Zoom out: Getting perspective from an unexpected source


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Sometimes if the Macalope just waits a minute, someone else writes a fantastic rebuttal to some silly analysis for him. He as to admit, though, he was pretty surprised at who’s helping him out this time.

Over at what used to be The Boy Genius Report and is now seemingly just called "BGR”, possibly for truth in advertising purposes, Chris Smith says “The Galaxy Note 8 might beat the iPhone 7 Plus at its own game.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

So, this year’s Galaxy Note, assuming it doesn’t asplode, will have a better camera than… last years’s iPhone.


KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo, who’s famous for his iPhone-related predictions, said in the past that the Galaxy Note 8 will have a dual camera with a telephoto lens.

This would be a huge deal if time were not linear. It is also not a very big deal for other reasons that we shall discuss after we let the tension build (spoiler: tension does not build).

Assuming Kuo’s predictions turn out to be accurate, the Galaxy Note 8 might end up with a better dual camera than Apple’s, at least when it comes to features.

New phone may have new things an older phone does not. The Macalope’s gonna need a minute to digest this new-nope, he’s done.

…though Apple never engaged in megapixel wars with rivals.

Yeah, let’s talk about that for a second. Or, rather, let’s let former Google senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra talk about it, as he did in a Facebook comment recently when asked about the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Here’s the problem: It’s Android. Android is an open source (mostly) operating system that has to be neutral to all parties. This sounds good until you get into the details. Ever wonder why a Samsung phone has a confused and bewildering array of photo options? …

It’s because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.

Also the greatest innovation isn’t even happening at the hardware level - it’s happening at the computational photography level. …

So, the Galaxy Note 8 might have better hardware, but it’s not going to have a better camera experience or necessarily take better pictures.

Apple doesn’t have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.

This is Apple’s advantage with everything, too, not just the camera.

Look, Android has other advantages. It offers a much wider variety of hardware options, many of them at much lower price points than the iPhone, and allows much more customization within the operating system. Better hardware integration, however, is not one of them.

Anyway, we should be super worried about the successor to the Molotov Cocktail phone having slightly better zoom than last year’s iPhone.

Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.

Or not.

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