We're minutes away from the release by Apple of the fourth iteration of the iPhone OS and it is indisputable that the software platform would have been very different had it not be for the mounting threat of Google's Android.
Android is, at the moment, the only credible competitor to the iPhone, so much so that earlier this year, Steve Jobs reportedly told to an audience at One Infinite Loop that Google entered the phone business and that they want to kill the iPhone before saying that their "don’t be evil" mantra is untrue.
Some may deny the fact that Apple has been forced to introduce multi-tasking in iPhone OS 4 but we believe that, if Android didn't exist, Apple wouldn't have mind waiting one more generation before bringing in this resource-hogging feature.
The fact that Android does multi-tasking by default has raised the bar for Apple. Not surprisingly, many of the features that have been added to iOS4 are already present in Android. Support for double-tap zoom? Checked, Folders? Present in Android since October 2008 (at least), Unified Inbox? Introduced in October 2009. Ditto for wallpapers on the home screen.
Ultimately, the only major improvement that Apple has introduced and which was not present in Android is the iBooks. Apple and Google are locked in a race to come up with new features as fast as possible although Google has the upper hand when it comes to matching its software improvement with hardware capabilities.