With iOS 14, Apple adopts the smartphone UX decisions that Google made a decade ago

Every year at WWDC, Apple copies Google. But also, every year on Google I / O (or, this year, nothing really), Google copies Apple. Whatever is. It is a cliche at the moment; The two main mobile platforms are so mature that it is rarely about the characteristics that one will have and the other not, but what will be the first. But today, Apple showed what could be more stereotypically Android iOS release yet …

While Apple really likes those information-dense closing slides that show all the countless innovations that will fundamentally change the way you use your iPhone, installing it on your device is often a different experience. Most of these features, useful as they are, are buried deep below the surface. Most of them won’t even notice until a week or two later. Many of them you will never notice.

It’s clear that the most notable and remarkable features added in iOS 14 surround the new home screen, widgets, and app library. That’s what the average person will think when the latest version of iOS hits their phones this fall, it’s just then Android. And almost everyone on the Internet noticed. There’s a moment on Twitter about it, and for good reason.

While every iOS release has its “you’re stealing that from Android” moments (like most Android releases with the reverse case in recent years), reactions were sharper this year. Technically they are right. Home screen widgets are an idea that dates back more than ten years on Android. It’s no exaggeration to say that Android phones of all kinds have supported widgets on the home screen since the beginning. Is he definition of that Android feature that Apple just wouldn’t let happen.

And it happens that the other major change on the home screen is another pillar of Android. The “App Library,” as Apple calls it, is essentially the old Android app drawer. Almost anyone who has used an Android phone knows that they can access their applications in two ways: by finding their icon on one of their custom home screens, or by scrolling through the application drawer. Apple finally realized with iOS 14 that having multiple pages of unorganized apps feels messy, so they allow you to hide and find them quickly. that application that you hardly ever use with a quick scroll or touch what is essentially an app drawer.

Other things that Apple introduced with iOS 14 were also the first on Android, but they fall more in the category of things that Google just mentioned. it happened get there first for a year, maybe two. Picture-in-picture support, for example. A dedicated translation app with live translation features (Google Translate, anyone?), Incoming phone calls that don’t effectively disable your device, and “App Clips,” which are Apple’s version of instant apps. Apple tends to be more conservative overall, avoiding launching features just for the sake of features. And that is fine.

Many of those give and take occurs every year, often because some of these innovations are more inevitable than original. But this year, when iOS 14 starts hitting phones, you can definitely expect more “I’ve been doing that for years!” Android users. Apple finally collapsed and made some of the fundamental decisions that Google made, and maintained, for more than a decade. For one thing, this is validation for Google to stick with these decisions for so long, but it also shows that Apple can drag its feet on good ideas out of pride.

I mean, look, there’s no reason iOS 8 couldn’t do this. And we have the receipts.

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