to screw around.

  • 4n1m4L

    Google wallet should do all the things passbook does. Its just been left out in the cold lately

  • 1BIGGBOY

    Still no 4G LTE LOL