iOS-based phones and the countless companies who produce Android-based phones always feel the need to justify why their product is more amazing, adaptable, safe, enjoyable, and/or otherwise superior to that made by the other OS.
As a result, anytime a corporation adds a new feature to its operating system, it describes it as groundbreaking, amazing, and unheard-of. Anyone who has been to or watched a product announcement from Apple, Google, or Samsung is familiar with what I’m referring about.
With a history of taking its time to build a product that other firms were ready to hop on as essentially beta-testers, Apple is perhaps the worst offender here. If you take Apple at its word, you can practically set your watch to the Twitter takes and memes about how iPhone owners always arrive late to the party of ideas they might believe to be completely novel.
We are back where we were. Apple is launching its newest phone line, the iPhone 14, as well as iOS 16, its most recent operating system. There are several updates and additions that will either be practical, entertaining, or both. And although some of these capabilities are exclusive to the new iPhone 14 hardware, many of them are really coming to previous iPhone models.
While Apple promotes each of them as brand-new and fantastic, some of them are, in some way or another, already known to Android users. Here is a list of at least some of the features that Android has had for a long but that Apple is now delivering.
MULTIPLE STOPS IN MAPS
After seeing your Bae, you decide to head home, but you suddenly remember that if you take a quick detour, you can visit one of your favourite bookshops. Want to avoid getting lost? With iOS 16, you can now easily add the bookstore’s address to your travel itinerary and receive instructions that will allow you to stop there before figuring out how to go home.
Since about 2017, Android has got this very useful function. Apple Maps has undoubtedly gone a long way from its catastrophic introduction ten years ago, but along the route to that progress, there have been potholes that have needed to be filled long overdue with each update.
EMAIL: SCHEDULE, UNDO, REMIND LATER, AND FOLLOW-UP
With iOS 16, you now have 10 seconds to change your mind and cancel the send of an email if you touch “Send” and then quickly discover you typed the wrong recipient’s name in (assuming the other person is also using iOS 16). You may also utilise Remind Later to remind yourself of an email you don’t want to deal with right away or schedule an email to be delivered whenever you wish.
Since around 2018, Gmail has offered an option of 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds for you to change your mind (you may specify the time in the online interface). Additionally, you may plan emails to be sent at a specific time and snooze emails so they appear later.
APPLE LIVE CAPTIONS
Live Captions, which allow in-the-moment transcription for audio, video, and conversations, have been added to iOS 16. This is a really helpful tool for everyone who needs to follow a discussion, not just those with hearing impairments.
In reality, Android features a Live Caption feature that offers instant translations for those captions in a number of languages as of 2019. (although the accuracy of those translations will probably not live up to those of a human translator). It’s still a victory for accessibility and for watching movies on your phone while muted when you’re too lazy to get your headphones, even though Apple is once again late with this.
HAPTIC FEEDBACK ON KEYBOARD
In 2022, typing on a phone is still largely painful, in part because tapping doesn’t provide any feedback. It’s wonderful to know when you’ve really written a letter on an onscreen board, even if not every input device needs to provide the feel of a mechanical keyboard. As a result, the onscreen keyboard in iOS 16 now has haptic feedback. Since as long as we can remember, Android has had it.
The primary distinction is that on iOS 16, haptic feedback must be activated, but on most Android phones, it is already active (but you can disable it if you want to). Let’s add this to the list of “How has it taken this long?” features, and we’ll be sure to shout from the rooftops how fortunate iPhone users are to finally have this fundamental capability.
The iCloud Shared Photo Library, which is a feature of iOS 16, will soon allow you to build shared photo libraries based on a date or the people in the images. Your photo collection is accessible to a maximum of five people. (It appears that this functionality won’t be available right away when iOS 16 launches, so you might have to wait.) Depending on the starting date or the people in the images, Google Photos enables you to share your whole collection with a single partner.
Okay, this is a major issue. An always-on display, which will only be offered on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, was one among the several novelties shown at the most recent Apple presentation. Even while the phone is sleeping, you may check the clock, see widgets, and obtain other useful information thanks to always-on displays. Apple is only including it in the iPhone right now, and only the more expensive Pro versions can access it. Users of the Apple Watch have had access to it since the Series 5 model.
