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Galaxy Note 9 features I'd love to see on iPhone X Plus

We survived another Samsung Unpacked episode! I'm not even joking. Samsung makes the best components in the business and their hardware is top notch, but because of the… unique way it handles these events, presenters sometimes have no idea what they're supposed to say and when, and that's always a nightmare scenario for them, never mind us.

But when you ignore the ham-footed missteps — like awkwardly calling out prominent members of the media for not "getting" the original Note, or monologing for 15 minutes and effectively killing any momentum a launch event could hope for — the Galaxy Note 9 delivers some interesting stuff. Stuff that Apple would do well to pay attention to.

1. Pencil support

Apple Pencil with iPad drawing

Apple Pencil with iPad drawing (Image credit: iMore)

Confession: Galaxy Note has always been my favorite Samsung device, and that's entirely thanks to the S Pen. I used Wacom for decades and the idea of a tiny tablet I could draw on here, there, everywhere, has always been incredibly appealing. Like digital Field Notes.

Apple is rumored to have had Pencil support for iPhone in the labs for years. If they would just push it out, complete with a ProMotion display. My only question is — should it be the same pencil as iPad Pro, or should it be a shorter one that better fits the size of the iPhone plus?

Also, that pencil remote feature was nifty.

2. multi-window split view

iPad Pro and keyboard

iPad Pro and keyboard (Image credit: iMore)

When iPhone Plus launched, one of the best pro-features was support of iPad-style apps in landscape. Technically, that was regular vs. compact size class support, so you could have two columns — a list view and a detail view — instead of just one. It literally made the iPhone Plus a two in one: Big phone in portrait, tiny tablet in landscape.

But then iPad jumped ahead again, going from multi-column to multi-window. Instead of regular size class, it could have two compact size classes: literally two apps side by side.

iPhone Plus is big enough that, I think, you could have that in landscape mode as well. Maybe you could vertically stack apps to have side-by-side become top-and-bottom as well, but either way, it would make iPhone Plus twice as productive for pro users. Especially since iOS already has drag-and-drop built in.

And, yeah, through picture-in-picture on there as well. It's a phone. What it lacks in size it makes up for in proximity.

3. Bigger batteries

Yeah, I'm the guy who just did a video saying iPhone getting a double-sized battery was a myth in need of busting. And it is, for all sorts of weight, thermal, and SF reasons. But, you don't have to double size to improve power. Almost all companies are working wonders with efficiency, but our apps and work loads aren't getting any less greedy. Again, I talked about this in the last video so I'll link back rather than repeat it all again, but we're no longer checking email and browsing web pages. We're snapping chats, Going Pokemon, and otherwise firing screens, data, and GPS so goddamn always no practical battery can really keep up any more.

So, slightly better built-ins and Smart Battery Cases for everything, including iPhone Plus.

4. Purple. Seriously.

I want a purple iPhone the way Samuel L. Jackson wanted a purple lightsaber. I want it not just because the original iPhone project was code-named Purple, but because for creatures as superficial as humans — hi! — a new color feels like a new design.

Rumor has it the less-expensive LED iPhone will come in multiple colors, which is great. But I'd love hot new yearly, exclusive, colors on the flagships as well.

And, yeah, purple, motherfuckers.

5. Sleep tracking... for Watch

Ok, yeah, sure, this is a watch feature, not a phone feature, but I still want it. For the new Galaxy Watch, Samsung basically replayed Apple's watchOS 4 introduction from last year. Which, whatever, fine. But they added sleep tracking, which is something Apple Watch doesn't yet do.

You can get third-party apps that do it, but watchOS itself won't. And I really wish it would. It would further complete the health and fitness feature set, which already includes breathing and exercise.

Read the Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview

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.

