Every time big announcements come around in Apple, the tech media splits roughly in half. Those who are pro-Apple, and write about how great everything is that was announced, and those who tend to see it as a bit of a non-event.
If we’re being honest, though, both Apple’s WWDC and Google’s I/O have matured in recent years, and the huge glitzy announcements are replaced with a more true-to-roots developer conference, with the occasional announcement of something cool for the rest of us.
I quite like a lot of what Apple do; I don’t enjoy the iOS devices too much, but I do religiously use a Mac, and I find it suits my needs just perfectly. Because of this, I do pay attention to what Apple’s working on and their big announcements, and I read with interest what they’ve got in the pipeline. I can’t wait for the next version of macOS to land on my laptop.
So, with this in mind, I had a read through the WWDC announcements and watched bits of the keynote, and thought I’d set out a few and do a bit of a compare and contrast exercise.
Because we’re Android based, let’s have a look at the announcements relevant to mobile first.
It’s been a bit of a trend in the past that Android used to play catch-up with iOS, but more recently, that trend seems to have gone the other way around, with Apple catching up with a lot of features that we’ve had on Android for a while. Each platform has had its firsts, but what we’re seeing this year is a lot more of Android being adopted by Apple. Here’s a run-down of the things that caught my attention:
- Slide to launch camera mentioned in a keynote presentation? That really did kind of surprise me.
- Apple announced ‘raise to wake’, which is something that Motorola did three years ago. Pick your phone up and it’ll wake slightly to show you notifications. Cool feature, but should’ve probably been looked at a while ago.
- Widgets on the lockscreen are coming to Apple. When they came to Android, they were kind of crap if we’re being honest. Hopefully Apple do a better job of it.
- Google Photos seems to have come to Apple; well, Apple’s Photos seems to do everything that Google Photos kind of made popular. The point of difference? Apple’s Photos does it on the phone, Google’s does it in the cloud.
- On the topic of Photos comes Memories, something that Google Photos basically has been doing since it launched.
- The new iOS will only be for iPhone 5 and up. Not really surprising, but Apple keep their hardware up to date for quite a bit longer than most Android OEMs. Kudos.
- Apple’s answer to Google’s Allo looks to be coming in a revamped Messages service, though Apple has one advantage; Messages is built into the platform. Allo won’t be.
- Oh yeah, on the topic of messages. No, iMessage is not coming to Android. We’ll say something more about this.
Apple’s Watch is incredibly popular, which is perhaps a little surprising given how… well… ugly it kind of is. That said, people tend to rave about the Apple Watch a bit, and probably for good reason. As much as it’s not quite as pretty as a round-faced Android Wear watch, it is rather functional, and there’s quite a lot of support for it in 3rd party apps (something Android Wear hasn’t quite nailed, yet).
With the announcement of watchOS 3, Apple has made some incremental adjustments and improvements, which — from my take — don’t really seem to be that amazing. Apps loading faster seems to be a big one, because that used to be quite slow (or so I understood). On Android Wear, that hasn’t ever really been an issue; apps load fairly quickly.
There’s been a bit of noise on the internet about the new Breathe feature / app. I honestly don’t get it.
Much of the rest of the discussion about watchOS 3 has been about complications, or things you can add to your watchface to see things at a glance, such as your heartreate, temperature, when sunset will be, access to your mail or messages, etc.
I can’t really say too much about it, because I just don’t understand watchOS that well. The update looks like a good one for Apple Watch users though, and I’m sure they’ll be pleased.
Having said that, Android Wear 2 looks like a great improvement for those with an Android interest, but the navigation interface has changed a lot. I’ve been trying Android Wear 2 out on a Huawei Watch (thanks guys!) and I’ll be writing about the experience soon.
What was your take on Apple’s WWDC announcements? Was any of it interesting to you?