Apple showcased iOS 12 at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday in San Jose, California. With the new operating system, Apple is promising faster device performance, even on older phones like the iPhone 6 Plus, which was actually used during the demo. Of course, with the introduction of iOS 12 comparisons with rival Android P are inevitable, considering the similarities in the features.
Both Apple and Google are very concerned about smartphone addiction, and giving users more control to curb their phone usage. Whether users will actually end up utilising these features as they are meant to, remains to be seen. Both Siri and Google Assistant have new improvements in the latest versions of iOS and Android. Notifications will also be improved across both operating systems. Here are the similarities between iOS 12 and Android P.
iOS 12 gets Screen Time; Android P has a Dashboard
Apple announced a new feature called Screen Time, which will let users see exactly how much time they are spending on their screen, which app they end up using the most, coupled with daily and weekly reports. Apple will also let parents control how their kids are using iPhones, and see regular reports via Family Sharing on iCloud accounts.
Apple is also adding a ‘App Limits’ restriction in iOS 12. This will let users set a defined time limit for an app on a daily basis. For instance, if you spend hours on Instagram, and want to curb this habit, you can set a daily limit. Apple’s iOS 12 will warn you when the time limit for an app is going to be exceeded. Once you do exceed the limit, the app will show a message ‘Time’s Up’.
With Android P users are being offered something similar, called Dashboard. Users will get a full breakdown of their daily smartphone usage habits, time spent on an app, the number of times they unlock the device, hours spent on the screen, etc. Android will also let users set a time limit for a particular app, and once that is achieved, the app icon will get greyed out.
If used properly, Screen Time and Dashboard can both be powerful tools to remind users that they may be spending far too much time on the phone.
iOS 12 Photos app is smarter just like Google Photos
Apple’s iOS 12 is making the Photos app a lot smarter, and this is squarely aimed at taking on Google Photos, which also relies on machine learning and artificial intelligence to sort images. The Photos app on iOS will now support search suggestions for events, people, places, groups, and even categories. Users can also combine multiple search terms; like say vacation pictures from June 2018.
Apple Photos also has a new “For You” which will show favourite moments in one place. This will combine Memories and iCloud Shared Albums. Further, Photos in iOS 12 will have a sharing suggestions feature; prompting you to share photos with friends from an event. The friends who receive the photos will also be asked to share their photos from the same event with you. Of course, this only works if both sides have iPhones with iOS 12.
At Google’s I/O conference, we saw something similar being rolled out for Google Photos app. The Photos app will also show a list of suggested actions with photos – like editing them or sharing them with a friend. Google Photos already supports search driven by machine learning and AI, and users can enter phrases like ‘photos of dogs’ and it will show the right results from a user’s entire album.
Apple iOS 12 and Android P’s DND mode
In iOS 12, the DND, or Do Not Disturb mode, comes with new improvements where they can start and end the feature based on a specified time, location or action. So if you are visiting a friend in the hospital and do not wish to be disturbed by a flood of notifications, you can actually set DND till the time you leave the location. Additionally, when DND is turned on during bedtime, Apple iOS 12 will now dim the display, and hide all notifications on the lock screen. The notifications will only be shown in the morning when the user wakes up, and taps to see the notifications.
In Android P, the DND mode will block out even visual notifications from apps, and thus reduce distractions. A user will also be able to activate DND by just turning the phone and placing it display down on a table. Finally, there’s a Wind Down mode, which will come into play at the chosen bedtime, and will turn the display to a grey scale. In this mode, DND is automatically activated during bedtime, to ensure one goes to sleep, rather spending time on the phone.
Apple iOS 12 Siri gets smarter; Android P’s Google Assistant is more conversational
With iOS 12, we saw new features which could make Siri a lot more useful. For one, Shortcuts APIs will allow developers to make use of Siri more effectively. With Siri Shortcuts, the voice-assistant will suggests tasks and actions when appropriate. Users can create a phrase in Shortcuts app, which will be linked to a particular action.
For instance, if you take an Uber back home everyday, you can create a shortcut in Siri for it. Saying a phrase like ‘Request ride for Home’ will ensure Siri opens the Uber app and books one for you. Apple must be hoping this will increase the use of Siri, though the company says it is the most used voice-assistant already.
In Android P, Google Assistant is getting a lot smarter and certainly has an edge over Siri. For one, it is more conversational and can understand natural language more easily. It will also follow conversations easily and a user does not have to say ‘Ok’, or ‘Hey Google’, for each different query. For instance, a user will be able to ask Google Assistant about the weather and their schedule, in the same query.
In the US, Assistant will also support food delivery options with some third-party apps. But more importantly, Assistant will soon be able to make calls on behalf of the user and book a restaurant table, hair appointment or check a store’s timings. This feature is powered by Google’s Duplex technology and will go live in the US first, though it’s not clear when.
Apple iOS improved notifications; Android P has something similar
Apple is introducing improved notifications in iOS 12, and will let users manage these with options like ‘delivered quietly’ or ‘turned off completely’. Apple iOS 12 will also have Grouped notifications, which will make it easier to view and manage multiple notifications at once. Also a more proactive Siri will suggest if it should turn off notifications for an app for which the user keeps dismissing notifications or does not open them.
In Android P, notifications are smarter as well thanks to machine learning. Android P figures out if you are constantly dismissing notifications from an app, and will ask if it should stop showing these altogether. The Android P notifications panel has also been redesigned.