Much of the talk concerning Apple and Google lately has surrounded their upcoming smartphones. The iPhone 8, Pixel 2, and Pixel XL 2 rumors seem to dominate the tech news world right now. However, both companies have some exciting changes on the horizon, even for those who don’t plan on putting down the money to upgrade to a new device. This fall it will be iOS 11 vs Android O. So, which one is going to come out on top? First, let’s look at the features each update is bringing.

iOS 11 vs Android O

iOS 11 vs Android O
Fauno / Pixabay

iOS 11

There are some pretty exciting changes coming in iOS 11. Keep in mind, this is the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. Apple wants to hit this fall’s launch out of the park and that includes both software and hardware. Current iPhone owners will be excited to see there is an iMessage revamp coming along. Apple has added new features over the last few years which is great, but the app has started to feel cluttered. The iOS 11 update should change that. In addition, iMessages will now be accessible through iCloud which means that whenever you sign into a new device your messages will be there immediately. Perfect for people who are looking to upgrade to the iPhone 8.

Apple Pay is getting some additional functionality. Have you ever borrowed $10 from a friend and then had to go take out cash from an ATM, break the $20 bill on a useless purchase, all just to pay them back? Kiss that ridiculous ritual goodbye. In iOS 11 you will be able to use Apple Pay to send money to friends through iMessage. Handy, right?

Siri is also growing up. Her voice is going to sound less robotic and more human. However, that’s a small change compared to the translation ability Siri is getting. Now you’ll be able to ask Siri to translate words and phrases with support for some of the most common languages.

There will be some big changes to photos and videos in iOS 11. First, compression is being improved to help save that precious storage space on your iOS device. This will be a huge help as camera quality continues to improve with new releases. The Photos app will also use machine learning to create memories based on location, date, and even the content of the photo.

There are some more minor changes coming along as well. Apple Maps will now show you the inside of buildings. Very helpful for travelers trying to navigate an unfamiliar airport, for example. Speed limits and lane guidance will also be included in Apple Maps along with a Do Not Disturb option to help you stay focused on the road.

Those are the highlights in iOS 11. How does it stack up in the iOS 11 vs Android O battle? Let’s take a look at what Android O has in store.

Android O

Android has come a long way from where it began. Remember the Android vs iOS debate back in the early days? iOS was unarguably more polished. Now, Android is a mature OS that can hang with any OS you put it up against. The changes coming in Android O are not revolutionary changes, but rather incremental improvements.

Android O is getting a picture-picture mode. Android TV owners will be familiar with this feature. It allows users to use an app while also watching a video from YouTube, for example. Developers will have to build this feature into their apps which may make the roll out a little slower than some may like.

Notification channels are an exciting change coming to Android O. Even the most hardcore Apple fans will admit that Android has always had a leg up when it comes to notifications. In Android O, users will be able to set different notification channels so that certain app notifications can be grouped by category and given varying levels of importance. Snoozing notifications is also becoming more intuitive. When you swipe on a notification, you will get an option to snooze the notification for a set period of time. This is perfect for anyone who has ever swiped a notification aside and then completely forgotten about it.

The settings app is being revamped in Android O. With more and more features coming along every year, it was time for Google to make their settings feel more intuitive and organized. For example, there will be a “Connected Devices” section which includes bluetooth and casting options. There will also be suggestions that Google thinks may help you make better use of your device. Again, nothing revolutionary; just another incremental and thoughtful change.

Autofill is also being improved. Now, if developers enable the feature in their app, the Android autofill feature will work across the entire system. This is handy for entering addresses into third party apps and other repetitive tasks. Password managers will also be able to populate passwords across different apps. Every second saved is a second gained!

Finally, one of the other major updates in Android O is improved battery life. I will hold off on getting too excited about this because we have heard this story before but my Nexus 6P still dies at 20% battery when I open Snapchat. In Android O, apps will be limited to what they can do in the background and for how long. For example, location services can be shutdown for Google Maps if it has not been opened in several minutes. This should save battery but, again, we have heard this story before.

Verdict

It’s hard to make a call in the iOS 11 vs Android O debate. Both operating systems are mature and feature-filled at this point in their life. No major, groundbreaking changes are on deck to really set one above the other. With that said, I do think iOS has a few more interesting features coming up that can be functional for all users from the casual user to the power user. Some of the Android changes will be very exciting for the most tech savvy among us, but may not be of much interest to the average person. In either case, I think owners of both operating systems will be happy with what’s coming down the pipeline.