After a couple years of threatened and attempted thermo-nuclear war, it really does look like Apple and Google are making their peace and drifting in different direction.
Perhaps they realised this was not a situation of ‘neither can live while the other survives’, and that instead these were two distinct companies, with equally remarkable, but very different, skill sets – and that the natural conclusion of this was divergence over time.
As Benedict Evans keeps arguing, Apple’s moving down the tech stack (A7 processor, TouchID, iBeacons and Bluetooth LE meshes..) and Google is moving up it (Google Play services, cloud-based AI & machine learning services…). It’s not out of spite but out of natural advantage. Apple’s thing is integrating hardware and software – it allows them to do all sorts of things Google can’t; Google’s thing is data and cloud – the same principle applies.
This year’s WWDC is only a confirmation of these trends – opening TouchID to public API but sandboxing it the whole way down; HomeKit and HealthKit; writing Metal and Swift… all things only Apple can do well.
Finally a thought from Benedict:
One effect of this is that it might get harder to make essentially the same app on both platforms. If a core, valuable thing you can do on one platform has no analogue at all on the other, what do you do? Ignore the stuff that isn’t on both, and get a lowest common denominator product? Or dive into those tools, but end up having quite different experiences on iOS and Android? Things like Metal and Swift only accelerate this issue.