Picking apart whats new in iOS5

June 9, 2011 Chilling_Silence Personal Rantings

WARNING: Trolling ahead – Don’t take this post too seriously

UPDATE 2011 10 03: Watch this after: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq-e0getf4M

Update 2011 08 24: Apparently they’re also bringing rounded buttons:

http://www.cultofmac.com/theres-a-cool-scientific-reason-why-ios-5s-round-buttons-are-awesome/109623

I’ve got that on my phone right now though on Android! (Click the picture below)

Before we begin, let me clarify: I think iOS5 is going to be great for iPhone & iPad users, they’ve needed many of the features for a long time, like a decent notifications system. It’s something that I now take for granted on Android.

So anyway, when Apple announced their new version of iOS, I couldn’t help but pick it apart when the very first thing the trailer says is:

“…and with iOS5, we’ve taken an operating system that was already years ahead and we’ve added over 200 new features to it that move it even further ahead”.

Pretty bold statement Apple, so I’m here to take a semi-serious, semi-smartass look at why I disagree. I’ll look and see if it’s “years ahead” or “just plain old catching up”!

You can watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqvq3JN1Lf4

Or on the official Apple website  here: http://www.apple.com/ios/ios5/gallery.html#video-ios

 

 

At the very beginning they claim that iOS is what makes their devices, but I’d prefer to argue it’s the hardware. If you’ve used an iPhone or a Macbook, you’ll know that other devices have a tough time competing in the hardware side, specifically in battery life and the overall quality feel. Compare the glass feel of an iPhone4 to the plastic feel of my Samsung Galaxy S, and you’ll know what I’m on about. Then again, my Galaxy S has Gorilla Glass, which leaves the iPhone 4 for absolute *dust*. In fact, I regularly give my phone to friends, tell them to get their keys and have a good ol’ go at it, scratch it, hit it, whatever. The stuff is amazing!

However, I’ve used a Macbook for about 9 months, the battery life was outstanding. I could game for hours on the thing! Haven’t been able to do that on any non-Mac laptop, but alas, I digress.

Also, you can compare the thinness of the iPad2 to any other Android Tablet (Granted half of them have to be semi-thick for an RJ45 ethernet connection, but still) and you’ll agree.

But anyway, moving right along….

“We’re constantly challenging ourselves to figure out: How can we make the user experience even better?”

What you really mean to say is “What part of Android is a ‘must’ for us to take and copy, in order to please the masses for another 12 months?”

Notifications

Looking at the quick sample of the guy playing some cut the rope game, that looks pretty nifty. The animations are slick, but as soon as he pulls down the notification bar…. My goodness there’s a lot of junk in there! Still, I guess for some people they want to be able to view the stock market every other second, apparently enough people do for Apple to include it in there. Same for the weather which is funny coz the shot looks like it’s taken outside near a park bench.

Anyway one thing that Apple would know if they’ve been paying attention is that users want Notifications to be just that: Notifications. They want the important stuff there, not the extra fluff. Just take a look at the likes of AirPush and you’ll see: http://phandroid.com/2011/04/30/airpush-sends-ads-to-your-notification-pane-and-why-i-think-its-horrible/

Leave the notifications for notifications only. Apple, you’re good at keeping your stuff on lock-down, so lock that down further ;-) Again, nothing new here, Android has had it since 2008. Apple is just playing “catch-up” some more.

Launching from the Lock Screen

Yawn, been there. In fact, we use user-defined gestures. I draw a C, it launches the Camera. With the MIUI Rom that I use, by default they just have the Phone & SMS notifications show there that you can launch direct from the lockscreen. Video of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPxGDsMO0sc

We’ve had this for a while now in Android. Definitely not years ahead there Apple! Moving right along…

News stand

I don’t read a lot of paid / professional content, I find all my stuff on blog-style news sites. No comment on that, but it looks useful. To be honest, I think we’ve gotta give this one to Apple. In fact I’m pretty sure that Android, Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry don’t have anything like this.

Reminders

You know what, I think this is something legit that Android doesn’t come stock with. Unfortunately I only set alarms for events, like a meeting in the afternoon, and never for tasks, like “Remember to pick up milk on the way home”. I use the built in “Notes” widget / app from time to time, but I’m not sure if I can tick things off on it.

Apple, you may have one up on Android now with your reminders app! Impressive? Not really…

However, the location-based reminders is a useful feature that’s previously not been bundled with either OS, so I gotta admit, that’s useful! Honestly this time I’m not being sarcastic :)

With iOS5 we’ve integrated twitter

Wow really? Twitter? It’s taken you this long to think “Hey our users might want to share things with other people through something other than email or MMS?”.

Android has whats called an “Intent”. In a nutshell, part of what it allows you to do is pass information off to another application.

For example, I know when I’m in my Gallery, if I hit the “Share” button, I not only have Twitter, but I can upload to Facebook, Google Docs, TweetDeck, WordPress, or send it via Bluetooth. You could even upload it to MySpace if you have the MySpace app installed.

Why limit yourself to just Twitter? Sure, it’s a step in the right direction, but ultimately it’s a cut-down / failed version of what Android already *has*. Years ahead? Heck no.

