8 ways iOS 8 stole from WhatsApp, Android and everyone else

ios 8 copying

I watched Apple’s WWDC 2014 keynote presentation last night without expecting much innovation, but Tim Cook’s company delivered unexpected surprises like a brand-new “more powerful than Objective C” coding language named Swift. Apple also announced OS X 10.10 and iOS 8, two operating systems that are trying their best to become inseparable. What I disliked were the updates to iOS 8 which were quite blatantly cribbed from other apps. Get ready, it’s time to take a bite out of Apple.


New to Photos is deeper iCloud integration. Make an edit on iPad, and it appears on the connected iPhone, plus images are uploaded in their native RAW, the full file size. Apple will make this as pretty as possible for iOS 8, but Google’s been in the photo backup game for well over a year now. It’s name? Google+ Photos.

With it, I can edit a photo on my phone or on my Macbook Pro and any changes are instantly uploaded to the cloud. My photos are then available on practically anything, from my crappy old laptop to my TV. It’s one of the best features about Android, and Apple pilfered it.

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This kills me. Everything about Messages for iOS 8 has been ripped from WhatsApp. Everything. Apple announced push-to-record voice and video, group messaging, location sharing, multiple image and video sharing, and attachment viewing from within the Messages app. WhatsApp offers all of this, and has done so with each update to its app. It’s so bad that WhatsApp’s co-founder even tweeted this:

It’s shameful that Apple had to borrow so much from WhatsApp just to remain on top of its “innovation” game. And it’s clear that Apple wants its users to migrate from WhatsApp to Messages, and many will, but iOS 8’s cut-and-paste job is a little too blatant to forgive.

Interactive notifications

iOS 8 will let us reply to notifications straight from the banner. On Android, there’s an app for that and it’s almost a year old. SMS Popup may not look as attractive as iOS 8’s attempt, but it certainly is a working solution.

Third-party keyboard support, Swipe and more

New to iOS 8: word suggestions hovering above the keyboard, Swipe typing and third-party keyboard support. Give me a break. Android’s had third-party keyboard support and word suggestions since 2009, and swipe since early 2013. Apple will make it as slick and attractive as possible, but it’s old news and keyboard options should have been added years ago.

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I love the concept of the cloud, despite it being a stupid buzzword with no real meaning (we’ve been accessing our data remotely since the beginning of the internet). Apple wants you to truly feel the cloud with iOS 8. Pity everything its added has already been done.

“Edits you make on one device appear on all of them. Any kind of file. On all your devices,” says Apple of iOS 8, but it’s déjà vu once again.

Office Online is excellent for documents and PicMonkey, Pixlr and Ribbit work well for images. These have all been available long before iCloud’s new improvements. On top of all of this, there’s the mighty Dropbox which works on all platforms and smartphones and accepts files of any size, and syncs photo and video automatically.

Healthy apps

Samsung was first when it came to an overzealous health focus on mobile devices, but it never really followed through with its plans or delivered anything truly useful for the consumer. Perhaps Apple’s new Health app and the Healthkit framework for developers can fix that? Right now, all that Apple’s doing is squashing together a few different apps and bringing them into one place. For those who want a great health app, there’s Runtastic, Endomondo, Noom and thousands more.

Hell, there’s even the Mayo Clinic Patient app for those who want the most accurate medical information possible.

Keeping it all connected

“Now you can start writing an email on your iPhone and pick up where you left off when you sit down at your Mac,” says Apple of Handoff. The Gmail app does this flawlessly with email, as does Word online with documents. Handoff works with all “your favourite apps” on iOS like Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts. For every app it works with, Google’s already been there.

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iOS 8 also boasts a unified calling system, meaning that phone calls and text messages can be accessed on Mac as well. Isn’t that what Skype’s been doing for almost a decade now on PC? Is this all that Apple is, a company that takes known software and converts it into a prettier framework?


A long time ago, Google was invented and every other search engine and app did their best to keep up since. Can Apple’s new Spotlight search options best Google’s features or at least, innovate on them? Spotlight searches everything now, such as movie time, trailers, contacts, everything. But Google and smarty-pants search engine Wolfram Alpha do the same thing, it just doesn’t look as pretty. And again, most Android phones have a Google search bar accessible straight from their homescreen.

Despite all of Apple’s cut-and-paste shenanigans, iOS 8 will look and feel magical. Apple, irritatingly, knows how to push out a product that is almost sensual in nature. iOS 8 will be unbelievably slick, just totally unoriginal as well.

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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