iOS 14: A Critical Analysis

Q2 2020 is done and dusted. From the official announcement of the Sony PS5 to One Plus topping the premium section sales in India, it was certainly eventful. Despite the restrictions brought in by COVID 19, technology is just as lively as ever. So, I believe it’s the perfect time to talk about the latest update a giant revealed on June 22. Apple’s dreamy and, apparently, “game-changing” update; iOS 14.

If anything, Apple sure is innovative. They are the rebels who did always tried something different and somehow, prevailed. Among perseverance and mindlessly selling ridiculously expensive stuff to a generally ignorant crowd (no offence), iOS 14 is set to take the game up a notch (you get it if you get it). 

iPhone 11

Back in August 2014, a small Chinese mobile phone manufacturer called Xiaomi took the world by storm and became one of the top-tier players. While critiques disregarded their OS MIUI 7 as ‘yet-another-android-clone’, tech enthusiasts took it to their hearts. For one sole reason; it’s Android. Fast forward to 2020, Apple releases iOS 14 with features heavily inspired by MIUI 7, or Android in general. Now, there’s one beautiful table-turning right then and there. 

But hey, apart from the two three-year-old Android features that are widgets and pop up calls, iOS 14 brings in a plethora of appropriately useful and much-needed changes to the plate. This article aims at listing the most relevant ones down, break it down and analyse its usefulness. 

iOS 14 Widgets

iOS WIdgets

Ah, the time discrepancy. It’s quite incomprehensible how Apple kept its user base free from the fact that these things existed in mobile devices dating back to 2012. Ranging from a wide array of applications supported; from the Music Player to the Calendar, this is quite handy. But, it is also a feature so old that most Android users even forgot these existed. 

Sure, this was one innovative idea. Back in 2012 that is. Plus, Android still has the added advantage of KWGT. Though this isn’t grounds for a one-to-one comparison, it was not the best feature iOS 14 promises to introduce. Much needed? Sure. Innovative? Probably not.

App Library

App library

Apparently, the home screen could stop displaying every app there is and sort everything into folders and keep in an extreme side of the screen. This list called the App Library is undoubtedly drawing tremendous inspiration from the App drawer. Something that was in the game for like, forever. But there seems to an AI feature that sorts these apps, stacks them up nicely.

It is true that Android pre-loading does shorten app launch times based on usage. But, it never had an AI sort feature built-in. Counterproductive? It’s better to wait it out and find out. This could mean several things would change for the average iPhone user. Needless to say, relevant and absolutely necessary feature. Innovative? Absolutely not.

Picture in Picture Mode

PiP mode

If you’re a true fan, you would probably remember one of the best features Android 7.0 brought in. Yes, Picture in Picture mode was revolutionary and changed quite a lot of aspects of mobile phone usage. Multitasking immediately seemed to be absolutely imminent. So was the ever-growing need for faster larger RAMs. Well, 3 years later, while Android has come up with Android R, iOS 14 brings PiP mode to their devices.

While a bit late, this sure is one very helpful feature. It is good that they have drawn enough inspiration from Android and went for a screen overlay accessible throughout the device. PiP mode means a lot is about to change. A certainly useful and relevant feature to be honest. Nothing innovative to write about, though.

Voice call overlays

Voice call overlay

Yet another blatant ripoff. But this time, it is a necessity that forced Apple’s hand. As an Android user, imagine getting fullscreen voice calls that you would probably just ignore and go on with your day. With iOS 14, fullscreen calls are no more. Instead, users will be greeted by a pop-up banner for the audio call with minimal controls to suspend or accept the call. Once again, this one, just like PiP, is sure to change quite a lot for iOS users.

Not very late to the game this time around. Apple is certainly doing its best to keep up with the necessary features. With the addition of pop-up voice calls, many a disaster averted. One very necessary change of feature set. Once again, pretty devoid of innovation.

App Clips

App Clips

Okay, Apple has been thrashed enough. Besides, despite Instant Apps being an Android feature for over a year, not a lot of people or applications use it. So yes, Apple could actually turn this around if they implemented this throughout the Appstore. App Clips is Apple’s way of shouting Instant Apps. And at its core, it’s just that. It is a launchable preview of an application in the store without requiring you to actually install the App. This isn’t necessarily a very widely used or popular feature. But if you’re in a bound Data Pack, or doesn’t have the time to wait for an app to be installed, this could come in handy. 

Apple would potentially be making a difference if they somehow manage to implement this feature Store-wide. And how they plan on doing that in Videogames and other demanding or ungeneralizable categories will be quite interesting. That being said, this is quite semi-innovative and does something good and useful, if not entirely new. 

Translate app

Translate App

An offline translation application does not exactly scream 2020, but it definitely has its uses. Say you’re in a tunnel or ran out of data and cant connect to the WiFi, the Translate app has you covered as it works completely offline and can translate entire conversations instantly. This means you could now reply to whole sentences without google translate jumbling the words and messing everything up. Apparently, the app will only support 11 languages at launch. Let’s hope they add more quite soon. 

This is a hard one. While it certainly isn’t the most useful application iOS has every introduced, it is no slouch either. It is certainly innovative and provided the conditions are satisfied, it is quite handy and useful. Solid effort.

Real-time Headphone audio alerts

Audio monitor

Now, there’s some good innovation in the works. Apple has developed software that can measure the audio levels and alert the user about high volume levels and environment noises. This goes hand in hand with the Apple Watch Noise App and is expected to be a good feature. 

Focus on health and well-being. That is not something you find an Android phone advertise quite often. Unless you’re Samsung and you’ve exhausted every possible addition to the S-Health app. The audio alert feature is sure as innovative as it is useful.

Apart from these specific changes, there are quite a lot of innovative device-specific changes iOS 14 will reportedly bring in. The iMessage app will have an inline reply and Memoji feature. Health, Calendar, etc get major overhauls, password leakage alerts, Siri is now smarter, a brand new QR based payment interface with not much revealed about it, voice memos, and several other optimisations and overhauls.

iPhone SE 2020

Will iOS 14 finally up Apple’s game in the global market? Is this the one update that is bound to put Android to shame, or will Apple pull a Windows Phone and break what’s working? Judging from past experiences, Apple did mess somethings up with the undervolting. So, one would definitely have to wait and find out how this goes. On a side note, iOS 14 Beta 3 is out for devices and is currently being tested. So, it’s time to go wild. Until next time. 

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