As a multi-device user navigating the tech world, I often find myself in the limbo between the Apple iPhone 14 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. However, the reality is that my loyalty leans towards Android, leaving me as a green bubble in the sea of blue iMessages. Apple’s notorious exclusivity in its features, favoring its own ecosystem, is set to become even more pronounced with the impending release of iOS 17, potentially leaving Android users like myself further out in the cold.
The green bubble struggle is real, as we find ourselves excluded from group texts and FaceTime calls. You may ask, why the fuss when text messages still go through, and there are numerous third-party messaging services available? Well, as it turns out, this issue is about to take on a whole new level of significance. The upcoming iOS 17 is packed with novel features that promise to revolutionize the way we interact using our smartphones – well, if you own an iPhone, that is. The new updates from iOS 17, including the contact poster and SharePlay, are set to widen the gap between iPhone and Android users, making the digital divide more evident than ever.
Apple’s iOS 17: A Boon for iPhone Users, A Bane for Android Enthusiasts
The smartphone world has always been divided into two camps: Apple’s iPhone users and Android users. As an Android user and a green bubble in a sea of blue iMessage bubbles, I’ve been getting along just fine. But, with Apple’s impending iOS 17 update, the divide between Android and iPhone users is set to widen.
The Magic of Contact Poster and SharePlay
In the past, meeting and greeting someone involved exchanging numbers or sending a message with your contact info. With iOS 17, iPhone users will simply need to bring their phones close together. Through a magical technology, a contact poster – a new avatar for iPhone owners – will appear on the screen.
This contact poster will allow iPhone users to share their contact information. But it doesn’t stop there. Once connected, iPhone users can start a SharePlay session, allowing them to sync and share music, videos, or games. Imagine having a secret dance party with your friends, with music playing in perfect sync on each iPhone. Sadly, Android users will be left humming along, unable to join the party.
The New CarPlay Music Sharing Feature
The new iOS 17 will also allow iPhone users to send music via SharePlay to the car’s playlist. In a group car ride, iPhone users will get to pick the music, while Android users will be mere listeners. It seems that the Android users’ input will be limited to humming along to the iPhone users’ selected tunes.
Check In Safety Feature: A Serious Concern
Apple’s new safety Check In feature is a significant addition. Through the iPhone’s Messages app, an iPhone user can send a Check In message to another iPhone user, allowing for safety checks. For instance, when a child leaves for piano lessons, they can set a location, and the parent will be notified when they arrive. It can also activate emergency procedures if needed.
However, this feature is exclusive to iPhone users. Android users cannot send or receive these safety Check In messages. This is a serious concern, as it means that Android users are excluded from this potentially life-saving feature.
Exclusive features that reward users for buying into a particular ecosystem are not unusual. However, it is concerning when basic phone features, such as safety checks and music sharing, become exclusive to one brand. These features should be universal, regardless of the brand or operating system of the phone.
While being a green bubble amidst blue has been an endearing quirk of Apple loyalty, the inability to receive safety check in messages raises serious concerns. It feels like Apple’s message is: "We want you to be safe, so tell your loved ones to buy an iPhone." This is a step too far, and I hope that Apple reconsiders this stance.
The upcoming iOS 17 clearly offers exciting features for iPhone users. But, for Android users like me, it feels like we’re being forced to watch the party from outside the window, unable to fully participate.