There are several different options out there when it comes to a mobile device that users can take with them every where they go, but with that comes learning about all of the different mobile operating systems with users choosing their favorite. Of the top mobile operating systems out there, there is Google's Android OS and Apple's iOS. However, Apple just had their WWDC developer expo earlier in June and unveiled the brand new iOS 7 and some people weren't all that impressed. What exactly happened?
When iOS 7 was shown off at WWDC, it was apparent that Apple did a major overhaul on the aesthetic of the entire mobile operating system, on top of adding new features. However, this major overhaul had some mobile enthusiasts experiencing deja vu--this is because many users believe that Apple took a lot of inspiration from Android, some even accusing Apple of copying certain aspects entirely. But, do these claims have any truth behind them?
Copy Cat Operating Systems
Business Insider thinks so, doing a comparison list of different features and aesthetics that were added in iOS 7 which were already quite prevalent in the Android OS. For example, both the Google and Apple phone lock screens now look eerily similar with a minimal design and the apps have a "flat" design rather than using gradient or dynamic shading. There is also the fact that Apple changed how multitasking works, making it an overview of the app just like what Android has been doing.
This has sparked even more tension between Android and Apple "fanboys," as well. Some have accused Apple of copying everything from Android and think Google should sue them because of it, even though Android is an open-source platform. Apple has taken a company, Samsung, to court for allegedly copying the look of the iPhone and iPad before, but this is obviously entirely different.
Given the history between the two, Apple has been in the mobile device game for much longer--having launched the iPhone in 2007--and it wasn't until the iPhone started to make serious waves in the market that Google started to sit up, pay attention, and began building their own version. The iPhone has been out for almost over six years, and during that, iOS hasn't seen such a major change in a very long time. Apple users were complaining that iOS felt dated compared to Android, Windows Phone, or even BlackBerry's OS and so Apple set out to do a huge overhaul. Now that the developer beta is out, is it really copying or just unwarranted complaining?
Nitpicking Or Valid Points?
The Business Insider article does bring up some interesting comparisons, but there is a difference between nitpicking and some features Apple might have picked up from Android altogether. Here is a breakdown to consider of three major features:
- Calendar. Unfortunately, this seems more like nitpicking than anything else. The color scheme of lighter, pastel colors was also used in older versions of Apple OS and even on their desktop OS with the white background. It just so happens that they have decided to drop the "real world" elements in their software, such as the fake leather binding iCal had previously because of all the complaints from users.
- Music. Apple has been in the music game for quite some time, even before the iPhone was revealed. They released their iPod line in 2001, along with iTunes, and completely changed the music industry. Google decided to release their own version of iTunes, Google Play, only in 2012. While iTunes and Google Play do look quite similar now, Apple wouldn't just change everything else and leave iTunes looking the same during such a huge overhaul. This seems like another nitpick, albeit some minor parts of iTunes do look like they're taking inspiration from Google Play, like the buttons.
- Notifications. Between the two, it does seem Apple took a bit of inspiration from Android when it came to streamlining their drop-down notifications menu. The staples like weather, stocks, and notifications from apps and messages are all there, however they have decided to make the menu more of a "command center" in the same vein as Android. Perhaps some inspiration was taken in this respect.
As for the argument of operating systems copying one another, it all depends on your own stance on the matter. The same argument can be applied to desktop operating systems, or even features between all of the different browsers out there. There is only so much that software can do to be "original" without sacrificing key features that made them so great.