Does the Apple iPhone X really drive the smartphone innovation forward?

Apple iPhone X is the company’s 10th-anniversary smartphone to commemorate the launch of the first smartphone by Steve Jobs 10 years back in 2007. Although many companies already had introduced their smart devices/phones back then, it was Jobs who changed the face of the Smartphone industry forever and proved that customer experience is king.

How did the first iPhone affect the smartphone industry?

Smartphones those days still had what people call today as apps and email, etc. But there was a  fundamental problem with the smartphone at that time.

Smartphones only catered to the professional people with it being difficult to use for the common people. Also, its applications tried to mimic use case and functionality similar to its desktop counterpart.

apple presentation

Source: Apple Keynote 2007.

Smartphones also looked bulky, heavy and not attractive in the eyes of the common man.

The first look of the external smartphone shell matters a lot, next comes the software experience as evident from the smartphones of today.

Smartphone OS was also underdeveloped and hence there wasn’t a common platform upon which a base could be built to enhance the user experience.

Nokia and Microsoft had made some progress with their MeeGo and Windows Mobile OSes respectively but still, consumer experience was lacking in this small form factor which was soon to become the hottest new tech industry for the next decade.

Nokia-N900-Meego

Source: Nokia

windows-mobile-6.5

Source: arstechnica.com

In contrast to these Steve Jobs introduced a smartphone having radicalized software and hardware design that took the smartphone industry by storm.

iphone-2007

Source: bgr.com

Steve Jobs himself said at the Keynote presentation that “the iPhone had innovative hardware and software that was at least 5 years ahead of its time”.

What does Apple iPhone X do to continue the smartphone innovation?

The smartphone industry is slowly moving into a future that will be dominated by AI( Artificial Intelligence ), VR( Virtual Reality ), AR( Augmented Reality ) and IOT( Internet of Things ).

Apple iPhone X houses its inbuilt A11 Bionic chip that is smart enough to assist with Machine Learning and more.

A11-Bionic-Chip

Source: www.extremetech.com

Apple’s A11 Bionic chip implements the big.LITTLE architecture and comprises of 2 High-Performance Cores + 4 Energy Efficient Cores. It is further aided by a 3-core GPU and an M11 Motion Co-processor.

People might wonder why this added horsepower is needed? Well to explain it in simple terms, mobile computing is slowly and steadily adapting to desktop scale and even beyond. All of this requires tremendous computing power.

Although big.LITTLE architecture is something that Android OEMs have had in their chipsets a few years back.

Apple’s execution is near to flawless allowing simultaneous use of all the 6 cores at once delivering higher peak performance and better memory control.

AR (Augmented Reality):

While VR is dominating the PC industry, the smartphone industry seems to have adapted to AR with Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit leading the way.

Google’s solution seems to have been affected by the apparent fragmentation in the Android ecosystem (requiring Android 7.0+).

Apple, on the other hand, has been able to keep its smartphone ecosystem more coherent and up to date. This will allow Apple to have a huge number of current devices in its ecosystem to be ready at the launch of its AR platform.

Face ID:

Apple’s implementation of the fingerprint sensor via its Touch ID widespread the adoption of fingerprint sensors in other Android Smartphones.

While Touch ID still is a part of its iPhone 8 lineup, Apple has introduced  Face ID in its 10th anniversary iPhone.

Face ID uses the face of a person to authenticate the user’s device. The mapping of the face is done with the help of 30,000 IR dots projected by the true-depth sensors.

All of this data is then processed by the embedded neural engine capable of processing 600 billion operations per second.

iphonex_animoji_chicken

Source: www.firstpost.com

Apple’s true depth sensors also help to map users facial expression into the emoji’s creating lifelike experiences in communication such as the emoji above.

To help the developers with Machine Learning and AR, Apple has its own set of SDKs such as Metal2 (Direct-X and OpenGL alternative) and ARKit (ARCore alternative).

Things Apple iPhone X copied from its Smartphone Competitors:

Apple blatantly copies feature from its competitors but Apple’s implementation of its competitor’s idea pitches Apple into a whole different level.

Steve Jobs used to say “good artists copy but great artists steal”.

Now coming to what all have Apple iPhone X copied in terms of features from rival smartphone brands!

OLED Display:

Samsung has been the sort of unrivaled King in the smartphone display segment. Samsung’s smartphone displays have excelled both in innovation and quality.

They have shifted to using advanced display technologies such as AMOLED long back right from the Galaxy SII.

Although Apple too has had great display technology such as the Retina Display in their iPhone lineup, they used LCD displays instead of OLED ones in them.

galaxy-s8-display-amoled

Source: www.samsung.com

Wireless Charging:

Apple has been late in the area of wireless charging as well. Wireless charging had made its debut as early as 2009 in CES by Palm’s new Palm Pre smartphone.

However, it made its way into the mainstream smartphone market with the subsequent launches of Motorola Droid DNA in November 2012, Nokia Lumia 820 & 920 in September 2012, LG Nexus 5 in October 2013 and so on.

Apple did use wireless charging in its Apple watch back in 2014 but why did it take Apple 3 long years to incorporate the tech into its signature smartphone, only Apple can answer that!

Some people might argue that OLED displays are more expensive than LCD displays, agreed but how did other smartphone OEMs, particularly Samsung manage to do it years ahead of Apple seems beyond our understanding at this point!

nokia_wc

Source: www.engadget.com

Facial Recognition Phone Unlock:

Microsoft beat Apple here with its Lumia 950 series lineup and Windows Hello technology incorporated into Windows 10 itself (requiring specific hardware though for PC and other devices).

Apple’s FaceID seems more advanced than Microsoft’s Windows Hello and Samsung’s iris Scanning but still, Apple has been late to innovate.

Lumia-950-Windows-Hello-Beta

Source: www.entropy.works

Larger Screen Size with Lesser Bezels:

While Steve Jobs was of the opinion that people wouldn’t prefer phones with larger screens, Samsung proved this notion completely wrong with its Galaxy Note smartphone lineup.

Apple under Steve Jobs probably wouldn’t have budged to produce iPhone with larger screens.

But Apple under Tim Cook’s leadership finally gave in to public demand for iPhone with larger screens starting with the iPhone 6 series. The Apple iPhone X carries the same trend forward.

The resulting sentiments from the people echoed that this was the logical decision to make.

Samsung, however, beat most of the other OEMs to the smartphone with the larger display and lesser bezels both.

The results are stunning as evident from the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 smartphone series.

Galaxy Note 8

Source: Tom’s Guide

Even though Apple is the most valuable brand in the world having its own cult brand following, the lack of innovation after Steve Jobs death may cost Apple dearly in the long run.

Related: Xiaomi Mi A1, the perfect smartphone union?