Apple has announced, what seems to be, its biggest mobile OS revision till date. It has some of the most anticipated features like integrated notification tray, Sync over WiFi, setting up iPhone without a PC and tight integration with Twitter. All or some of these are already available in other operating systems like Android, Windows and RIM OS.
Apple has used a simple three pronged strategy to achieve this. Copy, collaborate and compete is what Apple has followed with iOS5. Everybody complains about copying and ripping off. Patent troll aside, copying is an essential element of innovation. Microsoft knows it well, Facebook knows it well and now Apple knows it too well.
Copy : 5 things Apple copied in iOS5
PC Free : No PC is required to set-up a brand new iPhone or iPad. Android already has it. Cannot really say this is a copy as this is more of common sense and Steve Jobs is of the opinion that “Consumer doesn’t know what he wants”.
Notifications : Integrated notification screen which shows all the missed calls, text message, facebook messages and email messages is long pending. For a slick user interface of iOS, not having a integrated notification is a shame. It’s late but most welcome. Android already has it.
Newsstand : An independent app call Zinio is the newsstand for magazines till now. Apple decided to have its own. It is the iBooks for magazines. With publications eager to publish their content for iPad, newsstand would be a major hit.
Reminders : Remember, remember the milk application? iOS5’s reminders makes making lists easier, providing reminders and guess what it’s location aware. I can already see the productivity blogs going gung ho and at least a dozen posts waiting to be written. Copy?
Reading List : Instapaper, Readitlater were the two products which existed before Reading list. With Reading list’s possible integration with iCloud, everything else seems mundane
iCloud : Dropbox will be a deadbox for iOS5 users. No question about that. iCloud is free and Dropbox has a space limit. iCloud will go to places which dropbox can only dream of. A copy, for sure but a glorified copy.
Twitter integration : Mobile and twitter app developers are already salivating at the potential gold this iOS+Twitter combination offers. This is a killer combination. Apple could have copied Twitter and made its own. It didn’t. Because it doesn’t make much sense. Instead, it collaborated with Twitter and integrated it so well into the operating system that all the twitter apps look powerless. Wait till you see this baby in action.
A company cannot possibly compete and be a leader by sheer copying. Apple didn’t just copy the features. It has integrated them so well with iCloud that it makes really really hard for anyone to compete with Apple. The features that were copied – reading list, reminders, notification were all backed up by a strong product – iCloud. In addition Apple made it seamless to integrate almost everything back to the cloud.
Sync everything to everything wirelessly is the mantra. Now which other competitor has it?
Just when Android thought it has covered its ground, Apple moves at least a year ahead for everyone to catch up. Android and its ilk will be playing catch up for a while.