What's Innovative From Apple Lately?

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

The above video has been circulating and has roused the “Apple doesn’t innovate anymore” trope. When we get past the fact that people have been making this assertion for over a decade, I have to wonder what people are asking for.

So what company is innovating these days? Google, of course! Let’s look at some of the top new features in Android M, their innovative new OS coming this fall.

1. Permission controls

Yup, just like iOS has been doing since the early iPhone days. Android is playing major catch up on this.

2. Fingerprint to unlock phone, apps, and mobile payments

Apple added Touch ID for phone unlocking in 2013. They also added the ability to make mobile payments and unlock apps in 2014.

3. Android Pay

Obviously Google has their Wallet service first, but the new Android Pay looks and operates quite a bit like Apple Pay.

4. Direct Share

Their implementation is a little different, but the core concept is the same. I’ll give it to Google that it would be nice to include people not immediately near me on this list.

5. Text selection

Apple has had this one down since 2009. This is how text selection has been for 6 years on iOS.

6. Doze

This is great, and Apple has done some with with timer coalescing and other neat tricks to make iOS devices use very little power when not in use. I’ll refer to MKBHD’s video on how he loves this in iOS.

Now Google did show off one really cool original feature in Android M, and that was Google Now On Tap. This looks new and exciting, and is a great example of Google doing something original. I’ll agree that Apple released a bunch of new things at WWDC that are evolutions on things that others had already made. However, the knife cuts both ways and Google is no more innocent of taking competitors’ ideas than Apple.

This is all silly though, as tech companies do this all the time. One idea leads to another idea which leads to yet another. iOS and Android started in slightly different spots but they’re growing in the same direction. You’re going to have the features of one OS show up on the other. The difference is in the details of how these features are implemented. In my experience[1], iOS get the details right more often than Android, so I use iOS. You can use whatever you want, but it’s foolish to say it’s just one company stealing from everyone else.

  1. And I’ll remind new readers that I spent the majority of 2014 with an HTC One M8.  ↩