Oh Look, Apple Copies Android, And That's Not A Bad Thing
from the copying-is-okay dept
While a lot of the attention on today’s Apple announcements were around the cloud stuff, there were a bunch of changes to iOS announced, too, and what was striking was how many of them really looked like Apple scrambling to play catchup to Android on certain features — with the pull down notifications being a key such feature. That feature is standard on my Android phone and has been for some time, and it looks almost identical to the Apple iOS implementation.
Of course, this is only fair. Google has clearly copied many of the features of iOS, in building up Android. In fact, I think most people would reasonably agree that Android owes a far greater debt to Apple than Apple owes to Google for features. But the point is that this sort of innovation goes both ways. Whenever we hear about complaints about “copying” or “ripping off” features, people seem to ignore the fact that everyone does this, and it pushes everyone to do more in the future. It increases the pace of innovation. If Android didn’t have such a notification bar (which is quite effective), Apple might not have realized what a disjointed mess its old notifications were. Thus, this ends up improving Apple. Not only that, but it gives both parties reasons to think about making the notification effort even better, going forward, to continue to differentiate.
Now, some might claim that if Google had been able to block such copies via patents, Apple would have had to “invent around” this and create something different. But would that really have been useful or efficient? Doesn’t seem like it. Under that scenario, one party is inventing something new for the sake of inventing something new. Under the way it is here, everyone has incentive to create something new, only if it really improves the offering. That seems like a much better path to innovation.