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Samsung Galaxy S8 features I'd like to see in iPhone 8

Samsung has just held their annual Galaxy S unveiling. This year, for the Galaxy S8. It was an important event for Samsung, coming off the Galaxy Note7 recall late last year.

Not that the company or brand were under any real threat. Gone are the days when a recall could kill a company or scandal could sink a brand or career. Nowadays we have zero attention span and extreme affinity, so we'll shrug almost anything off, rationalize almost anything away, and pretend most things simply never happened.

But Samsung took it seriously anyway and said everything they needed to reassure customers batteries and the quality assurance thereof was now highest priority. Samsung also managed to control its usual ecocentrism for much of the event. Only at the end did ostriches and glow-in-the-dark troopers obliterate their better marketing angels.

The focus, laudably, was on the product and its features. Sure, if you took a shot every time a Samsung rep said "innovation" you'd be drunk before the intro ended, but amid the constant over-hype was some really interesting tech. And since Samsung, like LG, isn't just an Apple competitor but an Apple manufacturer and supplier, it makes everything they announce incredibly relevant not just for Android or Samsung fans, but for Apple customers as well.

Like high-density displays, fingerprint sensors, wide gamut, much of what was announced will no doubt be ubiquitous by this time next year — if it isn't already. So, it's less the what and more the how that intrigues me — the story more than the words.

We're about six months away from iPhone 8 but, even so, watching Samsung's event, a few things stood out...

Infinity Display

This is where phones are heading. As much as the rounded, rectangular, black slab defined the previous era of phones, including iPhone, edge-to-edge on those slabs will define the next. It's important not just in terms of reducing casing size to make larger screens more comfortable and usable, but for the upcoming wave of augmented reality apps.

When people talk about transparent phones, it's not materials becoming invisible that they're talking about, it's the frame around the window diminishing. That way, when the camera turns on, the phone effectively disappears.

I was one of the first people to start talking about iPhone 8 going edge-to-edge way back in January of 2015.

Huawei, LG, Samsung, and others have tested or done it by early 2017. Apple could do it as soon as late 2017. And with a new implementation of Touch ID and some other clever hardware and software features as well.

Iris Scan

Biometrics aren't passwords, they're usernames. They're not security, they're convenience. It's much easier to get someone to touch or look at something then it is to get a password out of them. But for most people, most of the time, the convenience of biometrics is what's important.

We've seen various types of face and eye scanners before, but like with the early iterations of fingerprint scanners, they were slow or unreliable. Not any more. Now a glance is as good as a touch and looking at a device can unlock that device.

I'm still waiting for ambient security to become a thing — every partial touch, glimpse, snippet of voice, linked wearable, and motion analysis is used to constantly, passively test and enable authentication. We're not there yet, but with technology like this we're getting closer.

Making cameras smarter will also be critically important for AR, so I think we'll be seeing lots more on this from every vendor, including Apple.

Bixby

Samsung bought Viv, the latest virtual assistant product from the creators of Siri. That might be why Samsung positioned Bixby as less of a personal assistant and more of a voice interface. I loved that, because it put the focus on accessibility.

Apple has been championing accessibility for years but, despite being able to tell Siri to take a selfie, I still can't tell it to rotate a picture, edit a contact, or do any of the thousands of smaller interface interactions I do each day. And I really want Siri to do that, ubiquitously, throughout iOS.

Bixby also showed ideas Apple has already implemented but not taken to their logical conclusions. For example, we got "remember this" with iOS 8, and I can use it to bookmark the precise point of a podcast, the contents of a message, or page of a website and have it recorded to Reminders. But, two years later, I still can't say "Read this", "Message this", or do anything else with it.

Making Siri not just a virtual assistant but a complete, consistent voice interface would be a huge win for everyone.

Silicon

I still find it strange Samsung doesn't ship its own processor in all of its own phones. Yes, blame Qualcomm licensing and modems and all that, but if Apple can do it, I imagine Samsung could figure out a way to do it as well. It's important because right now Apple is racing ahead when it comes to ARM IP. That's especially true in the crucially important single threaded operations that still define much of our daily operations. Even the latest 2017 Samsung Exynos benchmarks only around half what Apple's 2016 A10 Fusion does for single-thread.

