Relax, Apple’s level of smartphone innovation is fine

“We looked at four of the most common Apple criticisms, specifically those for the iPhone,” Ben Taylor writes for TIME. “Has innovation really leveled off in Cupertino?”

1. Performance: When consumers see a new iPhone of identical shape and size, they assume nothing’s changed. In reality, Apple’s biggest accomplishment is maintaining its lauded design while keeping pace with Samsung’s powerful, shape-shifting phones. Granted, we can’t conclude that Apple is winning the spec war, but it’s certainly not losing either. Apple and Samsung have both maintained a dizzying pace, nearly doubling performance with each new release. Apple’s 2x leap from the iPhone 5 to 5s is particularly impressive, perhaps even more so than the all-new Touch ID.

MacDailyNews Take: In benchmarks, among other things, Samsung cheats. Apple does not. Only Apple offers 64-bit smartphones and tablets with iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini with Retina display.

2. Features: Many of Apple’s so-called features are designed so that nobody will notice them in the first place. A tap on the home screen camera icon causes the screen to bounce slightly — indicating that the user must swipe up to snap a photo. Dates and times don’t clog up the message screen, unless you happen to swipe to the side, where all that info is cleverly stored. There’s nothing revolutionary here — but these are the “features” Apple focuses on instead, features made for users — not for tech headlines.

3. Display: Apple hasn’t budged from 326 pixels per inch (PPI) because it hasn’t needed to. Steve Jobs was ultimately right (even if the math was a little funky): at a viewing distance of 10 inches, the human eye can no longer discern individual pixels. The HTC One’s 468 PPI might sound impressive, but it comes at a cost. For an indiscernible increase in sharpness, the phone ends up wasting precious resources to power all those pixels.

4. Screen Size: If Apple does indeed make a bigger iPhone, expect small splashes of creativity throughout, with a close eye on design, simplicity, and user experience. But don’t insult Apple by praising the new dimensions — the new screen size will be the least innovative thing about it.

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Futuremark delists Android devices for cheating 3DMark benchmarks; Samsung and HTC ousted – November 26, 2013
Samsung issues another vague denial regarding Galaxy S4, Note 3 benchmark cheating – October 3, 2013
Sanctions loom large: Samsung may have spied on sealed Apple-Nokia documents to aid patent deals – October 3, 2013
Apple slams Samsung’s serial benchmark deceptions – October 2, 2013
Samsung: Uh, someday our phones will have 64-bit processors, too – September 12, 2013
CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013
Apple iPhones retain their value. Samsung Android phones don’t. – August 7, 2013


  1. “…level is fine.”

    Doesn’t that understate the situation?

    “…level is perfect” might be better. Samsung’s level of innovation is not on the line between none and perfect, it’s off the line somewhere in bizarre — what most people acknowledge is a practice of throwing all sorts of things at the market and seeing what results in the fewest returns.

    Apple’s innovation is so subtle most don’t notice. Thankfully an author like Bill Taylor does. Too bad the editors made a stupid headline.

  2. I’m sorry but this was a pretty poor piece. Just to take the first two points: 1) Performance: Samsung’s cheating is not taken into account (thanks MDN), no mention of industry leading 64 bit, not to mention the highly refined SOC design unmatched in the industry, superior battery life… 2) Features: no mention of the most sophisticated photo processing and only two tone mobile flash in existence, how about touch ID, which competitors are unable to even approximate?

    The fact that this passes as a positive article for Apple further goes to show that Apple is failing terribly in the PR front. Poor/lack of PR is really the only significant thing I think Apple needs to improve on.

    1. Yes while Apple doesn’t want to get in the comparison game that other wannabes rely on it should be displaying and emphasising areas of superiority that mean so much more than the gimmicks that the opposition rely on to claim superiority.

  3. When you tap the camera icon on the lock screen, not only does it bounce as Bill points out, but as it rises, it reveals the lower part of the camera screen below, which doubly reinforces what will happen when you slide the button upwards.

    I’m often spotting tiny details and feeling rather delighted that somebody went to the trouble of making even insignificant things as good as it’s humanly possible to make them.

  4. Mr. Pirate, Apple ignores this stuff for a reason – with 85% of the mobile profits it can afford to.
    Lest we forget, the tech pundits and fanboys that pay attention to this stuff are in the minority. Regular normal people, your mum, your pool guy, don’t listen to the bleating, Apple is still Apple, producing the best tech gear you can get your hands on.
    I don’t like iOS 7 one bit, but compared to the sheer ugliness of the competition I’m willing to be patient and look to WWDC, and September.

    1. I hope you’re right, that I have a skewed perspective because I follow tech blogs. But in my experience there are too many people I have run into, who are otherwise perfectly reasonable, who think that an android phone is not just acceptable, but in way to many cases even superior. This is purely due to misinformation and FUD spread by competitors and the anti Apple tech press, as no one I have talked to has a reasonable argument for their position. I don’t think Apple should let this stand to the extent that it has.

  5. You have to understand that Apple is one of the worlds most innovative technology companies at the moment. Apple products aren’t for the faint of heart, but for the pure of heart, a person not afraid to take creative risks. When you see someone talk on an iPhone– you know that the person is a soul mate. A soul mate who is ready to join you in reaching for the stars, in climbing the highest mountains…in leading an exceptional life. Apple: Exceptional technology, for exceptional people.

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