Can Apple's iOS 7 Beat Android?

Posted by jun auza On 6/25/2013
At WWDC this year, Apple unveiled its biggest design change ever. Getting rid of skeuomorphism and rounded design, both of which were outmoded, iOS 7 flaunted a sleek, flat design that conforms to the latest trends. Apart from new icons came new features that further simplify the way a user interacts with the mobile operating system. In other words, Apple, with this release, is playing catch up with Android who is ruling the mobile OS market at this moment. The question remains whether these changes are enough for the average Android user to jump ship and become an Apple loyalist.


Design

Apple’s iOS 7 comes with a completely revamped design that keeps up with the latest trends. The icons now sport a flat look and no longer can you see any hint of the infamous skeuomorphism that Apple was known for all these years. The design borrows heavily from Android and Windows Phone OS. For example, the all-new Control Center is similar to what Android offers with Jelly Bean's notification toggles. The colors are fresh and effects like Blur, which aren't present in many mobile operating systems these days, make an appearance. Personally, I'm a fan of the interface as it is fresh, easy to use, and just works. When compared to Android, though, it has a lot of catching up to do. But still, given the fact that Apple had a huge responsibility of coming up with something new yet staying familiar to users at the same time, this is an amazing milestone. Summing up, one can say that the design is a bit polarizing. Some people will instantly get drawn to it, while others won't even look at it and prefer Android or WP7 instead.

"True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation -- it’s about bringing order to complexity" -- Jony Ive


Features

iOS 7 comes with a lot of new features. Multitasking, upgraded default applications, iCloud sharing, iTunes Radio, Anti-Theft functionality, improved Notification Center are some of the features that are going to please a lot of iOS fans. However, as far as the competition is concerned, Android users won't be that interested in this update as most of the new features are already present in Android Jelly Bean



Siri vs. Google Now

Siri, Apple's innovative voice assistant has gotten some major updates. It now has male and female voices and can now speak French and German as well. Apart from the voice change, Siri now looks more aesthetically pleasing and has gotten much more control over the device. You can now ask Siri to play your voicemail, turn down brightness, turn off Bluetooth, and more. As compared to Google Now these features put Apple a step ahead of Android. However, just Siri isn't enough for Apple to evangelize a horde of Android fanboys and fangirls into buying a new iPhone.


Maps

Maps is an area where Android still has an upper hand over Apple. Apple Maps, Cupertino's ambitious-yet-failed attempt at taking on Google is something Tim Cook is still embarrassed about. That's why Apple has offered users a choice between the installed maps applications. However, those choices don't compare against the stable and powerful built-in maps application that Android provides.


Fragmentation

The biggest problem that Android is facing is that of fragmentation. Unlike Apple wherein you'll find same or similar operating systems installed across all devices, the fragmentation has made it hard to find uniformity in the platform. And, as long as Google doesn't fix this problem, Apple will keep having an upper hand in this department. For example, if you consider iOS 7, the update is compatible not only with the latest iPhone 5 but also with iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPod Touch, iPad 2, iPad mini, and iPad with Retina display. iOS7, by making the update compatible even across older devices has reminded Android that it's not too late to fix the fragmentation problem.


Conclusion

Given the way Android has been improving recently, there is barely any chance that we'll see a major migration of users towards Cupertino. That said, with iOS 7, Apple has given its old users something to look forward to. The release, being compatible across so many devices, says that Apple still cares about its old users and is not going to let their devices become obsolete.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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