Is Apple Losing Its Edge?

Is Apple Losing Its Edge?

Starting on Monday, Apple held its annual WWDC to release new products, including iOS 7 – which has been kept as such a secret that even the employees at Apple did not know what Jonathan Ive was working on. I have to say first that I have a lot of respects for Jonathan Ive, and this post does not mean I am disappointed in him, but rather, it serves to question whether Apple is losing its unique edge that it has had since it released the first iPhone.

So, I’m not going to go into details about specification comparison for iOS 7. CNET, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, and others have done excellent jobs of coverage for what iOS 7 entails. You can go through my recent tweets to check some of the links I shared for that.


Image is credited to Hidden Discoveries.

Above is my attempt to depict iOS 6 vs iOS 7 image based on a lot of screenshots comparing them. I intentionally used my drawing, instead of Apple’s own photos, for this article because this photo really captures how I felt about iOS 7. It’s new, different, and certainly comes with features that will make experiences of Apple users better. If iOS 6 focused on better integration of Facebook and Twitter than previous iOS 5, iOS 7 attempts to answer some of complaints, such as Control Center, that Apple users have had for previous iOS versions.

But, my problem is that it’s not innovative much.

Even the Control Center is really something that has been around for Android for quite a while. Especially swiping between active applications, I see that it reminds me a lot of Android smartphones. There are similarities with Blackberry OS too as described in TechCrunch article I tweeted. Furthermore, the default Weather app is basically the one released by Yahoo! earlier this year. Seriously, I do not really see anything drastically new with this upgrade.

I almost want to say that it should’ve been called iOS 6S (getting the idea from iPhone series). Perhaps, there are more features under the hood, but when I read about Camera filters, it’s not a feature that’s available for most phones unless you have iPhone 5. I can see why Apple is doing this to make sure that people are buying more phones, but for that attempt, it’s not introducing enough innovations.

In all honesty, Apple has released products/features based on innovations of other companies in the past. But, when I saw something like iRadio – which seems unnecessary since most people are content with Pandora or Spotify – I began to wonder if Apple doesn’t have anything bigger under its sleeves. Samsung introduced earlier this year about gesture-based motions to pause videos from playing and gave new features in camera, preview function, and much more. Yes, those features were rather lagging, but they were at least something that people haven’t seen before.

Apple could be playing smart by staying on the safe side and making quick fixes to improve user experiences. If this is their intentional goal, they are doing a good job. However, with Android taking increasing amount of market and Firefox OS released already, it is not hard to believe that without some incredible innovations, Apple may just repeat what Blackberry did with its smartphone and lose customers. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen – and I look forward to seeing more “innovations” in iPhone 5S or 6 this fall.

Follow me at Twitter @jiwpark00

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