Before I start I want to make clear that I am an Android user. I’ve had a play on iOS for a while in its various guises both jailbroken and not and on iPhones and an iPod Touch. I am not a particular fan of Apple devices but like anyone else I have an opinion, some prefer Apple, some prefer Android. Thats just the way it is.
Now that’s out of the way, I have watched with interest as Apple have announced iOS6, the latest incantation of their operating system and just as with iOS 5, where is the originality?
I’m no iOS expert but iOS 5 and the iPhone 4s saw the launch of the much trumpeted Siri. Apple trumpeted and cawed about their new voice recognition system, only Blackberry had done it first and Android has had theirs built in since year dot. So Apple have simply taken a product and made it better and prettier.
Also included and a big fuss made of was the Notifications bar. Again, been in Android for a long time. Is it better or prettier – well that’s open to debate.
Next, PC Free. Now you don’t need a computer to own an iDevice. Well, you have never needed to own a PC to own an Android device, OTA updates have been available since at least Android 2.1 if not before and apps downloaded straight to the handset.
Of over 200 enhancements in iOS5, some 80% are reputed to have come from the jailbreaking community.
And now we have the announcement of iOS6 which brings with it such delights as reject a call and send a text messsage, facebook integration, passbook and VIP mail. Now call me a cynic but haven’t we seen this all before in one OS or another?
Now before you all start accusing me of Apple bashing and being a fanboy, lets move on to Google. There is court case after court case lined up alleging patent infringement. Google recently “won” the case brought against them by Oracle but there are many more outstanding. Indeed, even Microsoft makes more money from Android than it does it’s own Windows phone operating system due to licensing agreements put in place after infringements.
Google are reputedly working on Majel, their own response to Siri, the folder system in Android now looks remarkably similar to the one in iOS (check who’s came first!!) and the list could go on and on.
The frustration is that smartphones are a long way from perfect. Each OS has its own plus points and negatives but by simply copying what everyone else is doing innovation is being stifled, the rather boring patent wars are draining money and the people who design the handsets will soon have to be experts on copyright and patent law before they even think of designing.
What really needs to happen is for the major companies to come together and recognise that they are all essentially trying to do the same thing and therefore there are some elements that will be similar to one anothers.
But above all, they need to innovate, create and come up with new ideas, something no one else has thought of because no amount of court cases or rehashing of ideas is going to produce that killer feature and that is what the public wants.
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