Innovation myopia: Seeing it where you want to


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Apple has been bested yet again! It’s a wonder they even bother to try anymore.

Writing for Mashable, Stan Schroeder tells us that “A bunch of cool new phones are coming out of China soon.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nick.)

That’s kind of dull compared to the page title: “Sorry, Apple and Samsung. Smartphone innovation is happening in China.” One gets the feeling he is sorry… yet also not sorry. It’s Schrödinger’s Apology.

Well, then, let’s see the innovation. Presumably it’s not the innovation U.S. intelligence agencies are concerned about coming from these phones that is stealing users' information for the benefit of the Chinese government, which some of these firms are beholden to. Presumably because that doesn’t seem like the kind of innovation people want and, also, because there’s no mention of that concern anywhere in this article.

All six companies — Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi — are based in China, and if you're looking for a new phone, you should check them out before you dish premium money for a Samsung or Apple device.

There’s literally no downside to these phones! Discussed in this article! At all!

If you want a cheap phone with top-notch specs, Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus have got you covered. If you want a phone with an under-the-display fingerprint scanner, Vivo already has one on the market.

Who buys a phone like this? “I want a phone with an under-the-display fingerprint scanner and that’s all I care about!” No one buys a phone like that. And no one is in luck because someone wrote a whole article aimed specifically at their buying pattern.

But follow that link about Vivo’s innovative phone to get a sense of what we Apple dorks are missing out on.

When it works, the Vivo X21's fingerprint sensor is slower than the typical fingerprint scanners you'll see on other phones. …

Also, the fact that you have to actually push your digit into the display makes the experience worse.

Ugh. The Macalope can’t believe he isn’t awkwardly and slowly unlocking his phone right now.

Again, Schroeder doesn’t bring this up. Because this is an ad for Chinese phones. For some reason.

You can’t shake a stick around these Chinese phones without hitting some innovation. Sometimes you have to use an imaginary stick, though, since some of this innovation isn’t available yet.

Though we've yet to see it on a phone you can actually buy, Oppo has had the best lossless zoom on a smartphone camera since Feb. 2017.

“I can imagine these phones will one day have lots of features! And isn’t that better than features I can’t imagine iPhones having?”

If you want to see what a "notchless" phone of tomorrow might look like, check out Vivo's Apex concept or Lenovo's upcoming Z5.

Future phones from Apple competitors beat currently shipping phones from Apple every time! It’s uncanny! Why does Apple even bother to make phones?!

And if you want to literally see through the back of your phone, Xiaomi has done it (though whether you're really seeing the phone's innards is up to debate).

The title of the piece linked to there is, and The Macalope is required by law to inform you that he is not making this up, “Xiaomi's new Mi 8 Android phone shamelessly copies the iPhone X”.

Things get even more impressive when you look at what's coming in the near future.

More impressive than a shameless copy of the iPhone X that may or may not let you see the inside of the phone?! No way!

On June 12, Vivo will launch a device with a "What is NEX" tagline. We don't know much about it…

We have reached the point where the mere concept of a competing phone is more innovative than anything Apple has to offer. Peak fan fiction.

Yes, companies like Xiaomi and Vivo keep on launching phones that feel like they're from the future, but at the same time they shamelessly copy the iPhone X's design elements. Can these phones truly be called innovative?

I, for one, have stopped caring about semantics.

“What is “innovation” anyway? Who can say one phone is more innovative than another? It’s a pointless exercise. I wash my hands of it. Anyway, let’s get back to these innovative Chinese phones…”

Samsung and Apple are both too big — or think they're too big — to take big risks.

Like removing once standard components such as the headphone jack and home button, or making privacy such a tentpole feature that you’re willing to defy the FBI over unlocking a terrorist’s phone. Certainly nobody ever said anything about those choices being monumental mistakes.

Sure, take a look at these phones. For a lot of people, they might be great and some of their features are interesting if not always implemented well. But take an actual look at them, one that includes the drawbacks.

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