As the dust settles on the unveiling of the Galaxy S8, fans of Apple devices are beginning to wonder what the Samsung flagship means for the future of the iPhone range. There is no doubt that the iPhone 8 will take its lead from the Korean company to some extent, and there could be critical clues contained within the Galaxy S8’s portfolio of features.
Samsung itself has already responded to the iPhone range by including its new virtual assistant Bixby. Whether the new software will be the equal of Siri remains to be seen, but Samsung clearly felt that the Galaxy S8 would be lacking an important feature without this addition.
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However, the early indications are that Bixby will not deliver the same level of functionality as Siri. This presents Apple with an excellent opportunity to widen the gap further still when the iPhone 8 is released, and this could even feature as a major part of its marketing campaign.
Aside from Bixby, the other obvious innovation in the Galaxy S8 is the inclusion of a wraparound display, with the screen in the device extending right to the edge of the handset. The concept of the wraparound display will to some extent define the consumer technology marketplace in 2017, with Samsung having successfully revolutionized the mobile sphere. It is not that long ago that a curved screen smartphone was unheard of; now Samsung has released a major new range without any flatscreen mobile whatsoever.
It is the display of the Galaxy S8 that perhaps provides the biggest clue to the makeup of the iPhone 8. If Apple was already likely to instigate some sort of significant redesign of the iPhone concept in 2016, it now seems absolutely certain. Samsung has staked the reputation of its flagship on curved screen technology, and Apple risks looking dated and somewhat left behind if the iPhone 8 does not follow suit.
Curved screen debut
Certainly, the inclusion of curved screen technology has been widely anticipated in the iPhone 8, and an Apple patent delivering precisely this design feature is hardly a secret. But Apple has prided itself as a setter of trends rather than a follower, while its design excellence is almost intrinsically associated with the brand. This could mean that the Californian corporation considers veering away from the trend for curved screens, but it seems far more likely that the iPhone 8 will feature at least one curved model, and seriously slimmed down bezels.
Nonetheless, the effort that Samsung has made to redefine what the Galaxy S8 delivers has placed a certain onus on Apple to deliver something outstanding with the iPhone 8. Having witnessed the Galaxy S8 unveiling event, Christopher Voce of Forrester Research believes that the ball is firmly in Apple’s court. “I think it does put a lot of pressure on Apple to show that they can still innovate. Certainly Apple remains the one to beat,” Voce commented.
It also seems probable that Apple will respond to the Galaxy S8 by introducing wireless charging. This is a new feature that has been strongly linked with the next generation iPhone, and again Apple could be deemed rather dated in its approach if it fails to deliver this once more. Also, there is a particular kicker for the Cupertino-based company here, as it is noted that Apple has some revolutionary technology up its sleeve that enables iPhone units to be charged from a distance of 15 feet. This could enable Apple to get the jump on a Samsung in this department.
Meanwhile, it is ironic that Samsung has blinked first with the removal of the Home button from the Galaxy S8, as it has been almost ubiquitously suggested that Apple will indeed do this with the iPhone 8. So this is another change that we can very strongly bank on when the iPhone 8 is revealed.
After Samsung, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, increased the resolution in the Galaxy S8, Apple must surely follow suit with the iPhone 8. With the consumer electronics giant yet to release a full HD smartphone, the very least expectation from consumers will be that Apple will indeed ensure that the iPhone 8 can display full HD content. This would make the larger version of the iPhone 8 range quad HD, which would put it virtually on a par with the Galaxy S8.
Aside from this, there will also be pressure on Apple to increase the size of the display, as has indeed been suggested previously. Rumors have tended to indicate that the Californian company is considering releasing three iPhone 8 models in 2017, and the largest of these will probably have a display of similar size to the Galaxy S8. Whether Apple will go as far as imitating the 6.2-inch screen included in the Galaxy S8 Plus is highly doubtful.
What can be said for certain if that the company has traversed a considerable distance from the vision of Steve jobs, with the founder and former CEO of the company having believed that 3.5-inches is the ideal smartphone screen size!
With Samsung having invested heavily in virtual reality with the Galaxy S8, via 360-degree camera functionality, Apple will probably follow suit with some augmented reality upgrades. CEO Tim Cook has already earmarked this as an important part of the iPhone series in the future, and work will almost certainly be going on behind the scenes to ensure that this is integrated into the iPhone range this year.
As speculation begins to grow on the next generation iPhone 8, a new leak provides a mockup photograph of the iPhone 8, displaying the device from both the front and back of the units. This image suggests that the iPhone 8 will feature a fingerprint scanner placed on the rear of the device, with the Home button being eliminated and the size of the screen significantly extended.
There are obvious similarities between this approach and that of the Galaxy S8, meaning that Samsung is beginning to have a big influence over the way that Apple thinks about its product range.