At last night's WWDC, Apple announced a slew of new features and products. Energy was high, Drake was in the building, but we noticed that a lot of the big reveals looked a lot like the features and products of rivals...especially Google. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of trying to kill the competition.
Here’s a quick rundown of some the competitors Apple is targeting with its latest “innovations”.
The biggest announcement of the day was Apple’s new streaming service, Apple Music. While it helps justify that $3 billion Beats acquisition last year, Apple Music is late to the game, and it’s going to have to do a lot more than parade Drake around for a few minutes to go from 0 to 100 real quick. (Insert groan here.)
Apple is releasing Apple Music for Android to give itself as wide an audience as possible, and to give as explicit a middle finger as possible to Google Play. With its Beats 1 radio station, Apple is also gunning for Pandora (a streaming radio service that is no longer available for use in the UK).
Apple is probably also trying to kill Tidal here too, though that’s assuming Apple considers Tidal a viable threat.
The “Apple Music Connect” feature Drake briefly rambled about hedges in on SoundCloud’s social music discovery territory, and it’s kind of a bummer to see Drake shilling for Apple when he’s been such an avid SoundCloud user.
SoundCloud has been ahead of is competitors at connecting fans with artists, and it’s always been more of a social network/streaming service hybrid.
Notes has always been fairly light on features, but its revamp today puts it in closer competition with third-party organisational apps like Evernote. Now you can draw sketches, make checklists, and add photos, maps, and websites into Notes. All things you can do on Evernote.
Apple has a horrible track record with Maps, but its new public transport feature should appeal to commuters without cars. Instead of routing people to third-party apps, the iOS 9 version of Maps will provide public transport directions, which is something Google Maps already does.
In a delightfully blatant attempt to get people to stop using Android, Apple debuted another Android app today, though it didn’t get any attention during the keynote: ‘Move to iOS’ is an app designed to help people switching from Android to Apple.
The app transfers contacts, message history, photos and videos, bookmarks, email, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books from Android to Apple, and suggests third-party apps to re-add. It’ll be available for iOS 9, so it won’t be out until autumn.
Apple is gunning hard for Google Now by making its intelligent search even better with Proactive assistance on iOS 9. This means Apple devices will now anticipate what you’re looking for based on context and make predictions about what you want based on your past behaviour.
Siri will be able to set appointments. And there’s an API for search, which means the Proactive assistance feature will be able to pull information from other apps people have on their phones.
Anyone who sat through last week’s Google I/O Google Now on Tap demo may have déjà vu. Apple is using privacy as a way to differentiate its personal assistance features from Google’s offerings; Craig Federighi emphasised that Proactive assistance data stays on the device and doesn’t go into the cloud.
Apple News is “the best mobile reading experience ever,” according to Susan Bailey. Translation: RIP Newsstand.. Aside from replacing its own crappy mobile reader, News has some established competition from Flipboard. Just like Flipboard, you can pick a list of publishers or topics to follow, and Apple News will provide a customised news reader.
Apple is betting on some sweet, sweet content deals to lure people away, like daily free articles from major news organisations. There aren’t ads yet, though we’ll see how long that lasts.
“Our ultimate goal is to replace the wallet, and we’re well on our way to doing just that,” Jennifer Bailey highlighted Apple’s payment expansion. That’s one hell of a lofty aim, but Apple did introduce a surprisingly robust Apple Pay expansion: it’s coming to the UK, it’s partnering with Pinterest for a new “buyable pin” programme, and it’s partnering with Square on a payment reader.
Apple also renamed Passbook “Wallet,” possibly to make its plans to kill all Google’s competing features as unambiguous as possible.