Google piles the pressure on Apple

It's clear that Google is using its annual I/O developer conference to pile the pressure on Apple by choosing to focus on the Cupertino giant's weak spots.

Google is using this year's I/O developer conference to pile the pressure on Apple and the iPhone by shifting its focus away from the smartphone and instead shifting the emphasis into places where the Cupertino giant is weakest.

Google Home

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First off, there was the unveiling of Google Home.

While Apple wants the iPhone to be the tool that people use to interact with their connected gadgets, Google is taking the approach that Amazon pioneered with the Echo and instead choosing to go with a "smart speaker."

Instead of having to press buttons or fire apps up on a smartphone, Google Home sits and waits for you to issue a command or ask it a question, at which point it leaps into action.

Why is this a problem for Apple?

Apple wants to the expensive iPhone to be at the heart of everything users do. By shifting the focus away from expensive smartphones - where each person needs a separate one - to a lower-cost hub that multiple people can use, Google is trying to weaken the grip that the smartphone has on the consumer tech space, because it knows that Apple's real weakness is anything that hits iPhone sales.

Google Assistant

Think of this as Siri, but a lot smarter.

Why is this a problem for Apple?

Apple acquired Siri back in April of 2010, and while the technology has become certainly become smarter over the years, it's still very limited in what it can do, and this, in turn, makes it frustrating to use.

Also, making voice assistants smarter is key to making devices such as Google Home work. If Google can get the upper hand on Apple here, it opens a lot of doors.

Instant Apps

This is a new Android N feature that allows users to load up part of an app without needing to download and install the whole app by just clicking on a link. This allows websites to customize the user experience above and beyond what web browsers would allow.

Why is this a problem for Apple?

In Apple's world, apps are these fixed things that you download and install, then go in and out of depending on what you are doing. With Instant Apps, Google wants to tear down the wall that exists between web browsing and apps, and allow the loading of apps to be a more flexible thing. For example, if you want to by something from some vendor or other, you might not want to download an app to do it, but it might be very beneficial if you could access some of the features of that app on the fly.

Daydream VR headset

Yes, Google now has a reference design for a headset that manufacturers who want to make their own headsets and build on.

So is Google going to release its own fully-fledged VR headset (other than Cardboard)? Well, remember that Nexus smartphones began life as reference devices, so anything is possible.

Why is this a problem for Apple?

VR is another area that Apple is yet to enter (publicly at any rate - who knows what the company is working on behind the scenes). But Apple currently lacks any sort of VR strategy, and Google is not shy about exploiting that fact.

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