Great artists steal. That expression doesn't come from Steve Jobs. It doesn't come from Picasso. It comes from poets who wanted to extol the virtue not of lazily reproducing what came before but of drawing inspiration from what is to take the next step forward and create what will be.
That's why, whenever a new phone comes out, I do two things: Chew gum and figure out which of its features I'd love Apple to implement in the iPhone. No, not really. Figure out which features I'd love to see Apple implement, and then figure out how Apple could take them even further.
So, with the announcement of Samsung's Galaxy S10, there's a whole new list to get to. And I'm fresh out of gum. Fresh out.
Been there, already doing that
Now, some of the stuff Samsung showed off has already been rumored for iPhone 11. Like bilateral inductive charging, so you can not only charge your iPhone by just dropping it on a pad, but charge your AirPods in a newfangled case by dropping them on your iPhone.
Also already rumored, the third, ultra-wide angle lens that should make zooming out as easy and awesome as the telephoto currently makes zooming in. Plus, AR fun.
But, Samsung is bringing some other stuff to the table that, frankly, I hope Apple slides over and takes a hearty helping of.
Ultra-sonic Fingerprint Sensor
Previous in-display fingerprint identity scanners were gimmicky and janky. Samsung seems to be doing it right with an ultra-sonic 3D sensor that's quick, convenient, and secure.
The only thing is, I don't just want it in one spot. I want it in the entire display.
That's right. I want the screen always reading my fingerprint, the camera always scanning my facial geometry, Siri always checking my voice ID, and the sensor fusion hub always analyzing my gait. And, if all of it is within a certain threshold of trust, I want it to just leave my phone unlocked, And if it isn't, only when it isn't, I want it to challenge me for a full finger or face scan.
That technology is still a ways away, but baby-steps. I've done a whole column on this already, so for more on what I think will inevitably be the future of biometrics.
I understand why Apple doesn't use USB-C on the iPhone. The same team that made Lightning helped make USB-C, but USB-C wasn't going to be ready on time for iPhone 5, not by years, so Apple went ahead with Lightning.
By the time USB-C caught up, not only was it still a confusing, often shoddy mess, but Lightning had become established and hundreds of millions of people had cables and accessories that depended on it.
And, like I've said before, if you try to make them change again, they'll cut you with their old Dock connectors.
But here's the thing: I think it's time for Apple to do it anyway. Sure, it's mostly a nerd thing for now, but every year it'll become more and more mainstream. Yes, iOS won't benefit from Thunderbolt's PCIe architecture, at least not for now. Sure, USB-C is still a mess of powered and non-powered, TB3 and non-TB3. But, whatever.
The money Apple makes on Lightning licenses is a rounding error, the control it gains comes at the expense of availability to 3rd part vendors, and the advantages of having Mac, iPad Pro — and future iPads — and iPhone all on the same interconnect platform will be considerable as power and capabilities continue to escalate.
Or, you know, plot twist: Announce Lightning an open standard. And call the standard version… wait for it.. miniUSB-C.
Apple has done a great job bringing colors to the iPhone lineup with the XR, but the XS… not so much. Yes, last year added a gold option to the white and space gray, and rumor has it we might get a red variant this year like the previous two years, but so far that's it. That's all.
Not even legacy colors like rose gold and jet black.
Meanwhile, Samsung is taking yellow and coral pages out of Apple's XR playbook — or Nokia's, I guess, since they really invented everything back in 1812 — and applying them to the flagships. There's even a ceramic version, like Apple Watch Edition.
Now, rumor also has it we'll be getting a new finish with iPhone 11: Frosted glass. What that means and how it looks we'll have to wait and see, but it would be terrific if that new finish comes with some new colors as well.
Something gold, sure, but something blue, something space black, but maybe something new?
I still want purple, but let me know what color you want in the comments. I'd also love to see some real advances in finish beyond just texture. Something self-healing that uses material science to hide the kind of scratches current phones seem to pick up by, I don't know, being stared at too hard.
That would be a real leap forward in finish.
HDR10+ support might seem trivial given that the iPhone already supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but the content creator gets to choose the format so if what you want to watch isn't in Dolby Vision, HDR10 is an alternative… just not a great one. HDR10+ is better.
Unlike Dolby Vision, it doesn't require a license and manufacturers can tune for it, so it should look pretty great. At least for competent manufacturers like Apple.
Now all we need is Rec 2020, the next, even nerdier color space after DCI-P3, which Apple already supports in software and we're all just waiting for everything else to catch up.
Sorry, so sorry
Yeah, no 3.5-mm headphone jack. No SD-card. Those horses have been beaten beyond death, into undeath, resurrected, and burned right back down. No 5G or foldable. Not this year, at least.
I'd also like to see the specs Samsung is pushing at these price points. Yes, Apple provides overall value through free software like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand, iMovie, Playgrounds, et al. and free support and education at Apple Retail through ever everything from Genius to Today at Apple, and yes, Samsung is part of the same conglomerate that make most of the parts, so they likely enjoy a much lower cost on them than Apple does and are happy to pass that on — no doubt why Apple is looking to make more and more components themselves.
But when you see all the gigabytes, everything else fades away.
At least that's what I think. Now, do me a solid and hit like, hit subscribe — it really helps out the channel — and then hit up the comments below and let me know: What would you like Apple to steal from Samsung for the next iPhone?