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Five Samsung Galaxy S9 things I'd love to see on iPhone 9

Apple's biggest competitor did that thing today where it streamed its big Samsung Galaxy S9 event and let every tech site on the 'net simultaneously release their first look videos and write-ups, thus ensuring I'd spend the afternoon zipping from browser window to browser window, TV to laptop, like squirrel on espresso. And, you know, snark-tweeting. A lot.

But buried in Samsung's typically hyper-fun if slightly awkward unveiling were a few features I absolutely found interesting enough to hope Apple includes versions of them in iPhone 9 — or iPhone XI — or whatever Apple calls the next-generation iPhone this fall.

Samsung Galaxy S9 preview

1. Purple. And blue.

Make fun of me all you want, but colored phones are cool. Customers will often be as happy with a new color as they are with a new design. Gold. Rose Gold. Product Red.

Samsung has the Galaxy S9 coming in both blue and purple. And just the thought of what the color wizard on Apple's Industrial Design team could do with either of those shades has me giddy.

2. Ultra slow-mo

The Samsung Galaxy S9 can take 0.2 seconds of 960 fps slow motion at 720p. Yes, that's a short time frame and low resolution in the age of 4K, but it's still a cool effect.

iPhone can shoot unlimited amounts of 240 fps at 1080p... but a little ultra slow would be nice for those few shots where it would really stand out.

3. f/1.5 aperture

I'm not sold on this one, to be honest. We've seen other high aperture smartphone cameras fizzle out in the past (sorry, HTC). But the idea that the tiny piece of glass could ramp down to f/1.5, even under very specific low-light conditions, holds a lot of appeal.

Yes, it will depend entirely on how much distortion the lack of big glass and the limits of physics impose on it, but if Samsung can even begin to handle dynamic mechanical aperture, and that concept spreads, I'd love to see what Apple's camera team could do with it.

4. Um...

Split view on picture-in-picture on iPhone XI Plus would be great, but that's more an Android to iOS — or iPad to iPhone — feature. Dex is interesting but not far enough along that I'd like to see it from iPhone yet. AR Emoji makes me think Snap didn't properly trademark Bitmoji. SD cards are the floppy drives of phones and for data integrity reasons alone, we need to accelerate towards a better nearline future.

Apple is unusually conservative when it comes to radio technology, so we'll see how much it goes in on 5G and 5G-related technologies. And, yeah, if Apple switched from Lightning to USB-C — rather than some future microUSB-C standard — there's be rioting in the dongle streets.

5. See 4.

Lots more coverage to come from Android Central on the Samsung Galaxy S9 — and, of course, from iMore on iPhone 9 / iPhone XI. So keep it locked right here!

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Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

