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5 Features Apple NEEDS To Steal From Android Marshmallow

Know Your Mobile logo Know Your Mobile 28-12-2015 Michael Grothaus

5 Features Apple NEEDS To Steal From Android Marshmallow© 5 Features Apple NEEDS To Steal From Android Marshmallow

The debate about whether iOS or Android is the best platform has raged on since, well… forever. Android is the biggest platform in the world by quite margin, but Apple makes the most money and Google likes to get almost all of its services up and running on Apple’s iPhone, which means you can switch from iOS to Android pretty damn easily. Go the other way, though, and things get a little dicey. 

This is because of Google and Apple’s divergent business models which, while appearing rather similar on the surface, are very different once you get into the guts of how each functions and the end results both are after. Google, for instance, is ALL about advert revenue, Google Play and its suite of services -- Google Maps, YouTube and the like -- and wants to get these apps and services up and running on as many devices and machines as possible. This is why you get access to Google services on iPhone and MacBooks but don’t get things like Pages or iBooks on Android, for instance. Apple is ALL about hardware and software and uses the former to generate cash through the latter; it controls every aspect of every device and transaction inside its iOS ecosystem.

Apple’s ecosystem is a walled-garden, one you gain access to by buying an Apple product like an iPhone, iPad or MacBook. Once you’re inside Apple’s ecosystem, however, you’re locked in and it is rather hard to access core services -- iTunes stuff like films and music, for instance -- on non-Apple machines and devices. Google does things differently, however, and lets you access most of its stuff on either Android or iOS. Google has a much more open approach to this type thing compared to Apple but, again, this is down to how both companies go about making their money. Google is essentially in the advertising business, while Apple is more or a straight-up technology company.

Neither platform is better than

 the other, really. Both are excellent and both have their ups and downs. I use two handsets at present, the Google Nexus 6P and the iPhone 6s, and switch between then as the mood takes me. Traditionally, I am very much an Android user — I love Google Nexus phones. But I also love Apple’s iPhones too. I know, quite a paradox. After using iOS 9 and Android Marshmallow for a few months, though, I have found a TON of features on Marshmallow that Apple is sorely missing aboard its iPhone. 

With that in mind, I decided to put together a post detailing which Android features I’d love to see inside iOS 9 — or iOS 10, which is the next big instalment of Apple’s platform that’s due out mid-way through 2016. 

1. The ability to change default apps

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As much as I love iOS, I have to admit my iPhone never feels like it's truly “mine” – it always feels like I’m borrowing it from Apple. This is mainly because iOS doesn’t allow you to change the default apps it comes preinstalled with: Mail, Calendar, Safari, etc. While these apps are at the top of their game and are fine for 95% of users, power users and more advanced tech geeks would love the ability to set third-party apps as the default apps for their email, calendar, messaging, maps, and web browsing needs. I mean, this is a feature Android has had for a while now and the OS is still standing. How hard can it be to implement on the iPhone?

2. Multiple user accounts

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This is a feature that many Android devices have had since Android 5.0. It’s also been a long requested for iOS--particularly on the iPad—for quite some time: multi-user support. The way this would work is that iOS would allow users to create multiple account

s on a single device. A user could log in with their pin, password, or Touch ID fingerprint and their iOS device would then be fully customized to their last-used settings: everything from app layout to wallpapers to email accounts.

This is arguably a feature more appropriate for the iPad or iPad Pro as often times families or couples share one iPad between then. Also, iPads are frequently shared in work environments. Multiple user accounts for the iPad in these environments would mean secure sharing between people without the risk of anyone else seeing your private information. As for the iPhone...multiple user accounts could also be enabled, but since our phones are such personal devices it’s not clear how many people actually share their phones with others to begin with.

3. Customizable Control Center

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Control Center was introduced in iOS 7 and was pretty much stolen from the Quick Settings feature of Android. With a swipe up from the bottom of any screen users could finally quickly toggle Airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and rotation lock on or off. Users also finally got quick access to music controls and shortcut icons to Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera. But in Android M, Google went further and now offers the ability t

o customize quick settings. This is something Control Center desperately needs. I mean, I don't use the Timer that much, so I’d love to replace its shortcut button in Control Center with a button for Calendar, an app I use a lot. And who the heck needs constant access to Flashlight? Here’s hoping Apple steals the rest Quick Settings’ features.

4. Smarter Proactive

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In iOS 9 Apple introduced Proactive, essentially a Google Now competitor that learns things about you–such as your favorite apps or upcoming events you have schedule–and offers you quick access to or information about those things without you even having to ask. The problem is Proactive looks like a kid’s 4th grade coding project compared to Google Now. I’m constantly amazed how well Google Now works–showing me things like apportionments and upcoming flights automatically.

Yes, Google Now is available on iOS, but it’s not deeply integrated like it is on Android. I would say Apple should steal all the good things Google Now offers, but in order to do that Apple needs to reevaluate their privacy stance. The reason Google Now works so well is because Google mines your personal emails, browsing history, and calendars for information about you–something Apple isn’t willing to do. But as our devices begin to embrace more autonomous AI features, if Apple is to compete they’ll need to be willing to mine our data automatically.

5. Dark mode

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Okay, okay, so technically Android doesn’t have a dark mode YET. However, references to a “Night Mode” have been found in the latest Android M builds–so you know it’s coming. The way it will work is that when Night Mode is enabled, all the bright UI elements will turn darker colors. This has multiple benefits: first, it makes using your device easier on the eyes at night. Second, dark colors use less backlighting, and thus can save battery life. Third, dark modes can make it easier to focus on being productive in any given app instead of being distracted by colorful UI elements. Here’s hoping Apple steals Android’s upcoming Night Mode feature from Google…or that it steals the feature from itself.

What’s that mean? Well, with OS X Yosemite, Apple finally added Dark Mode to the operating system. This allows users to replace the white menu bar and dock with a darker version. Professionals love this because if they are editing video, photos, and doing other graphics work, the dark elements of OS X allow them to focus more on their work. While the iPhone and iPad aren’t as big of productivity devices for professionals as the Mac (though that could change with the iPad Pro) we still think it’d be awesome to see a dark mode on iOS–especially since all Android devices should have it soon.

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