3 New Ways Google’s I/O Brought the Battle to Apple’s Doorstep

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) held its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month where it unveiled its latest operating system iterations as well as previously unseen developer tools for connected home products and a new health data storage platform. However, the press was scarcely finished talking about the Cupertino-based company’s latest innovations before arch-rival Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) — the maker of  Android, the primary rival to Apple’s iOS — held its own I/O developer conference in San Francisco just a few weeks later. Like Apple’s WWDC, Google’s I/O developer conference focused on the latest version of its mobile operating system: Android L.

Considering that Apple and Google are the two biggest rivals in the smartphone platform market, it was no surprise that Google unveiled several upgrades in Android L that are intended to help the operating system maintain its competitive edge against iOS. Many of the Android upgrades were related to a new design language that Google introduced called “Material Design.” Like the design overhaul that Apple’s iOS 7 underwent last year, Google’s Material Design upgrades appeared to be aimed at giving Android a simpler, minimalist appearance.

Other Android L improvements included an enhanced notification feature that allows users to see notifications from the lockscreen. Apple unveiled its own notification enhancement in iOS 8 with its interactive notifications feature that allows users to respond to messages without leaving an app. Another Android L upgrade allows users to unlock their devices just by being near it while wearing a Bluetooth-connected device. Although Apple doesn’t currently have a comparable technology, there have been rumors that the upcoming iWatch could offer a similar proximity based automatic unlocking feature.

Google’s I/O conference also revealed that it was expanding its rivalry with Apple far beyond the mobile operating system market. Many of the announcements made by Google centered on technologies that will directly challenge Apple in various markets that it has recently entered or plans to enter in the near future. Here are three areas where Google is challenging Apple for market dominance.