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8 iOS 9 'innovations' that Android already has

Apple introduced its new mobile operating system, iOS 9, alongside its new generation of iPhones in September. But while Tim Cook might tout the improvements as “amazing”, some of them strike us as, well, kind of bland. Join us as we explore the iOS 9 'innovations' that Android got to first.

Here are some iOS 9 features that Android got to first. / © ANDROIDPIT

1. iOS 9: Siri is now more intelligent

With iOS 9, Siri is said to be smarter than ever before. For example, Apple's voice assistant will remind you of when deadlines are approaching, inform you of the current traffic situation and even offer helpful notifications on how long it will take to get home from work. Great, you might think – but the Android community has had an equivalent since 2013, in the form of Google Now.

What’s more, Google brought this concept to both Android and iOS via the Google Now app. In other words, Apple users could have been taking advantage of this feature for years already.

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With iOS 9, Siri will recognize your voice better. / © ANDROIDPIT

2. iOS 9: Public transportation in maps

Google Maps introduced public transportation information to let people know which buses, trams, and trains were leaving and when in version 5.7, more than four years ago. Both Android and iOS users were able to take advantage of this with the Google Maps app, but Apple has only just introduced it to its own maps app. Talk about late to the party... guess it didn't know when its bus was leaving!

androidpit ios 9 features android
Apple Maps now shows distance and travel times for public transportation in iOS 9. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. iOS 9: Low power mode

Power saving mode became available for all devices running stock Android 5.0 Lollipop last year, and has now crawled its way to iOS 9. When enabled, this option reduces non-critical device functionality to make a phone's battery last longer; an average of 90 extra minutes per charge for Android devices, and a claimed three-hour improvement for Apple devices, though time will tell how much truth there is in that promise.

Though Android battery life is far from perfect, even devices like the Google Nexus 5 can outperform the iPhone 6 in battery performance, so power-saving mode is a step in the right direction for Apple. 

androidpit ios 9 battery saving mode
 In low power mode, automatic email retrieval is disabled. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. iOS 9: split-screen mode

When the iOS 9 update hit the iPad, it brought with it a shiny new split-screen feature. Well, welcome to the club, Apple, because the Galaxy Note series has been using this feature since the Note 2, which ran Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (you can even get Dual Window mode on the LG G3 smartphone).

The multi-window feature hasn’t really changed that much since its inception though, and it remains limited on iOS 9. We enjoy using multi-window on Android for things like watching YouTube in one window while browsing the web in another. But Apple limits this feature to its own shallow pool of apps. Shame. 

androidpit ios 9 split screen mode
We already know the split screen mode from Samsung and LG smartphones. / © ANDROIDPIT

5. iOS 9: Notes app 2.0

The iPhone Notes app has now been updated to version 2.0. There is now a checklist option, which means it can be used as a shopping list – you can tick items off the list with just a tap. You can now also draw inside the app or on top of photos.

These 'new' features are also available on Samsung's Galaxy Note series, which has had a far wider range of functions for longer.

apple iphone note feature
Note 2.0 brings with it some familiar features for Android users. / © ANDROIDPIT

6. iOS 9: Upper-case keyboard

Apple users have always had to toil with the iPhone's tiny keyboard. iOS 9 has a simple new function: the Shift key on the Apple Keyboard now shows when the letters have turned into capitals. Yes, that's a new feature. And yes, it's been around since the birth of Android smartphones. I guess iPhone users thought guessing when words would be capitalized was all part of the fun. 

7. iOS 9: Picture-in-picture

As well as its multi-window feature, Apple has introduced picture-in-picture. Picture-in-picture lets you watch a video in a small pop-up window in the corner of your screen, while doing something else in the rest of the screen, such as playing a game or surfing the web. It’s a neat feature, particularly in this era of distractions when we're always trying to do multiple things at once.

It also happens to be a feature that was on the Samsung Galaxy S3, and more recently the Galaxy Note 4. Samsung's pop-up window goes beyond just viewing videos though; you can create a pop-up window to view many other apps including internet, gallery and WhatsApp.

androidpit samsung galaxy note 4 picture in picture how to
The Galaxy Note 4 already delivered a picture-in-picture tool. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. iOS 9: News apps

iOS 9 also brings in a brand new Apple home screen app known simply as 'News'. This app sources news from different feeds and websites and presents it to you in one place, saving you the hassle of scouring cyberspace yourself.

This has never really been a desirable feature on Android, but it's a long-standing one nonetheless. Samsung’s My Magazine / Briefing, powered by Flipboard, and HTC’s Blinkfeed both offer comparable services, and did so long before the latest iPhones. Will Apple's service be better? That remains to be seen. 

androidpit htc blinkfeed guide one
HTC Blinkfeed (above) beat Apple news to the punch. / © ANDROIDPIT


Apple’s new devices have created a lot of excitement, and do have some great new features, such the introduction of 3D touch and moving pictures (as seen years ago with HTC’s Zoe... sorry, I couldn’t help myself). iPhones are great pieces of hardware, but these are really just improvements that have already proven themselves in Android, manufacturers who implement Android or third party apps.

