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iOS 7: How its latest features stack up to Android

Evan Dashevsky | June 11, 2013
Apple announced a slew of updates to the mobile OS in the form of iOS 7. We take a point-by-point look to see how Cupertino's new mobile offerings stack up against those from Mountain View.

Multitasking

Apple may have been late to the mobile multitasking party, but it's blown right past the competition with iOS' new intelligent take on running multiple apps without draining your battery. Your iPhone will not only adapt its resources to the apps you're currently using, but also note how you use specific apps and allocate computing power accordingly. For example, your phone may take notice of the way you check a weather app when you get up, or how you peruse Feedly during your commute, and make sure those apps are updated with the latest information and properly prepared for use.

Compare this to the way that Android keeps apps running in the background, chewing on your RAM, even if the apps haven't been opened for several hours. This blind take on resource allocation is not a friend to battery life.

Winner: iOS. Predictive tech will be making its way into more aspects of our digital lives, and Apple is at the forefront.

Mapping

Arguably the biggest debacle of the post-Jobs era, the initial incarnation of Apple's home-grown Maps technology actually incited an apology from the top brass at Cupertino and even a safety warning from Australian authorities. We expected redemption at WWDC 2013, but Apple didn't even announce new mobile maps features today. It did, however, show us stunning 3D maps and search functions for its new desktop system, OS X Mavericks.

Apple certainly had a lot to work on, as one of the standout features demoed as I/O was Google's beefed-up Maps technology. During Google's Map unveiling in May, the company seemed to specifically snipe at Cupertino, noting its maps are "sleek, simple, beautiful, and-let's not forget-accurate."

It's disappointing-and surprising-that Apple didn't roll out new maps technology in iOS 7, but we can say we love the promise of Apple's new multi-device mapping approach: You can search for directions on your Mac and automatically save the results to your iPhone, where they'll be waiting on your lock screen. This is a very basic function that's sorely missing from Google Maps.

Winner: Android. One new killer feature isn't enough.

Safari versus Chrome
Another product of Ive's minimalist design regime, the new Safari browser goes full-screen and does away with a lot of app-y flotsom, such as an always-present search bar. In doing so, Safari appears to have bitten more than a few visual cues from the mobile version of Chrome. Indeed, Chrome for Android is already a full-screen app that hides the search bar until needed. Safari's new card-based tab view even appears similar in function and design to Chrome's tab/page view.

 

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