iOS 7 isn’t going to ship until later this fall, but we did get to peek into the future and see what we should expect, and it’s not perfect. Based on what we’ve seen so far, here are five things that iOS 7 can still learn from Android.
The iOS 7 homescreen reminds me of a bag of Skittles. It’s an explosion of unrelated color — everywhere. Color in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but it’s got to be done right. The color pallet that Apple has chosen with its new iteration of iOS is “too pastel” and washed out. This gives the phone — what we’ve seen of it so far — too much of a “plastic” look.
Android uses a unified color-palette to bring consistency across the entire OS. It’s bold and it’s not pastel. Of course OEMs can (and do) mess with Android’s user interface, but the pure Android experience is fairly elegant in its uniformity.
Not colorful enough
Not to contradict ourselves, but iOS 7 also sheds colors from areas like the calendar, keyboard, and mailbox. Common applications are gray on white, giving the impression that some parts of the UI were designed for an eBook reader, not a high-end device with a Retina Display.
Android, while keeping its interface fairly “flat” hasn’t gone as extreme in its “blandness” as iOS7.
No third-party sharing
One of the biggest features in Android is your ability to share virtually anything almost anywhere. I can share a contact card (for example) to Dropbox or Google Drive, to a QR code on my screen, via Bluetooth, by Gmail, or I can even make an NFC Tag out of it. If that’s not enough, I can install an app that will give me more sharing options.
How about a picture? I can share an image via Bluetooth, NFC, MMS, Picasa, Email, Goggles, Pinterest, Google Keep, WordPress, Google+, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Pages Manager, Facebook itself, Dropbox, Google Drive, Plume, Twitter, and even “NIA Super Ops” (Ingress). This list varies by what I have installed on my device, and your list will be customized to what you have on your device. Apple’s list? It’s whatever they tell you it should be — nothing more, nothing less.
Ironically, Apple’s own Newton OS introduced the concept of “sharing” years and years ago — they called it “routing”, but it did the same thing as Android’s sharing mechanism. I wonder whatever happened to the developers who wrote that elegant bit of code?
No custom default apps
iOS comes with a web browser, but you can also install any number of third-party web browsers if you don’t like the one that’s built in. While that sounds great, applications that include hyperlinks will still open those links in the default browser, not the one you prefer. Now apply the same logic to maps, image handling, and so forth, and you can see where iOS is missing the point.
Android not only lets you set the default app handler for various intents, it also lets you unset those defaults whenever you want.
No support for new connectivity
Nothing I saw today showed me that Apple products will be able to share content or make purchases via NFC. There were no hints that IR ports will be supported in upcoming products. Wireless charging is still nowhere to be found on Apple’s smartphone or tablets. For all of those things you’re going to need a device made by someone else.
Did we miss anything?
Based on what we saw today, what other things could have been learned from Android to make iOS7 even better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!