There hasn’t been much to speak of in terms of innovation in the mobile market over the past few years. The iPhone 5s is just a beefed up iPhone 5 with a new OS and a fingerprint sensor alongside other bumped hardware in the same case as the iPhone 5. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is being described by many as a “S4S” and the “all new HTC One” that has yet to be announced isn’t even a big enough change for HTC to think it deserves a new name. We have hit a plateau in smartphones, and I think only one company has it in it to kickstart another revolution.
Think about smartphones announced yesteryear and this, has there been anything of real innovation? The only think that comes to my mind is Touch ID, and not because it is Apple, but because of the execution of the fingerprint sensor that was failed with HTC’s One Max and that is going to be horrible in the Galaxy S5. In the latter two devices you have to actually swipe your finger across the sensor for it to register, whereas with Apple’s Touch ID (which is powered by the AuthenTec technology it bought way back when) requires only that you press your finger onto the home button, which magically then recognizes your fingerprint. No swiping, no annoying gestures, just hold your finger on the home button as if you were about to press it. Not only is this much easier, it feels much more natural and gives you the ability to have Touch ID recognize your fingerprint in almost any orientation.
Keeping HTC in mind, look at the device that it is about to release, named the “all new HTC One” (which could be argued as copying Apple’s “all new iPad” in the iPad 3, but I digress). According to the infamous leaker @evleaks on Twitter, the back of the device has a two-tone flash that looks like it is almost an exact ripoff of Apple’s true-tone flash. Sure, Apple doesn’t own the rights to it, but, come on, HTC used the same colors and set up as the iPhone 5s.
But, let’s move on, this isn’t a “hate on other companies copying Apple” rant, this is a “where has innovation gone?” rant. So, I’ll leave HTC alone for now.
I asked you to think about what the only innovation in recent history has been, and I brought up Touch ID. Apple did the fingerprint sensor right, and, because Apple tends to do things the “right” way (not always, mind you), I think it is Apple that has to kickoff the next big revolution in the mobile industry. It started it all with the iPhone, and has continued to push almost every envelope there is in the market (excluding screen size, hence “almost every”). Why wouldn’t it be Apple?
When a new device comes out, what is it compared to by nearly everyone? The iPhone. What about the new version of Android? iOS. New tablets? The iPad. I think you get my point; everyone looks at Apple and what it is doing, instead of what the product is they are actually looking at. NFC isn’t a major player yet (at least here in the States), but if Apple were to suddenly include NFC in its devices you you can be sure it’d be in almost every retail store in the US. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple has held back on NFC simply because it would then help all the Android devices that already have it included.
My point is, everyone looks to Apple, everyone follows in Apple’s footsteps, and everyone needs new ideas. The iPhone 5s was, while it has its awesome features, one of the least exciting upgrades yet. iOS 7 was the focus of last year, not the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s was simply a building block for the iPhone 6, which will presumably run iOS 8. The iPhone 6, we are relatively certain of now, will have Touch ID, a 64 bit A7 or A8, the M7 or maybe an M8, a true tone flash, and everything great that came with iOS 7. It was a stepping stone in the direction Apple is taking the iPhone lineup.
One thing I hope doesn’t get put into the iPhone 6 is too much of this “health” stuff we have been seeing. Sure, it has its uses for people who need it, but for the rest of us, who cares?! Not I, that’s for sure. Cam put it best when I brought up the subject by saying “we’ve lived on this planet for how long? And suddenly we need an app to tell us how many steps we’re taking each day?” It is getting ridiculous. I’m not going to stop half way through a sports practice – or game even – to say “Hey guys, hold on, let me go grab my phone and check my heart rate.” No, not happening. If it is something you can wear during, that is different. Such as the Gear Fit, which is the only device I’ve been impressed with from Samsung recently, and even that has its flaws. This whole health craze is just overblown, and unnecessary. It’s cool that your phone can tell you all this stuff, but why do I need to care? I don’t. I’ll leave my health measurements to trusted instruments, not Samsung’s inconsistent devices.
So far this year, Samsung has already released its flagship device, HTC is about to – and we know most everything about it already – and everyone’s eyes are about to turn to Apple. What will Apple do? How will the iPhone 6 fare? What will be the innovation? Everyone will be looking for leaks and rumors of Apple’s next device, and how it will hopefully be pushing the market forward. If Apple can’t come out with something great, I am afraid we may have finally reached the top point of what is to come for mobile devices until the real “next big thing,” not Samsung’s bore of a marketing campaign.
What do you think? Are you a fan of the whole health craze going on right now? Or are you like me, and simply asking “why”? Let us know in the comments, or tweet me @TiP_Kyle.