“When the original iPhone shipped, it revolutionized mobile web browsing”

I gotta admit, that it did. Beats the pants off all my old Windows Mobile 6 devices like the Jam, JasJam, K-Jam etc, but it’s since been left behind by more ‘competent’ browsers, like in Android, we can have Flash… iOS can’t!

“Reader” in the browser

Every time we double-tap a page in Android, it zooms in and does just that. Granted it doesn’t always resize the photos quite so nicely, but I’ve not played with Android on a Tablet, or Android 3.x, so you may have made an improvement on what we’ve already had for a year or so now.

Camera from the lock screen

Been there already. We’ve also had physical push buttons with the likes of the Trackball on the Nexus One. I found pictures were always more ‘stable’ when taken using the touchscreen button as opposed to a physical button.

Besides, Apple, remapping buttons is *not* something you condone:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Apple-Rejects-Second-Button-Remapping-Camera-App-175316.shtml

Just don’t do it, there’s a good reason why you said “No”, so stick to your guns!

On a positive note, you’ve added touch-up features & red-eye removal, those are nice features at least, and something nobody else does “stock”, only through 3rd party apps.

But seriously though, this feels like a “fail” on your stance. Just like the whole “We don’t do Task Managers, but hey, here’s a task manager” ordeal: http://pocketnow.com/thought/steve-jobs-hates-task-managers

Rich text editor

Cool feature, we don’t have that in our mail app. Can’t say that on my desktop I ever generally use that kind of thing, but OK, other people might, the whole world doesn’t revolve around me. Whatever floats your boat. +1 for Apple.

Split Keyboard

That’s cool! Not something we have stock, but because we can customize our keyboard through Market apps, we’ve got that covered already in the Market. We can have Swype for our keyboard, or SwiftKey, or we can theme our keyboards even … But, I guess I should give you this one though Apple. Win one for you.

AirPlay Mirroring

We’ve had this for yonks, but just not wirelessly, so I guess we *could* give you this one. Gotta have yourself an AppleTV though, so that’s sorta cheating…

Worlds most popular gaming platform

Ummmm that’s a grey area. Technically you’ve got 200 million devices out there, whereas the likes of the Wii only has say 90 million. The Wii however gets used by 4 people at a time, it’s more of a “family” device. Dunno about that one… Besides, the PC spanks your 200 million any day of the week.

iMessage

We’ve got Google Talk. We’ve had GTalk since the beginning of time. We’ve also got 200 million GMail users that we can talk with, as well as any other of the 10′s of thousands of Jabber servers out there. We’re not just limited to Android devices, but iOS users can even get a client.

Sorry Apple, iMessage is nothing new, nothing special, and it’s actually quite limiting coz it’s iOS only.

Build it on an open standard and maybe you’d stand a chance of larger adoption. Oh wait, that’s what GTalk is, being based on XMPP / Jabber. Why not adopt Jabber as an open standard and easily inter-operate with everybody else? Why make something proprietary of your own?

Better still, why not tie it in directly to Facetime like Google have with GTalk. With GTalk, you send text messages, voice, and real-time video calls all in one.

Wifi sync / OTA Upgrades / PC-less setup / Minor patching upgrades

We’ve got that too, and had it since the very beginning! Except, our OS upgrades are only around 70-90MB as opposed to 600MB.

Nothing too special there, again it’s certainly not innovative. Nice try though! It’s about time you added it, but you’re not years ahead, actually you’re years behind.

Still, full marks for finally catching up with the competition.

Now we move on to other features that weren’t advertised in that video, things I’ve read about, or people using the iOS5 beta builds have told me about

LED Notifications

Something for the hearing impaired, you can now have visual notifications. Something I’ve got on my Galaxy S already, and something we first got with the Nexus One back in January of 2010. 18 months behind, but not bad, glad you guys implemented it, definitely not years ahead though.

Facetime over 3G

We already do video calls through Google Talk over 3G. Granted you “officially” had Facetime first though, we’ve been doing it over 3G since we first got video calling ;-)

Custom tones for SMS and Email

I hear cries of joy from iOS users everywhere. No longer are you sitting in a meeting of managers and pretentious salesman who’ve never used their iPhone for anything but sending a txt and calling, and one of them gets a txt. Everybody reaches for their iPhone. Why? Because they can’t tell who got the txt message because EVERYBODY has the same tone. That’s right, retarded isn’t it, that my first Nokia phone that I got approx 9-10 years ago could do this, but the iPhone couldn’t! Fail much? Yeah I thought so too. Sure you could jailbreak in the past and muck around and do it, but that’s not the point I’m making here.

Years ahead? Try “an entire decade behind”.

Don’t get me wrong Apple, I’m glad you’re finally catching up, but marketing these features as the be-all and end-all for your users is pretty damn tragic. I’ve had iOS users at work saying “We’re getting a new notification screen” and I’ve seen *other* Android users (Not myself) pull out their Android phones and lay a theoretical smackdown on them by showing them we’ve already got it.

End of the day, innovation and improvement is good for the consumer, and that’s me. So, keep playing catch-up Apple, because when you do innovate, you’re gonna be screwed because nobody will believe it’s new and that it’s your idea. Like the boy who cried wolf.

Meanwhile, I just got a txt message, I’m hearing my custom txt tone play now, coz I’m using an Android phone. I should be off. Troll more in the comments :-)

Android, Apple, iOS, trolling,

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