What My Droid Already Does, and Your iPhone Doesn’t

Photo: thesearethedroids.com

Apple announced its new and improved iOS 6 at the Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday. iPhone J.D. writes a great post outlining why lawyers will love the new iOS 6. Now, while iPhone users are buzzing about some of the new features, unfortunately for them, we’ve been using them on Android for some time. Here are some examples from iPhone J.D.’s post:

What iPhone J.D. says: “In iOS 6 you will be able to insert a photo or video into an e-mail that you are already composing.”

What Android users can do now: We’ve had the “insert a photo” feature for awhile in the Gmail (and K-9) app. In fact, that’s been a feature so long, I can’t remember not having it. It’s a rather easy process: in a new message (or reply), menu > Attach. For a simple way to attach multiple files, check out this post.

What iPhone J.D. says: “If you have different mail accounts on your device, such as a work account and a personal account,  you can now have different automatic signatures for different accounts.”

What Android users can do now: Sorry again iPhone users, this just isn’t that cool of a feature. Been there, done that. Gmail (and K-9) has this feature. In case you don’t have an automatic signature already, here’s a link to a great how-to. Quick tip too, if you’re using the same signature for multiple accounts, don’t forget to copy and paste:

What iPhone J.D. says: “If you like to flag messages, there is now an inbox of all items that are flagged.”

What Android users can do now: Late to the party again. My Gmail app stars (“flags”) messages, and displays them under their own separate label. Even better, this syncs with my Gmail account, so it’s available on my desktop too.

What iPhone J.D. says: “If there is a period of time when you don’t want to be bothered by a phone ringing or a text message tone or other alerts (such as when you are sleeping or when you are in a meeting), you can turn on a do not disturb setting to stop the phone from making noise or the screen from lighting up.”

What Android users can already do: Granted, this isn’t a native Android feature, yet, but I’ve been using Locale (and people like Tasker) for quite some time. Locale manages conditions and allows you to set restrictions on the behavior of your phone. There are at least (maybe less) a thousand different plug-ins too. Another great feature on my Droid Bionic homescreen is that I can quickly control the sound on my device with the slide of a button.

What iPhone J.D. says: “You can designate specific people for whom the phone will make noise and light up.”

What Android users can do now: You can manage this feature in Locale. I can set a situation to ensure that all phone calls from my wife come through, regardless of the setting.

What iPhone J.D. says: “When the phone is ringing but you cannot pick up, you can instead choose to reply with a text message such as a message that I’ll call you back later.”

What Android users can already do: I turned this feature off months ago because it’s annoying. Frankly, there’s probably a reason I don’t want to talk to you, and I’m not going to send you a text message that says something cheeky like, “I’ll call you back in a few minutes.” I’m just not going to waste text messages to say it.

What iPhone J.D. says: “Apple is getting rid of Google Maps support in the Maps app, and instead will use a new mapping system that Apple designed from the ground up.  It will include turn-by-turn navigation which may make it unnecessary to purchase a third party GPS app.  It also includes beautiful 3D, full-color renders of buildings in cities.  (No indication of which cities.)  It also includes local search to find businesses.

The Maps app will also add traffic information which is based in part on anonymous, real-time crowdsourced data from other iPhone users.  Thus, as long as other folks with iPhones are on the road, their misery from being stuck in traffic and moving slowly can be your gain by learning that you should take an alternative route.  When the iPhone is navigating you to a destination and it notices that a faster route is available, it will suggest the route and tell you how much time you can save by taking the alternative route.

The new Maps app will also work with Siri, which should make the turn-by-turn directions even more useful while you are driving and need to look at the road, not the iPhone screen.  It also lets your kids ask the age-old question “are we there yet” and get a response with the estimated time remaining.

One of the things that I like about Google Maps support is the ability to use Street View to see what a building looks like from street level . . . To give you access to this feature and other features unique to Google Maps, I wonder if Google will soon offer its own Maps app for the iPhone.”

What Android users can do now: Whew! That was a lot to say a couple things: Apple hates Google (and Google Maps); Google will probably develop its own app; the new Android Google Maps is awesome (I added that one); and I’ve had turn-by-turn navigation with “real-time” traffic for awhile on my Android phone.

What iPhone J.D. says: “There will be tons of tiny new features that didn’t merit mention in the keynote but will be appreciated by many, such as putting a Bluetooth on/off setting just below the Wi-Fi entry in the Settings app instead of keeping it buried in sub-menus.”

What Android users can do now: Android has widgets. Widgets are cool. Widgets let me turn my Bluetooth on or off with the press of the button. I have a Bluetooth toggle widget. Well, that’s a lie because I don’t. I use Locale to toggle my Bluetooth when I want it. I could add a Bluetooth toggle widget if I wanted one (long screen press > Widgets), and I did for this picture .

Well, as you can see, there’s so few reasons for Android users to be jealous of the new iOS 6. What does make me jealous? Siri (and here for a follow-up), Facetime, and Passbook. That looks like a cool app. I haven’t really examined Android alternatives for this, because it hasn’t been important to me, and Android 4.0 has near field communications (NFC), so you can anticipate an upcoming blog post on Passbook. I’m still hesitant to store any private information on my phone, though is it any worse than a wallet or purse?

I’m also interested in the VIP feature. I don’t know whether an alternative is available on Android either.

If you’re an attorney making the great debate to switch to iPhone, my advice is don’t. Compared to Android, iOS 6’s features for lawyers aren’t that revolutionary.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.