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Derrick Ho
Digital Life, The Straits Times
Friday, Jun 6, 2014

News, Science And Tech

Why you might survive without any of Apple's latest software updates from WWDC 2014

Digital Life, The Straits Times | Derrick Ho | Friday, Jun 6, 2014

Apple on Tuesday showed off to the world its latest plans on the software front - new versions of its mobile and Mac operating systems, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, respectively.

Like scores of other Apple fanboys across the world who stayed glued to the live stream, I clapped and cheered with every new feature Craig Federighi rattled off - a new OS X interface design slicker than Federighi's mane, better AirDrop file transfer options, a swanky new proximity feature called Handoff and (gasp!) an enhanced iMessage.

But once the roar of the crowd died down, I found myself asking: Hang on, haven't I been already doing all the things that Apple was touting at its keynote?

Let's start with the obvious:

1. iMessage enhancements

Mute group conversations, record and send audio clips? Come on. For those of us who use alternate messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and LINE, these functions are both a no-brainer and more importantly, a staple. WhatsApp's chief executive Jan Koum was even tickled enough make this tweet: "very flattering to see Apple 'borrow' numerous WhatsApp features into iMessage in iOS 8 #innovation."

Tech website The Verge also points out how the new iMessage user interface design for recording video messages echoes the instant video chat of the latest Snapchat.

2. iCloud Drive

Apple is definitely a few steps behind the folks at DropBox and Google, both of which have established themselves with reliable cloud storage solutions for the lay person. Both also offer services that work across operating systems - yes, even on Windows. DropBox and Google Photos have a function that allows you to automatically backup all your iDevice photos onto the cloud.

3. Handoff

This new feature brings proximity awareness to your Apple devices. Say, for instance, you're crafting an e-mail on your iPhone and you head over to your Mac. Your computer will notice what you've been doing and will prompt you, giving you the option to finish writing that e-mail on the Mac. Naturally, it works vice-versa too.

But if you're already composing your e-mails on the Gmail app, or working on a spreadsheet from Google Drive, the same can also be achieved. All changes are saved on the fly via Google's cloud service and working across devices has always been that easy.

The truly new thing with Handoff is perhaps the ability to manage calls received via your iPhone on your Mac. But what this basically does is turn your Mac into a mega speakerphone. As for that iPhone beside you? It already has a speaker mode. Then there are features that are clearly a rip-off from the Android platform:

Next >> 'Android platform' features

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