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June 10, 2011

When did Apple stop innovating?

I've only recently got around to checking out the new iOS 5 features, and as I'm due an upgrade, whatever is in there is going to make a big difference to my next phone purchase. On paper, the list of features looks spectacular, but having spent a week with an Android and been researching smartphones heavily for a month or so, all of it looks familiar.  Let's have a quick look down the list:

Notification Center

  • Slide down from the top to see all your pending notifications? Android.
  • Lock Screen showing notifications? Android/HTC Sense.

iMessage

Newsstand

Reminders

  • It's amazing that it's taken 5 versions of iOS for there to be a native task list, but as there hasn't been, plenty of companies are making money adding this to the OS, money Apple is now going to take away from them.

Twitter Integration

  • About the only thing that looks close to innovative, until you realise that HTC have done close to this for Facebook with their sense UI for Android.

Camera

  • Camera access from the lock screen? HTC Sense.
  • Using volume button for taking a picture? Numerous apps have supplied this functionality over iOS's lifetime, and each one has eventually been pulled from the App store. Do as I say, don't do as I do?

Photos

Safari

Wi-Fi Sync

Detritus

The remaining features of iOS5 listed on Apple's marketing page are all thing you would have expected at least the iPad to have done from day one.

Fanboi rage incoming

Now I'm not anti-Apple, I currently have an iPhone and if they were half the price I'd have a macbook, but Apple's business practices are getting worse and worse, but the fandom gets stronger and stronger.  Why is it when Apple steal ideas and even try to patent other people's work, it's somehow accepted or brushed aside by their fans.  I find it a little sad that we are now so affected by marketing that superbrands like Apple illicit a similar response in our brains to religion. What's most sad about Apple's current direction is that they used to innovate.  Now they take other's ideas, polish them up a bit and market them as revolutionary game changers.  Have they fired all the ideas people and replaced them with designers and marketers? I don't bother making principled stands against good products, so iPhone is still on my list of phones to choose from, but it looks like Apple aren't leading the way with ideas anymore.  They don't need to, they've got hundreds of thousands of App Store and Android developers to do that for them.