18 Comments
  • Is micro-USB C in the works? Id love some USB C unity in my Apple products.
  • "SD cards are the floppy drives of phones". Um, no. SD cards are the USB 3 HD/SSD of phones. SD cards are used to expand the storage of phones. Floppy drives were very low storage and very slow. SD cards are neither. 200 GB SD cards are now $50 (unless you follow other articles here and get them from Amazon for $70), and are as fast as internal phone storage.
  • SD cards are not as fast as internal phone storage, in fact they're not nearly as fast. They are the floppy drives of phones in terms of speed
  • I’d always love to see better camera features - faster and more accurate focus, more than two optical zooms (don’t know how to do that with two camera lenses but I’m sure Apple engineers can figure it out), but slower slo-mo would be fun but not something I’d use much. I do think Animoji are silly. I’d much rather see what Bitmoji could do if purchased by Apple and make the Animoji look like me. I won’t deny it - the S8 and S9 screens are gorgeous. I’d love an iPhone X Plus that matches or exceeds the screen on the S8/9.
  • "f/1.5 aperture...I'm not sold on this one, to be honest" But the S9 also has a variable aperture that switches between f/1.5 and f/2.4. This could be a true game changer for mobile photography, elimaniting the trade off between the great night/over exposed day shots of small f numbers and rubbish night/great day shots of larger f numbers. Can't wait to see 2hat it's capable of in the wild.
  • Don’t really matter. Better camera in the hands of a person that takes bad photos will still equal bad photos. F1.2 wouldn’t even help a person that doesn’t wait for the camera to focus or keep their hands steady.
  • True, but my point was that Samsung have seemingly found a solution to the inherent issues with choosing a smaller f stop over a large one and vice versa.
  • I tend to agree and disagree when it comes to color. I'm one who typically will just throw a skin on the back of my phone so they are not a slippery. With a skin, I'm not stuck with said color for the length of time I have that phone.
  • I think that's the reason why they don't really produce many colors anymore. They know people will put a case on the phone which can be any color they like, so companies can save a lot of money by only producing a few colors
  • Sad to say, it will probably be a few years before Apple puts 5G into their phones. I'm not sure if the iPhone X even supports gigabit data service yet, and that has been available in some locations from several carriers for years. I am also extremely upset that Apple hobbles the LTE chips in some phones in order to create "parity" among carriers. If the chips they buy don't have equal capability, that's just too bad, don't punish customers of one carrier because the chip you buy for another carrier isn't capable of doing the same thing. Buy a better chip for heaven's sake, or design one of your own so that your customers all have the best experience they can have!
  • "I'm not sure if the iPhone X even supports gigabit data service yet" It doesn't.
  • I was thinking nuts to the color thing, but then I thought, what if I could get my phone in the same red as my Civic Hatchback? That would be a winner. As for the aperture, the wording is backwards. Ramp down would mean a smaller aperture , which means the hole gets smaller. The number, which is a ratio, would be bigger in that scenario). To go from 2.4 to 1.5 would be "stopping up" in photo lingo, and the converse, going from 1.5 to 2.4 would be called "stopping down." As for the debate here on SD cards, they're an unnecessary breach in the integrity of the phone's body. With even a 1TB storage space on a phone, WIFI is fast enough to make moving data by SD card to seem rather dated to me.
  • Agree completely with you on the SD cards. When 32gb (or 16gb on iPhones) was the maximum internal storage you could get without paying a small fortune they were incredibly useful to have. What Apple really need to do is copy what the Google offer with the Pixel and include free unlimited full resolution storage for photos. It astonishes me that the iPhone X costs nearly a grand and Apple are too cheap to offer this.
  • Yea, improved low light capability is always appreciated. However, better optical zoom on any smartphone would be a significant improvement. I can't tell you how many times I have watched smartphones users zoom in for a shot not realizing digital zoom provides poor results. The 2x feature of iPhone 8 Plus and X is a step in the right direction. How about 2x to 10x.
  • You want the Lumia 1020 then.
  • #1, I'd like to see Apple come out with a Blue iPhone. What looks like Purple to you, seems more like Samesung's version of Apple's Rose Gold. Which can look similar in the right light. None of this has anything to do with copying Samesung. It's a color. Something Apple has been on their products for a long time. Think Orignal iMac's and all its colors for example. #2 with the Slow-Mo. This is something I have used a few times at work. For things like Videoing how the bagging machine is working, well-working WRONG, and trying to see what it's doing wrong. So Recording it in Slow-Mo and than watching it back on the iPhone at a much slower speed has been helpful. I think that's about as slow as I would ever need it to be. It is pretty slow. Maybe if I needed to record what's going on at say a bottling plant, those machines are really FAST, then maybe a faster Slow-Mo would be nice. But about 4 times slower? 960 @ 720P instead of 240 @ 1080P? I think the MOST anyone would really want or need would be 480 @ 1080P. Even that I think I'd never use. I have to see it in action, just slowed down. If it's to slowed down, it would be hard to make out exactly what is happening. At 960, everything would be at an almost stand still.
    I really don't see anyone ever using that kind of speed. It's a Gimmick feature saying that they can do it and it's this much faster than Apple, leaving out no one really cares or would ever use it. #3 The f/1.5 aperture. I know very little about Cameras. To me, that doesn't mean much. I just want to take good pictures and I take tons of pictures at work for all kinds of things and reasons. Mega Pixels doesn't seem to be climbing. That really makes sense. Everyone is limited to the size of the Sensor in a SmartPhone. Any smaller and you just can't get the light to it. I think they've hit the point of diminishing returns. So I'm sure the LENS is going to have some part in it. At this point, most of the improvements are going to come down to software. Unless they're ging to start throwing in larger sensors and a much larger lens. So you end up with something like Samesung's S4 Zoom. That was 16MP with a 10 times optical zoom. Came out in 2014 I believe. So almost 4 years ago and clearly it didn't sell well as they haven't made one since. it's too bulky. #4 Split view? It's something I rarely do on my 12.9" iPad Pro. Doing that on a tiny iPhone screen? Doesn't seem like a thing I'd ever use or what to use. Apple came out with Lightning before USB-C was a real standard. AS in not waiting around. Just like Apple came out with their 30-pin design before USB was a thing. Back then it was the iPod and Mac only and used Firewire, Not USB. Later Apple supported Windows with iTunes and changed the 30-pin from Firewire to USB Input it went like that though to the iPhones until the lightning switch over. I see no reason for Apple to switch to USB-C at this point. There is zero reason for that to happen. The Pencil is Lightning, and so on. What modivation does Apple have to go USB-C? By the way, Apple can go a couple MM thinner using lightning ports than USB-C ports. #5 Nothing reallyt listed I cold care about or want copied from Samesung.
  • I'd gladly have a couple of mm more thickness on my iPhone and gain USB C connectors, just to reduce the number of cables I have to carry about and look for. As someone completely invested in the Apple ecosystem it frustrates me no end to not be able to use the same charging cable on my iOS devices as my MacBook.
  • I use Dex all the time. As a matter of fact, My s8 plus is my computer.