Lately I have seen lots of articles and discussions about iOS stealing from Android and vice versa. Heck, I even ventured into that territory myself. People often use the argument that Android was “made” after iOS, so naturally Android “stole” everything from iOS. Likewise, Android had the pull-down notification center first, so iOS “stole” that feature for iOS5.
However, it’s hard to say who was actually first. Sure, iOS was originally released to the public before Android, but there is tons of evidence that supports the notion that both operating systems were being developed at the same time.
Time for a history lesson. The first public release of iOS, version 1.0, along with the original iPhone, was released in June of 2007. Android’s first public release, a beta version, was released in November of 2007. I think you can agree that both surfaced at about the same time. Now to clear up the confusion. Many people believe that because iOS was released first, it was made first. This really has no support when you do a quick search on the Internet.
Android Inc. was founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin and a few other guys known for their work in the mobile industry. It wasn’t until 2005 that Google acquired them. Based on this, you can say that development on Android as an operating system began as early as 2003. Now, given Apple’s closed nature, there isn’t much information on when development of iOS began. However, using Android as a benchmark, I think it’s safe to say that iOS development began around 2003 as well. So, while iOS was released first, I think it’s safe to say that both were “made” at the same time.
Now the question is asked: Who is stealing from whom?
I like to think of the mobile OS ecosystem as a group of operating systems that give it there all for their latest release to introduce a major feature before the competition, and in turn the competition seeing what works and implementing it in their own software. This is a great balance as it encourages innovation and competition. You could argue that Apple has been less than innovative with iOS5 (and vice versa with Android, in some respects), but that’s a different article. Besides, when it all comes down to it, most everything is just a reinvention of a past idea.
So, let’s put aside the notion of stealing. Instead, congratulate those who got to the market first, and encourage the others to try harder next time.