Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

Summary: Nothing new to see here, folks. Apple's announcements from the WWDC keynote felt a lot like what Google and other startups have already been offering for some time now.

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TOPICS: Apple, Google
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Steve Jobs and Team Apple took the stage at the WorldWide Developers' Conference today to unveil what the world has anxiously be awaiting - updates to the Mac OS, the iPhone/iPad OS and the unveiling of iCloud. The keynote speech, at a whopping 120 minutes, was chock-full of new features, tools and services.

Unfortunately, what was unveiled by Apple - which has long been known for "setting" the bar - was a lot of copycat sort of features that seemed to take their cues from Google and others.

Photo Gallery: Apple's WWDC 2011

Let's recap, shall we?

Auto-save feature: Apple has ripped out the "Save" button in its productivity apps, including Keynote and Pages. The apps not only saves automatically - so users can close out the app and reopen it from where they left off - but users can also access earlier versions of the project. It's great not to have to worry about saving your work - Google has been auto-saving files in its Google Docs platform for some time now, as well as a history of all of the revisions to the documents. Nothing new from Apple here, folks.

Notifications: The company showed off its new unobtrusive way of notifying users of new messages, mail and other alerts. Now, icons appear at the top of the screen so that users, swiping downward with a finger swipe, can see all of their notifications in one shot. Sound familiar? Yup, that's the way Android has been notifying its users of new messages and alerts for some time now. Again, nothing new here.

Cloud Calendar: Ooooh. Aaaahhh. Apple is now offering the ability to share calendars with other people over the cloud. Now, moms and dads can share a calendar about the kiddos' soccer games or members of a project can share key dates with each other. I love this feature - and have been for years, via Google Calendar. My wife and I have been sharing a Google calendar for years now, keeping each other updated on football practice, awards ceremonies and back-to-school night. In fact, now that the kids are older, they're sharing on that calendar, too. What an amazing breakthrough in technology, huh? Yup - back when Google launched it several years ago.

iMessage: This isn't so much of a Google copycat as much as it is a Blackberry copycat. The idea of sending text-based messages to others is hardly revolutionary - that's basic SMS. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of the proprietary Blackberry Messenger when I was using one of those devices. Why on Earth would I be interested in iMessage? From the Google perspective, messaging like this is already available to Google Voice users, who can send messages like this from either mobile device or Web interface.

PhotoStream: Apple's offering of cloud-based photo sharing falls short based not on what Google alone is offering but more because of what third-party startups are offering. The idea of syncing photos and storing them in the cloud for 30 days seems so... I don't know. It just isn't all that compelling. Android users already have the option of instant uploading/sharing to third-party photo sites, such as Flickr and Picasa, as well as Facebook and Twitter. The winner here, though, is a startup called SugarSync, which automatically creates a backup of every photo shot on your mobile device to an online folder. SugarSync also syncs files - whether photos, documents or presentations - to the cloud from pre-configured folders on your desktop/laptop, allowing you to access them from any Web-connected device.

Music: It was the announcement we were all waiting for. And while parts of it were intriguing, I'm just not sold on Apple's iCloud for music. The idea of syncing music purchased on iTunes is a great idea but I'm not really big on paying $25 a year for iTunes Match to "legalize" music I've ripped from CDs I previously purchased or digital tracks I've bought from other online retailers. It wasn't the price that bothered me as much as it was the idea that I am losing control over my own music catalog and how I use it.

Related coverage: Three things to watch: How Apple could help Google become a cloud music contenderApple sets up cloud music deals: Fends off Amazon, Google

This music announcement was an important one for Apple - which revolutionized the way we purchased and listen to music via the iTunes/iPod ecosystem - because Amazon and Google both beat Apple out of the gate with cloud music offerings. Sure, uploading my personal tracks to Google's cloud - which offers free capacity for 20,000 songs - was cumbersome. And trying to figure out which tracks to upload to Amazon without reaching into my wallet for my cloud storage capacity was a time-consuming process, too. But once you get through it the first time, it's a piece of cake. In fact, that cumbersome process reminds me a bit of the first time iPod owners sync their devices to iTunes. That sync process isn't fast at all.

