With Android M and iOS 9 both scheduled for release in quarter three of 2015, it seems that we are going to see the operating systems of Google and Apple go head-to-head yet again.
The officially released information from the two technology giants clearly shows that these updates are focused on tackling and refining the weaker elements of each system. In addition to this, they will both interact intuitively with their users in new ways, thus mimicking AI.
Power and performance
As with Android smartphones, iPhones and iPads integrate themselves more into daily life, and as a result, more efficient power modes are required to ensure that they can continue to operate throughout a typical day’s use.
Android M will achieve this goal through smarter power use, controlled by Doze Mode and App Standby. Doze Mode uses motion detection when the screen is off, to judge that the phone is idle in order to place it in a state of sleep.
In this state, network access and synchronisation is disabled. The App Standby feature will also close idle apps, often left open during multitasking, and permits them to make only one update per day, saving valuable power resources.
iOS 9 on the other hand, uses several sensors to determine whether the handset is face down, and if it is, it doesn’t power up the screen for incoming notifications.
Apple is also set on improving the user performance with iOS 9, with the refreshed operating system only receiving updates overnight, or when the phone is least used.
Google Now vs Siri
Conversational voice experiences will be enabled for Android apps, allowing the user to control apps with naturally spoken voice commands. The Android M feature named ‘Now on tap’ puts Google Now in any app or onto any screen.
Google Now on Android M is designed to engage and help the user with everyday tasks. For instance, if a text message is received from a friend requesting a get together at a restaurant, Google Now will prompt the user to take action with links to reviews of the restaurant and the restaurant’s menu, as well as providing the option to instigate directions to its location.
Siri on iOS 9 will also attempt to more closely replicate AI with proactive and pre-emptive suggestions. For instance, Siri will remind its user to set off in time to reach events already placed in the calendar.
Siri’s proactive side is further demonstrated with intelligently triggered reminders, such as ‘Remind me when I get to my car to…’ .
Apple’s Maps have been a contentious issue in the past, but iOS 9 rectifies the shortcomings of past editions. In particular, Siri can now instigate Transit View and provide A to B step-by-step guidance, using multiple public transport modems including the buses, the tube and the train. Siri can also prompt the user with things to do around the final destination, meaning you’ll never be lost or bored again!
Finally, searching with Siri on iOS 9 will also be enhanced, with the capability to look for content held within apps or photo search by destination or event. The search page itself even alters through the day based upon past usage habits.
Pay, convenience and protection
There has long been a battle between the convenience of making payments with a smartphone and the adequacy of protection that would enable consumers to have the confidence in using such a service. Android M will address this issue with fingerprint authentication added into Android Pay. This can then be used in stores or when purchasing apps through Google Play.
Apple tackles this problem from another direction by beefing up Touch ID’s passcode protection, as four digits are dropped in favour of six. This moves the possible number of passcode combinations from thousands to millions. Apple Pay on iOS 9 will also accept more cards such as the Discover Card or Kohl’s Charge Card. Reward cards can be added as well, enabling the consumer to receive and redeem rewards using Apple Pay.
The wider picture
Android M has a broad reach and will deliver smarter notifications set through Alarms Only and Do Not Disturb modes. Runtime permissions can be altered at any time and support for 4K displays and RAW photo image editing will be included.
iOS 9 on the other hand will bring us a brand new news app to the home screen, which is set to collect the news from top sources on topics that have been selected as an interest. Its smart learning engine contributes to an ever personalised experience, where the news you read tailors future news suggestions.
iPad users will have greater flexibility with several different split-screen views while iPhone users will be able to automatically store contact details from within emails. Caller ID also gets a little smarter and will search emails in an attempt to pair an incoming unsaved telephone number with a company or contact mentioned in any previous electronic correspondence.
Of all phone sales in the USA over Q4 2014, 47.7% were running iOS, whilst 47.6% were on Android – fine margins…
Android users wanting to switch to iOS 9 will be able to use the Move to iOS app, meaning that contacts, wallpapers, photos, videos, free apps and web bookmarks will be transferred while paid for apps will be added to the user’s iTunes Wish List.