10 iPhone X Features Apple ‘Shamelessly Copied’ from Android Phones
Apple deserves to be credited for milestone innovations such as Touch ID, Retina Displays, Siri, or Apple Pay — with their implementations being standardized across all smartphones. But more often than not, Apple isn’t the one to take the first stab at an innovative concept.
1. High Pixel Density Displays
A Galaxy S6, a phone that has a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution. That translates to pixel density of a whopping 577 PPI (Pixels Per Inch). iPhones until last year maxed out at 400 PPI (on the Plus-sized models), while smaller iPhones were even lower at 326 PPI. Many Android phones on the other hand have sported 400, 500, and even 800 PPI displays for many years now.
But all said and done, the 462 PPI iPhone X display now feels adequately crisp in a toe-to-toe comparison to Android phones.
2. OLED Displays
This is yet another train that Apple boarded pretty late. OLED displays have been on Samsung phones before even the first Galaxy S in 2010. Eventually, many other phone makers pivoted to OLED from LCD displays. In fact, for the past couple of years, nearly every major Android flagship — from Samsung, LG, OnePlus, HTC, Huawei, to Google — has been fitted with an OLED display.
There are advantages to using an OLED display. The panels are thinner and lighter, and each pixel produces its own backlight (as opposed to a separate backlighting system on LCD displays). Because of this, OLEDs can achieve an incredibly-high contrast ratio and in most cases, they tend to be more power-efficient than LCDs. And because of independent pixel dimming, only portions of the display can be lit up. This makes it suitable to implement features like an always-on display.
And there’s proof to this pudding — after Samsung phones winning the best performing smartphone display title consecutively the past few years, DisplayMate recently crowned the iPhone X as the best display to date.
3. Edge-to-edge Displays
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus design from 2014 has been largely unchanged for three generations now. The similar-looking 2017 iPhone 8 models still have that mediocre screen-to-body ratio of under 70 percent. Since 2015, Samsung phones started to push the boundaries of how much screen the front of a phone can occupy with its Galaxy Edgelineup. We also saw China-based Xiaomi dabble with a nearly all-screen display with Mi Mix in 2016.
2017 has become the year of all-screen displays — with phones adopting the taller 18:9 aspect ratio. The LG G6 and V30, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 models, the Essential Phone PH-1; all made an appearance before the iPhone X in September 2017.
It’s fantastic to see Apple answer this growing trend with that 5.8-inch edge-to-edge display on the iPhone X. Let’s be clear — that display actually displays less content than the 5.5-inch display on the iPhone 8 Plus. But when compared to the iPhone 8, you’re not only getting more viewable area, but also a more immersive experience, thanks to the missing top and bottom bezel (and no, the notch doesn’t take away much from that experience).
4. Qi Wireless Charging
Qi wireless charging has been on Android phones as old as the Nexus 4 from 2012. It’s not exactly wireless because the charging pad/mat/stand needs to be connected to a wall adapter by wire. And it charges much slower than a wired charging; 30 minutes on a 7.5W Qi charging pad adds only 20 percent battery to an iPhone 8 Plus. A fast charger can add a considerable 50 percent battery in the same time.
5. Water Resistance
Since long, Sony made “water and dust proof” a tentpole feature of several Xperia smartphones. But boasting about how consumers could use their phones to shoot videos underwater somewhat backfired with a class action lawsuit. Samsung has been waterproofing their high-end phones since 2014 starting with the Galaxy S5.
At the time, one wondered if Apple had financial motivations to refrain iPhones from being certified with an IP (Ingress Protection) rating. Since 2011, AppleCare+ covered accidental damage to iPhones including water damage (at a $49 service fee for each incident). Apple finally introduced IP67 water and dust resistance since the iPhone 7 models last year.
But instead of motivating users to dunk their iPhones in liquids, Apple absolves all responsibility for any liquid damage. Still, I’m glad the iPhones of today come with this layer of protection, for those unfortunate times your phone accidentally goes for a swim.
In the past, iPhones never felt slow to charge because their battery size used to be comparatively smaller than competing Android phones. For example, the bundled 5W charger on an iPhone 5s was powerful enough to charge the 1,560mAh battery in it. That changed with Plus-sized iPhones, where that 5W charger started feeling too slow, as it would take nearly 3 hours to charge it from zero to one hundred percent.
7. Stereo Speakers
HTC should be credited for making front-facing stereo speakers popular on smartphones with its “BoomSound” branding. It was one of the highlight features of the HTC One from 2013. So, why are stereo speakers important? Well, when holding the phone in landscape they offer a more immersive experience for videos or games.
The ideal position is when each speaker is forward-facing, above and below the display. This prevents accidental muffling when you’re holding it sideways. The iPhone X takes the next best approach; where the phone’s earpiece doubles up as the secondary speaker, along with the one near the Lightning connector.
8. “Hey Siri”
The Moto X back in 2013 was the first phone to have always-on hotword detection to enable a voice assistant. You just had to say “Ok Google Now”, and the phone would wake up, even when on standby. Apple implemented a similar “Hey Siri” hotword detection on the iPhone 6s in 2015. Although Siri is still not as advanced as the Google Assistant, Hey Siri can come in handy for simple tasks like playing music, setting reminders, or toggling settings.
9. Raise to Wake
That Moto X was also one of the first smartphones to feature a motion coprocessor. Instead of tasking the CPU to continuously log motion activity, it was more efficient to have a dedicated chip doing that. This enabled the Moto X display to show time and notifications when you picked it up (it was first called Active Display, later rebadged to Moto Display).
The same year that the Moto X came out, Apple included the “M7” motion coprocessor in the Apple A7 chip on the iPhone 5s. Developers could make use of motion data for their apps using an API, and Apple subsequently used it to count steps in the Health app. But last year with iOS 10, Apple introduced Raise to Wake for iPhone 6s and above. It worked similar to the Moto Display, but lit up the entire display to show the lockscreen.
10. Tap to Wake
Last but not the least, this feature lets users wake their smartphone up from standby with a single or double tap on the display. This was made popular by LG’s Knock Knockfeature on its G2 smartphone, which had the power button at the back. Many Android phones adopted this feature; making it easier to wake it up (especially on the ones that didn’t have any physical buttons up front). It also proves useful for phones that have the fingerprint scanner at the back (which a majority of Android phones do today).
The iPhone X ran into a similar problem; thanks to the taller 18:9 display that knocked off the home button, it would’ve been cumbersome to hit the side button to wake it up, especially when kept on a table. Fortunately, Tap to Wake came to the rescue, as the iPhone X needs just a single tap on the display to wake it up.
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