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.