Android smartphones have had this feature for at least ten years. With Android 12, Google particularly highlighted this functionality by making a large digital clock the always-on display’s default display while the phone’s screen is at rest. Until it is touched or a notification arrives, every iPhone has remained a dead black rectangle during this period.
With widgets, graphics, and a tonne of colour, Apple’s new always-on display for the iPhone is now more configurable and information-dense than the displays seen on Android smartphones. And yes, an always-on display will use a little bit more energy than turning the screen completely off, but with the majority of phones, the difference is negligible. We’re glad that there won’t be as many lifeless, black mirrors on desks and tables to be seen any more.
With its apparent emphasis on features that would summon help if you were lost in the wilderness, let you know if you were having a heart attack, or call emergency services if you were in a serious car accident, Apple’s presentation on September 7th occasionally felt like a lesson in “Why you should be scared.” The new iPhone 14 phones and the impending Apple Watch Series 8 both come with this final function, automobile collision detection.
Google integrated auto collision detection to the built-in Personal Safety app for Pixel phones in 2019.
PHONE FITNESS APP
The Apple Watch is a well-liked tool for tracking your fitness, but the official Apple Fitness Plus app was inaccessible to iPhone users without a watch (although you could, of course, use any of the third-party apps out there). The Apple Fitness Plus app is now available whether or not you are using an Apple Watch.
Whether or not you use a watch, the official Google Fit fitness app has pretty much always been accessible for Android phones. (Of course, you might argue that unless you’re a Samsung devotee, there aren’t many Android-compatible watches to worry about.) While Samsung provides its own Health app, it is included with Pixels. And while a phone cannot measure your temperature or heart rate without a wearable, it is still beneficial for everyone to be able to obtain an approximate calculation of the number of steps taken, calories burnt, etc.
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LOCK SCREEN WIDGETS
This one is truly very strange. You may now add up to four widgets to your lock screen on iOS 16 (provided the app developer offers one). Widgets for the lock screen were available in Android 4.2 approximately ten years ago, but for some reason, Google opted to remove them once more in Android 5.0. You decide whether or not to include this in our calculations.
Perhaps Apple’s track record of holding onto ideas until they are fully developed will pay off in this case, and lock screen widgets will become a crucial part of the routines of the majority of iPhone users (Siri and the initial HomePod aside). Or perhaps it will simply be another peculiar characteristic that only some of us weirdos utilise and appreciate, similar to how standard widgets are in the first place.
HIGH-MEGAPIXEL CAMERA SENSOR WITH PIXEL BINNING
Many individuals prefer to switch to a newer phone model because it has a better camera. For years, many manufacturers were adamant about utilising 12-megapixel sensors and employing as many software gimmicks as computational photography would let. Major companies like Google and Samsung have started increasing the resolution of their primary camera sensors to around 40 or 50 megapixels recently. This isn’t because we all need enormous image files, but rather because gathering all that data and scaling it down to a “normal” image of around 12 megapixels helps with artefacts like low-light noise. It’s one of the newest software tricks used to enable our tiny smartphone sensors to outperform and compete with certain specialised cameras (in the right scenario).
Pixel binning is the process of grouping neighbouring pixels on a high-resolution sensor to enhance picture quality at a lesser resolution. Even though it’s an older technology, it might be useful if you don’t require the high-megapixel sensor’s full resolution. This was even partially accomplished by the Nokia 808 PureView in 2012. Additionally, it is not a magic cure all; you are still dependent on the calibre of the image sensor and the processing pipeline.
Now that it possesses this technology, Apple is boldly using terminology like “Quad-pixel” and “Photonic Engine” to describe the 48-megapixel primary camera of the new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. It sounds great because Apple excels at making things seem interesting, and it very well may represent a substantial generational advance. The fact that Huawei, Samsung, and many other companies experimented with high-res sensors for years should not be forgotten, though. We’ll see if Apple truly stands out from the competition with its propensity for slow-burn growth.