One of the biggest reasons for Android's success is in the hardware variety. There is an Android smartphone that fits everyone's preferences, size needs, and budget. The basic aim of the platform is to be incredibly adaptable and malleable, so why do people continue to try defining Android's success through the lens of what Apple has done with iOS? The comparison makes little sense when looking at market share, and even less sense when looking at how the platforms are built and how that affects the resulting hardware.
I love voice control. Let's just get that out there right from the start. I may be a writer, meaning that I am at my best when conveying my thoughts through the written word and not on the spot talking; but, I am also a lazy man, and I like to be able to get things done with the minimal amount of interaction with my computing devices. As such, I can't help but wonder: why can't Google Now, Siri, and Cortana offer full voice control?
Here's the flat out truth: iOS 8 is a huge update that brings long-awaited features to iPhone and iPad users and make the Apple faithful very happy. It is also going to fuel plenty of Android faithful who see this as nothing more than Apple rehashing features that have been available on Google's platform for a long time. The trouble is that both sides are exactly right, but I'm starting to wonder if Apple isn't actually trolling its haters a bit.
Now, it's time to move on to the main event, because 2014 is expected to be all about new Apple hardware. We'll start off broadly, because there is a lingering question regarding just how much new hardware we see. It is almost a certainty that we will see at least two new iPhones in 2014 (including the iPhone 6 and a maybe a plastic iPhone 5s to fill the mid-range) and the iWatch; but, after that, things get a bit hazy. You would normally assume that there would be a new iPad and iPad mini, and the rumors have also been talking quite a bit about a potential 12.9-inch iPad, which the media has taken to calling the iPad Pro.
When you take on the task of looking ahead at what's to come with Apple, you're dedicating yourself to wading through a lot of crap. The rumor mill is always active in the mobile ecosystem, but the Apple rumor mill is a never-ending flood of hopes, dreams, misinformation, and more than anything else: analysts that want to keep getting those checks. Because of all that, we can't go through every rumor that exists, and we have to try to focus in on the most plausible rumors based on some basic rational thinking.
Last time, we took a long trip in order to cover the major changes we saw over the past year in Android, and what to expect in 2014 for Google's system. Surprisingly, the look into Apple has taken an even longer journey (both in how long it took to write and in overall length of the piece), because while we skimmed over Android hardware for the most part, it is impossible to do the same with Apple. This means there s a bit more to cover in terms of where Apple's platform has come from in 2013, and what to expect from iOS in 2014.
The rumors about a potential 12.9-inch iPad Pro being in the works for Apple, and those rumors have stirred up quite a bit of speculation about the future of the Mac line, including some speculation here about whether or not an iPad Pro could eventually replace the MacBook Air. Unfortunately, most of the speculation (ours included) was based on a mobile-centric view, and forgot to include MacOS.
For quite a long time now, I've been fighting back against the term "fragmentation". I have never argued that problems don't exist, just that the term "fragmentation" has such a broad meaning as to be essentially meaningless. These days, rather than just give up on using the flawed term in favor of more accurate descriptors, it has become more popular to turn the word "fragmentation" back on its original creator, Apple, (I have even done this myself) but this just further muddies the water.
There have been fairly consistent rumors that Apple has been working on a larger version of its signature iPad tablet, and those rumors simply won't go away. The general rumors have put the larger version of the iPad in the 12-inch range, and earlier this month we heard that Foxconn is already working on a 12.9-inch iPad, which a new report seems to confirm.
Given all of the leaks that we've seen, there really weren't any surprises in today's Apple announcement. We knew that the new iPad and iPad mini would have the same basic innards as the iPhone 5s. We knew what they would look like. There was a bit of ambiguity when it came to whether or not the new tablets would have the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, but it's not the biggest surprise that the premium feature is only available on the flagship iPhone.
Last Friday, Apple released the image that it used during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote to "prove" that there was no fragmentation in iOS compared to the "problem" with Android. Of course, this is the narrative that Apple wants, and it is maddening how often this argument keeps popping up, and how often the media runs with the flashy headline rather than explaining the issue as it is. The fact of the matter is that Apple's chart doesn't prove anything, all it does is mislabel the argument, and hide the real issues with iOS.
Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat: we absolutely love the look of iOS 7. It may just be that iOS finally looks markedly different from how it has been for the past 5 years, it may be that Apple has finally left behind the hideous skeuomorphism techniques, or it may just be that it reminds us of a mashup between Windows Phone and Google Now. Whatever the reason, we think Apple has done a solid great job of adopting the best of the competition to make something decidedly Apple.
