The greatest form of flattery: The copy and pasting of iPhone features


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The tea leaves have been read and, once again, it’s a bold brew of Apple doom.

Writing for BGR, Zach Epstein is the latest contestant on the new game show everyone hates: “Just Askin’!”

“Is the era of copying Apple’s every move finally over for Android phone makers?” (Tip o’ the antlers to El Santo.)

[Studio audience chants in unison] JUST! ASKIN’!

For a variety of reasons, Apple shipped the iPhone X with Face ID and not Touch ID.

This is the type of major shift in strategy and technology that Android phone makers in the past would have been scrambling to copy. According to a new report, however, that might not be the case.

A Taiwanese firm projects that shipments of fingerprint sensors will remain relatively high this year. Thus we can conclude that Apple is done because Android OEMs are no longer following its lead.

Well, OK, at least one of them is still completely following Apple’s lead.

Our own sources have informed us that Samsung is already hard at work trying to replace its unsecure facial recognition tech with a more sophisticated solution to compete with Face ID. But Samsung is Samsung.

Sure, Samsungs gonna Samsung. Just because the largest Android OEM will never be able to quit copying Apple doesn’t mean that Android OEMs are still going to copy Apple.


See, it does, of course. If Apple includes a feature and Samsung includes a feature, it becomes the standard and people will come to expect it. If your phone doesn’t have it, you’re not keeping up.

What the Macalope finds funny is that the stated reason Samsung isn’t copying Apple harder right now is not for a lack of trying. It's simply that it can’t get the facial recognition technology right. But the takeaway is no one’s following Apple anymore.

…TrendForce says fingerprint sensor demand in the smartphone industry is set to explode in 2018 thanks to in-display sensors.

Ix-nay on the explode-hay!

According to the firm’s numbers, about 800 million smartphones with fingerprint sensors shipped in 2017. This year, TrendForce believe that number will increase to more than 900 million units.

That would actually be less of an increase than any time in the last four years, but that’s probably because of an expectation that Apple will ship fewer fingerprint sensor units, as Epstein notes.

Let’s just remember that, while short-term projections like this have more of a chance of being right, these are still projections. Sometimes they don’t pan out.

So, Android OEMs will not be copying a feature that they seemingly can’t get right. Must mean that Apple’s on the downturn.

[Puts on noise-canceling headphones, sight-canceling glasses, smell-canceling nose plugs, touch-canceling body suit and taste-canceling dental dam in order to tune out any contrary opinions.]

Is the age of seeing Android phone vendors copy each and every one of Apple’s major strategy shifts now behind us?

That’s the standard. Each and every one. Slavishly and immediately.

It’s clearly too soon to tell…


…but it certainly appears as though none of the world’s top Android phone makers plan to shift away from fingerprint authentication anytime soon.

Based on projections about sales of this one feature, which we don’t even know for sure Apple is phasing out, we should be asking if Apple’s influence over the market is waning, even though the largest Android OEM is rushing to catch up to Apple’s lead in the replacement feature.

There has always been a bit of back-and-forth in the copy process, Android manufacturers mostly copying from Apple and Apple sometimes copying from them, and the Macalope suspects that will continue. Because, as the example of facial recognition demonstrates, Apple tends to get the features right instead of slapping them on there and seeing if anyone uses them. If Android OEMs ever do stop copying Apple, it’s going to be kind of a mess.

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