There’s obviously no question that 2007 marked the dawn of a new era in the global smartphone market. Industry giants like Nokia, Microsoft, and BlackBerry, which was at the time called Research In Motion, all scoffed when Apple first debuted the iPhone. The device was so simple and basic compared to phones that ran older smartphone platforms, including BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, and Symbian which was by far the most popular smartphone operating system on the planet at the time. How could such a simple device compete when it lacked all of the complex features available on these larger platforms?
Fast forward to 2019, and none of the companies that dominated the smartphone market back then are blips on the radar anymore. Nokia and BlackBerry completely collapsed; the companies don’t even exist anymore as they did back then. Nokia’s mobile business was sold off to Microsoft, Microsoft’s mobile business has been burned to the ground, and BlackBerry’s hardware business was licensed to a third-party phone maker that doesn’t even sell enough phones to have a measurable market share. Meanwhile, most of the companies that followed Apple’s lead (or just blatantly copied Apple and stole all of the iPhone’s best design features) remain players in the market today.
It’s pretty crazy to think about the kind of impact a simple little cell phone had on a gigantic, multi-billion dollar industry. Of course these days, the iPhone isn’t quite so simple anymore. Apple added more and more new features with each passing year, and now iOS is packed with just as many features as Android. Of course Android is far more flexible since Google doesn’t restrict developer access to most core functions the way Apple does, but there are still plenty of nifty features Apple has added along the way that dramatically improve the overall user experience.
An interesting thread popped up earlier this week on Reddit. In the Android subreddit, a user posted a thread with the following question as its title: “What is something you wish Android could do that iPhone can?” It would have been easy for the thread to devolve into a flame war since there are so many hardcore Android fans in that sub. But instead, a mostly civil discussions ensued where Android phone users shared details about their favorite iPhone features.
“Both OS’s are good in their own right, I always remain objective when comparing the two,” Reddit user guyaneseboi23 wrote while opening the discussion. “One thing I wish android has that iPhone does so well is compatibility… iPhones paired with other apple devices just work instantly and without the need of setting anything up, its [sic] almost magic (cliché sounding I’m aware). Also apps… they run better on iOS, are released first on iOS, and get updates quicker. I guess also a messaging app like iMessage. Hangouts kinda does the job but not really at the same time.”
Apple’s Continuity feature suite is indeed a huge draw for the iOS and macOS platforms, as this Redditor keenly states. And of course it goes without saying that iMessage is one of the biggest lock-in feature Apple has ever concocted. But what other iPhone features do Android users wish would make their way over to their smartphone platform of choice?
It should come as no surprise that the top-voted response is a simple iPhone feature that has actually been part of the iOS platform since day 1. In fact, the feature pre-dates “iOS,” since it was actually called “iPhone OS” back in 2017 when the first iPhone was introduced. What feature are we talking about here? The simple ability to tap the status bar at the top of any screen to instantly scroll all the way to the top of a page. It’s so simple and yet so useful, and apparently Android users are a bit jealous. Fortunately, Android is Android, so savvy users who do a bit of digging will learn that they can actually add this great feature if they’re willing to do some tweaking.
Other iPhone features that Android users in the thread mentioned most often include the ability to record the screen along with internal audio, the presence of a physical mute switch on iPhones, a better system-wide backup feature, better accessibility features such as hearing aid compatibility, a consistent messaging experience, the lack of bloatware, and of course more timely system updates.
There’s plenty more in the thread, and we definitely recommend checking it out on Reddit.