  • “And, yeah, purple, *************.“ Really? Don’t write with terms you find reason to censor in the comments.
  • Oh, c’mon—that was refreshing to see!
  • The word I referenced is offensive. That is why it is censored. Glad you find it refreshing. Tells me a little about you!
  • Are you a snowflake? Comments shouldn't be censored, if you find that offensive then the internet isn't a place for you.
  • Really? A snowflake?
  • Yes? Do you also have a problem with certain vocabulary too?
  • The good news is, at least he managed to spell it correctly.
  • This one I can agree with! Haha, the proof reading on this site needs a lot of work
  • Yes Rene, what's with the profanity? Very out of character for you. I am going to assume you were drinking wine when you wrote this. No need to join the coarsening of discourse as it adds nothing and is entirely gratuitous.
  • The "coarsening of discourse"? What? He used one word that was profanity, and you make it seem like he did it throughout the whole article. Besides, he's clearly been allowed to use profanity when he sees fit. It doesn't add nothing to the article, it adds natural language. Maybe you and your friends don't really use profanity, but others do. This is Rene's article, so I want to read it so it sounds like it's coming from him, even if that includes profanity, which I honestly think was quite refreshing to see.
  • I funny how so many people want a pencil (stylus), when that was the main thing the original iPhone was getting rid of. Seems like were going backwards.
  • Jobs idea was that the phone shouldn't be navigated via a stylus, not that a stylus shouldn't exist at all. The original iPhone was too small to make notes/drawings on, whereas we now have a phone which will work well with one
  • But it's true? He even said himself that it felt much more natural to navigate the screen with your finger rather than a stylus, plus it was the whole idea behind the capacitive touch screen. Jobs didn't want people doing professional drawing with their finger, and you're crazy if that's what you think he meant by it.
  • DannyJJK is right, and I'm a PocketPC, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone fan from way back. The problem was on MS mobile OS at the time you almost needed the stylus, not just to take notes, but to navigate the OS. MS mostly made their desktop paradigm smaller, and the interface just didn't lend itself to fingers, even if it was very familiar. Jobs brilliance was to demand that not be the case. He saw no stylus and one handed, finger based navigation. While MS eventually figured this out for phones, that is still one of the issues with the windows based tablets. Developers can generally assume the user has access to a keyboard and mouse, while iOS (phone, iPad) developers must assume those users don't.
  • I don't want a phone with a pencil that makes it a tablet. I don't want to loose it over and over and over.
  • If it's done in an elegant way I don't mind too much. The main thing is that the pencil has a slot in the phone itself, so you have somewhere to put it once you're done.
  • I'd give a lot for a feature that paused my podcast playback when it detects I'm sleeping.
  • I don't crave any of these. Especially not a stylus.
  • Sorry to see Mr. Ritchie use such offensive and vulgar language in a tech article. Glad my Grandchildren have never been steered by me to his articles. Won't ever read another by him. Maybe I long for the days of the greatest generation again. Maybe I'll be the only one, but maybe not. You should consider that Mr. Ritchie. Thought iMore was a cut above.
  • Were you born in 1963? It sounds like you haven't gotten with the times.
  • Judge not lest ye be judged... pastor. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone... pastor. Did Jesus shun sinners... pastor? For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... pastor. Hypocrite much... pastor? You could have been loving and kind and advised him of your concern about his language. But no, you have shunned him for life. You have told the sinner to get out of your sight. Thats my biggest issue with so-called Christians, the hypocrisy. When asked what he thought of Christianity, Mahatma Gandhi replied, “I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians. They are not like your Christ.” And your grandchildren have probably already heard much worse in school, or the mall, or the playground.
  • How do you know the OP has not advised RR of his concerns and been told to get lost?
    That’s right, you DON’T.
  • Not every website on the internet has to refrain from using certain types of vocabulary. It's up to the people at iMore and Mobile Nations to decide what language is permissible. From what I can generally see, iMore is targeted towards adults, and therefore I see no problem with it using what you might refer to as "adult language".
