iOS 7 borrows heavily from its competition, but should we care?

June 11, 2013

    iOS 7

    Apple: do what I say, not what I do

    The reason I listed out some of the key features inspired from other operating systems wasn’t to say that iOS 7 was a complete copy-cat of the competition. It wasn’t even to point out that “Android has already done it”.

    The real takeaway is that innovation isn’t just about creating new ideas. It is also about taking old ideas and turning them into something that is your own. Android has also done this with features it has borrowed over the years from Palm OS, Web OS, Windows Mobile and even iOS.

    While much of what Apple introduced with iOS 7 wasn’t new, it does seem to feel distinctly Apple when compared to previous implementations. Did Apple do these features better? Apple fans will probably say yes, Android (and other platform) fans will likely say no. The answer is really one of opinion.

    The big question is whether it is okay for Apple to borrow features in the first place.

    Personally, I think that competition should be allowed to build upon existing ideas, as long as they bring something new to the table to set it apart from what’s already out there.

    The problem is that Apple has gone to great lengths to stomp on competitors for doing the same thing, while also claiming its own ideas are brand new innovations. The most notable example is its long, drawn-out war with Samsung, but that’s far from the only instance where Apple used litigation to discourage competitors from “borrowing” their ideas.

    Most of the folks up-in-arms over Apple’s iOS 7 aren’t necessarily mad at Apple taking ideas from existing apps and operating systems.

    While I obviously can’t speak for everyone, I would wager that many of these individuals are mad because Apple patents everything in sight and then sues the hell out of its rivals for something as vague as rounded corners or sliding to unlock. Yet after all of this, they still have the gall to turn around and steal from these same rivals.

    There are those that will instantly speak up saying, “Yah, but the features that Apple are borrowing aren’t patented. Apple’s features are”. That’s probably true, but it doesn’t make it right. Imagine where we would be at if fire or the wheel had been patented.

    Even worse, many of these Apple patents have held back companies from innovating or creating unique products, and yet later have ended up invalidated.

    Summing things up

    Apple’s iOS 7 is a refreshing change of pace, and one that is sure to shake up the mobile world going forward. There are many changes that Jony Ive and team should be applauded for, fully original or not. They’ve taken an aging dinosaur and have given it wings.

    I don’t fault the developers or designers at Apple. This was a good effort and is a clear improvement for iOS. My problem is with the higher-ups that are perfectly okay with taking “inspiration” from competing platforms/apps and yet feel the need to attack the competition over frivolous lawsuits regarding their own ‘unique’ ideas.

    Protecting your IP is one thing, abusing patent law to hold back your rivals is another.

    (As a disclaimer, I realize Apple is FAR from the only company to have ever brought forth a frivolous patent claim)

    What do you think of iOS 7, are you bothered that many of the changes are nothing more than rehashes of features that have long existed on other platforms? Conversely, do you feel that Apple did absolutely nothing wrong here with taking existing ideas and simply expanding on them?

    Via

    Source

    Tags

    Comments

    • Gilles LeBlanc

      No

    • Gilles LeBlanc

      No

    • LAKAME

      If Apple intends to continue these stupid patent wars, yes.
      If Apple is finally gonna stop suing every freaking rival for stupid things, then no.

    • LAKAME

      If Apple intends to continue these stupid patent wars, yes.
      If Apple is finally gonna stop suing every freaking rival for stupid things, then no.

    • Justin Roskowske

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Justin Roskowske

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Luposlipophobic

      I juste want to say that : http://9gag.com/gag/agy3Bww

    • Luposlipophobic

      I juste want to say that : http://9gag.com/gag/agy3Bww

    • Mvrcel Lgt

      yep, exactly what I thought! Thx for writing it down.

    • Mvrcel Lgt

      yep, exactly what I thought! Thx for writing it down.

    • Friðberg Leifs Jensson

      The only thing I can see it iOS is more colourful and took many things from other competitors

    • Friðberg Leifs Jensson

      The only thing I can see it iOS is more colourful and took many things from other competitors

    • Benjamin Pavel

      The only thing i am jealous of new iOS 7 is that new colorful light theme everywhere.
      Wish i could have that on my phone. >_>

      • EKfine

        you mean that gayish/childish theme ios 7 has?

    • Benjamin Pavel

      The only thing i am jealous of new iOS 7 is that new colorful light theme everywhere.
      Wish i could have that on my phone. >_>

      • EKfine

        you mean that gayish/childish theme ios 7 has?

