On Monday, Apple had its first online-only keynote for WWDC. This is typically where Apple announces a bunch of updates to all of its software (iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS). And it did just that. But there was a theme within the iOS portion of that keynote. Just about every one of the features that Apple announced for iOS 14, Android has had for at least ten years.
Now yes, we know Apple is almost always behind Google and its partners with features, but it is rarely ever this far behind. It's usually just a couple of years, but not a full decade.
But as tech enthusiasts, we were still interested to see what Apple had to announce for iOS and its other software platforms. So let's take a look at what's new in iOS, and when Android added those features.
Apple reinvented the app drawer, calling it the "App Library"
Probably one of the oldest features in Android, is the app drawer. And Apple is finally getting one, in iOS 14. Though, in typical Apple fashion they are not calling it an app drawer. But instead an App Library.
Honestly, I really like how this looks and the way it is supposed to work.
Essentially, the App Library sorts the apps into categories. Basically showing you large folders with three big icons and then the fourth one is a number of smaller icons – if you have more than four apps in that category. You can then click on that category to see your apps. This list is scrollable too, like an app drawer would be.
It's clean and should be pretty easy to use. Though, like with any major changes, it is going to take some getting used to.
Widgets finally work on the home screen, what is this, 2008?
Perhaps one of the bigger features that Apple announced in iOS 14 is widgets, something Android has had since the very beginning.
Widgets aren't going to be as unique as what Android has though. As they are stuck being either a 2×2 square or a 4×1 rectangle on the screen. And they can't quite be placed anywhere on the home screen. But at least they are there.
This is not a complete introduction into widgets for Apple users though. iOS has had them in the "Today" page which is to the left of the home screen (kind of like the Google Discover page). However, now these can be used on the actual home screen. And really change up the iOS home screen, instead of being just a list of icons.
One of the cooler widgets that Apple introduced in iOS 14 that we wish Android had, was the "Smart Stack" widget. This widget is going to automatically display different app widgets based on the time of day. That's a brilliant use of a widget, especially if it's the one at the very top of the display on your iPhone.
Apple straight up copied Google Translate
It was bound to happen, but Apple now has its own translate service. And it does look a whole lot like Google's. Even down to the icon. And it is now going to be available in iOS 14.
It's another feature that Apple stole from Android to put into iOS 14. With the Translate app in iOS 14, you'll be able to choose the language you want to speak, which language you want it translated to and then start talking. It works with 11 languages right now, but that will likely change over time. Currently, Google Translate works with over 100 languages. However, Google Translate has been around for a lot longer.
This is yet another service of Google that Apple is making its own version of. The first big one was Maps, and well we see how well Apple Maps was for the first couple of years, right? Hopefully Google Translate won't be that bad.
The new Siri design looks pretty familiar
Another big change in iOS 14 is the new redesign for Siri. It now takes up just the lower portion of the screen. Kind of like Google Assistant does.
Apple can try and copy Android features in iOS 14, and might even make them better, but Siri is one area where it will never beat Google. Siri has been around a lot longer than Google Assistant, and it is still pretty terrible. The big question is, which is better – Siri or Bixby? That's a hard one, they are both equally bad. But one is actually improving, while the other is Siri.
The redesign looks good, and it's nice to see that it does not take over the entire display now. But Apple really should invest more time into making Siri actually useful. It has fallen behind Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for far too long.
Picture-in-Picture finally comes to the iPhone
This was a weird one. Admittedly, I don't have or use an iPhone, but I do have an iPad. Which has had picture-in-picture or PiP for quite some time. So when Apple announced PiP for the iPhone, I was a bit surprised it didn't have it already. I guess Apple figured PiP was more useful on a larger display like an iPad, rather than the iPhone.
But it is now here in iOS 14. A lot of apps already work with PiP on iOS. Though there are some that do not, like YouTube. And where that doesn't work with PiP on the iPad, several years after the feature launched, I wouldn't hold my breath for it coming to iPhone soon. Probably eventually though.
Many other apps do work though, like Netflix and Hulu. So now iPhone users can enjoy yet another feature that Android users have had for many years.
We here at AndroidHeadlines do like to mock Apple and the other competitors out there – if there were others. But it's good to see that Apple is adding some of these features, as it's going to make the competition a bit more steep between Android and iOS. Not to mention, it's going to improve the user experience. And that's always a good thing. Though it was a little surprising that Apple still had these very old Android features left to put into iOS 14.
There's plenty more features that we could talk about, Apple stealing from Android. But you get the theme with iOS 14 by now. This isn't really different from any other iOS release either.
As tech nerds, we enjoyed watching WWDC on Monday and seeing everything that Apple has up its sleeves for new versions of its software coming out later this year. iOS 14 will likely launch around early September, that is provided that the iPhone launch doesn't get delayed which many are expecting due to COVID-19. Many are expecting the Pixel launch to be delayed as well.