In the end, Apple fans will certainly rejoice at all of these announcements - but I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed by Apple's headlines. Nothing in that keynote event - which seemed to drag on and on and on - jumped out with a big Wow factor. Instead, it felt like a attempt to build some excitement around a lot of "me too" news.

In fact, at one point, things seemed to be so "me too" that I couldn't help but wonder which Steve was on stage - Jobs or Ballmer?

Topics: Apple, Google

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73 comments
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  • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

    You forgot about the dedicated Camera Button...other platforms *cough* Windows Phone *cough* had those as well.
    Zedox
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @Zedox
      And most devices are ditching the dedicated camera button these days.

      Apple is a day late, a dollar short this time. Looks like the competition has finally overtaken them.
      Droid101
      • Samuel misleads readers, since what Google does is via web browser, and ...

        @Droid101: ... what Apple does is system-wide, OS-built-in, application based. Even though at some of listed features Google uses HTML5/CSS/JS options that keeps some data and processing locally, Apple's approach <b>totally different level</b> of speed, reliability, responsiveness.<br><br>Jobs explained, implying Google, of course, that "competitor" can not provide system-wide solution.<br><br>This fundamentalism beats all of Samuels points. Apple offers all of this without any "preconfiguration", connecting to whatever start-ups, smoothly.<br><br>And, out of all of Apple's announcements, just few were from Google/PB (actually, Google/PB did not invent these features, they existed before). Others were new -- even though Jobs did not call anything "revolutionary".<br><br>And, by the way, none of things that Sam ascribed to Google Android actually originated there. Other mobile OSes authored it. And, UI wise, whole Android conceptually is copy of iOS -- not just separate features, *conceptually*, in whole.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

        @DeRSSS<br>Wow....<br>Someone is way out in left field.<br>Apple only provides this to Apple. Can we say "iSilo"?<br><br>As for the rest of your "argument?", this was pointed out 6+ months ago; "Android will out engineer Apple relegating Apple to playing catch up".<br><br>That day is here a lot sooner than I expected. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/shocked.gif" alt="shocked">
        rhonin
      • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

        @DeRSSS <i>And, by the way, none of things that Sam ascribed to Google Android actually originated there. Other mobile OSes authored it. And, UI wise, whole Android conceptually is copy of iOS -- not just separate features, *conceptually*, in whole.</i><br><br>I'm not sure you realize how sad the things you just stated are for Apple. <b>Other mobile OSes authored it.</b> So Apple is not just copying and playing catch up to Android, but other OSes as well? <b>And, UI wise, whole Android conceptually is copy of iOS -- not just separate features, *conceptually*, in whole.</b> So Apple had this huge lead, and now is resorting to copying ideas? I thought Apple was all about thinking "different". I guess if you can't beat them... join them.
        Badgered
      • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

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        3shao
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @Zedox Actually the camera + app had this capability and it was available before Windows Phone 7.
      eon2010
  • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

    Everytime Apple has a keynote, there are people who always come out that day and say that they were "disappointed" or "underwhelmed" Everytime.

    This happened with the iPhone, the iPad, the redesigned Macs, the yearly iDevice upgrades etc... Of course all Apple does is win more customers and have the most loyal and satisfied customers vs their competition. Analysts who can't see that fact or choose to ignore why this is so (hint: Apple delivers better than their competitors) are clueless.