    • Alfredo Manuel Gonzalez II

      Its a joke that they steal ideas from Android and other platforms but then the minute someone makes something like Apple the go SUE CRAZY!!!! WTF!!! They sued Samsung over a shape I mean come on. If Apple stops their dumb law suits then by all means but i bet it will not. And another thing maybe they would be more innovative if they stopped wasting their time with their law suits and use their ENERGY to Innovate!

      • AppleLover

        mmm… Maybe because Android (especially Samsung) “borrowed” almost everything from Apple to begin with?

        • Idiot

          Name it. The shape? WOW. They copied a homescreen with Icons? Remind me, what’s on your computer’s desktop? Go back in your hole

    • Alfredo Manuel Gonzalez II

      Its a joke that they steal ideas from Android and other platforms but then the minute someone makes something like Apple the go SUE CRAZY!!!! WTF!!! They sued Samsung over a shape I mean come on. If Apple stops their dumb law suits then by all means but i bet it will not. And another thing maybe they would be more innovative if they stopped wasting their time with their law suits and use their ENERGY to Innovate!

    • Power2112

      Good objective article. It’s like you took down my thoughts and put it on paper (virtual as it may be).

    • Power2112

      Good objective article. It’s like you took down my thoughts and put it on paper (virtual as it may be).

    • zubairali

      Hi Siri, What is the interface on Andriod?

    • zubairali

      Hi Siri, What is the interface on Andriod?

    • StretchDee1

      I hated apple to begin with and I hate them even more now. Those S.O.Bs.

      • mrochester

        Why would you hate a company, especially one who helps to keep others on their toes?

    • StretchDee1

      I hated apple to begin with and I hate them even more now. Those S.O.Bs.

    • Ronak

      Google (Android) should sue Apple for their new UI.

    • Ronak

      Google (Android) should sue Apple for their new UI.

      • D’Ander McSullivan

        They won’t. They’re very nice to do that.

        • mrochester

          Samsung and HTC sue other companies all the time.

          • D’Ander McSullivan

            I meant Google…

      • sky

        maybe the other mobile companies like HTC, Sammy and others should sue Apple

        • ewrasdfaf

          They both Google, Sammy, and HTC should sue for this, like apple sued sammy. Sammy deserves a proper appology after the Nexus incident.

    • Timmy

      Great article.

      If whatever Apple does that sparks others to innovate and NOT get sued, then iOS7 is great.

      Really though, hardly any of this is innovative, even for Apple. At some point, they’ll need to expand their phones to include more size options along with the features inside. Instead of making customer fit Apple’s idea of what a device should be, they could learn a little from what other manufacturers have done with Android and Windows Phone.

      I doubt Apple will ever become as customizable as Android but if enough useful features are part of the OS, it may not be necessary.

    • Timmy

      Great article.

      If whatever Apple does that sparks others to innovate and NOT get sued, then iOS7 is great.

      Really though, hardly any of this is innovative, even for Apple. At some point, they’ll need to expand their phones to include more size options along with the features inside. Instead of making customer fit Apple’s idea of what a device should be, they could learn a little from what other manufacturers have done with Android and Windows Phone.

      I doubt Apple will ever become as customizable as Android but if enough useful features are part of the OS, it may not be necessary.

      • mrochester

        The trouble is, when you ask customers what they want, they don’t actually know. Ford famously once said that if he’d asked his customers what they wanted before he invented the car, they would have asked for a faster horse. We rely on Apple, and others, to show us what it is that we want. Speaking to a bunch of nerds and making products based on their requests is a sure fire way of flopping quickly and spectacularly in this market.

    • Thomas Vales

      I dont really mind. IOS was well overdue a facelift and for the most part the new ui design is nice. Also it seems like they added tons of new features (to iOS), It seems they cant win with you all. Either they don’t have the features you want and you fault them for it then when they add them you cry copying. -___- I mean how many intuitive ways are there to show a notification or toggle quick settings. That being said the majority of this was playing catch up to android, so when key lime pie drops they may be behind again. I for 1 am glad to see them pose some type of competition for android having one clear winner is boring I want the phone race (OS) to be neck in neck.

    • Thomas Vales

      I dont really mind. IOS was well overdue a facelift and for the most part the new ui design is nice. Also it seems like they added tons of new features (to iOS), It seems they cant win with you all. Either they don’t have the features you want and you fault them for it then when they add them you cry copying. -___- I mean how many intuitive ways are there to show a notification or toggle quick settings. That being said the majority of this was playing catch up to android, so when key lime pie drops they may be behind again. I for 1 am glad to see them pose some type of competition for android having one clear winner is boring I want the phone race (OS) to be neck in neck.

