Apple does not mind making wholesale changes, and sometimes that means
ripping off borrowing good ideas from others. You’ll find bits and pieces of Windows in OS X, some Android OS functionality in iOS 8, and in OS X Yosemite, you’ll get a dose of Alfred.
The Butler Did It First
Allow me merely to mention that tech companies borrow from one another all the time, and Apple has a history of doing so as much as any other (other than Samsung, Xiaomi, and a few others who carry intellectual property theft to a new level).
Here’s a good example of what I mean. A few years ago the Mac community was blessed with a launch utility known as Alfred. As in Alfred the butler who does everything for you.
Alfred is a free launcher which launches apps and files, searches the web, captures snippets of text, and is highly customizable; perfect for matching itself to your personal workflow.
This handy utility truly is much like a digital assistant for your Mac. Instead of bouncing between multiple utilities, Alfred can look up words, calculate, check Contacts, let you view files, navigate your Mac’s file structure, sync itself between multiple Macs and much more.
Alfred is free with a limited set of features to launch apps, but an inexpensive Powerpack adds even more functionality (much of the list above).
Most of us who use Alfred love Alfred because it’s truly a power user’s tool. By that I mean we can accomplish nearly any task without using the mouse or trackpad. Alfred is keyboard centric.
So is Spotlight in OS X 10.10 Yosemite. In fact, there are times when using Yosemite’s Spotlight that I’m not sure if I’m using Alfred instead. There’s the Quick Look function, multiple search locations, Contacts, a list of recent documents, and even an option to search through email messages.
Alfred does a bit more with the Powerpack, including clipboard item management, and an option to create specific workflow actions that blend keywords, hotkeys, and actions together– without coding. Unlike Spotlight, Alfred has customizable themes to personalize your experience.
Technology life is as dynamic as our human lives. Good ideas get shared; between people and between technology companies. In this case, maybe shared isn’t the right word. Neither is confiscate or borrow. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Apple– and every other tech company– does not mind heaping praise on other developers for coming up with great ideas.