What the Galaxy Note 8 means for the iPhone 8

29/ago/2017 04:43:50 iPhone parts Contatta l'autore

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The Galaxy Note 8 has thrown down its challenge to Apple's rumored iPhone 8.

Samsung's most feature-packed phone brings compelling advantages with a dual camera setup, a promising portrait mode and the signature S Pen stylus found on every Note phone. I like what I've seen of the Note 8 so far, and on paper, it's hard to beat its hardware or find more software options for power users.

But the Note 8 plays it safe, largely blending last year's disaster-stricken Galaxy Note 7 and this past spring's Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

This opens the door for Apple to shake up the why does my phone get hot landscape with the next must-have feature, and win over brand-agnostic buyers in the process.

Of course, we don't know exactly what the 10th anniversary iPhone will bring (not every rumor pans out) and we have yet to fully review the Galaxy Note 8.

That acknowledged, here's where Samsung missed an opportunity with the Note 8, and where Apple has the chance to really shine.

Samsung's late to dual cameras and portrait mode

It's terrific that the Note 8 has a second camera on the back, but at this point, it's also expected. Right now, nearly every high-end phone has one or will. Portrait mode (called Live Focus on the Note 8) is the biggest benefit here, where the camera can softly blur the background and make a person or thing pop out.

Samsung's Live Focus portrait mode has some cool extras compared to other phones. One subtle way where the Note 8 wins compared to Apple's iPhone 7 Plus -- the phone that made portrait mode all the rage -- is that both Note lenses have OIS, or optical image stabilization. That'll help improve low light shots and keep videos from shaking even if you are. If the next iPhone has OIS on both lenses, Samsung loses that advantage.

But Apple is late on AMOLED screens, 'no-bezel' design and wireless charging

Right now, the Note 8 soars past the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in details like a bright AMOLED screen, wireless charging, facial recognition, a superslim bezel and stylus support. (Apple caught up to Samsung's water resistance last year.)

If all the rumors are right, Apple will nearly obliterate the hardware gap. And yes, that means the rumor that the iPhone will support the Apple Pencil comes true, too.

Battery life will be one remaining question mark. In CNET's looping video test, Samsung phones traditionally last hours longer than the iPhone.

Fingerprint ID vs. facial recognition

You can unlock the Galaxy Note 8 with your fingerprint, iris scan or scan of your face. Or all three, if you'd like. But good luck reaching for the fingerprint reader all the way on the back and have fun lifting the phone to your face (and lifting your sunglasses on top of your head).


See the Galaxy Note 8 from every angle

And facial recognition? It's easy to spoof and not even Samsung thinks it's very secure.

Apple is rumored to have next-gen facial ID with contour scanning, but the iPhone 8 (or iPhone X, iPhone Anniversary Edition or whatever it's called) will supposedly shed its fingerprint reader, Touch ID. If true, facial scanning needs to be absolutely perfect, or else face buyers' wrath.

iPhone 8 could go far with AR

Samsung has a strong record with VR, but Apple seems to be betting more on AR -- and initial demos with existing hardware look good.

Apple CEO Tim Cook crowed that iOS 11, the software that'll be preloaded on the next iPhones, will make the company's AR platform the largest, "overnight."

AR is the next big frontier for phones, and one that Samsung hasn't yet exploited. AR allows you to layer virtual objects on top of the real world, as seen through your phone screen, like trying on virtual furniture or paint colors in your home, or playing games in new ways. AR doesn't need a headset (the Note 8 requires a Samsung Gear VR), and the next iPhone could feature cameras that enable more advanced AR effects.

If Apple introduces AR and sways developers to make enough apps that use the feature, too, the iPhone 8 could create a richer virtual experience than the Note 8.

Galaxy Note 8, S8 Plus and S8 are just too similar

In a phone-eat-phone world, the Galaxy phones are cannibals.

The Note 8 could nibble away at S8 or S8 Plus sales (Samsung would make more money that way), though it's much more likely that buyers will opt for the cheaper Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

CloseThe Galaxy Note 8 has 4 unique featuresDragAutoplay: ON

Samsung's problem is that with the exception of the second camera -- in other words, portrait mode -- and the S Pen, which is a specialized tool not everyone will want, the Galaxy Note 8 is pretty much the same phone as the S8 Plus.

In fact, the Note 8's screen is only a tenth of an inch larger (6.3 inches versus 6.2) and the core hardware and dimensions are very nearly the same, from the octa-core processor inside to the front-facing camera and water resistance. That's a break from previous Note phones that introduced next-level specs across the board, nudging the Note up a class compared to that year's Galaxy S.

For a phone that creeps toward $1,000, £900 and AU$1,500, the Note 8 doesn't seem different enough from its Galaxy brethren to justify the price.

Apple's iPhones, which are expected to come in a similar three-tiered setup of iPhone 7S, 7S Plus and iPhone 8, still have a chance to make differentiation more clear. In other words, Apple has the opportunity to make its iPhone 8 rock star boldly stand out from this year's "lesser" iPhones.

Note 8 and iPhone 8 could match on a near-$1,000 price

Speaking of price, Apple's most premium iPhone is also speculated to cost about the same as the nearly $1,000 Note 8. The most recent rumor sets the iPhone 8 at $999, which would likely work out to about £900 or AU$1,500.

Depending on what we get there -- and how much the next Pixel phone and LG V30 cost -- the two could wind up fitting right in with the cream of the why is my phone hot crop.


True, there are a lot of "ifs" here, and we won't know for sure what we will or won't get from the next iPhone until Apple reveals it all on stage. What is clear is that Samsung's wow-me moment has come and gone. It's now Apple's turn to suck up the spotlight, and Apple's chance to dazzle phone-watchers with a breakout star -- if it can.

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