Since the Android operating system was introduced in 2008, the iOS operating system and the Android OS have been stealing from each other left and right. The competition has cultivated several rather large advancements in how each operating system works.
Although the Android OS and iOS have taken slightly different roads to where they are now, there are still features on each operating system that outperform the other. With iOS 10 currently under development, here are several areas where iOS may look to draw inspiration from their rival OS.
1. Google Now
Siri was once the undisputed champion of virtual assistants. Recently, however, options such as Google Now and even Microsoft’s Cortana have caught up, and even exceeded Siri in certain respects. Google Now’s introduction of contextual “cards” has useful information waiting for you before you even ask for it.
While some may find Google’s methods a bit unsettling, there’s no doubt that Google Now is a very useful tool. Fortunately, the introduction of Proactive with iOS 9 is a huge step in the right direction for Siri. Hopefully Proactive will be expanded upon in iOS 10.
Many Android users would argue that the Android OS offers a better notification function than iOS. All of Android’s notifications live in one place – the notification bar. Although many iOS users would argue that the notification bar quickly gets cluttered with notifications from all of your apps, others argue that the simplification is nice.
Android users can drag down the notification bar to check app updates, notifications from the OS and all of their apps, as well as control features such as sound, brightness, Wi-Fi, and the music player. Google Now adds even more functionality to the notification bar, offering traffic warnings, sports scores, flight information, and more. This is an area where Apple could stand to steal a bit from Android.
3. Soft Buttons
Many may disagree with this, but the soft buttons on many Android devices often come in handy. Although a soft “back” button was added in certain areas in iOS 9, its location in the upper right corner of the screen is less than ideal for one-handed use.
Placing the “back” button in the easy-to-access lower right corner like most Android devices may make for an easier user experience. And in Apple’s constant effort to produce slimmer and sleeker products, a soft “home” button could greatly reduce the size of the iPhone while increasing screen size.
This is a feature we probably won’t end up seeing in iOS 10, however – the addition of 3D Touch can likely perform many of the same functions much more elegantly and efficiently.
4. Multiple User Support
One incredibly useful feature Android implemented last year with the release of Lollipop is support for multiple users. While many users take advantage of this feature by creating different profiles for work, school, home, etc., this feature is really a no-brainer for users with children.
The iPad, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the iPhone are capable of offering endless fun and educational experiences for children, but there are a million reasons parents may not want to give unrestricted access to either of these devices. This feature should be implemented in iOS sooner rather than later.
There can be no doubt that iOS has always been a beautifully designed operating system. Many of Apple’s users enjoy the clean look, simplicity, and ease of use of the iOS operating system. However, some users wouldn’t mind a little more control over the look and feel of their phone or tablet.
With several different launchers and lock screens available, Android users have almost unlimited control over how their device looks and how it operates. Users can resize icons, add widgets, add live backgrounds, and much more to dramatically alter the user experience.
While the level of control Android users have over their device is a bit enticing, however, it often leads to a much less secure and buggy experience. Apple has always prided themselves on offering products that “just work” – their tight control over the hardware and software on their devices is the primary reason everything they put out does so.
It may be nice for iOS to allow a bit more customization, but a free-for-all often leads to a less than desirable experience.