I'd love to see Samsung put the pedal to the literal metal here. Silicon supremacy is going to define a lot of feature potential going forward and fierce competition there will benefit us all.

Desktop Experience

Decades ago Bill Gates walked around the CES Keynote stage showing a mobile device as the heart of a contextually aware computing system. Companies, including Microsoft, have tried ever since to make that beautiful dream a reality but none have really succeeded.

Microsoft has Continuum but it seems stalled. BlackBerry talked about multiple endpoints around a single smart brain, but they're struggling just to keep the brain alive at this point. Apple has Continuity but that doesn't focus on a single device; it syncs activity state between devices.

The idea that you could have a single, pocketable or wearable "Mother Box" that holds your identity and data and can adapt itself to any input or presentation layers it finds available is compelling. That includes its own touch screen or a handset, a large glass canvas, a desktop display with mouse and keyboard, a car dashboard, a fridge panel, etc. It's beyond compelling.

Apple's been dabbling with the concept for years but nothing beyond Continuity has been made public, and the massive shifts we'd need to see to properly enable it don't seem on the horizon just yet.

That's what makes Samsung's not-right-but-right-now approach so intriguing. It's clearly limited and janky, because Samsung doesn't control the whole stack, atoms to bits, but it's available. If people try it and hate it, it's just one more failed attempt amongst many. If it even starts to take off, though, it could encourage Google and Apple to prioritize real versions of the technology.

And then, like with many things Samsung, the future gets here just a little bit faster for everyone.

Samsung++

I know someone will inevitably point out that + or Plus was actually first used by a Nokia device in 1812. But for all intents and purposes, [Phone] and [Phone] +/Plus have been associated with iPhone since the 2014 launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Samsung using Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ comes off as needlessly derivative. Especially for a company that prides itself on saying "innovation" at least once every 78 seconds on stage.

Galaxy S8 and Universe S8. S8 and S8 Epic Titan. S8 and S8 Bigly. There are so many options, it'd be great to see Samsung explore something more exciting for the next go-around.

Also: Yes, the ports still aren't aligned. And I think I still saw a Qualcomm sticker somewhere. Come at me.

What's next

We've seen what LG, Samsung, BlackBerry, and a few others have to offer this spring. We'll no doubt see Google's next Pixel by fall.

Apple's rumored to be introducing not only iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus this year, but an even higher-end iPhone 8 — or whatever they call the 10th anniversary iPhone — as well. It's rumored to have some of the same features Samsung just announced, including an edge-to-edge display. It's also rumored to have some unique features, like distance charging. We won't know for sure, of course, until Tim Cook or Phil Schiller holds it up on stage.

Still, competing phones are the canvases on the rest of the gallery wall against which Apple's will be judged. It'll be similar technology but, if history has taught us anything, packaged and polished in a way that's "only Apple".

How will it compare? Check out Android Central's Samsung Galaxy S8 coverage and let me know what you think!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

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.