  • Interesting comments on the ************ line. My reaction was also to be a bit surprised at the use of a term that would most certainly be censored in the comments. It in fact is. This is not a matter of modern, or refreshing, or OK because we probably hear it all the time, it is just uncalled for. It adds nothing to the discussion and would clearly offend a segment of the readership for no real purpose. I find it somewhat depressing that there are those that can't see the point of a polite society.
  • It doesn't add "nothing" to the discussion, it adds natural language. I don't want to see Rene Ritchie write as if he's sat in front of the queen of the United Kingdom, I want him to write with his own personality, regardless of what vocabulary that entails. Being polite isn't all about what vocabulary you use, I'm polite with my friends and they're polite with me but we still use "profanity". More importantly, above all, he's entitled to freedom of speech. As for the censoring in the comments, it shouldn't exist, for the same reasons as above. Most likely it's just a bit of programming that's been in there a long time, since comments were censored in the TiPB days
  • Once again, for the record, no one has "freedom of speech" unless it is in regards to the government. iMore is free to censor, as they do, any language or comments they want. Mobile nations is free to limit what Rene or anyone else posts on their private site. The same mistake is made regarding NFL players--the government can't, but the NFL can restrict their speech and actions in any way they want. Indeed, the NFL prohibits them from wearing things on their uniforms. We need more civics education in schools.
  • And Mobile Nations seems to have no problem with Rene using profanity, which I think is a good thing
  • Agree 100%, SvenJ. Unnecessary and a reflection of a limited/poor vocabulary. Which actually isn't surprising considering.
  • I don't think so at all. Rene has used a wide range of vocabulary, and it's nice to see him use something more natural rather than reading from a script.
  • Sure he does... and his spelling/grammar is stellar as well. I'm not surprised at all that you don't think using profanity, especially in this setting, is "more natural". What does professionalism even matter, right? He's writing, not reading a script. Better descriptive word choices abound.
  • His spelling/grammar isn't great, although I think that's more a problem with proof-reading, or lack of. And it depends what you class as "professionalism", technically he's here to write articles about Apple-related news and products, in my eyes to do that professionally is just to make sure he explains things clearly and with good detail. It's important to realise that "he" is writing this, not someone else. If he wants to add natural language, including profanity, in his article then he's free to do so, and as emjayess mentioned above, it's refreshing to see that. There are articles on this website that use animated GIFs, you might not think that's "professional", but it makes the articles much more interesting to read, and the odd profanity gives the writer expression which can't be done with your "better descriptive word choices".
  • What I hope for is a iPhone X that the same external size or smaller that the iPhone 6,7,8. (The current iPhone X is only a little bigger but it has crossed over the line for me).
  • Pencil, pencil, pencil...if we repeat it enough, will it come?
  • Lol...this article wouldn't be complete without shots at Samsung lol. Though, to be fair, a Samsung advertisement wouldn't be complete without shots at Apple. The world in which we live.
  • At the end of the day, you choose either iOS or Android. Both have their advantages and disadvantages
  • Wow people crying about a word especially one synonymous with the great Samuel L Jackson!
  • I couldn't agree more with this. Just shows you how judgmental the people are here.
  • I was initially taken aback by it until seeing it in the context of that entire segment of the article. You pointed it out. Read in context, as the punchline to the Samuel L. Jackson reference/joke it makes perfect sense. I don't think Rene would have put it in otherwise. It would have been offensive.
  • Given the comments on this page, it looks like it was offensive regardless. But if no one said anything that was potentially offensive, the world would be a very boring place.
  • It's easier to watch a Galaxy event than watching an apple keynote. Watching elderly people play with animoji for 45 minutes straight was cringe worthy. They never have any innovation so they spend most the time explaining everything like they are talking to a two year old
  • And yet Galaxy events are full of "features" which are just software upgrades which have already been implemented in native Android. Or just normal things like "increased battery life"
  • The stylus would be BIG DEAL for me. IOS has an app called Notability....a note taking app beyond compare. If Notability was available on Android, I'd be all over the Note 9.....but not. It will be an amazing surprise if the stylus is available for any of these new iPhones.