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iOS 7 vs. Android – A Quick Feature Comparison After the WWDC Keynote

iOS7 vs Android

Tim Cook and crew are now off stage at WWDC, so as is typical around these parts when Apple announces something “revolutionary” (yes, they used the term again), we like to react. And even though Google has moved away from the series of cheap jabs during their own keynotes, Apple still does them in the bitterest and childish of fashions. If we didn’t toss out some thoughts in support, we wouldn’t be proper Android fans. Because after all, we are still Android fans.

So here we go, these are some initial thoughts to Apple’s big announcement of iOS 7 as compared to the current version of Android (4.2, Jelly Bean). In general, iOS 7 is a newly skinned version of iOS that finally matches up to current mobile design trends. Gone are the leather notebooks and green felt gaming tables – in is a minimal flat aesthetic. And to be perfectly honest, it does look beautiful. Jony Ive and his team did a fantastic job at skinning iOS and turning it into a modern looking mobile UI. 

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 11.25.09 AM

But every time Apple does this song and dance, we seem to sit throughout the keynote going, “Whoa, that’s been on Android forever.” Or even, “Umm, that looks just like how Android works.” Today was no different. While iOS 7 looks nice from the outside, many of the new goodies remind us a lot of our favorite mobile OS.

And not that we should need to remind you, but don’t take this too seriously. We’re just having some fun and pointing out things that gave us a chuckle. We are happy to see iOS evolve, just like we will be happy to see every other mobile OS evolve. Companies pushing boundaries and taking features to new levels is what we love about this industry.

(iOS 7 on the left, Android screenshot attached on the right.)

Quick Toggles (Command Center)

a vs i1

Apple is adding in a gesture for accessing Command Center from anywhere on an iOS device. A quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you are graced with a panel filled with toggles for Airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, brightness settings, music controls, camera shortcut, and even a flashlight. As you all know, Android devices have had access to similar information for a while thanks to 3rd party skins from manufacturers. But in Android 4.2, Google introduced a panel as well that can be accessed with a two-finger swipe down from the notification bar. Music controls have been in the notification bar for some time, so that’s not necessarily new.

Lock Screen Notifications

a vs i7

I found this out today, but apparently iOS did not let you access their notification center from the lock screen. Android has been on this trend for at least two versions, but Apple is just now introducing it with iOS 7. Once released, iOS users will be able to swipe down their notification bar without unlocking their device.

The new notification center has done away with that terrible looking felt background and is more transparent. There are tabs for “Today,” “All,” and “Missed.” I like the idea of panels, though Android seems to have been able to handle all of this information without needing extra panels. Thanks to actionable and collapsable notifications on Android, you only need one area for all of this.

Safari vs. Chrome

a vs i2

Safari is Safari – most people can’t stand it and prefer browsers like Chrome for their browsing needs. But one thing we thought was interesting in the new UI of Safari, was the tab view that shows all open tabs. They bragged about the 3D appearance, scrolling, and quick access to other tabs yet we have had this in Chrome for Android since it was first released over a year ago.

Multi-tasking

a vs i8

Multi-tasking! iOS 7 has a new style of multi-tasking that only runs in the background when it thinks you want access to frequently used apps. It essentially learns from your patterns to help extend your battery life. That’s kind of cool, assuming it can learn properly, which we won’t know anything about until people can spend some time with it. But in general, we like the idea of phones learning our patterns to better optimize our lives with them.

But in terms of a UI, Apple created something semi-unique. It’s not an exact copy of Android, since it scrolls horizontally and features full-screen previews of currently running apps. It does look a lot like what HTC did back with Sense 4, though HTC abandoned the look after hearing pretty terrible reviews of the change.

iTunes Radio vs. Google Music

a vs i6

Apple did in fact announce a Pandora competitor this morning called iTunes Radio. It’s really not all that game-changing or innovative. You can create your own radio playlists based off of songs, or you can use recommended stations that Apple has ready to go. There are massive “BUY” buttons all over the place, along with ads, unless you are an iTunes Match customer. But you can’t save full albums or tracks to your library like you can with Google’s new All Access service, nor can you pick and choose specific songs to create playlists. It’s just like Pandora in that it brings up songs that it thinks match what you are looking for and then allows you to downvote them or favorite them, so that they’ll play more often. It’s a nice add-on to iTunes, but nothing new.

In terms of looks, the new Google Music and new Music apps look a lot a like. We’re seeing white menus and similar UI with big, bold album art.

Also, we should point out that Google Music All Access gives you unlimited access to albums and songs because it comes with a monthly fee.

Mail

a vs i5

While I don’t know how many people actually use the stock Mail app in iOS, it’s easy to see that they have stolen features from the popular iOS app called Mailbox. Apple added in swiping gestures, for deleting, archiving, and “More” options. It’s a complete copy of what Mailbox already made popular, and I can’t believe people aren’t throwing massive fits over this. But then again, this is what Apple does time and time again to its developer community.

Oh, and Gmail has had swipe-to-delete/archive for longer than I can recall.

