Ice Cream Sandwich Encompasses Much More than What iOS6 Offers

Gone are the days of Apple blowing away people with new augmentations and cool additions. Platforms like Android and Windows Phone 7 already offer all what Apple announces at it’s expensive conferences, and with iOS6, it looks like the platform is becoming less of a innovation and more of a catch-up. Apple announced iOS6 at Worldwide Developers Conference last week, and though it’s kind of a big upgrade for iPad and iPhone users, most of the announced features, along with the unannounced 200 new features are already available on Android Ice Cream Sandwich (i.e Android 4.0). Apple is good at making present technologies more user-friendly for people, like they did with iOS5, but Ice Cream Sandwich took Android a great distance, and the amazing experience of Sense 4.0 is absolutely peerless.

Apple revealed some big enhancements at WWDC 2012 so let’s start by comparing those features with Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Don’t forget, Ice Cream Sandwich was revealed last year and Google may unveil the next iteration of Android, code-named Jelly Bean at this year’s Google I/O.

iOS 6 Ice Cream Sandwich
Maps 3D, TBT (Turn by Turn) TBT (Turn by Turn), 3D, walking/biking/transit, offline coming soon
Voice control Siri S-Voice on Galaxy S3, Google Voice Actions
Travel and reward card management Passbook Third-party apps
Email Unique account signatures, restricted attachment support, VIP filtering Unique account signatures, full attachment support, VIP filtering
Service sharing Only Facebook and Twitter Almost all sharing services
Notifications Reply with SMS, DND (Do Not Disturb), Shade Reply with SMS, DND, Shade, Third party apps
Video calling 3G & WiFi FaceTime, Tango, Skype, others GTalk, Skype, Tango, others
Video stabilization Yes Yes

Now let’s me elaborate each difference.

[Note]Maps:[/Note]

Apple always bundled a maps application with iOS, which was powered by Google Maps. With iOS6, Apple ditched Google Maps and introduced it’s own mapping system, which is driven by TomTom. The new Maps app offers amazing visuals with good features, which is soon to be further improved, like traffic monitoring (via crowdsourcing), turn-by-turn navigation, integration with other apps but lacks offline navigation support, which Google announced for it’s Android devices at the Google Maps event, along with pedestrian, bicycle, and transit functions. Because Google Maps is available since a pretty long time on different platforms (which also implies it’s a thoroughly used and tested product), Apple’s own mapping implementation faces tough competition from Mountain View.

[Note]Siri:[/Note]

Siri finally received some missing features which it should’ve originally got before it’s launch, like the ability to start apps, real-time sports, movies and restaurant information and the integration with select cars to enable eyes-free control. These features are indeed brilliant but I wonder how many of you will actually use it past the novelty epoch, which is usually a week or two. I’ve rarely seen people using Siri and it doesn’t seem very practical in real life. Most of what Siri offers was available since the inception of Android and now, current voice apps offer everything which Siri has. And of course, they now have siri for iPad!

[Note]Passbook:[/Note]

Passbook is like a combination of Starbucks, TripIt, Flixster and offers a centralized place to store reward coupons, air tickets and more. It doesn’t offer payment functionality but might soon have that too.

[Note]Email:[/Note]

It was so much fun to see people clapping and jumping when Apple announced the arrival of multiple email signatures, which enables you to have different email signatures for different email accounts on your iOS device. You can now also add attachments from the email client itself, but it’s very limited as you can only attach photos and only one photo at a time. Also included in iOS 6 is VIP mailbox, which lets you filter people’s email so you can read emails which are really important. Again, it’s nothing new as this feature is already available in HTC Sense.

[Note]Facebook:[/Note]

Apple introduced limited Twitter integration in iOS5 and now with iOS6, they’ve inculcated Facebook too. Nothing revolutionary as Windows Phone launched with this feature back in 2010 and not to forget Android, which offers the most broad sharing capability across virtually all sharing services.

[Note]Notification Center:[/Note]

With iOS6, you have the ability to instantly reply with a text message to any call which you don’t want to pick up. There’s also a Do Not Disturb feature, which is actually pretty handy. The SMS reply feature is already available on Ice Cream Sandwich and the Do Not Disturb feature can be enabled via third-party apps from Google Play store.

[Note]FaceTime (via 3G):[/Note]

When Apple introduced FaceTime in 2010, the video chat feature was only accessible over Wi-Fi and people have been asking Apple to enable Facetime use 3G (cellular) for video calling. Other third-party services like Skype and Tango offered calling over 3G & Wi-Fi and now with iOS6, Apple has finally made people happy by enabling FaceTime over 3G. But anyways, I prefer Skype more because it enables me to communicate with people across different platforms.

[Note]Video Stabilization: [/Note]

iOS6 offers some nifty video stabilization features to reduce shaky videos, something which you’ve might already seen on other platforms.

Some other cool additions to iOS6 include:

  • Photo stream sharing (Already available on Android through Picasa)
  • Safari data syncing (tabs, bookmarks, etc) (Already available on Android via Chrome)
  • Fullscreen landscape mode in Safari (Soon to be available with Android Jelly Bean)
  • Game Center and Guided Access Improvements

Conclusion

iOS6 is a must-install update for iOS users. While Apple borrowed many features from different platforms and upgraded the UI elements a bit in iOS5, they did the same with iOS6. But Android offers much better UI experience nevertheless and disparity between both iOS and Android isn’t as immense as it used to be.

Also, I find it very amusing when Apple puts side by side the amount of people with iPhones using the latest version of iOS and the amount of people using Android, as there is only one iPhone and hundreds of different Android handsets. If there was only one Android handset, everyone would’ve been using the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s just a stupid analogy made to smash Android.

Moreover, Google will be most likely announcing the next iteration of Android, code-named Jelly Bean at Google I/O 2012, which will bring more new innovative features to current Android devices, which will give more competition to iOS6. I now realize why analysts predict iOS to continue with relatively invariable pace of adoption.

Microsoft might also capture more market share with Windows Phone 8. I personally prefer the Galaxy S3, which packs the best hardware available for phones and with Android 4.0’s customization options, hackability and uncluttered UI, it makes a very great phone. iOS6 isn’t compulsive enough to drive me away from Android or Windows Phone 8, which will be most likely my next phone.

Seems a great article to me. Your comments?

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3 comments

  • Oops! my friend you had written wrong about Facetime, it should be like this “When Apple introduced FaceTime in 2010, the video chat feature was only accessible over Wi-Fi and people have been asking Apple to enable Facetime use 3G (cellular) for video calling. Other third-party services like Skype and Tango offered calling over 3G & Wi-Fi and now with iOS6, Apple has finally made people happy by enabling FaceTime over 3G. But anyways, I prefer Skype more because it enables me to communicate with people across different platforms.” 😉

  • When Apple introduced FaceTime in 2010, the video chat feature was only accessible over Wi-Fi and people have been asking Apple to enable Facetime use 3G (cellular) for video calling. Other third-party services like Skype and Tango offered calling over 3G & Wi-Fi and now with iOS6, Apple has finally made people happy by enabling FaceTime over 3G. But anyways, I prefer Skype more because it enables me to communicate with people across different platforms.
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