With WWDC officially in the rearview mirror, it's obvious that iOS 15 is more about polishing up last year's features than it is boldly treading new paths. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise for anyone paying attention to Apple's software — the company usually follows a tick-tock release for hardware and software alike. iOS 15 brings along some nice enhancements, especially for anyone deep inside the Apple ecosystem, but there's always room for improvement. As someone who cycles back and forth between Android and iOS, there's plenty of things I wish had changed in this year's version.
I'm a little angry. No, scratch that, I'm very angry. Whenever Apple introduces improvements to Spotlight on iPhones and iPads, I have vivid PPSSD (post-personal-search stress disorder) and remember the glorious years when we had a decent on-device search solution on Android. Then it was gone and Google, the search company to end all search companies, pretended nothing happened, that it was never there, and whoever really wanted a central search solution on their phone?
I've been a Mac user since early 2008, months before the first Android device was announced and three years before I bought my first Android phone. I felt like an outlier for a while, until I started meeting more like-minded people: Mac users who couldn't fathom the idea of iOS on their phone and chose Android instead. Just here on Android Police, six other colleagues straddle the ecosystem barrier and strive for a cross-platform digital existence like me. But every year at WWDC, Apple takes it upon itself to lure us in, and it's getting harder and harder to resist the temptation.
I find myself doomscrolling on Twitter more often than I’d like to admit, so I've implemented a program to cut down my phone usage, involving some self-discipline and Android’s Digital Wellbeing tools. So far, that effort's proven fruitful, but every time an app timer runs out, the ensuing pop-up makes me furious at how inconsiderate Android's system is by design — and leaves me wishing it were more like iOS’s alternative.
Apple's yearly developer conference, WWDC a.k.a. dub-dub, starts next Monday. For those who aren't familiar with it, it's like I/O but for the Apple ecosystem, and it's where the company announces new software versions and capabilities for its entire product line-up. Over the past couple of years, I've been keeping an eye on the main keynote and news coming out of WWDC for a variety of reasons: I've been a Mac user for 13 years, I've had several iPods and iPads, and I really enjoy being up-to-date with the entire mobile and technology landscape — not just Google. This year, I'm thinking about the conference beforehand and wondering which features I'd love to see from Apple.
There’s a dream I’ve had for years: a platonic ideal of consumer electronics. I dream of the perfect mobile writing machine.
I imagine a device that’s compact and light enough to carry anywhere, without the need for supporting hardware, and which differs enough from a conventional laptop or desktop interface to let me focus entirely on writing. With all that included, it needs to be powerful enough to run multiple applications at a time: a word processor, a small browser window for supplementary research, and a media player for music.
In all likelihood, Android Automotive is a flavor of Google's near-ubiquitous operating system you've never actually used, and probably won't (statistically) for a long time yet. It's also, in my eyes, the most important version of the platform since the original. About two weeks ago, I spent four days with Automotive in the Polestar 2, an EV from the sister brand of Swedish carmaker Volvo, that launched in the United States in 2020. I also drove it last year for a few short hours, and didn't exactly have the time to fully flesh out my thoughts on the car, the software, and how it all works together in a cohesive way.
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Last weekend, I made my way over to the Westfield Century City Mall for a fresh pair of glasses — and an iPhone. I walked over to the Apple Store, talked to the very nice gentleman at the door... and was turned away because I didn't have an appointment to spend nearly $800. I was told I could come spend a whole lot of money, but that I'd have to wait four hours to do so. Then, I did what I should have before I set foot out the door that morning, and opened Chrome to the Apple website on my Galaxy S21 Ultra, bought the iPhone, and set it for pickup at store I'd just turned tail from — for just an hour from the current time.
I love organizing my digital (and real) life. To me, there are very few things as satisfying as neat lists, folders, and categories, that I can quickly parse in order to find what I want. While lots of apps offer a decent level of structure and customization on my phone, I still find myself looking at long lists of text-based items more often than I'd like, hoping I'd quickly spot the one I want before resorting to pulling up the search bar and typing it. A few months ago, it occurred to me that my phone has a free and built-in tool that could help me visually mark every item in a list: Emojis.
Despite spoiling other budget camera phones for many of us, the Pixel 4a is still an enthusiast phone for the most part. Samsung’s trusted Galaxy mid-rangers, on the other hand, enjoy far greater mainstream appeal and have a better chance at selling like hotcakes — something we felt strongly about last year’s Galaxy A71. The well-rounded package it offered made that phone a no-brainer for just about anybody looking for a decent phone on a budget. But in 2021, with newer Galaxy A models out, does the year-old Galaxy A71 still look like a sensible choice?