Software updates are a big deal. They deliver bug fixes, new features, refreshed interfaces, and a lot more. Sure, there might be that feature or two that gets discarded and breaks someone's workflow (relevant xkcd), but for the most part, newer means better. And if software updates are important for apps, that's especially true for operating systems.
Largely due to the proliferation of smartphones, we have come to take free and consistent OS updates for granted. Users assume that a new phone bought this year will still be running the latest OS in the next, and no one expects to have to pay for that software update.
Apple is, you might say, ever so slightly hesitant to support competing platforms. It took the company years (and the promise of a greater market for the iPod) to support Windows for its massive iTunes program, and some of the more professional tools have never appeared on anything except Apple hardware. Today is a banner day, then, because Apple has released its first ever Android app. It's pretty much exactly what you were expecting.
Apple announced the Move to iOS app way back in June, but it's taken them this long to get it on the Play Store. (Maybe they had to wait for approval.) Like similar apps from a variety of manufacturers, including Microsoft, Samsung, and Motorola, the app is designed to allow you to transfer contacts, SMS history, bookmarks, photos, and account information to the company's hardware, in this case an iPhone or iPad.
While it's not the "rounded rectangle" iPad patent of fame, the iPhone 3G design patent is easily the second most-famous Apple design patent of record. It's called D618677, and it was a key issue in Samsung v. Apple "round one" - and by "key issue," I mean "reason for most of the remaining half billion dollars in damages." According to the USPTO, that iPhone design patent is now invalid on multiple counts of obviousness in light of prior art (in a technical, not literal, sense - two very different things).
Samsung was deemed to infringe this patent by a jury, and while it may well have were the patent valid, the USPTO is saying the point is moot - the patent itself is not eligible for protection.
It seems like ages ago that Apple and Samsung finished duking it out in court over Samsung's "borrowing" from Apple's early iPhone designs. However, the $930 million judgement against Samsung was just the beginning of the legal tussle. This whole time the lawyers have still been racking up billable hours, and now a US appeals court has reversed a big chunk of the damages saying Apple's trademarks on the look of the original iPhone aren't valid.
According to a source who spoke to The Verge, Google is almost ready to add iOS support to Android Wear. If the timing is a coincidence, it's a very happy one for Google. Apple is getting ready to start selling the Apple Watch to compete against Android Wear. Of course, Apple could always try to block the Wear app.
The Czar has spoken. After his anointment as Google's Senior Vice President of Products last October, which put him in charge of Chrome, Android, search, ad technology, Google+, Maps, social, commerce and infrastructure, Sundar had been operating in incognito mode, occasionally letting loose a few tidbits of information, like Inbox' deployment to Apps users. In a recent interview with Forbes, the man behind most of the things we talk about here on Android Police has answered some interesting questions regarding his vast portfolio of products, tried to put an end to a few concerns, and remained mum about other issues.
The most intriguing section of the interview starts when Google+ is addressed.
By now just about everyone knows about ostentatious headphone maker Beats - if you haven't seen them shilled by hip-hop stars and football players, you've seen them in custom-made corner displays at Best Buy. The company has also technically been a part of Apple since May of last year, presumably because a gold iPhone 6 just isn't complete without a matching pair of Champagne Studio Wireless headphones. But a more interesting question to ask is this: what will happen to Beats Music, the multi-platform streaming service that competes with the likes of Spotify?
The Pushbullet team has long impressed us with the creation of a solid product that works as advertised across multiple platforms, pushing files and syncing notifications with ease. Now you can add more names to the list: Mac OS X and the Safari web browser, which join the existing iOS app to flesh out Pushbullet's support for Apple's ecosystem.
Let's be real here, there are no shortage of Mac users who carry around an Android phone (some of them even write for us). The Mac app comes with the same features found in the Windows app and Chrome/Firefox extension. For example, you can view notifications whenever you wish, filtering them by channel, friend, or device.
Apple's proprietary iMessage system lets iPhone users send text messages to other iPhone users over a data network, avoiding SMS charges and making texting free, at least within Apple's ecosystem. It's an impressive run-around of the entrenched carrier system - the same basic idea, applied to an agnostic model, has made texting alternatives like WhatsApp fantastically popular. But users found that trying to leave Apple's walled garden was much harder after setting up iMessage with their personal phone numbers.
If you're moving from an iPhone to another smartphone platform, you must first de-associate your phone number with iMessage, not only on your iPhone, but on any other Apple device (iPad, OS X) that you've used it with.