Apple held its annual WWDC developer conference on Monday, where it discussed plenty of new features coming in its next software updates, iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. If you use Apple products, there’s a lot to like in the updates. If you use a lot of products from a lot of tech companies, as we tend to do, then you might have felt that a lot of the features Apple discussed seemed familiar. Awfully familiar.
That’s because a lot of the features discussed by Apple yesterday, coming to either iOS 9, El Capitan or both, are pretty much direct rip-offs from features already offered by Google, Microsoft, Samsung and even third-party apps that users can download.
One that sticks at the top of my mind include the new Split View and Slide View options for iPad, which will allow iPad owners to run two applications side-by-side and easily slide down a list of apps to multitask. That feature has been in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and will be in Windows 10 (see the image below). It’s also available on Samsung’s Android-powered devices. Another feature in El Capitan lets you snap two windows side-by-side for easy viewing on a desktop computer which, again, is something that has been offered on Windows and in third-party OS X apps for years.
Siri is finally smarter, sure, but she also stole a bunch of features from Cortana and Google Now. She’s able to dig through your emails to tell you when to leave for an appointment and avoid traffic, something both Google and Microsoft’s voice assistants are capable of doing already. You can also ask her to remind you to do something depending on your location which is, again, already offered on Android and Windows Phone.
The list can keep going on: Apple News is a ripoff of existing third party news applications. Apple Music looks great, but it’s going to compete with plenty of services like Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music, Xbox Music and more and isn’t exactly innovative, though I appreciate human curated playlists. Notes now lets you draw inside of the app and create rich links, which is already available in third party iOS applications.
Apple had to add a lot of these features at some point. The iPad, in order to keep up with the progress of Windows and Android, needed better mutlitasking. Siri was getting dumb as dirt, and borrowing features is necessary to make her a bit smarter. I’m excited for all of these features to come to iOS and El Capitan and I think a lot of users are going to find incredible value in what they offer.
But they’re by no means original ideas, even if Apple would have you believe that during its keynote.