Apple has a knack for creating excitement over pretty ordinary features. While there was some big news for developers in the WWDC keynote yesterday, like its new programming language Swift and health dashboard Healthkit, some of the announcements were humdrum enough to make you wonder why Apple did not make its keynote shorter.
See also: Apple's coolest announcements at WWDC
Here are nine new iOS features announced yesterday at WWDC that Android has had for quite some time. Some are pretty ordinary, while others have long been a big hole in Apple’s offering.
- iCloud Drive: Cloud storage for Windows, iOS, OS X and Web. Google has had this since April 2012 when it introduced Google Drive.
- Mail Drop: This is a Google Drive, Box and Dropbox competitor. It lets Apple’s email app share files as large as 5 GB. Google accommodates files of up to 1 TB using any type of email client. Note that Box CEO Aaron Levie was in the WWDC audience, and was invited by Apple to take a seat in the VIP section. Ouch!
- Email and document writing continuity: Apple announced that you can start to write an email on an iOS device and continue on a Mac and vice versa. This has been a feature of Gmail and Google Docs for a long time.
- iOS inbox access when reading and writing email: This has been a feature of Gmail for iOS and Android. Using Android, just press the up button and the inbox appears.
- Third-party keyboards: Apple just announced today that it would support third-party keyboards. More than 100 million third-party keyboards in various languages and styles have been downloaded and installed on Android devices.
- Predictive typing suggestions in email and messaging. It was surprising to see Apple announce this today. It seems that this should have been available, as it has been on both Android native apps and third-party apps for Android for a while.
- Tap to talk. Using this feature, an iOS user can tap to talk or tap to video chat with another iOS or Mac user. This feature is available in Google Hangouts for Android and iOS devices, released December 2011.
- Upload and backup photos to iCloud: This feature, announced for Android in June 2011 under the name Instant Upload and now called Automatic Upload, will automatically backup videos and photos to Google Plus, with up to 15 GB free. The iOS app for Google Plus was updated to include this feature in December 2013. Apple charges $0.99 per month to store up to 20 GB.
- Beta testing of iOS apps with TestFlight: Beta testing and staged rollouts were introduced in the Google Play Developer Console during Google’s developer conference in May 2013. Distribution of beta apps has been a challenge for Apple developers because of Apple’s long approval cycle to add apps to its App Store and limited means of distributing beta apps for developer feedback.