iOS 7 is still not quite the Droid I've been looking for in an iPhone.
I've been an Android devotee for about three years now, but ever since the introduction of the iPhone 4S and Siri -- something totally new running on a nice piece of hardware -- I've been considering making the switch to iOS. As intriguing and enticing as the 4S was, I balked due to the lack of LTE. The iPhone 5 fixed that, but by then iOS seemed stale to me, and the lack of any major new innovations kept me tapping away on my aging Droid Razr and led me to declare that the iPhone and the ascendant Apple of this century's first decade had peaked. (Actually, the phrase I used was "jumped the shark" -- I suggest reading the original post for an explanation.)
So I watched with great interest on Monday as Apple unveiled a reboot to its mobile operating system in the form of iOS 7, which is being hailed as beautiful and ambitious. CNET editors have dubbed it a "radical new look" and part of Apple's "quest for perfection and the devotion to creating objects of profound and enduring beauty," as our Dan Farber put it.
From what I've seen of the OS, you'll hear no disagreement from me, but I'm still left comparing Apples and Androids.
If you believe in the old adage "save the best for last," as Steve Jobs clearly did, iOS 7 was meant to be the headliner of Monday's presentation. But the sum total of the updated mobile OS seemed to amount to Apple playing catch-up, and mostly to Android.
I haven't gone hands-on with iOS 7 yet, and I'm basing my opinion largely on Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi's very likable and effective sales job. But as many others have observed, the touted updates he and his colleagues ran down -- everything from improved notifications to unlimited browser tabs and an easily accessible control center -- have been old hat to Android users for some time now.
Arguably, the most anticipated new feature, iTunes Radio, is a clone of Pandora that's not even as robust as another competitor, Spotify. And, oh yes, Google launched its own streaming music service a few months ago.
I'm really waiting for Apple to wow me again like it did with the iPhone 4S and the introduction of Siri. Since then, it's Google that has been capturing my imagination through advances like Google Glass and Google Now. (The company has apparently also been gaining in popularity with the young folks, too -- a recent survey found young people have a significantly higher opinion of Google than the legendary maker of iPhones.)
Accuse me of being an Android fanboi if you like, but I'm actually an innovation fanboi. And I'm not the only one who failed to be super-excited with what we're seeing this week from WWDC, as analyst Mark Moskowitz points out.
"We do not expect investors to cheer the latest software and services rollouts at Apple's WWDC 2013," Moskowitz said in an investors note released late Monday.
He says investors are waiting to see a lower-cost iPhone and a new and improved iPhone 5S and higher-resolution iPad Mini.
Those of us who don't hold stock in Apple are simply waiting for the return of a company that could be counted on to deliver excitement in each new release and show us the way to the future. Like millions of others, I'm invested in the Android ecosystem right now, but I can be wooed away by a tech company that's willing to put in the hard, innovative work and earn my love.
Fine with being fickle
The good news is Apple is capable of doing just that. Now that it's all caught up and matching most of Android's features one for one, it's primed to again provide us something wonderful that we don't even yet know we want.
Tim Cook has told us to expect some incredible new products later this year, and it would be crazy to count Apple out at this point. After all, this is a company that was all but written off 20 years ago.
So, while what Apple has shown me this week with iOS 7 sure is pretty, I'm still going to hang out with the robot clan for a while longer. Still, I have no problem with being fickle and I'm ready to be swept off my feet at any time. Maybe Apple and I can make a date for sometime in the fall?