The killer iOS feature Apple will never add

Over the past few months, Google has released great updates to their suite of iOS apps. For the first time, I could replace Apple’s entire application layer with the Google equivalents, and be better off.

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Google has always beaten Apple in online services, but the new apps also have a sense of quality and design that is new for Google.

The issue is that every time I download a Google app (or sometimes even update one), I have to login. When using 2 factor auth, this is a pain.

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I want to sign in to my Google account once, and have all apps on my iPhone use that auth token. This is what iOS already does for iCloud, Twitter, and Facebook. And Android already does this with Google accounts.

Even better, I’d love to sign in to multiple Google Apps accounts, and easily switch between them. I could do this within a single app, or globally for the entire phone.

But Apple doesn’t want this. They want you to use Apple Mail, Apple Maps, Safari, and other apps which, frankly, are not that great anymore.

Is this the right move for Apple? Do they need you locked in to their apps?

The better approach would be for Apple to build the best hardware, best operating system, and best application platform. Sell that, and let users choose what apps they want to use.

Today, no one will choose to use iCloud over Google apps. It’s in Apple’s court to make a better product and win us over.

15 comments

  1. Shows objectivity! I’m in the same boat. Love most things Apple but not all things Apple. Hope they can either open up or really start improving some of their apps. I’m ok with either.

  2. I was going to say the same thing! A lot of die-hard Apple acolytes (aka MG Siegler) seem to have lightened up about Google in 2012.

  3. You kinda described the reason why i switched from iOS to Android…Google’s services are way better then Apple’s (and much cheaper though), in short, it’s more bang for the buck.Some things could be better though, but that’s with every platform…

  4. You’ve heard of a Walled Garden, right? That’s what Apple’s purposely built. Apple is leveraging its monopoly control over iOS to provide a superior experience using its own stuff–surprise, surprise. It’s not about providing a platform, it’s about controlling the experience from end to end.

  5. The problem with this is authorization. You could say, "I just want to enter my facebook/twitter credentials once, and let other apps." But how this would work in practice is that the moment I launch Angry Birds, it would find a way to make use of those credentials to start inviting my friends to join me. Apple, at least, can know which apps get to use iCloud, and for what. Opening this to any 3rd-party authentication mechanism gives you a much harder-to-control — not to mention harder-to-understand — user experience. I’d prefer that Apple keep as strict separation from my google credentials as possible.

  6. Google could do single sign on – Facebook has it. They just need to switch to their auth app, get a token and switch back to the originating app.

  7. As far as the "walled garden" goes. I think this is what Sachin is trying to say: maybe Apple’s "walled garden" approach is costing them too much, in terms of user experience.People don’t want to be locked into Apple’s garden, they want to invite whoever and whatever they want to come in, and if they can do that over in someone else’s garden, then they’ll just move over to that one.

  8. This is a very old feature iOS has supported since the very early days of iOS.You make all the apps have the same Bundle Seed ID and you can share keychain datahttp://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/General/Conceptual/ApplicationDevelopmentOverview/ConfigureYourProject/ConfigureYourProject.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40011186-CH6-SW8Ball is entirely in google’s court here. Lobby them to change their apps to support this

  9. Uh what? I gotta say that’s kind of dumb. Apple doesn’t want you using Google’s stuff cause its Google’s apps and Apple’s iPhone. You want the Google experience use an Android. You want the Apple experience where they "lock you into they’re apps" we’ll go ahead (at least it works seamlessly between all of Apples products), it’s Apples device. You can’t criticize Apple for not allowing Google on their products. It’s like criticizing Google for not allowing Apple apps on their products. Stop Criticizing.

  10. You can do this right now, as others pointed out. I have lots of apps that already do this. For some reason Google refuses to integrate basic iOS features into their apps. For instance none of their apps including maps accesses contacts, calendar, todo or other basic services severely limiting their functionality. (Which is one reason I’m surprised you see them as so much better)

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