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7 'New' Features Apple Just Stole From Microsoft, Google, and Itself

·Assistant Editor

As it has done in years past, Apple used its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote to announce new features and services to its devices and software platforms. Of course, functions and features that appear innovative to Apple fanboys are sometimes old news to users of Microsoft and Google products. And this time around, Apple even managed to steal from itself. 

Here, we’ve taken our best guess at where Apple looked to borrow some of the new stuff in its latest versions of iOS, OS X, watchOS, and even the just-announced Apple Music. 

Did you notice another feature or service that seems a tad familiar? Let us know in the comments. 

1. Public transit information: Google Maps 


Kind of a no-brainer here. Google Maps has been the premiere mapping software for years (even on Apple’s own iPhone, at least until iOS 6 was released in 2012). Part of the reason is that Google Maps offers live public transit information.

Apple announced Monday that, to bolster its own somewhat troubled Apple Maps app, it will be adding – Eureka! – public transit info. Brilliant idea! We’re sure Sergey and Larry would approve. 

2. Multitasking tablets: Microsoft Surface


The iOS 9 on iPad demo showing side-by-side app functionality earned rousing applause from the WWDC audience Monday. Our best guess? These developers and/or journalists have never used a Microsoft Surface. (They wouldn’t be the only ones.)

Windows 8 has had these special powers for years now. And in the upcoming Windows 10, the ability to open and resize modern Windows apps on a Surface — or any other Windows tablet — will get even easier. (Shhh, don’t tell Tim Cook.)

3. Picture-in-picture video: Samsung Galaxy Note


Apple also showed off a video picture-in-picture window for the iPad on Monday. Seems cool, but the truth is that Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones and tablets have had similar functionality for years.

On the other hand, the pic-in-pic feature on these Android gadgets has always been limited to playing local video files and not watching live TV apps like Apple demoed at WWDC 2015. So that part is new and exciting, at least. 

4. Contextual searches: Google Now on Tap


If the features of iOS 9′s smarter, more context-aware Siri seem strangely familiar, there’s good reason. Just a couple weeks ago, Google unveiled something called Google Now on Tap that does many of the same things.

Like the new Siri, the latest version of Android’s voice assistant will scan your emails or text message and automatically set reminders and calendar events. And both Apple’s and Google’s services can decipher context for voice commands. This means that, while viewing a website for Mount Rushmore, you should be able to ask “How long does it to take to get there?” and get back the right answer. Coming soon to an Android or Apple handset near you!

5. Smarter watch faces: Android Wear


Is the Apple Watch more elegant than any Google watch to date? Yeah, probably. But is Apple’s watchOS still catching up with Android Wear in certain places? Yes to that, too.

Apple used the release of watchOS to add luxuries like custom photo watch faces and turn-by-turn navigation. Those features have been available on Android Wear wrist devices from the get-go. So we’re pretty sure we know where Cook and company drew inspiration for these.

6. Apple Music: Beats Music


It stands to reason that Apple Music would look a lot like Beats Music. After all, Apple did just buy Beats last year for $3 billion. Apple should get more for its money than just some overpriced headphones and the chance to party with Dr. Dre.

So, sure, the layout and navigation of Apple’s new multipronged music service has an unmistakable resemblance to the short-lived app launched by Dre and company. But you can still mark us down as slightly surprised that, from what we can tell, Apple just smooshed together the design of its old Music app with Beats and called it a day. Speaking of which…

7. Apple Music Connect: Ping


This might sound funny, but doesn’t the new Apple Music Connect feature, the one that allows subscribers to follow the updates and posts of their favorite artists, seem like it’s kind of ripping off Apple’s failed Ping music social media service?

Drake took the stage at WWDC to not only reveal that he will be releasing his next album on Apple Music but also to deliver a speech about how great Connect is for reaching out to fans. Lady Gaga offered Apple similar support at the launch of Ping.

We don’t see how the company could get in trouble with itself for dipping back into its own bucket of ideas. But by borrowing from Ping, Apple has started from the bottom. And now we get to see if, à la spokesman Drake, it can climb all the way to “here.”

Email me at danbean@yahoo-inc.com. Follow me on Twitter at danielwbean.

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