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.
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Filed Under: android, copying, innovation, ios, notifications
Companies: apple, google

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  1. identicon
    Shane, 7 Jun 2011 @ 12:57am

    Apple is plays an Amazing Con Game

    What was so interesting about todays announcements from Apple was the fact that it was an announcement of NOTHING! They have used this showcase for years to "change the game"...and even bringing Steve Jobs back from deaths door didn't prove they had anything worth holding this event to announce.

    Borrowed, inspired, ripped-off, etc. what Apple announced today is simply a repackaging of what others are doing...what others are doing better...and what others are doing on their platform already. Apple has long worked to attract start-ups to their platform and has a history of just taking their hard work, copying it, and then pushing them off their platform (and often out of business).

    Amazing things were announce last week and this week, but a press event to announce nothing but packaging others "inspiration" and claiming they are the first and they have patents they will defend. The new media was all over this non-event helping them create and maintain more cult of Mac followers.

    I like what JoeB of Windows Phone had to say:

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