Apple’s new iOS contact posters are a reminder that Android has yet to catch up

Being two of the most used mobile operating systems, it is impossible not to constantly draw comparisons between iOS and Android. Sometimes the latest advances are doubly pursued by both sides, as we’re seeing now with satellite communication, while others, like RCS messaging, only seem to find fans on one side of the aisle. We also see iOS and Android taking different paths for visual design, and even when Apple and Google are working on comparable features, each strives to maintain a distinct visual identity. Earlier this month, Apple announced iOS 17, which was jam-packed with new features, and it’s hard to look at some of them, like fun and functional new contact posters, without feeling jealous of Android.


The root of our envy

In 2022, iOS 16 introduced a major design change to iPhones, with advanced lock screen customization options. You can add widgets to your lock screen for easily visible information or even change the color and font of the applied wallpaper. The biggest change was a feature called Depth Effect, which worked better with Portrait mode photos. It used AI to place the lock screen clock in a layer between the foreground and background of the image, creating an interesting and unique wallpaper. Depth Effect also works with images from the web and some stock iOS wallpapers, though not reliably. Interestingly, you can’t use Depth Effect with lock screen widgets at the same time.

Notice the clock hidden behind the cat’s ear (Left); Lock screen widget (Right)

Now, Android had lock screen widgets in 2012, with version 4.2 Jelly Bean. While the concept was perhaps ahead of its time, it’s been kept alive in spirit through third-party apps like KLCK, which can more than adequately mimic modern iOS, Depth Effect and all. But perhaps needless to say, the installation process here is much more complicated and had its drawbacks. Even third-party lock screen apps don’t work best on Android skins with aggressive battery management like MIUI.

Call background created on a UI using AR Emoji

Sometimes, however, phone makers are the ones to find solutions and features like Call Backgrounds on Samsung’s One UI 5 are ready to compete with iOS, even if Google takes its time to bring something similar to stock Android.

A proper response from Android is still budding

In the name of customization, Android has supported things like changing corner swipe actions, wallpaper, and, on some ROMs, clock placement. Android 14 Beta 3 arrived earlier this month (nearly a full year after iOS 16) and brings more changes, with various lock screen options like new clock styles and color customization. We see immense potential on the horizon if Google maintains this momentum. However, in another sense, this is still catching up with the likes of Xiaomi’s One UI and MIUI, which have had comparable customization options for a while now. The lock screen design geek in me despises Google for barely keeping up with Apple and failing to come up with its own versions of really cool stuff, like Depth Effect and lock screen widgets, ever since start.

On the other hand, I partly really appreciate the latest beta’s commitment to a design that is uniquely Android. Openly copying even the admittedly impressive efforts of a rival is still rarely a good look, so it’s nice to see the freshness here with Google’s approach to the home and lock screen with things like emoji wallpapers, AI-generated art, and personalization of the background. Unfortunately, Apple has already announced iOS 17 with these eye-catching new contact posters — and I say “unfortunately,” because now I have a feeling that Android may never match the homogeneity and overall “wow” factor of iOS here.

Contact Poster on iOS 17

With Contact Posters, Apple is redefining the way you view and interact with your contacts. You can assign a photo, Memoji or colored background to each saved contact and customize the color scheme and fonts of the display. These full screen posters are displayed for incoming calls, messages and FaceTime calls. They’re also built into iOS 17’s shared sheets and should work with third-party calling apps, like WhatsApp. With full-screen previews, it’s easier to see who’s trying to reach you, even if you’re just glancing at your phone.

How will Google run Contact Posters?

In contrast, Android has used the same gray incoming call screen for years. Android 14 barely caught up with the lock screen flexibility of iOS 16 a year later. While Google started working on a response to Contact Posters long before iOS 17 publicly opened coverage, it certainly isn’t in the cards for Android 14, which is already in public beta testing. An integrated solution should apparently wait, at a minimum, for a stable version of Android 15, which we will only see at the end of 2024.

Google seems to be in over its head at times with all of its regular updates to Material You guidelines and subsequently ensuring its millions of apps are compliant. Yes, Material Design 3 is cleaner and we love it, but it would be nice to see Android redefine what modern user interfaces look like, instead of painting every app icon in Google’s four colors and reinventing the wheel when it spins right. Incoming call screens are just one example: Other elements, like the recent apps menu and the expansive Settings app, are practically begging for a chance at reinvention and a taste of the simplicity we love in iOS.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. Google may follow Apple’s lead in the UI/UX department by a margin of a year, but its engineers still remain inventive and capable of originality with their work. Apple is now pointing out another element of the smartphone operating system that is in desperate need of an overhaul, and I hope Android gives us an equally refreshing makeover soon. It would be great to see Material You’s design guidelines and Android’s visual identity combined to offer a new take on call screens that serve their purpose better, giving the contact image more prominence than other elements.

The Apple vs. Android debate is a hornet’s nest we’ll never tire of kicking around, but the way I see it, contact posters are like lock screen customization options. Whether Android does an objectively better job will remain up for debate, but I have faith that Google’s engineers will not fail to create something great by attempting to mimic or surpass Apple’s UI design.

There’s even hope for the impatient: The things we envy today in iOS 17 may be on Android a few years from now, but if you’re in a hurry, Android’s ecosystem is chock full of apps like KLCK that can grace your screen. block . This is, Self you are ready to commit.

#Apples #iOS #contact #posters #reminder #Android #catch

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