As an Android user, it’s hard not to watch an Apple event and think of all the things Cupertino is “borrowing” from Google. In fact, I spent most of today’s WWDC keynote tweeting out a comparison list. In some cases, Apple seems to have simply improved upon some of the features that Google has helped make mainstream in the mobile world, but other cases made it seem as though Apple is playing catch-up.
For the most part, what Apple announced today will likely improve the lives of its iOS and Apple Watch users, though I just couldn’t help but notice many of the things Google innovated on first.
Transit directions in Apple Maps
I chuckled when someone on Twitter brought up this blogpost Google wrote in 2011 introducing transit directions in Google Maps. The feature has evolved quite a bit since then, and now you can even get real-time transit information. Even better: Google Maps displays public transportation information for over 18,000+ cities and towns around the world, whereas Apple’s transit directions only work in 10 major metropolitan cities. There’s still no better travel companion than Google Maps.
Split-screen is already on so many Android devices
If you own a Samsung or LG tablet or even one of their larger phones, chances are you already have Multi-Window functionality. The feature isn’t just limited to third-party Android devices—Google introduced a multi-view option in the developer preview for Android M. Conversely, Apple’s will only work with the iPad Air 2.
Google’s currently working on refining its multi-window functionality so that it’s ready for primetime when the new version of Android strikes this fall. That’s around the same time we’re expecting to see iOS 9 go live, too, so both companies have a lot of gearing up to do.
News? Google’s been there, done that
Apple’s new Flipboard-like app aggregates samples of content from the sources like ESPN, Conde Nast, and the New York Times, though it sounds similar to what Google, Samsung, and HTC have attempted to do for Android. Remember Google Currents? That was supposed to be the newsstand-like news aggregator for the Android-using masses, but it’s since been replaced with plain old Google News & Weather. HTC and Samsung also BlinkFeed and Flipboard integration, respectively within their own phones. Neither manufacturer has ever revealed how many people actually use those services to peruse content.
Needless to say, personalized news aggregation apps and services have been around for a long time, and have never been a major selling point.
A few familiar wearables features
Apple also announced a few new features for the next version of Watch OS that will finally put it on par with Android Wear. For instance, Watch OS 2 will let you use your own photos as a watch face, as well as directly use Wi-Fi without first pairing to the phone—a feature Google recently bundled into the Android Wear 5.1 update.
Developers can also utilize the microphone, speaker, and accelerometer of the Apple Watch, which they weren’t able to do before. This will certainly help increase the number of apps that take advantage of the Apple Watch’s voice command abilities, similar to how we now control Android Wear. For example, Shazam on Android Wear uses your watch’s mic, while on Apple Watch it forces your phone to do the listening. This update can change that.
Watch OS 2 will also include features to help it integrate with HomeKit, which Android Wear already does with the Nest platform.
Spotlight on iOS 9 takes after popular Android launchers
I had a difficult time not furrowing my brow during the entire Siri portion of the Apple WWDC keynote. Spotlight’s contextual Siri suggestions work similarly to some of Android’s popular launchers, including Yahoo’s Aviate and Everything.me. Spotlight will pop up relevant locations nearby, apps, and contacts depending on the time of day and your typical usage. Which is exactly what both of the aforementioned launchers specialize in.
Did I miss anything? Holler in the comments below!