As a bitter partisan, I'd hate to say that the things that Apple is playing "catchup" on are things that by getting right now, they don't have to worry about everything going to hell later.
For instance, how iOS implements third party keyboards is that the keyboard itself is sandboxed away from the rest of the running process. In comparison, on Android, keyboards are basically key loggers running onto of the current running process.
Intents vs Plugins? Similar.
There were reports that Swiftkey was going to be announced for iOS 7, funny enough, as a third party keyboard. However, it seems like all of the XPC stuff Apple has been doing, Google has a LOT to catch up on. Apple now just has the low hanging fruit.