April 17, 2014

Why Android fans need to stop acting butthurt over iOS 7

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Oh man, did you hear that Apple totally copied Android Jelly Bean for its new iOS 7 release!? Yeah, they changed things up but it looks so much like Android/Microsoft/WebOS.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Pretty much everywhere I looked this week I saw Android people complaining about Apple’s new OS. Not for nothing, but I took a few digs myself.

Sure, iOS 7 is an awful lot like some of the aesthetics that we’ve seen in apps and platforms that have been around for a while. Sure, it’s totally different from anything that Apple’s done thus far, but it’s more of a coat of paint than anything. Sure, it’s likely going to cause a lot of developers to create copycat designs and ROMs.  But that’s not why I’m here. All of this, rather, makes me excited about the future of Android.

[pullquote3 align="center" textColor="#4f4abf"]There’s nothing new under the sun, but Apple never claimed there was.[/pullquote3]

Think about it, most of the core features of Android seem to be at least one generation ahead of the other players. Things like notifications, multi-tasking, and folders are the stuff we take for granted and have been around for ages. Indeed, the mob complains when Apple “introduces” features such as panoramic photos or a new lock screen as the Cupertino gang isn’t inventing anything new.

Apple hasn’t done much inventing of new products or services in the last few decades. What they do, however, is take the stuff that previously exists and repackage it with an eye toward user experience. The family computer, MP3 player, and tablets were not new when Apple rolled them out.  Didn’t matter, though, because Apple sells a boatload of their own designs.

Apple, for its part, should stop using so many adjectives to convince people they are ahead of the game. Terms like “magical” and “revolutionary” are tossed around all too often and people mistake this for leading-edge. Whatever…it’s Marketing 101 and Apple’s one the best professors around.

Getting back to iOS 7 and its eerily similar design to Android 4.0+, it’s something that cannot be denied. There are countless blogs and reports online that show just how much the two now resemble each other and some of them are quite fun to read. Yes, Apple “borrowed” from Android (and other platforms). No, this is not the first time.

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o why should Android users be excited about the new Apple mobile OS? In a word – validation. This validates Google’s direction and design choices for Android. Not only has Google gotten much better at how things look and operate, but they do it in rapid iteration. Here’s a new feature, there’s a new look, here’s an update to improve things.

Think about all the great stuff that Android still offers over competition; universal and simple sharing, multi-windows, widgets, NFC support, and the ability to install apps from anywhere come to mind.

I’m reminded of conversations I’ve had with companies offering (free and paid) services that Google ultimately adds into Android. I would wrongly assume that these guys would be mad that Google was now offering the same stuff they did. As it turns out, these companies loved it because it validated their efforts. Wouldn’t you like to know that you were a year or two ahead of Google?

[pullquote2 align="center" textColor="#fa950b"]It wasn’t all that long ago that Android was ridiculed for being clunky and unfriendly to users. Now it’s in the pole position.[/pullquote2]

Looking forward, we should be excited at how things progress with the next release(s) of Android. I don’t know about you but I’m anxious to see all the little features and user interface choices that come with 5.0 or Key Lime Pie… or whatever it’s called.

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he sooner we all accept that Android’s going to be copied, the better. Along those lines, the more advances we see in Windows Mobile, iOS, and BlackBerry, the better. We need true competition and innovation because with them, things don’t progress.

It doesn’t matter who has more market share or how profitable each is. What matters is that all players keep the others on their toes. It’s a stupid old adage, but in the end we all win. We’re just fortunate enough to have a head start in the race.

Just come to terms with the fact that you’re a hipster and you’re mad that everyone likes your band.

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