Xiaomi unveiled the latest version of its MIUI platform, which observers swiftly noted bears more than a passing resemblance to Apple’s iOS.
Adopting a “flat” design similar to Apple’s platform, the home screen, pop-up notifications, calendar and other apps all have a decidedly Cupertino feel to them. With observers also noting that the product pages on the Xiaomi website also have a distinctly Apple-esque look, it is clear where the Chinese company’s influences come from.
New features include the ability to sort notifications into different levels of importance; and camera image back-up via Wi-Fi to the company’s MiCloud service, with support for the sharing of photo streams.
Xiaomi said that its MIUI evolution has shifted to focus on internet services, and here the company is in the same boat as Apple. While the iPhone maker has increased the capabilities of its iCloud platform, in many cases it has struggle to displace core apps from rivals such as Google – leading to the Apple Maps debacle and YouTube unbundling.
With Xiaomi using a ‘forked’ version of Android, it too is reducing the significance of Google, although with the search giant struggling with the Chinese market in general, this specifically is no great loss.
But as Apple has a nemesis in the shape of Google, Xiaomi too has its opponents – notably Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, all of which have strong online propositions and are also active in the mobile space.
With Xiaomi being known for its low prices, which have enabled it to build market share rapidly, the company needs to look elsewhere to improve its margins. And there are some signs its platform strategy is reaping rewards: it said that MIUI users engage with their devices 7 per cent more than iOS users, citing figures from Flurry.
Having initially been released for a 1,000 user beta test, MIUI availability will this week be extended to 10,000 users. A developer build will be ready in September, to be followed by the final upgrade in October.