When the Apple iPhone X hits store shelves across the world in November, it will take over as the new phone the world aspires for. That’s a USP Apple has retained since the first iPhone was launched a decade back. While for most of the early part of that decade, Android phones were playing catch up, with one iPhone killer coming after the other only to fall over the wayside, these phones have introduced features over the past few years that Apple didn’t have.
So even with the iPhone X, most of the features that are being launched are those that Android phones have had for a couple of years. But the difference here is that with Apple adopting these technologies, they sort of get a legitimacy and the ecosystem falls into place announcing that this feature is here to stay. From Wi-Fi to USB-C and even wireless audio, it was the adoption by Apple that gave these technologies the impetus they needed. Android manufacturers are unable to give this push because the ecosystem is unsure as to how long they will get support from a brand.
This time with the iPhone X, Apple has put its weight behind a few technologies that have been around for a while but are not looking at better times for themselves. Here is a list:
Bezel-less display had been Samsung’s thing for a while, till this year almost everyone jumped on the bandwagon. In fact, the most affordable bezel-less phone is from Indian manufacturer Micromax. With the iPhone X sporting one, you can rest assured that all manufacturers will be under pressure to offer at least one phone with the same feature. They will also be under pressure to offer the same as multiple price points. At least for a year, this is going to be the standard for top-end phones.
With Apple showing the home button the door in the iPhone X, the new Face ID feature has been brought in to take charge of unlocking the phone. Unlike Samsung, which uses an iris scanner, Apple maps the entire face of the user to unlock the phone. It’s one of the smoothest implementations of the technology and seems much more natural than using your fingerprints to unlock. While Apple has already plugged this into Apple Pay, you will see apps across the world try and use this as an easy way to authenticate payment. There are other uses too, like verifying the person on the other end to avoid impersonation. The possibilities are endless.
Apple has adopted the Qi standard for wireless charging which has been around for many years, but never got widespread adoption. While this means bad news for the other players in the segment like the AirFuel alliance, wireless charging coming to the iPhone is the best news this industry has had in years. While Samsung has had wireless charging for years, that did not really spur the segment. Now, manufacturers like Belkin are out with products even before the first iPhones with wireless charging started selling. It won’t be long before you see wireless charging in cars, airports, restaurants and hotel rooms across the world.
AR has been listed as a trending technology for many years now, though we haven’t really been able to play around with it. That will change this year as developers queue up to make better use of Apple’s ARkit which is getting a hardware boost with the A11 Bionic chip in the new iPhones. Compared to Android, where phones like the Asus Zenfone AR are being custom-made to showcase the technology, the new iPhones will let all its users play around with virtual robots in their living rooms. And since it is only the Apple ecosystem that lets developers make serious money, you can see some great software innovation happen in this space in the coming months.
While even Apple launched its first dual camera a year back, the technology is taking its time to get perfect. The Cupertino company promises that the experience will be much better with the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. Even as the hardware evolves, there is going to be a lot of software innovation around using the data generated by the dual camera to offer better photographs and other features. Again, all brands will now be under pressure to offer at least one phone with the dual camera offering.
Disclaimer: The author is in San Jose, California at the invite of Apple.