Why can't we all be friends, or: Guess what? Both Google and Apple innovate
In the days after Apple's WWDC 2013 keynote, Google+ became pretty much unreadable. Not unexpectedly, a lot of Android fans made fun of Apple's changes in iOS 7 and how it looked like something Android has had all along. Nothing new here - this happens all the time and it also happens in the opposite direction, when Apple fans slam Google's latest efforts after they introduce a new product. That's the internet for you.
However, this time it felt like there was a lot more spite and hatred than ever before. I'm not sure why things got more heated this time. I do know, however, that I quickly grew tired of it and started muting posts and blocking the most annoying commenters. Soon, my timeline on Google+ was almost empty (granted, I also muted the other big topic at the time, XBox One vs. PS4, since I'm not interested in gaming consoles).
On the Android side, just like in the old PC days, features rule. As soon as something is technically possible and affordable, it gets integrated. Google and its partners try things out. It's more of a playful approach and it quite obviously attracts a certain audience that wants to "live on the edge" of technology and is always willing to try out new things. You could call this innovation.
On the Apple side, they look at the usefulness of things. If they are not convinced that something will be useful in practice, they ignore it until it becomes useful. On the other hand, if they feel that something useful is missing or not possible yet, they create it (or find someone who does). You could call this innovation.
Innovation is never equivalent to "creating something entirely new out of thin air". Innovation is always based on previous work. So, refinement of something that already exists (to make it usable when it wasn't before) or combining two existing things into something new is also innovation.
Once you look at innovation in this way, it should become obvious that the two sides aren't that far apart. They both innovate. They only set a different focus - bringing something to market as soon as possible vs. bringing something to market once it's usable for the majority of their customers.
Can we stop the hate now, please?
(Photo: Tim Cook announcing iOS 7 at WWDC; from Apple's recording of the event)