It's no surprise that Apple has adopted split-screen or improved its battery, but let's not forget that Android did it first.

Can Apple make these functions even better? And will this in turn affect Android? Let us know what you think in the comments.  

Readers' favorite comments

  • Domino67 Sep 20, 2015

    "while Apple developed fingerprint tech Android was still on the down low"........Google/Motorola were actually talking with AuthenTec about fingerprint ID when Apple came along and bought them. The fingerprint scanner was to be in the Nexus phone. That is the simple truth .. :)


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  • que fino

  • Mark G. Oct 8, 2015 Link to comment

    I have been using Multi-window since my S3. I have it switched on with my S5. It's really useful when doing twitter or Google + I can click on a link and it automatically opens Multi-window allowing me to browse the article whilst using the twitter app.
    Again it's very useful when there is a video link to youtube.

  • MarcVI Oct 8, 2015 Link to comment

    Android is a small computer. iOS is an overpriced quality toy.

  • I think I have it figured out. 🍎 literally waits for OEMs that use Android to come out with someting, take it, twist and turn it and then "reinvent" it, to the amazement of iSheep. Duh! Then my friends tell me, "Look what Apple did", and when I tell them that I've been using a similar feature in Android for years, they look at me like I'm lying or something. They don't listen to anything Android does; it's like they're mind-controlled somehow, that they're not allowed to look at Android phones. That's why they think Apple invents everything in a smartphone, pathetic. Apple gets away with it, and makes a ton of money. Wake up people!!!

  • gotta thank apple for making android so great...
    most of my iPhone owning friends look at me gone out when I ask my phone something, I tried older version of siri not so good, custom phrase on moto x and Google voice are amazing by comparison....

  • Multi window was already available on the first note since the last update to 4.1.2

  • The entire idea of android is stolen from Iphony? In what way, pray? Android is a mobile open source platform. Apple is restrictive and proprietory. Apple's innovations are based on industrial espionage and use of the patent office to endorse modern day "claim jumping". Lots of dumbasses out there think that apple invrnted thr smartphone or the computer. They didn't. That would be microsoft. And microsoft.
    Apple won a hometown decision against Samsung by claiming that the rectangle, a shape that has existed naturally since google invented planet earth, rightfully belonged to them. And that consumers qere buying Samsungs because they were mistaking them for iPhonies. I don't know how it's possible for anyone to mistake an ugly block shaped device with more bezel than screen for an elegant, ergonomically designed, aesthetic object like a samsung galaxy.
    So you really brlieve that the HP iPaq was running on ios? Serioysly?

  • A nice article, but I would have to say Apple needs iOS and vice versa!!
    Unless there is competition there will be no further development. Think about it, while Apple developed fingerprint tech Android was still on the down low but had features such as notifications quick settings etc. Now finally Android caught up with iOS on the bio-metric features and likewise we are seeing android features ported really well on to iOS devices.

    I own both iOS and Android devices, and while Android phones and tablets require monster specs to run some fierce apps, iOS devices do that with medium specs only because the optimizations between hardware and software is way way ahead than Android.

    So it is pointless in debating on which is the best since they are equally good.
    If you want an open source platform with unlimited customizations then you go Google,
    Else if you want a really solid app platform with seamless integration within the Apple Ecosystem and little customizations then you go for Apple.

    That is the simple truth. . :)

  • Interesting article but it kind of misses the point. Being first rarely matters. Doing the job well is what counts.

    There were music players before the iPod and phones before the iPhone. Yet, both of those devices sold in quantities never before seen by an individual brand.

    • Bojan M. Sep 20, 2015 Link to comment

      I understand what you wanted to say, but... The point isn't missed because the whole point of the article is to make fun of iOS, which it does. Being first always matters. There's not a single instance of any kind of event that being first doesn't matter. Of course that doing the job well matters. But, even if the job isn't done that good, being first is a breakthrough. And Android did a good job on all accounts mentioned.

      Finally, a lot can be and is said about the points in your last two sentences, there's no point discussing that further.

      • Spoonie Sep 22, 2015 Link to comment

        Nope. Google pay/wallet may have been first, but up until Apple Pay there was no chance anyone was ever going to use google wallet to pay for anything. And now look, Apple competition in that space has created a new Google pay and Samsung pay service people may actually use. It's the same with Android wear. Not counting pebble, android wear was first, and pretty average, Apple Watch was second to the party and look how android wear watches have now evolved.

  • Junaid Q. Sep 20, 2015 Link to comment

    IOS always copy android features
    Android is best, always have latest tech and feature, no need to copy any crap OS

    • Spoonie Sep 22, 2015 Link to comment

      Apart from the fact that the entire idea of android is stolen from iOS. Oops

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