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The killer iOS feature Apple will never add (sachin.posterous.com)
16 points by a4agarwal 1758 days ago | hide | past | web | 22 comments | favorite

Today, no one will choose to use iCloud over Google apps

I do. The only Google service I actually use anymore personally is GMail but that simply forwards to my iCloud account. It's easier and more efficient on battery to just check one mail account. I also ditched Google Calendar / Contacts for iCloud because they work almost exactly the same. Again easier to just use/sync one service IMO. I was never a big Google Docs user to start with but now I use DropBox and native apps. Again I only setup my DropBox once and it's good to go. I can use different (and more powerful) apps as needed. Sometimes Numbers on iOS is fine for quick data entry but for building out a big spreadsheet I'm going to most likely use MS Office on a desktop. I guess you could do this through Google Drive now but I already have DropBox setup so why bother? I use FaceBook/Twitter instead of Google+ which are both first class citizens on iOS/OSX now. FaceBook chat has replaced GTalk just because everyone I know uses it. A lot of this goes back to Google's period where they did a very bad job supporting iOS. The path of least resistance was just to use something else and now I have no need to switch back. From what I've heard their iOS apps have improved greatly but I'm happy with what I'm using.

So do I. The issue for me is one of trust. I simply do not trust Google with my personal information. It's how they make their money, which is why I don't trust them.

So why do you chose iCloud? It's clearly for lock-in. AFAIK, you can't get iCloud on anything except Apple devices. Sure, iCloud v2 is supposed to work, but it's apparently not the same:


Google Drive, OTOH, works on Windows/Mac OSX/Android/iOS (and probably WP7, Windows 8, Blackberry, etc, but I haven't done my homework). Dropbox is another option.

Personally, I would never use iCloud. It's not because of trust, it's because of portability. What if I have an iPhone, then decide to buy a Samsung phone? I can't use iCloud on that device (AFAIK), so I'd have to transfer everything manually. What if I change from Android to Windows 8? AFAIK, Google Drive will still work.

If you're so bent on trust, then use Dropbox. It's much more portable and they don't really care about your data, just your monthly investment.

Your question doesn't make sense. The posters issue wasn't portability, it's trust.

He's willing to use the iOS ecosystem and it satisfies his requirements and it's convenient for him.

Even for portability I'm not too concerned about iCloud. You can sync it all locally and the file formats are nothing too special. At worst I might have to go through a tedious process of using the native iCloud enabled apps to export the data brute force. It's all there if I really need it. I feel better about this arrangement than I do with some of the Google services that require pro-active data exports. I even backup my local iCloud cache so I could go back 6 months for a snapshot of old data. It's all just sitting here so I can do what I want with it.

I do use Dropbox. iCloud, much like Google's services, isn't about one thing. It's a suite of online tools, and it works for me. That's actually the important bit.

Google could do this now across their suite of apps by using iOS's keychain APIs.

Yup. Instead of being an Apple problem, it's a Google one. I wonder if users would even notice that they didn't have to log in multiple times, and more worrisome, if that would bother them that they didn't.

Right, exactly. Google could do this, if they shared a TeamID UUID. What they couldn't do is replace the built in Apple apps (Safari, Mail, Messages), which is a shame. Apple should document the data/API ins and outs of these apps so replacements could work in the same way. Power users should be able to replace Safari with Chrome, etc.

Forgive me fo veering off topic, but "power users" is such a horrible notion. It just makes me think of douchey know-it-alls with massively over inflated entitlement glands - especially those that consider themselves to be "power users". Again, apologies, I just really dislike the expression "power user" and I'm seeing it way too much on here lately.

I don't think it is douchey at all. 99% of people using these devices don't give a flying monkey fuck about replacing default apps. There is a very small segment of the population that uses all of the features of a device. Also, "Power User" is not a new term by a long shot.

I don't think that's true at all. I've talked to a lot of people who wonder when Google will come out with Chrome for iOS. Now that it's out, it's marked 17+ (because it escapes Apple's filter), can't be set as "default browser" and I imagine that it doesn't use v8 (used to be against the developer agreement; possible doesn't even use Nitro).

Apple has technical limitations in place to prevent alternatives from being as good as the default. A simple example is setting the default browser/email application. I'm not sure if this is still true, but Apple had a policy preventing 3rd party browsers from being anything more than a skin over Safari.

Since Apple is in complete control of the App Store and there aren't any 3rd party app stores, Apple has no incentive to allow alternatives to it's default applications.

What would apple gain from allowing that. I have a lot of family members that have iDevices and some of them can barely use the the basic featureset that is available on the phones. I also think the bar for a power user is pretty low as I would consider anyone who knows what a browser is and what it does, let alone have the thought "Hmm, I wish I could replace the default browser with Chrome" as a power user. Apple wouldn't have incentive to allow third party replacements anyway, because it would allow users to change the experience of using the device. Letting users do that, while giving expert users a lot of power, raises the complexity of the base device to a level apple doesn’t approve of.

I never said it was a new term, and I've always has a dislike for it, especially as it's use has evolved. It's gone from meaning sub-administrator to self-asserted expert user. The issue I have with the expression is more with those who consider themselves "power users", as in my experience it goes hand in hand with condescension and arrogance, an "I know best" attitude if you will.

yup, came here to say this and also - wonder - why haven't they done this already?

Great point. I wonder why they don't. I'm sure it's coming...

The vast majority of users don't care if they use Apple of Google apps most of the time. Even maps which was a big deal among us techies, most of my regular friends couldn't care less which apps they use. And for many, facebook has largely replaced email anyway.

iOS has had the ability to share keychain items between apps from the same developer using 'keychain-access-groups' since iOS3. Google could use a single login for all their iOS apps, but they probably have a host of reasons why they do not.

This is already possible if they have the same Bundle Seed ID.

This feature has been around for either the entirety of or damn near the entirety of iOS programming.


Google itself might not want iOS to have this feature. If they can keep their apps sufficiently far ahead of Apple's, power users will use them in spite of the extra hassle. Some of those power users will feel like they're getting a second-rate experience with iOS and might switch to Android. If they could functionally swap native iOS apps out for Google apps such that there's zero hassle to using them, iOS power users would feel like they had the best of both worlds and have zero motivation to switch platforms.

Power users certainly aren't the majority of the market, but they do tend to steer things. There are, of course, many barriers that keep users from switching platforms, but every little bit helps.

Some used this same argument to suggest that Google wouldn't want to ship an iOS Google Maps app, and yet, lo and behold, it shipped two weeks ago to great fanfare. To think that Google would not want to participate in an ecosystem as large as iOS because not doing so might drive some small percentage of those users to Android is ridiculous.

This isn't an issue of Android being more "open". Google baked-in one-sign in features into Android, sure, just as Apple did with iCloud. But you can't do this for other 3rd party apps on Android. You can't sign in on one app, and continue being signed in on another app (at least not in the way that you complain Apple should allow).

I do like your idea, and agree Apple should allow this. They should also allow changing the default applications, and allow better access to internet APIs, so Mozilla can actually make Firefox for iOS. But that aside, what you're complaining about isn't something Google does either

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