It’s an old argument.
“Someone else did that first” is the common cry we hear every year when Apple announces updates to its software for Macs, iPhones, and iPads.
At Apple’s developer’s conference Monday, there was a lot to point out too.
iPads now let you run two apps side by side, just like you can on Microsoft’s Surface tablet. Siri is now more intelligent and proactive, just like Android’s virtual assistant Google Now. Apple Maps can give you public transit directions just like Google Maps. Safari can tell you which tab is making noise, just like Chrome.
And so on. The Verge has a good roundup.
It is objectively true that other platforms have had a lot of the features announced today for a long time. Years, in many cases. But that doesn’t make them superior products.
You don’t see people buying 10 million or more Surface tablets per quarter because you can run two apps side by side. You don’t see Samsung’s poor fortunes turning around because it allowed you to watch a pop-up video on its tablets years before Apple added that feature to the iPad. Google still has trouble getting Android phone makers to adopt new features in a timely fashion.
It’s not about cramming as much as you can into one product and bragging that yours can literally do more than the competition. It’s about picking the right features at the right time.
Since the launch of the iPhone, iOS has improved incrementally year over year. Just look how terrible the original iPhone seems compared to today’s iPhone. There was a lot it couldn’t do.
But in the long run, these incremental improvements to Apple’s platforms add up to superior products. You may have seen similar features from others before, but Apple carefully curates what it decides to include to give you what it thinks is the best possible experience.
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