When I switched to Android a few years ago, I promised myself this: I’d switch back the minute Apple added smart notifications, app data sharing, widgets, and a better keyboard to iOS.
Apple’s WWDC keynote yesterday was exciting. Craig Federighi is super awesome (I wanna hang out with him). iOS is finally getting the Android features I love. Yesterday I was ready to switch back, but now I’m not so sure.
Some iOS fans have pointed to Google’s Android as being a poor copy—thermonuclear theft. On the surface there are similarities, but conceptually Android started from a power user’s perspective. Where Android had power features it also lacked in the simplicity and obviousness of iOS. Simply because iOS did far less.
Yesterday Apple showed iOS doing a whole lot more. Apple is refining iOS by layering on functionality. They’re adding features to the simple iOS foundation. However, the more features there are, the more complicated it becomes—and the harder it is to use.
Meanwhile, Google has done something interesting with Android. It started out as a very power-user complex platform, but they’ve been refining it in a different way than Apple. Instead of adding features, they’ve pruned them. Historically Google hasn’t been afraid to nix apps or services in an effort to focus and simplify. You can see these efforts in Google Now. With Google Now you don’t interact with apps or widgets. Their “cloud” knows what you want to know and tells you. No interaction needed.
It’s always harder to take away features that are already there. But, I have no doubt Apple will try to continue making iOS easy-to-use while they layer on new power user features. At the same time, Google’s not afraid to take away features. Maybe Google will keep simplifying Android, pushing all you need to know from their sentient “cloud”.
I’m curious to see what happens next. But, I’m not switching back to iOS just yet.