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Did Apple create iOS 8, or simply rehash Android 4.4?

Well they do say mimicry is the best form of flattery.

Many of Apple’s leading pioneers scoffed at the idea that Android would ever be a serious threat in the smartphone industry. Android was very much treated as the dorky kid in the playground, shunned to the side and left twiddling their thumbs. But lets fast forward to 2014 and where does Android now stand? It now holds 70% of all smartphone sales around the world and is making strong in-roads in the likes of India and China, predominantly down to the initial success of the OnePlus One and similar devices.

Thanks to Google, Android is constantly evolving, adapting to user demands and pioneering exciting new projects. Glass, driverless cars and WiFi balloons are just a few things we are excited about. It’s without doubt more than just a simple smartphone operating system. Where some manufacturers have fallen by the wayside, sorry Blackberry, others have looked to Android for inspiration for a bit of a creative push. Case in point, Apple.

At their recent WWDC event, Apple CEO, Tim Cook took to the stage to rip Android to shreds. He pulled numerous slides highlighting the poor state of Android’s fragmentation, the increased vulnerabilities in Android devices and even got a few chuckles when discussing the people transferring over from Android to iPhone. “Many of our new customers were switchers from Android. They had bought an Android phone, by mistake, and then sought a better experience. And a better life.”

The new notifications widgets in iOS 8 are innovative, right?

It’s a bold move to directly target an opposing operating system, and to be fair, Mr Cook did also take a few jabs at Windows too. But jokes and digs aside, I think it’s fairly clear that Apple took more than just simply inspiration from Android for the release of iOS 8. Lets start our tour of Android 4.4, sorry iOS 8, by taking a look at the App Store.Video demos played a big part of the revamped Apple App Store. This is a feature that has been around for Android users for a while already, enabling users to preview apps before they take the plunge and purchase them.

Apple users will now be able to download a third-party keyboard and customise it for the first time. Again, a feature that Android users have had for a number of years and not a substantial feature at that. But it doesn’t stop there with the keyboard, as Apple has also implemented a new QuickType feature. Basically it’s a better way of saying predictive typing. Would it be a surprise to you to know that this feature has been around for Android for sometime as well? But not even just for Android, it’s also a feature that both Windows and even Blackberry has previously utilised.

The list goes on:

  • Apple Spotlight now lets you search the internet. This sounds suspiciously like Google Search to us.
  • Siri can be activated in your car with ‘Hey, Siri’, a feature that ‘OK Google’ has provided for some time.
  • iCloud will now upload all photos taken automatically, something that Google+ photos is also capable of doing.
  • iOS 8 can now run widgets in the notifications. We won’t discuss how long this has been available for Android users.
  • iCloud Drive looks suspicously like Google Drive (and Dropbox, Box and SugarSync as well)

Now this is not to say that Apple aren’t capable of innovation. Lets face it, both the iPad and iPhone are incredible devices in their own way and we can happily concede that both helped kickstart the Android boom. But times have changed and from what started as innovation on their part has turned into mimicry, if iOS 8 is anything to go by. We can’t help feel the iPhone 6 may be following suit, but it’s too early to tell and unfair for us to judge it this early.

That dorky kid in the playground may always be dorky, but he’s now got a billion strong user base behind him and access to some of the most innovative products and ideas around. Apple will always be the cool kid at the party, but it’s now playing catch up to stay relevant with the rest of the pack.

I know which side I’d rather be on.