Apple executives may well be sweating. The new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has been released, and unless Apple is planning to launch something truly innovative in the new iPhone, this may be the first time that Samsung genuinely pulls ahead in the major categories of usability, technology and styling.
The Note 8, rather than being targeted at a particular audience, is designed based on practical improvements and new features for daily usage. For example, the larger screen is more than just a visual improvement, it also enables users to make the most of a new innovation – running two apps at the same time. Originally thought to be something of a gimmick, the practicalities of this are becoming more apparent as Samsung bridges the gap superbly between not only the phone and tablet, but also the phone and laptop. In this, using the new Dex docking station, the Note 8 can be connected to a keyboard and mouse and run off a desktop version of the Android operating system. Apple will be quick to point out that iPhones can be used on larger screens also using the mirroring function, but using the Dex means that Samsung users can not only make the screen larger but also interact with it directly as they would their laptop or desktop – through a keyboard and mouse. Again, there seems to be obvious purpose in this feature; enabling business users to interact directly with content and apps on their phones through more traditional mediums.
Samsung has also added a memory card slot, enabling significant storage improvement. This could be seen as a direct attack on Apple, who has made every effort to internalise every function from headphones, to memory and in turn positions Samsung as more open, and willing to allow third-party innovations to improve their products. This may or may not be true, but compared to Apple who seems to be closing the door on any external connectivity, Samsung is an open book.
Samsung has also added an iris scanner so you can unlock your phone by looking at it – a bit gimmicky but handy if you don’t have fingerprints – and a front screen that you can doodle on using the stylus. At first glance, this appears gimmicky also, but for those of us who struggle to find a piece of paper when we desperately need to write something down, it’s a fantastic idea.
The Note 8 can also be charged wirelessly, something that will almost definitely come with the new iPhone, and is common sense for manufacturers at this point.
Leaks from Apple regarding the new, as yet unnamed iPhone, have been fast and furious over the last few weeks, and while very few have been validated as true, one this is for sure – Tim Cook and company must create something different and inspiring to keep the Apple faithful happy. It’s been a long time since any genuine innovation came out of the organisation once famed as the most forward-thinking in the world and a quick browse of technology blogs show that the traditional Apple audience is tired of upgrades and improvements. Apple engineers need to go back to the Steve Jobs way of thinking and produce something that will make headlines, and have the crowds cheering once again.