Calendars

a vs i3

The new iOS Calendar app doesn’t look all that much like that of Android, but the similarities are still there. We’re looking at an ultra-minimal design, with flat rectangles, pastel-ish colors, and a white background rather than the round appearance of the current iOS Calendar app. And in fact, the newest Calendar app from Google has similar design in the circular color picker and date chooser to what we are seeing in iOS, only it came out a couple of weeks ago.

Navigation Drawers

a vs i9

Apple added a bunch of slideout navigation drawers to apps like Mail and iMessage. We have seen these in Google apps for over a year now (even the ones on iOS), but they made a point of the addition today as if it were something “new” to app development. No, Apple, it’s not new.

Lock Screens

iso vs android

We already covered this here.

Al Gore

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 11.31.19 AM

Actually, Al Gore has nothing to do with Android that I know of, but he was there. So, here is a picture of him looking flat.

Other Notes

  • Semi-live Wallpapers:   Apple showed off a new wallpaper that moved the background as you tilted your device from side to side. It’s almost like a live wallpaper on Android, but even more so like 3D Image Live Wallpaper that has been on Google Play for a while. Yes, you can get down with Apple’s fancy new wallpaper feature today, on Android.
  • Auto-app Updates:  I didn’t realize that Apple hadn’t introduced auto-app updates yet on iOS, but in iOS 7, users will finally have the option to update automatically. They joked about seeing the “Update” count climbing throughout the day and that iOS users would no longer have to worry about that. Add that to the list of things we take for granted on Android, already.
  • Bing (hah!):  The new iOS in the Car feature introduced today uses Bing for search. Yes, Bing. Edit: Apparently it’s Siri that has Bing, making Siri even less of an important piece of the Apple pie, which I didn’t think was possible.
  • Notification Sync:  They touched on this ever-so-briefly, but I believe Apple mentioned that with iOS 7, devices will be able to sync notifications across devices. Google just started doing this with Hangouts on Android, but made a point of it coming to other apps in the future during their I/O keynote.
  • Send-to-Phone:  Apple showed off a send-to-phone feature from Calendar and Maps Mac apps today. Say you have a calendar item set up with a location or are looking at something in Apple’s newly announced Mac Maps app, you can send it quickly to your phone and have it readily available. Nice idea, but Google knows your searches thanks to Google Now and makes them automatically available to you on your other devices – you don’t need to send a thing.
  • Maps for Mac:  Speaking of Maps for Mac, hah. Google.com/maps is all I have to say.
  • AirDrop:  One of the more interesting features that Apple showed off today was called AirDrop. It allows you to quickly send information (photos as an example) to your friends’ iOS devices without the need to bump them together. Yes, they poked fun at NFC and the ridiculous tapping we have to do as Android users, in order to share things. Thing is, Samsung devices do this already with a little thing called WiFi Direct. Nice idea that is baked into iOS devices, though. Keep in mind that this feature won’t be available on all iOS devices – it’s limited to the new guys.

I’m sure there were other things we could list, since the keynote was lengthy, but these were the new features or ideas that stood out the most. As you can see, iOS 7 is actually a pretty major change from iOS6, bringing it steps closer to the power of Android. It’s not going to kill Android or give Apple some immediate leg up on the world’s most popular mobile operating system, but it does make at least the design of their UI a hell of a lot more appealing. In the end, Android users saw a lot of what they are already accustomed to, which they have already grown accustomed to.

Other thoughts?

  • Wetware.

    Referring to the point made about Mail…
    The iPhone’s Mail app has had the swipe-to-delete feature since its announcement in 2007.
    As far as i can recall, it was the FIRST instance of this UI.

  • Craig Southwick

    You are pretty hardcore dude.

    I am not.

    Later

  • joethebro35

    Ios is for people that need their hands held while navigating through an Os. How could anyone think that such a restricted Os could even have half the potential of an open gl Os? You need new features when Apple tells you that you need them. Is that how it works with Iphoneaphiles?

  • Nikolas Kovack

    I just realized that the camera app on iOS 6 has like 0 features. :(

    • Wetware.

      check the app store…

  • whatisthisidonteven

    This article is written by Android fans, so what do you expect?

    The article even says it was simply poking fun at the iOS 7 concept. If you can’t handle a joke, get off this site!

    ~Long-time Android User

  • Alu Zeros

    One thing that android could do to make notifications better is to allow customization in order in how notifications come in. Also add swipe left and right for calendar and weather quick view

  • Jzocchio

    That’s a big blatant copying.

  • Robel Berhane

    Anyone realised that the jailbreak community had had these features even before google had them. Sooo Google copied the jailbreak community?

  • Chris Hansen
  • apple supporter

    well after looking at this i realise that apple is kind of bringing in some on androids fetures like control center but if you compare the two apple’s is alot simpler to use, and more people use it

  • Tycho

    Wow! SUCH an informative & unbiased piece of journalism! Wait… no, I mean- cool story, bro.. how’d you get up on that soapbox?