95 Comments
  • "Nowadays we have zero attention span and extreme affinity, so we'll shrug almost anything off, rationalize almost anything away, and pretend most things simply never happened." The Trump administration comes to mind with that quote.
  • Honestly I think people hoped for change with him. After all they were promised change in 08 and 12 and got nothing. And with hillarys email scandle and how she just seemed to make enemies by saying homeschooling was bad and the state should take care of kids not parents. I think she upset allot of parents then.
    Trump is far from good but when the alternative was clinton I think it was ok we take him. That and people didn't want another clinton in the White House
  • I find it funny how people were in arms saying we can't have a president under federal investigation and we got one under federal investigation after all, lol.
  • There was plenty of positive change between 08-12. You were brainwashed. Let's begin: 1 Recovery from the financial crisis of 2007. Not one gives him credit, but without Obama, 2007's crash would have crippled the economy for many years to come. The bailout of the auto industry preserved jobs, stabilized one of our leading mfg. Goods and preserved the jobs of thousands in Detroit and elsewhere. Yet, the media and the neocons convinced you that this was bad. 2 Affordable healthcare Act- gave insurance to over 24 million people. Who complained and propagandized it to you as a bad thing? The neocon opposition. Yet, the neocons have recently shown that they don't
    know WTF to do with healthcare, their leaders perfectly willing to watch your fortunes go south while they enjoy free healthcare at your expense. We call that hypocritical behavior. 3 Environmental protections. Now, you've got a-holes who are going to poison your water and air, give tax cuts to the rich, and deny the validity of the scientific method. Climate change is the single biggest thing that you will face in your lifetime. Clinton was evil? Really? You're a moron. Really.
  • Differing opinions about one of the most controversial topics makes him/her a "moron"?? Nope, that's you for being such an ignorant & closeminded clownshoe. Now go run along to the other side of your mums basement & cry about Trump for the next 4-8 years........boo-hoo, waaaaah, boo-hoo.
  • Why can't apple leverage the Apple TV and make airplay mirroring stretch to fit a TV? Because they don't want to harm the Mac platform? Sent from the iMore App
  • Iris scan? Lumia 950 already has it, iPhone......No
  • And all 10 Lumia 950 owners like it. :)
  • It's such a shame, the Lumia phones themselves are fantastic, the OS lets it down
  • In my opinion, the OS was fantastic, very clean and sleek design. It is the lack of developer support let it down. I would love to see Microsoft can pick up again. More competition means better for consumer.
  • Worse for developers though, developing for 2 platforms can be difficult (think of how many apps come out on iOS then take a few months or longer to come to Android), so it's even more difficult for 3 platforms. If Microsoft are going to come back, there needs to be an ability to easily install or port Android apps
  • Microsoft had announce a tools for developer to migrate their iOS / Android apps over to Windows 10 platform, but however I haven't heard any update about it since after the announcement. http://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-shows-how-easy-it-will-be-port-a... But migrating the app is one thing, to fit UI/UX into the platform design language is another thing. Unless the app is not built based on the platform design language to begin with (E.g. iOS flat UI, Android Material design, and Windows 10 Metro UI). Seems like Microsoft still have a lot of up hill battle ahead.
  • Record phone calls, iPhone.....no
  • This feature is so useful. Especially making calls to customer care or important business deals. I have proof of the conversation, it has helped so many times.
  • Oh god yes. Needs to work both ways. here’s what I find funny and annoying at the same time;
    You call the helpline for a big business. Sometime early in the conversation usually before you get as far as an operator, a recorded messages will play that says, “This call is being recorded for training and security purposes”.
    You get to your real person and tell them. “This call is being recorded for security purposes”.
    Watch how fast they hang up or transfer you to someone else!!
  • Yeah imagine trying to make a call from business to business... they do hang up so fast! 😂 Sent from the iMore App
  • I definitely like the facial recognition/iris scan option. And infinity displays. Maybe we can have iPhone Infinity & iPhone Infinity+. I just don't think the + is going away anytime soon.
  • you are comparing last years iPhone 7 Plus from this new year Samsung S8
  • What the **** is he supposed to compare it to? The Apple iPhones that don't exist yet?
  • Why compare it to a 7 month old phone to begin with? It's only rationale that a phone coming out next month has more advantages than a phone that came out 7 months ago.
