Forget Game of Thrones. The greatest story ever told was one of two highly heralded platforms: iOS and Android. They’re in constant competition, and there’s never a shortage of shade, whether it’s Apple dropping a truth bomb about Android’s flip-a-switch privacy during its WWDC ’19 keynote, or Google showing off the prowess of its integrated AI smarts at its developer event.
Whatever smartphone you’re using, you’re bound to find similarities in features. That’s because like in fashion, there are trends, and Apple and Google are setting the bar. Both companies have major software updates coming soon- iOS 13 and Android Q, respectively-both of which will usher in a variety of new abilities you’ll quickly find you can’t live without. (As long as you update your software, of course.)
Developers of both platforms cheered in unison when Apple and Google respectively announced that there would be a dark interface coming to their platforms. That’s likely because there are many out there feeling burnt out by the brightness of their screens.
iOS 13 and Android Q will come equipped with a system-wide dark mode. All menu screens, buttons, and fonts will adhere to a darker color scheme, along with notifications panels and pop-ups, and the dock in iOS. All of Apple and Google’s first-party apps will support the feature on each of their platforms.
Apple announced a revamp of the Reminders app in iOS 13. The app will feature new categories to help separate tasks by urgency, as well as a new AI-propelled feature that will remind you when it’s time to do the thing you planned to do.
Android Q will already have this ability inherited through the Google Assistant app, which lets you start off a command with, “Hey Google, remind me to…”. And since it’s linked to the Assistant, the reminder will pop up on your phone, and from your smart speaker, and in your Chrome browser (though only if you want it to).
Robust privacy features
At I/O, Google announced a heaping of features coming to Android Q related to privacy. We won’t know the extent of them until the software is final, though in the latest versions of Android you can already adjust individual permissions by the app.
iOS 13 will have similar abilities where you can choose how often to give your location data to a particular app, so it’s not pinging when you’re not using your phone. In a one-up move on Google, Apple also introduced the “Sign in with Apple” feature, which will let iPhone users create new accounts and log into them using Face ID. Apple accounts will also be able to create throwaway email addresses for different apps, helping cut down on spam in your inbox.
Apple Maps is finally getting the Street View it deserves, except that it’s called Look Around. It works similarly to the feature in Google Maps, allowing you to pan around, take a walk down a virtual street, and scan for monuments.
There’s also a Share ETA feature coming to iOS 13. Like the option in Google Maps, you can send out a link to a friend to temporarily follow along your route, until you get to your destination. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely sending a link from Apple Maps to your Android-using friend will work, as the app is not available in the Google Play Store.
Swipe typing, where you use your thumb to swipe across the keyboard and pray the prediction engine catches your gist, isn’t new to the iPhone. But in iOS 13, the ability will become native. Apple named its version Quick Path.
Google’s Gboard keyboard app (also for iOS) has already had the feature for years, not to mention third-party apps like SwiftKey and Swype. At least now you won’t have to download an app to enable it on the iPhone.
iOS 13 will include new editing tools for photos and videos. You’ll be able to edit elements like brilliance, shadows, highlights, contrast, saturation, white balance, sharpness, and definition. There’s also a vignette and noise reduction feature. And for quick edits, videos can be rotated from the Photos app.
Android Q has similar editing prowess for photos and videos by way of Google Photos. The app lets you crop and tweak photos and trim videos that are too long for social media.
This is not likely to be something you see advertised in a TV commercial. One outstanding trend in the mobile world is the idea of shrinking data so that it can be stored locally to help reduce reliance on the cloud. Apple and Google, in particular, have figured out how to compress gigabytes of files into mere kilobytes of data-a true technological feat. It’s not something we’ll immediately notice when we pick up an iPhone or Android phone. And in fact, that’s entirely the point.