iOS 5: Stepping on a few toes

It has been a few days since Apple has unveiled its latest update to its iOS mobile operating system and  as a “fanboy,” I’m pretty excited about it. However, as I watched the proceedings, I must say that the immediate reaction that kept cropping up was “(insert tech company or developer here) isn’t going to be happy about this.”

As they unveiled each new feature, app, service, etc.. most seemed to directly step on not just a direct competitor’s toes, but a few of their seemingly allies as well. Lets look at a few:

Twitter Integration:

Apple unveiled that you can now sign into Twitter in the settings of the phone which will enable you to tweet photos, videos, etc.. directly from your native photo app and others. As far as posting, this makes many Twitter applications, including one by Twitter themselves, seemingly obsolete as posting from other apps will take a few extra steps that the user isn’t wanting to waste his time with.

Reader & Reading List:

InstaPaper and Read It Later are two applications that have become very popular on iOS devices as a means to save web content to be read later, even offline, across multiple devices. With Apple unveiling their own brews that format text for easy reading and allow you to read content later, one has to wonder what is the fate of these 3rd party developers when Apple offers their own version.

Camera Improvements:

As Apple mentioned, the iPhone 4 is becoming the top used device on Flickr, beating out many professional D-SLRs. Because of this success, many developers have come up with some great apps to make the photo experience even better. One that comes to mind is “Camera+” which allows for better composition and photo capturing as well as editing and effects. Camera+ at one point was even pulled from the App Store for a bit as they snuck in the ability to take a picture with the ‘volume up’ button on the iPhone. A big “no-no” for Apple…until this Monday where they unveiled the ability to take a photo with your volume up button as well as many feature including image editing that are found on Camera+ and other apps.


A few years ago when the iPhone was gaining traction, people once scratched their heads as to why Apple didn’t release a task app that could at least sync with their task management options in iCal on the Mac. Fast forward to today when there are now literally hundreds of task apps that seem to take care of their purchasers, yet people are scratching their heads again asking why would Apple release it now?

The more you look for these line crossings, the more you see it. iMessage snipes those various iPhone to iPhone messaging apps and Game Center improvements continues to threaten services like Openfeint. There is even a bit of it in Apple’s new desktop OS upgrade, Lion with the AirDrop service threatening Dropbox to some degree.

Is Apple playing fair? It is a tough call. Business is usually cutthroat and everyone does what they need to survive. Still, developers can’t help but be a little nervous to innovate new products that fill a gap only to have Apple steamroll it out of the way a few years later.

What do you think? Is Apple making too many enemies among its developers or is this just what happens and such proceedings will only push innovation farther, which is a good thing? Sound off in the comments…

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  • Thicky

    Well, it’s good for the consumers. Now, the other app developers are forced to innovate even further. :P