  • Because the next iPhone will be compared to this 6 or 7 month old s8 Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Last years iPhone 7 was inferior to last years Galaxy S7, what's your point? According to what we've heard, the almighty 8 will only be comparable to the Note 8, the S8 directly competes with the 4.7 inch iPhone 7s.
  • You say last year's iPhone 7 was inferior to last years Galaxy S7. In what way? CPU performance per watt? iPhone is years ahead.
    Biggest most complete software library? iPhone is way ahead.
    Security and availability of updates? iPhone is way ahead.
    Customer support including after sale in-store support? iPhone is way ahead.
    Ease of use? Smooth performance and reliability? Android is still struggling to catch up. In most categories that matter to real users, iPhone is way ahead. If you're into comparing detailed specs, certainly the S7 wins in some areas. If that works for you, enjoy!
  • +1
  • This is truly a pretty stellar phone. Best huge display and headphone jack. I'm still on a iphone 6 and not planning on a new phone but I'm platform agnostic and if i change my mind this is very much an option. It does take great pictures and video old camera or not. I saw a couple reviews and it's very impressive. Wish it was stock android and the fingerprint placement could be central like on the Pixel. But really glad there's a headphone jack.
  • You and I are in the same place.
  • Yea I thought I'd is the headphone jack but I use Bluetooth al the time I hate cords and my Bluetooth fold up neat and nice when I'm done. Sure I have to charge them from time to time but I have to do that with my 7plus as well. My wife prefers the ear buds that come with the iPhone. But still doesn't care about the jack either way.
  • The majority of iPhone 7 users don't seem to care about the headphone jack being gone, so Apple have won here. I do however want to see the next iPhone use USB-C instead of lightning, so the headphones at least connect via a standard connector
  • Same here using an iPhone 6 and an LG G4, why not wait for the S9 where they will maybe find a way to put the fingerprint sensor under the screen. It's currently such an inconvenient placement for payments. I don't like curve screen so maybe the G6 is the phone for me or HTC 10, I like faster updates. If the 6 can take iOS 11, and if the edition comes out above 1000 with curved sides I will just keep using the 6 and get HTC 10/P9/S7, I don't mind bezels.
  • Apparently the fingerprint sensor placement is in an inconvenient place because Samsung are encouraging people to use the iris scanner
  • I think it will be more logical to think that because of the wireless charging chip and MFT chip, the finger print sensor has to avoid occupying the center of the back. But anyway, it doesn't seems like an inconvenient, because that is exactly where the heart rate sensor was.
  • I just noticed that the mute switch on the iPhone isn't perfectly lined up with the volume buttons. Interesting... Sent from the iMore App
  • It is actually aligned, just not center-aligned. The mute switch is aligned to the left side of the volume buttons, so it is aligned, just left-aligned due to being smaller
  • It always surprises me that the mute switch has endured when it's so easy to mute using the volume keys on other OSs.
  • "Also: Yes, the ports still aren't aligned. And I think I still saw a Qualcomm sticker somewhere. Come at me." Was wondering when this was coming, but the way you said it Rene all I can say is touche. It bugs me too, just not a deal breaker to me. Won't be buying this either way though, loving my iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch combo too much. Hoping this years iPhone has some innovation though.
  • Last years iPhone had innovation. A10 fusion chip. 3D touch, Touch ID, motion co-processor, W1 chip, etc are all innovations. Innovation is such an overused buzz word anyways. Innovation- a new method, idea, product, etc.
  • The only new features were the W1 chip and and the fusion processor. All of the other innovations you mention were introduced on previous iterations.
  • I for one do not want an infinity display. I like glass screen protectors and curved displays make them impossible to use. I also like a normal edge. Apple doesn't need to go infinity. They have plenty of room for improvement as it is. Would love to see them incorporate the home bottom in the display or on the back and cut down on the top and bottom bezels. Sent from the iMore App
  • I could settle for trimming the bezels on the current phone. The current chassis could handle a 5.2 inch screen, 5.5 if you move the fingerprint sensor to the back. That would be HUGE!
  • Zagg makes great curved tempered glass screen protectors. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • It'd be interesting to see Apple implement something like DeX, I'm not sure if they would but it does look really cool. The 3.5mm jack isn't coming back though
