Is Apple experimenting with Android-style sharing on iOS?
One of the advantages that Android has over iOS is the ability of any app to share information (links, photos, documents) with any other app capable of receiving such content.
This feature is powerful enough for my daily workflow that it’s the main reason I’m upgrading my iPhone 4S to a Google Nexus 5 as soon as it comes out.
Apple, on the other hand, restricts the kind of information you can share and offers only native sharing to apps handled by iOS accounts (Mail, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr). Developers can provide customized sharing options within their apps (the best examples being the excellent Drafts app and Launch Center Pro, which uses URL schemes), but you’re limited to whatever the developer thought worthwhile including or apps that have registered URL schemes.
If, for instance, you want to share a link from Safari to Buffer or save it to Pinboard you’ve got to either email the link to one of these services or deal with a hard to configure bookmarklet. What you can accomplish with two-clicks on Android, takes several clicks and windows on iOS.
However, Apple seems to be experimenting with native inter-app sharing on iOS 7 within the iMessage app. If you try to share an image you’ve received through iMessage you’ll notice a much larger selection of sharing options.
I’m not sure how this list is being populated or why it includes such odd choices as the E*Trade app, which I’m pretty sure does not accept pictures as input, but it certainly offers many more options than Photos or Safari.
Is this documented anywhere? I couldn’t find any mentions of this behavior, but then again, I’m not an iOS developer.
What do you think? Why are these options there and why are they only in the iMessage app?