In an overwhelmingly boring WWDC Apple has announced an incredible new feature, if it were released five years ago. That feature is predictive text, the built-in iOS keyboard in iOS8 will work to predict what words and phrases you are attempting to type and suggest it beforehand. This feature would be awesome if it hadn’t already been a feature in many Android keyboards for years.
As I’m writing this Apple has just announced that users will have the ability to install 3rd party keyboards, another ability Android users have had essentially forever. No details yet on if any of the existing keyboards on Android have already been ported over to iOS, but it’s nice to see them catching up to Android (circa. 2011). On a related note the messaging app is also getting some sound recording functionality and the ability to record and send videos, nothing a plethora of apps you can find in the Play Store can’t already do.
All of these “awesome” announcements ironically come after Tim Cook started a flame war when he bashed Android, saying its users had ended up on the platform “by mistake”. Unfortunately for Apple, after this followed an hour of underwhelming iOS features, most of which have existed on Android for a long time. Ultimately making the changes coming to iOS a delayed attempt to help their operating system catch up.
Other than that we’ve seen some limited widget functionality and slightly updated notifications from Apple, but for being a large developer conference live streamed online around the world, the changes have been notably lacking. When not showing some “new” iOS features some jabs were made at Android followed by Cook bragging about the 130 million iPhone units sold in the last 12 months. I did some checking and found that last year over 200 million Android phones were sold – in one quarter.
For all the hype surrounding WWDC this year, the only word I can come up with to describe the event is “yawnfest“. Will iPhone users be happy with the changes? Perhaps. But as with the last few releases of iOS, Apple seems to be less focused on innovating and more focused on copying. Nothing I’ve seen convinces me that I should drop my Nexus and get a new iPhone, in fact nothing I’ve seen convinces me more that I can’t switch to an iPhone. Instead I‘m left wondering what we’ll see in next year’s event, like maybe the ability to install themes or a maybe some real widgets?