Apple's new operating system for mobile devices has some startups crying foul--but for others, the latest from the tech giant might spell opportunity.
Hot on the heels of Apple's big iOS 8 and Yosemite reveal at its WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) in San Francisco on Monday, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum dispatched a prickly tweet to followers:
very flattering to see Apple "borrow" numerous WhatsApp features into iMessage in iOS 8 #innovation-; jan koum (@jankoum) June 2, 2014
The Mountain View, California-based messaging startup has been widely embraced mainly for its group chat and audio messaging functions.
Besides updates to iMessage, Apple also announced its own cloud sharing service that resembles Dropbox and Box. And while Drew Houston and Aaron Levie could similarly cry foul all they want, to some degree the reason why their businesses have been able to take off is due to Apple's own shortcomings. In other words, applications like WhatsApp exist because up until now Apple and its ilk haven't developed an internal messaging system that was as convenient.
And though Apple is attempting to remedy many of its shortcomings, the company's latest operating system also presents some opportunities for startups. Here are just two:
It's well known that Apple's keyboard has some haters. Now with the iOS 8 opening up to third-party keyboards, it’s not hard to imagine a fierce competition coming up among developers with fresh ideas that could redefine the meaning of a “keyboard.” Some of the more user-friendly keyboards already exist on Android, such as SwiftKey, a predictive typing app, and Fleksy, a keyboard app specially designed for large fingers.
Apple’s decision apparently thrilled developers of these apps, as SwiftKey said it’s already developing its iOS version. Apple also said it would introduce its own iOS keyboard system called QuickType, which also offers more predictive typing features.
Another piece of good news for startups from Apple’s WWDC meeting is that iPhone/iPad users will be able to add widgets to the notification center. This new update works the best for apps with real time features. For instance, imagine scrolling down the “Today” column in the middle of a meeting and finding your favorite soccer team leading in the World Cup finals. Or, you can follow the Oscars with the notifications if you have no time watch the live stream.
It's hard to say whether the innovations of today will become Apple's inspiration of tomorrow. But if you think about it, does WhatsApp--after its $16 billion Facebook acquisition--really have it all that bad?