And, everyone who is shouting on one side or the other about "copying" or whatever, just stop the argument right now. The argument is one of the silliest possible. As we've talked about time and time again, everything in life is built upon what came before it. If you look hard enough, nothing is original, and everything has been inspired by something else.
If you're an Android user, you should just accept that the design choices of Matias Duarte are making the system more and more like webOS as the days go on. If you're a BlackBerry user, you should know that BB10 is basically a mashup of Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. If you're a Windows Phone user, you should accept that minimalism existed long long before your platform. And, if you're an Apple user, just come to terms with the fact that Apple does take ideas from all of its competitors.
Is Apple on the brink of "repeating the mistakes of the Mac era"?
We have made no bones about it, we're a little soured on the notion of analysts, because they tend to just tell us stuff that we already know. But, this time around, we're kind of interested, because this prediction, while something we've heard (and said ourselves), is very detailed as to why Apple may be heading for a repeat of "the mistakes of the Mac era". As we said, this is a concern that we have heard before, because many things about the current iOS vs Android fight are quite a bit like the Mac vs Windows fight that we saw so long ago.
We know that there will undoubtedly be snide remarks about Apple Maps, but we will continue to remind people that if you expect Apple Maps to forever stay a bad product, you are willingly letting your dislike of Apple blind you to reality. What may not be a good product now can only get better. And, with that in mind, it looks like the next move for Apple may not be into TVs, as many expected, but into the automotive world.
The numbers have been studied, and all signs point to the fact that while developers still generate more revenue on iOS in the iTunes App Store than in the Google Play Store for Android devices, the gap is shrinking. We've also seen some pretty impressive new Android tablets on the market and on the way, so why aren't developers working harder to support 10" Android tablets?
A report came out today, which claims that sources inside of Google are "not optimistic" that Apple will approve the submission of a Google Maps app into the iTunes App Store. But, we think the pessimism is extremely premature, and maybe beyond that this is actually a push by Google to avoid that exact fate.
reported that an iOS version of the Google Maps app is in development and it should be ready to ship by the end of the year, which means the app has to be almost done if it could launch within the next 2 months. The report also says that the sources inside Google are "not optimistic" that the app will be approved by Apple, and that Google is proceeding as if such approval is "unlikely".
Back in January when Apple unveiled iBooks 2 and the company's overall strategy for textbooks and education, we said that the move was
, but had some problems. The announcement of the iPad Mini has solved at least one of those issues, and the addition of the updated iBooks Author app has helped to cover even more ground.
The simple fact is that tablets have a natural home in education. Printed textbooks are expensive, easily out-dated, and often don't offer much for students who are visual learners, and nothing as far as auditory learners. Tablets offer an interactive experience, and a multimedia experience, so it makes perfect sense that they make their way into the education system. Not surprisingly, Apple wants to be the one to sell those tablets to the schools.
There is a new report from Bloomberg that shouldn't surprise you in the least: the decision to build an Apple Maps app for iOS came from none other than Steve Jobs. Of course, what is interesting is that Bloomberg is still trying to push the narrative that the entire plan was put in place because of Jobs' hatred of Android. That was surely the reason to look for an alternative to simply offering Google Maps on iOS, but it doesn't explain why Apple would spend the resources to build its own Maps app, rather than partner with another company like Nokia.
Apple has always prided itself on design. That's why every year, we get to hear in very
what goes into the process of making the iPhone look the way it does. Unfortunately, Apple hasn't been so exacting when it comes to iOS design, and it shows with the iPhone 5's letterboxed apps. If you're picking up an iPhone 5 today, you'll no doubt take a moment to admire the craftsmanship that went into building the hardware. For better or worse, it will feel like an iPhone in your hand, which some of you may like, and some may think is still a bit small. It may not look all that different from the iPhone 4S, but it is still a well designed phone. Then, you'll boot it up and find the same grid of icons that you've grown to accept from the iOS UI.
If you follow any other tech news sources, you may have noticed that for some reason, there is a question going around of "Will Google release a Maps app for iOS?", which is a silly question.
The question shouldn't be "will", but "when will" the Google Maps app be released,
because some sources say that Google has already submitted its app for approval. For some reason, writers are somehow confused by a Google statement saying that the company's "goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system." Somehow people are taking this to mean that Google might not make an iOS Google Maps app, which is an interpretation that we find baffling.