  • Some of the things I wish the next iPhone will borrow from the S8 are, front and back glass, state of the art modem technology, better antennas for reception, and the headphone jack. The iPhone 4/4s was the best looking iPhone and Apple needs to bring a front and glass design back. Samsung and Qualcomm have been the leader of the pack bringing the latest LTE technologies to consumers. The S8 is no different! It offers the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which offers gigabit LTE speeds on networks that support it. The X16 downlink features included 4x20 MHz carrier aggregation. 256-QAM, 4x4 MIMO on two carriers, and 10 spatial streams. Not to mention, it supports LTE-U! We won't see anything like this on the next iPhones to include following year's models. Thanks Intel... Samsung's antenna's and signal reception is much better than iPhone's. Often times, Samsung phones are still receiving good signal while I'm sitting at "no service." I bet the back glass would help. Get with it, Apple. Headphone jack. That is all.
  • Fact... Apple users don't want headphone jacks anymore. I know this because I've been chastised multiple times by fellow iMore members when I suggested choice was good.
  • No no, its for waterproofing! Maybe they should hire the sorcerers who figured out how to do it at Samsung and LG!
  • You do, but the majority of others don't
  • Lol Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • It won't take effect straight away, but give it time and it will
  • No to headphone jack! Jeez lets stop with supporting archaic technology! I have used bluetooth reliably for the past 4 years!
  • You do, but the majority of others don't
  • "...front and back glass..." I disagree. I very much admire the all aluminum shell/case of the iPhone - yes, especially in red. I do not want to return to all glass. I especially don't want curved glass. That said, a glass back does probably make antenna reception better. And wireless charging easier. I too vote to return the headphone jack. It's great that an iPhone can probably play music for 40 hours or more without charging. But you'd need to charge your headphones a dozen times in that same 40 hours.
  • No headphone jack doesn't mean you have to use wireless headphones
  • I'll go for Spontaneous Combustion for $1,000, Alex.
  • How about Blutooth 5.0...FTW
    Nothing beats sharing a video on a long plane ride.
  • Yep. This is a killer feature. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • You can share with Airdrop so no need for BT 5.0 for that
  • I think he meant having 2 Bluetooth headphones connected at the same time, making it possible for 2 people to listen to the same thing playing on one device.
  • Battery life is horrible on Samsung. Have had all the Notes. Only one area had issue. At my friends. I wish the poor reception could be resolved Sent from the iMore App
  • Thats your experience. In my experience, i have never had better battery life in a modern era phone than i do on my s7e. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I stand by what I've said from the moment I heard about the 7s alongside the 8, if Apple offers the same phones with the same screens, essentially prettied up versions of the 2014 iPhone 6 sitting on my desk, plus a $1000 phone that is essentially an $800 Samsung phone, the faster they are going to loose ground! Apple has got to counter with SOMETHING! And a 4.7 inch screen entry model is not something.... its NOTHING! Granted, I am wishy washy about the S8 too. The screen is beautiful! The facial recognition, if it works, very useful. The rest of it is just gimmicks to convince you not to just buy an S7 Edge for less money with the fingerprint sensor in the correct spot! I know Apple sells way more phones in the US than anybody. But I also know that, in my world, for the first time, I know way more Android users than Apple users. For the first time since I brought the 4s into my life, I am in the minority as an Apple user. We don't know what's coming, but if Moto and HTC are a third as innovative as LG and Samsung, and Pixel brings its A game, Apple could find itself in big trouble in a hurry! Finally, you guys, and other Apple fans, are NOT helping. Samsung and LG just introduced nearly Bezeless phones, LG at a great price. Apple nation meanwhile is having a collective ****** because Apple figured out how to paint a phone red!!!! I've been reading and listening to reviewers freak out over colors for 2 years while the Android guys just appear to keep getting further and further ahead. I don't care what color it is, if that phone is laying in a carrier store next to an obviously superior Android device... or 3, its not going to sell. I don't care how great the processor is (and yes, Apple is superior in every way when it comes to processors), they can't see that in a store display. They see $800 gets you 4 year old phone, or $800 get you super-futuristic phone with lots of great stuff. That's not a hard sell guys.
  • "Apple nation meanwhile is having a collective ****** because Apple figured out how to paint a phone red!!!!" You have to admit though, that red iPhone is gorgeous.
  • Every one is talking about many things but why no one wants a wireless charging ? We all know iphone cables break withing 6 months and wireless charging will be better option.
  • Mohan Danamudi, according to Apple, the world doesn't care about wireless charging. I guess all the other companies are adding it for kicks. Your right, all Apple phones need a wireless solution.
  • Perhaps Apple needs a wireless charging solution. Maybe. But not at the expense of losing the aluminum shell. I don't particularly want to return to all glass phones