Six features Apple borrowed from Android and others for iOS 8

iOS 8, the operating system to power its next generation iPhone. It is quite obvious that people have started pitting it against its arch-rival Android. The most common and widely voiced criticism it has received is ripping off features from Android and other services. WhatsApp has already slammed the Cupertino company for 'borrowing' its messaging features. We’ve listed six such features that Apple has borrowed from Google’s Android and other services.


iCloud Drive
Google takes a ‘step ahead’ with iCloud that earlier worked only with select files and has now launched iCloud Drive. However, it appears to be nothing different than Dropbox, or even Google Drive, for that matter. Moreover, using iCloud iWork integration, it now allows users to switch between devices and resume work from where they had left, and also access it across all devices using iCloud Drive. Sounds familiar? Obviously yes, this is also something we’ve already seen with Google Drive and Docs.


Apple will also let you share huge files and other documents using iCloud Drive via emails. We’ve seen Google implement this feature within Gmail by using Google Drive as a source and destination for attachments.


New iCloud Drive... really?


Third-party keyboards
While Apple seems to be moving ahead by including support for third-party keyboards such as Swype and SwiftKey, but if this is the future, then Android users have been living in it since the very beginning. Needless to say, Android has been supporting third-party keyboard apps, and Google included the swipe-typing feature in the default keyboard with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update as a part of its Project Butter, two years ago.


Among other rip-offs, this one really stood out. Apple now wants you to activate its voice assistant by simply saying ‘Hey Siri’. It's not exactly ‘OK Google’ but it's not all that different either.



Looks like, Apple wants to take on WhatsApp, at least for iOS. Apple has also borrowed some features from the popular messaging app that was recently acquired by Facebook. It has included the audio messaging, group chat and sharing location features, which are already available on WhatsApp and also on WeChat, Line and others. You can also exit group chats and re-enter them when you wish. Again, this is just like WhatsApp.


What's more, Apple has also been inspired by Snapchat, and iMessage now auto-deletes video or voice messages, if you set it to.


In-app sharing
With the iOS 8 iteration, Apple has included extensibility and sharing ability that allows apps to interact with one another. Well, great inclusion for iOS users. However, Android has been offering inter-app sharing with ease, thanks to the Intents system. Android users can easily share information from one app with another. For example, you can click a photograph, edit it using G+ Photos and then share it through any third-party app that lets you share. With extensibility, Apple app developers can add new functions within app for a similar experience.

Additionally, Apple is also opening up the filters API to third-party photo apps. As cool as it may sound, Microsoft already has this feature on Windows Phone, called ‘Lenses’.


Continuity and Handoff


Widgets are a common feature when it comes to Android devices. Apple also brings support for widgets with its new OS. However, the distinguishing factor is – Android widgets can be placed anywhere on its homescreen while Apple widgets are said to be a part of its notification centre. In addition, these are not traditional widgets, in that they show you glanceable information only when it's available, and they aren't ever-present.



Continuity and Handoff
Apple has introduced enhanced compatibility between desktop and mobile platform in the form of Continuity. The feature is also very crucial to OS X Yosemite. A feature called Handoff, lets you work on multiple devices provided they are signed into the same iCloud account and are in the same network. You can use Handoff with apps such as Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts. Developers can build Handoff into their apps now, too. Continuity also lets you answer iPhone calls on your Mac, or even continue iPad messages on Mac.


While it sounds innovative, it isn’t for the first time that we’ve seen these features. Gmail also lets you access the email via draft with its real-time saving capability. Google also offers browsing and tab sync via its Chrome browser extensions. The ability to receive or make calls from a computer using Continuity feature isn’t something novel either. Good old Viber has been doing it for some time now.


While there are many influences in iOS 8, it should be noted that Apple will be bringing native support for these features, negating the need for extensions, add-ons and apps. And this could result in a lot of apps becoming redundant.

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