    You omit the fact that Apple had a lot of other upgrades discussed in this keynote and that even when their new services and solutions look/are similar to others, that they will invariably do a better job of implementing and delivering the services than Google or anyone else.
    arackal
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @arackal <br>There are. and then there are those that back it with why vs. expectations.<br><br>For me, I was underwhelmed.<br>Why?<br>1. This was more of a 4.5, not a 5.0.<br>2. Apple just proved they are now playing catch up and it is happening a lot sooner than expected.<br>The items they rolled out tend to build the walls even higher ostrasizing a lot of hard work by devs (apps)<br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/plain.gif" alt="plain">
      rhonin
      • Message has been deleted.

        athynz
      • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

        @rhonin You know that the Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, OSX Lion, iOS5 and iCloud will be a success. You just can't come to terms with it.
        marcandsebe
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @arackal Everyone is missing the main point here, or rather they aren't and are showing love for their other beloved OS's. Apple is always behind, but its always a better more polished experience. What I see is that the gap between IOS 5 and androids haphazardly way of implementing what people want at the cost of functionality is beginning to close. You can complain until the cows come home about flash, but go run it on honeycomb. You aren't missing much. I appreciate android a lot. It honestly gives apple ideas on how to better their implementations.
      seriously3456
      • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

        @seriously3456 I have not missed Flash one bit on my iPhone or iPad. And these days, there are far more sites not using it. I had it removed from my website when the 1st iPad came out. My web designer thought I was strange. He now offers it to all of his clients. And do you know what computer he uses to create websites for his customers. No, not a PC. No, not a Linux. No, not a Chrome OS. YES THAT'S RIGHT, AN APPLE MAC. And he's not a fanboy. He says they just work.
        marcandsebe
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @arackal
      I have 3 year old and 5 year old daughters. My 5 year old has no problem jumping off the couch while my 3 year old has been kind of reluctant due to her smaller size until a few days ago. She finally made the jump in a clumsy and unbalanced manner and screamed "Look daddy I can jump too!!!".
      Way to go Apple. I think you have grown enough to start copying the big guys now but you seem to be clumsy and unbalanced like my 3 year old was...
      nehmeg
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @arackal Totally agree with you. For me the Apple ecosystem is far more superior and reliable than anything out there. As Steve Jobs pointed out "It just works"
      marcandsebe
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @arackal I like your point. They keep on running Apple down, but the proofs in the pudding (As they say in the UK) Look at the success of the iPad. Everyone keeps slagging it off, but sales proves that its a great product. I did not buy the 1st iPad, but sure as hell brought the iPad 2. Its an excellent product and far better than my friends Galaxy Tab. He wished he had listened to me, as he has deep regrets for the purchase. That was meant to be an iPad killer, but what killed it for me, is that it was in the local Tesco store and I was able to play around with it. On doing so, I knew that I would wait for the iPad 2
      marcandsebe
      • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

        @marcandsebe
        You should have waited for the 10.1 Tabs.
        freetulisten
      • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

        @marcandsebe
        No one else did.
        Synthmeister
  • Wow ZDNet really hates Apple

    By now we're all used to watching "Talkback" sections such as this fill with the vitriol of Windows and Android users raging with how "underwhelming" Every. Single. Apple. Keynote. Is. (I wish I'd kept all the hatred directed at the iPad - horrible name, it's just a big iPhone, FAIL, etc. - how you like iPad now, losers??) But what's surprising is that upon visiting ZDNet it appears nearly every headline contains editorial postulation that in one facet or another Apple "failed" (God I can't wait for that word to run its course). Who owns ZDNet? Is this a Windows site? - I've now read two articles and both were wildly inaccurate and deliberately ignorant of the facts, as accurately described in arackai's post above. I didn't have any feelings about ZDNet one way or the other prior to today, but I have to say its credibility has taken a hit as far as I can see.
    gregv2k
    • RE: Ultimate flattery: Apple's updates are out of Google's playbook

      @gregv2k Surely you are not new to the Internet and know that anything Apple/Anti-Apple will fan the flames. As a blog about Google, I'm not as surprised about the Apple criticism as much as I am the defending of the 'faith' in the comments. If you're looking for places where everyone's opinion is the same, there are a lot of mac blogs out there to read. I thought this article was a fair assessment of today's announcements.
      -Hinano-