At WWDC, Apple announced a major update to iOS 8 with a long list of features. Let us take a look at the features and how it compares to the WP8.1 OS. I’m ignoring the new developer features since that will take a separate post altogether.
1) Photos app and iCloud Photo Library: This new iOS 8 feature will allow users to take photos and videos anywhere between iOS devices. There are some really neat photo editing features and the edits will also be updated across devices.
In WP8.1: The Windows Phone Photos app includes not only OneDrive back-up, which synchronizes photos from other Windows and Windows Phones with the same account, but also integrates 3rd party libraries from any developer who cares to code one, including at present Facebook and Twitter.
2) iMessage: You can now tap to talk and it allows you to share your voice and the same simple gesture also works for sharing videos and photos within Messages. Also, now you can choose to share your current location from within Messages for an hour, a day or longer.
In WP8.1: There is no built-in messaging app, but you have Microsoft owned Skype, which if course has a much wider reach than iMessage. While the user experience is still lacking, Microsoft is working to improve integration and make it a slicker experience.
3) HealthKit: This is a brand new feature in iOS8. Health app will gather the information you choose from your various health apps and fitness devices, and provides you with a clear and current overview in one place.
In WP8.1: There is a new app called Bing Health and Fitness which can provide similar experience. The big difference here is the lack of 3rd party apps support in the Bing app. Apart from this, Microsoft has got HealthVault which is a trusted place for people to gather, store, use, and share health information online. HealthVault apps are available on all platforms and SDKs are already available for developers. Microsoft just need to publicize it more.
4) Apple’s QuickType keyboard: QuickType understands the way you communicate, suggesting favorite phrases, so you can write entire sentences with just a few taps.
In WP8.1: Windows Phone has SmartFlow keyboard which offers this word predictions already. Windows Phone could benefit from supporting 3rd party keyboards however.
5) Family Sharing: This allows users to communicate and share purchases, photos and calendars within the same household. Family members can browse and download each other’s iTunes®, iBooks® or App Store purchases. Up to six members can participate, each with their own Apple ID.
In WP8.1: Windows Phone has a cool feature called Family Room which does almost most of the above except the iTunes part. Being able to share app store purchases with family members is however a great feature.
6) iCloud Drive: You can store documents of any type can be safely stored, accessed and edited across your devices. Make edits on one device and the most up-to-date version of your documents will be available across all devices.
In WP8.1: Windows Phone has OneDrive. OneDrive is much more comprehensive cloud storage solution than iCloud Drive without any doubt.
7) Enterprise: iOS 8 offers expanded security and management improvements as well as new productivity features, including an expanded level of data protection for key built-in apps.
In WP8.1: Microsoft has added a huge set of enterprise features that Apple have added in iOS for years. Microsoft’s Intune service is being updated every few weeks, so Microsoft won’t lag much in this space.
8) Interactive notifications, quick access to key contacts:
In WP8.1: Microsoft has just added notifications center for the first time in their OS. I’m sure Interactive notifications will come only in the next big release. And quick access to contacts is really not a problem as you pin them on your Start screen.
9) Extended Spotlight capabilities : It give you results beyond what’s on your device, including articles from Wikipedia, findings from the news and results from places nearby
In WP8.1: Cortana and Bing offers much better search experience.
10) Continuity with Mac: You can Handoff to start an activity on one device and finish on another, along with Instant Hotspot and the ability to make and receive calls and send SMS and MMS messages from your Mac or iPad.
In WP8.1: Microsoft is completely absent in this department. Given the fact that both its mobile and desktop OS shares same core, I expected this continuity feature on Windows before iOS/Mac. Kudos to Apple for waking up Microsoft, I hope Microsoft does this continuity thing.
There are few areas where Microsoft is nowhere, and in some areas where they are just getting started, and in some areas there are leading when compared to Apple. I hope the ‘One Microsoft’ strategy can really accelerate the pace at which Microsoft is moving forward with Windows platform.