At first glance it would appear that absolutely every new feature on iPhone X is available on other smartphones. From the micro-bezel OLED display to Face ID face recognition, Apple has embraced features found elsewhere.
That’s how Apple rolls. The company seldom is first to the party with some super duper A-number one triple distilled feature or function. What Apple does best is what it has always done best– figure out which parts, functions, and features should go where so users get a better experience. But only Apple could build iPhone X.
Let me start with the basics. iPhone X borrows from functionality and features found elsewhere. Unlike competitors, Apple does them better. Go back to the Mac. Xerox had a mouse and point and click first. Retail stores? Everybody had them and shuttered them before Apple figured out how to do it right.
Remember the portable media players of the last century? Yes, people did carry a CD player and a stack of CDs to listen to music before Apple came along with the little hard disk drive that could– iPod. Then along came the smartphone revolution and the iPod was threatened by a new device. Years late to the party, Apple’s iPhone defined the entire generation of devices. Tablets? They were around for years and nobody used them. Today, Apple has about 300-million iPad customers.
With all the basic parts of iPhone X already in smartphones on the market, why didn’t another company build a device a few years ago that works as well as Apple’s latest and greatest?
Micro-bezel displays? Samsung, Xiaomi, even Sharp had them years before iPhone X. Fingerprint scanner? Many others had them first. Apple made it work in Touch ID. Facial recognition? Samsung has it and an iris scanner to boot and a simple photograph can fool it. Face ID on iPhone X sets the new standard and a higher bar. Wireless charging? It’s been around for years. Dual rear cameras? Others have been there and done that but Apple made it work better.
One could argue that only Apple could build the first point and click PC for the masses. Only Apple could build a portable music player. Only Apple could build an online music store that people would use. Only Apple could build retail stores that work. Only Apple could build a smartphone, a tablet, a smartwatch– and make them all not only work better than competitors, but better together within an integrated ecosystem.
Look backwards in technology for 30 years and you’ll find a veritable graveyard of bullet point features and functions from Apple’s competitors which Apple did better and does better.
Wait. What about Siri?
You’ll read that Amazon’s Echo and Alexis combo have won the day, trampling Siri underfoot in the marketplace for talking and listening gadgets. Really? Siri has improved steadily since iPhone 4 and with iOS 11 is easier to use and understand. Siri exists on over 1-billion mobile devices. What about Echo and Alexis? Amazon won’t say so it’s likely not a number to be proud of.
Out Of Sight
It isn’t as if what Apple does is a secret. Apple plays in plain sight, cobbles together features and functions that are visible and available elsewhere (but not always in the same package).
Apple Stores? Microsoft copied them but loses money on each one. Siri? Everyone has a copycat but which one gets used the most? Tablets? Apple is just showing off with iPad Pro. Smartphones? You’ll be among the fortunate to get one in 2017. Macs? What do all good Windows-based PCs and Chromebooks look like?
It’s not just a list of bullet point features, but it’s how Apple integrates technology into the ecosystem. The company’s Services revenue and profits exceed the Mac and iPad and could be a Fortune 100 company on its own. Who else does that?
Samsung sells a few nice Galaxy-whatever smartphones but ask someone who owns the latest to show you how well the iris scanner or face recognition works (if they know how to use it at all).
Apple’s entire history as a technology company is wrapped up in iPhone X, arguably the best product it has ever produced. Why didn’t Samsung do with the Galaxy-whatever that Apple did? Why didn’t Microsoft build a smartphone that customers want to use?
That’s what Apple does. It builds products customers want to buy and want to use.