    • babyree

      “iOS 7 borrows heavily from its competition, but should we care?” I care because when others borrows from Apple, they SUE and I get inundated on the news with their patent wars. Now with the new iOS7, will others sue Apple?

    • babyree

      “iOS 7 borrows heavily from its competition, but should we care?” I care because when others borrows from Apple, they SUE and I get inundated on the news with their patent wars. Now with the new iOS7, will others sue Apple?

      • seemon rahman

        Looking into legality Android is open source.

    • ijks

      When Apple does it, it’s borrowing.
      When someone else does it, it’s stealing.

    • ijks

      When Apple does it, it’s borrowing.
      When someone else does it, it’s stealing.

    • No One

      Very nice article.

    • No One

      Very nice article.

    • Sid

      Guys, just for the record, Apple usually has very long roadmaps. Apple probably had a lot of these “features” scheduled for release for years — it’s part of their “incremental updates” methodology. A way to slowly bring improvement to a product.

      I’m sure this took a whole week of coding. It’s not that they couldn’t introduce these features earlier — they didn’t want to. If you actually follow Apple closely — that’s their MO. When they announce a product, iPod, iPhone, unibody macbook — they pretty much know which enhancements they’ll bring to it each iteration, and those plans probably go out 5 to 10 years. That’s just the type of organization they are — think BMW 3 series, the E36 lasted about 5 years, the E46 lasted about 5 years… same thing.

    • Sid

      Guys, just for the record, Apple usually has very long roadmaps. Apple probably had a lot of these “features” scheduled for release for years — it’s part of their “incremental updates” methodology. A way to slowly bring improvement to a product.

      I’m sure this took a whole week of coding. It’s not that they couldn’t introduce these features earlier — they didn’t want to. If you actually follow Apple closely — that’s their MO. When they announce a product, iPod, iPhone, unibody macbook — they pretty much know which enhancements they’ll bring to it each iteration, and those plans probably go out 5 to 10 years. That’s just the type of organization they are — think BMW 3 series, the E36 lasted about 5 years, the E46 lasted about 5 years… same thing.

      • Adama Simmons

        NIce try, but no company waits this long to release features that could keep them competitive. Apple just knew that something drastic had to be done to reinvigorate theyre prehistoric device.

      • phreezerburn

        Bull. Apple patents everything they can and CLEARLY has no qualms about litigating so if they indeed HAD THESE FEATURES ALREADY, they would have been in front of a judge litigating such. Crack a book.

    • mrochester

      No, as long as the technology used has been properly licensed where appropriate.

    • swannanoa72

      So the time for Apple to ‘borrow’ from competition has arrived. Everything is fair in Love and War though.

    • Cornstarch

      ios 7 is still behind because they still don’t have launchers to replace Apple’s UI if you don’t like how it looks. you still can’t change the default Keyboard for Swiftkey nor the default Apps to open. There’s no widget for any Apps to display quick important info instead of opening the Apps to check your info

    • Julian Obeid

      Instead of bringing new changes they decide to mock all existing features and add a bit of their OS to make a change; one word though,their excuse is exactly what makes us understand them much more than they can see us with their own eye.

    • flamencoguy

      To quote Phil Schiller “can’t innovate my ass”. Well he is wrong. Little design tweaks are hardly innovation. A child can draw something new everyday. Show us something that no one else has done before.

      • Apple_Nexus

        Way to take a quote out of context! He was talking about the new Mac Pro which is an incredibly innovative design.

    • john

      iOS

    • nishantsirohi123

      worse than everything else
      most early devices(iphone 4 and ipad2 especially) wont get even half of the features of ios7.
      and yet apple has the gall to say that the devices shall be updated to ios7

      its like receiving jellybean update without “project butter and google now”

      even microsoft,no matter how much hate the received from their users with the WP8 apps being incompatible with WP7 devices and those not getting updated to WP8
      microsoft updated the user interface and added features to it but it was still Windowphone7 (7.8)

    • Abdullah

      The translucent notification bar is on the Samsung Galaxy S4 way before the iOS 7!!

    • seemon rahman

      Where is ios7 innovation? Never thought that apple will copy innovations that are few years back from andriod. They should copy inovations of Samsung like air view, air gesture, air scroll, air magnifying which is not found in many phone brand. Come on apple you may say this is not Samsung innovation but I am sure these innovation will be copy into apple ios in time to come.

    • chitetskoy

      And Apple will soon sue Google for having all these features which were actually borrowed (or copied) from Android.

    • chitetskoy

      Remember Apple actually sued Microsoft (or just threatened) when the latter released the first ever Windows, for “copying everything in the GUI.”

    Popular

    Latest