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What Google's honeycomb has that Apple's iOS lacks

Melissa J. Perenson | March 3, 2011
During the Apple iPad 2 launch, Apple supplied only a few morsels of what to expect from the version of iOS that will ship with the iPad 2. That's fitting, perhaps, given that what we heard makes iOS 4.3 sound like only a nominal revision of the operating system. What we didn't hear was anything about the company's plans to take iOS to the next level. As Android continues to ramp up, Apple needs to consider what elements in competing mobile OSs are missing from iOS--and how best to integrate those elements into its winning interface.

The IPad would enjoy a huge boost if users could handle account management directly on the device. At the least, we should be able to do that for music, videos, and apps purchased via iTunes. The idea of a digital locker isn't new; and persistent rumors point to changes in Apple's MobileMe that would turn the service into Apple's complementary cloud component for the iPad.

Beyond basic backup and syncing concerns, the iPad and iOS would greatly benefit from Apple's opening up the "walled garden," even if it merely provides a common holding pen within the walled garden that individual apps can choose to access. Drag-and-drop file transfers are one of Android's strengths. And the lack of interoperability remains a blemish on iOS's record in comparison with Android. As the tablet market competition heats up, I can see iOS's lack of direct file transfers becoming more of an issue for consumers.

Wait for WWDC?

To a degree, Apple's reluctance to say more about iOS isn't surprising. We still need to hear plenty more details, such as how the dual-core A5 CPU will handle multitasking. I'm betting we'll hear far more information about iOS (5.0, perhaps?) in the lead-up to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Typically, that's where the company has discussed major iOS revisions, with rollout tied to the next iPhone release.

 

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