iOS 14 is here, and it brings a bunch of big new features to Apple’s operating system — including a few that should look pretty familiar to Android users who have had similar functionality for some time.
It’s the eternal cycle of software platforms: Google’s good ideas will almost always end up on iOS at some point, even as the next version of Android will, no doubt, crib some ideas from Apple.
HOME SCREEN WIDGETS
The big one: after years of keeping the iOS home screen static, Apple is finally allowing users to add widgets to their home screens. Widgets have been one of the core differentiating features between Android and iOS going back to the very first iteration of Android, and it’s a feature that Google would continue to expand on over the years, allowing custom sizes, third-party support, and a gallery with previews of those widgets — all features that Apple is using in its own widgets on iOS.
In fact, Apple is taking a lot of cues from Google with the new iOS 14 home screen experience, including…
APP LIST VIEW
Apple calls its iteration of this “the App Library,” but it’s similar to Google’s app drawer: a list of every app on your phone, regardless of its visibility on the home screen. (Apple will let users manually hide apps so that they’ll only appear in the App Library view, too.) Unlike Android, which is just a straight list of all the apps, Apple’s App Library automatically sorts apps into different categories, like social, entertainment, or Apple Arcade.
THIRD-PARTY DEFAULT EMAIL AND BROWSER APPS
This is less “borrowing from Android” and more “something Apple has been capable of doing for years but intentionally had decided not to.” iOS 14 will finally allow users to choose their own default email and browser apps, instead of using Mail and Safari.
There are a few catches, like the fact that all iOS browsers still have to use Apple’s rendering engine (so there’s not a huge practical difference between them), and developers will have to update their apps to support the feature. It’s also limited only to email and browser apps — you’ll still have to use Apple Maps and Apple Music by default, even if you prefer Google Maps and Spotify.
DISCREET VOICE ASSISTANT AND CALLS
Apple is debuting a new “discreet” view for Siri in iOS 14, where the voice assistant will appear with a small icon at the bottom of the screen, instead of taking over the entire display. Results of queries will similarly appear in smaller windows at the top of the screen, without blocking the rest of the display (which is also similar to how Google Assistant works on Android, although its results are shown in a small window at the bottom of the display, not the top).
Apple’s new “compact calls” design — which also prevents incoming calls from blotting out the whole screen — is akin to an option on Android…Read more>>