At its annual IO conference Wednesday, Google unveiled a slew of new products, features and services that will be rolled out in the coming months. We got an inside look at a new Pixel tablet, watch and phone, a new budget Pixel 6a, the first public beta of Android 13 and exciting search, AI and app updates.
But here at Macworld, we noticed how familiar many of the announcements sounded. There were more than a few features revealed on IO that were seemingly ripped straight from Apple’s playbook. Here are 5 features coming to Google and Android devices that Apple users have been enjoying for years:
One of the biggest app announcements at IO was the conversion from Google Pay to Google Wallet. Admittedly, Google Wallet was a little before Apple Card, but this latest version requires more than a few cues from the iPhone app. Coming soon, the new Google Wallet is your all-in-one place for your digital life, storing digital IDs, boarding passes, concert tickets, vaccination cards, loyalty cards, car keys and, of course, credit cards. Speaking from experience, Android users will love it.
Better tablet apps and multitasking
To say the least, Google’s tablets aren’t exactly in the same league as the iPad. With Android 13, Google wants to change that by stealing a little of Apple’s great tablet experience. Among the new features coming to Android tablets are easy multitasking that lets you use apps side by side, and new interfaces “to make the most of the extra space, including YouTube Music, Google Maps, Messages, and more.” We’re not sure if that’s going to be a big dent in Apple’s tablet dominance, but hey, better late than never.
Copy and paste from phones to tablets
Apple users have long had the ability to copy and paste anything on their iPhones and paste them to their Macs thanks to the power of Handoff and iCloud, and now Google is bringing the same to phones and tablets in Android 13. Soon you’ll be able to add a URL or image of your phone and paste it to your tablet.” The system (see below) seems a bit clunkier than Apple’s utterly seamless Universal Copy and Paste, but hey, it’s a start.
Pixel Buds Pro
Google unveiled and teased a number of hardware announcements during its IO keynote, including the new budget Pixel 6a, but the most intriguing was the Pixel Buds Pro. While no one would confuse the Pixel Buds A-series wireless earbuds with AirPods, the Pixel Buds Pro have a very similar feature set to the AirPods Pro. You get noise cancellation, transparency mode, spatial audio and ‘find my’ tracking, and an in-ear design very similar to the rumored AirPods Pro 2. Call them rivals if you must, but we’ll just call them copycats.
Google kind of stopped releasing its first-ever wearable on Google IO, but it finally confirmed the Pixel Watch’s existence. Like other Android Wear OS watches, it has a circular design with a fairly large bezel and a new “tactile” crown that appears to be the Google version of the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch. We don’t know if it will be as smooth as Apple’s or have a built-in ECG sensor, but the concept and look are practically identical.