Apple is expected to announce the next version of iOS on June 10th at the WWDC. Last year with the announcement of iOS 5, many smartphone users who have experience with more than one platform realized that a lot of iOS 5’s new features were copied directly from competing mobile operating systems such as Android and Windows Phone. The drop-down notifications tray is a direct copy from Android’s method of consolidating notifications, and the new less-obtrusive top-bar toast notifications are very similar to Windows Phone’s method. Apple also added easy camera access to the lock screen of iOS which is another feature we often find on Android, and adding a hardware button for camera shutter access is something Windows Phone is known for.
There are plenty of other great features in Windows Phone and Android that Apple may be set to copy for their next release. What could they be?
We’ve already heard rumors of extensive Facebook integration coming to Apple’s iOS. That’s something that Windows Phone 7 does better than anyone else right now. It’s possible that Apple’s Facebook integration will be something minor like the “Tweet” button in the picture sharing or link sharing menus. Or maybe Apple will copy more from Windows Phone and load your Facebook friends into the contacts app and Facebook events in the calendar app (with wall and guest list support?) Facebook chat could become part of iMessage, Facebook photo albums could become part of the Photos app, and there could be a new “What’s New” app that consolidates the social networking news feeds from your friends. Personally I think the most likely scenario will be a simple “Send to Facebook” option in the content sharing menu just like IOS 5’s weak Twitter integration.
One of the other big omissions from iOS when it comes to Smartphone operating systems is the informative home screen. iOS just has a bunch of program icons just like Mac OS from 30 years ago. Sure some of them have little read numbers on them to indicate some sort of message waiting, and the calendar icon changes its number every day, but that’s it. Android and Windows Phone have much more dynamic and informative methods of bringing the information you want right up front so you can get to it right away. Will Apple add custom widgets or animated live tiles to iOS? Not likely, but they could allow the tiny program icons arranged on the home screen to offer more animated content.
The Boy Genius Report has some ideas as to what iOS 6 might bring as well. They think Apple will provide a new maps application that uses Apple’s own map data instead of Google’s and will provide 3D maps kind of like Android. iOS is also expected to have an iCloud sync for Safari browser tabs between multiple devices, which again is something that Chrome for Android can do with Chrome on the desktop. Apple will likely copy the automatic app updates feature from Android as well.
What other features do you think Apple might copy or borrow from other mobile operating systems with its reveal of iOS 6?