  • Kartik Sibal

    Make your android device look like ios visit 0007hacker.wordpress.com

  • http://luo.ma TJ Luoma

    “most people can’t stand it and prefer browsers like Chrome for their browsing needs”– Citation needed. Unless by “most people” you mean “most people who look at the world the way that I do and read tech blogs about feature comparisons between Apple and the OS that Google created to compete with it.

    (Note: I really wish that I could make iCab my default browser on iOS but I don’t mistake my opinion for being what most people would like to do. I’d bet most people neither know nor care and are perfectly happy with Safari. But if you have some evidence to the contrary, I’d be glad to hear it.)

  • Ygor Geyer

    Yes it is true you dont need to bump your phones to share files but you will need to shout out loud in the middle of a party to make your friends make sure their airdrops are activated or working.
    As an owner of a macbook air (which I love) I do need to make sure that the person that I am sharing a file(s) have at least clicked on his airdrop folder (app) at least a few minutes before in order to see him on my surroundings. Every time I share a file and the person havent visited his airdop for a while I need to ask him to do it. What I meas is if the airdrop on the iphone will work the same way then please shout to your friends to turn it on haahhaahaha

    For the notification it may not see similar to the android 4.2 but as mentioned on the article it is very similar to 3rd parties (just have a look at all the skins or roms available, it looks identical.

    I will stick with my android devices (Htc Desire HD, Samsung Galaxy S3, Asus Transformer, Nexus 7).

  • AJITHA

    COMPLETELY NONSENSICAL,,,,WHOM EVEN TRIED TO COMPARE,,,,U R BIASED
    UNSAID, MAC EXPERIENCE,,,,,ANDROID, CANT EVEN THINK OF COMING NEAR BY. NOT EVEN NEAR THE FIRST VERSION OF THE IPHONE.

    • AJITHA

      U MAY GIVE MANY OPTIONS, BUT THE PHONE SHOULD RESPOND.
      ANDROID SUCKS.
      ANDROID HANGS
      ANDROID GETS HEATED
      ANDROID IS CONFUSED FOR ITSELF
      ANDROID DOES RESTARTS MANY A TIMES
      ANDROID DOES NOT ALLOW U TO ATTEND A CALL
      ANDROID DOES NOT ALLOW U TO CUT A CALL

      FUNNY,,,U GIVE HUNDRED FEATURES, BUT AT THE END, U CANT EVEN ATTEND OR CUT A CALL THROUGH ANDROID.
      EXCUSE ME, I HAVE BEEN USING ANDOID FOR PAST YEARS, NOW I HAVE MOVED TO MAC.

      ABOVE IS AN EXPERIENCE, NOT JUST A REVIEW ! NOT JUST A COMPARISON

      • Erik Parshall

        Shh.

  • http://aramk.com/ Aram Kocharyan

    This article is full of so much hate it’s hard to read :(

    • Erik Parshall

      I see hate like I see original material.

  • gcp

    You guys are really splitting hairs here.

  • nuvs

    You may not have realized this, but Laurene Powell Jobs (Steve Jobs’s widow) is sitting next to Al Gore.

  • William

    Jailbroken iPhone is where all these ideas started, Android just acted like they thought of it first.

    I use Android and only certain roms have great graphic design.

    • Samsung Fanboy

      stfu you iDiot. jailbreaking did not start all these ideas., they got the from Android. and unless you can post some proof here of who started what first then I suggest you do what I said in the beginning–STFU.

  • Willi Kampmann

    Suggesting iOS’ new multitasking concept was copied in any way from Android is absurd. It’s a carbon copy of WebOS, which predates Android 4 by a couple of *years*.

    • Samsung Fanboy

      windows CE and Palm OS predates iOS by more than a decade so what’s your point?

  • Peacekeeper

    It’s kinda fun watching/reading Android fanboys talk about anything Apple.Inc comes out with, saying what android had that already blah blah blah. How about embracing the fact that both companies can help each other to create the perfect os that everybody wants? It is not entirely correct to say that android is not userfriendly or what, but it does take some time to teach people that are still unfamiliar to the system. Apple can take anything, make it simpler and much easier to learn. Not being biased here… I do admire the fact that Android gives users more flexibility than iOS, but iOS has a much ‘stable’ platform just like Apple’s OSX. Just expressing my views here, no need to flame me in any way. Peace out.

    • AJITHA

      Peacekeeper,,,,u r right

    • Samsung Fanboy

      apps on iOS crash more often than they do on Android
      apps on iOS steal your personal data
      iOS has security bugs that STILL cannot be fixed.
      iOS is not more stable, its just more restricted. a limited OS for simple minded people–no go back to cult of mac.

  • Space Gorilla

    In every one of your examples the iOS 7 screen looks quite a bit better. Which should be expected. It’s tough for anyone to beat Jony Ive when it comes to design.

  • Ruka Health Fitness

    Mail on iOS was born with swipe to delete messages. It just looks more like Mailbox now. It’s always been there.