Today was a big day for Apple, a major player in the tech world. It was the beginning of their annual developer conference, known as WWDC. It was kicked off with a keynote, and among the announcements were a refresh of the MacBook line (along with the reveal of the new MacBook Pro – I want that thing so much, even if I need to sell a kidney), talk about the new version of OSX, Mountain Lion, and finally the announcement of iOS 6. As every good tech enthusiast would do, I kept my eyes on both Twitter and a live blog to follow the event.
Before the comments explode from readers declaring I’m an Apple fanboy, hear me out. This article was written using a MacBook Air. That’s just my preference in laptop, I also own a Windows-based gaming PC. I have owned every iPhone (except the 4S) to date. I have also owned over 20 Android devices, some BlackBerrys and even a Windows Phone or two for good measure. The point being, I don’t have a specific allegiance, I am a tech enthusiast who isn’t held down to one platform.
Now that my secrets have been revealed and are out of the way, it’s time to talk about how Apple failed, or more so, how Android has won.
Over the years, one could say that iOS has more or less stayed the same. This has not necessarily been a bad thing, as the system has worked, and features have been added over time. Throw in the App Store with the largest variety of apps available, and you’ve got a winning formula. I will admit, iOS has always had an appeal to me for its simplicity and reliability, something I can’t say for every Android device I’ve used. Most Android devices work perfectly fine, there’s no denying that. But there are some that just don’t function properly; this isn’t the case with iPhones, at least in my experience.
Since the early days of Android, Google’s little green robot has held the lead in terms of features. Just because it had these features did not mean that they were utilized in the best possible way. Apple has historically taken existing ideas and features, proceeding to recreate them in a more polished way; this does not apply to everything Apple has done, but it has definitely happened before. Here’s an example: Android’s Voice Actions have been around since version 2.0 and the original DROID, but they weren’t something (and still aren’t) widely used. Apple bought Siri, and brought voice commands to a new level with it in the iPhone 4S. Sure, I’ve been able to talk to my Android phone for ages, but that doesn’t mean I see it happening all the time. I see people talking to Siri on their iPhones multiple times every week. To shorten all that, Apple has a knack for renovating.
Android does have a big card in its favor though: through all of its updates, along with different OEM skins, there’s always a fresh version to try. A user is not regulated to one look and feel, much like they are with an iPhone. This isn’t all good for Android however, as there have been incompatibility issues. That’s a different story for a different article, but the gist is that Android is not perfect. Up until Android 4.0, many would even say that stock Android was not polished enough for the regular consumer, and I agree with them. A year ago, I wouldn’t recommend a stock Android 2.3 phone to my grandfather, but with Android 4.0 around, I feel confident in his ability to use a stock Galaxy Nexus.
It’s a little different with iOS though, as I could have given my grandfather an original iPhone with iOS 1 on it, and trust that he’d be able to use it. That’s the way Apple designed it in the first place, and it has worked for them ever since.
Back to WWDC. Those who follow the tech blogs, or even know Apple’s cycle, should have known for awhile now that today was the day that Apple would reveal iOS 6. It was widely expected (or hoped) that Apple would mix things up in this update, perhaps add a new look, a widgets implementation, something that would change plain ol’ iOS. They failed to do so, instead focusing on their own apps, not the core of iOS.
And that right there, is what will kill iOS.
The OS has hit a point where the same old thing every two years will begin to affect sales, as iOS fans will begin to get bored. Sure, some people have been bored with iOS since Android was released, but there have been many who have been perfectly content with iPhones due to the app selection, alongside Apple’s strong ecosystem. But, I’ve noticed that more and more people are realizing how boring iOS really is compared to competing operating systems. One example would be a teacher of mine had been an iPhone owner for a long time. He decided he wanted something new, and bought a Lumia 900. This is a man who’s in his 60′s, and not very technologically savvy.
That event proved to me that iOS is beginning to bore Apple’s customers, and it’s boring me too. iOS 6 has done nothing to fix that, along with nothing truly innovating to bring in new customers, or even keep the current ones locked in. Want to hear the big new feature of iOS 6? 3D maps.