It seems that the tech press has finally come to realize what I have been ranting about for the last one and a half years.
iOS is outdated in terms of functionality and boring in terms of aesthetics.
In the last few weeks I must have seen at least 5 to 6 articles and a lot of tweets that are basically saying that Apple needs to freshen up iOS. Like something Android did when it moved from 2.x to 3.x and then 4.x. Android today is a modern looking, modern behaving, slick and smooth operating system. While iOS remains largely the same. Sure, some controls were changed from rectangular to circular, but the whole OS has remained the same familiar constant. Well, you know what they say, familiarity breeds contempt. For a lot of people, this is exactly what is happening.
Exhibit 1: The title of this linked post is “45 Unique iPhone Home Screens Explained“. If these iPhone home screens are unique in any way, I must get myself some of the weed this guy is smoking.
Especially the international tech press. These people are all eartly adopters and have always bought the latest Apple offerings as soon as they were available. but, to go year after year after year without any change in the feel of the product has finally started getting to them. To be fair, I have been ranting about how boring and childish iOS looks only because I like trying out and using new things, especially on a new shiny gadget. No such luck with Apple products. iOS is the main reason that I have never been compelled to buy a newer iPad. My iPad 2 is just fine. There seems to be nothing that the new iPads offers that compels me to upgrade. Compare that with how I feel right now about getting the Nexus 4. The anticipation is palpable.
To set the record straight, I love Apple hardware. It’s definitely worth the price. Some other devices are catching up on the build quality side of things. The Nexus 4 is a good example. It’s got a glass back and everything. On the software side, iOS has been left way behind. Way, way behind. I measure this as…
The number of things you can do with your smartphone without the need for a third party app.
The best example of this is the Google Ecosystem. Search + Maps + Now = Awesomeness. Third party apps used = 0. Windows phone and iOS are at par for me on this front. The only real integration they have are twitter and facebook. Seeing the demos of how Google now works it is just breathtaking. It works in India too. Unlike iOS features that demand an American accent not to mention they even tend to fail in regions they support. For Apple, all these technologies are a mish mash of different companies but for Google, it is a more integrated, more cohesive “one company”. That is definitely an advantage.
However, I can actually go a step further with this argument.
iOS is outdated in terms of functionality and boring in terms of aesthetics, on the iPhone.
Yes. That actually represents my view more completely. I have two iOS devices at home. My iPad 2 and the wife’s iPhone 4S. Every time I pick up the iPhone to try and use it, the first thought that comes to me is, “Why the hell are these icons and buttons so bloody big?” iOS looks kludgy on the phone. However, on the iPad, it looks fine and more importantly, it feels fine. So what does apple need to do? Differentiate the two use cases for iOS. One for the phone and the other for the tablet and maybe some day for the desktops and laptops as well.
Too much to ask / do? Surely not for the world’s most valuable company! Hmm?