Samsung likes to pack its devices with features its rivals don’t have. Crypto wallet? It has you covered. Headphone jack? Samsung always has your back.
Good or bad, for better or worse, you can typically count on Samsung to have something for everyone. But the Note 10 marks quite a dramatic change of direction.
It doesn’t have expandable storage (Samsung says to make room for a bigger battery), nor does it have a headphone jack like its predecessor, which suggests Samsung has shifted towards Apple’s way of thinking when it comes to connections and ports. Price-wise the Note 10 and XS are similar, too, so there’s clearly a harder choice to be made – with fewer differentiating features – between the two.
Time will tell if the axing of fan favourite features pays off, but what does it mean for Apple’s iPhone 11? Can the Cupertino-based company produce a device that stands apart from strong, similar-looking competition next month?
Offline, private and improved Siri
It’s not an exact science when it comes to testing how effective an AI assistant is. My head-to-heads over the years often yielded fluctuating results, but one thing is clear: Google Assistant almost always comes out on top with the rest jostling for a place below it.
Siri isn’t going to challenge Assistant any time soon because Google has a huge advantage over Apple in this area. But it can beat Samsung’s less accomplished effort: Bixby. Apple doesn’t necessarily need to radically overhall Siri to improve its service – a few targeted changes can make a big difference to the end user experience and provide iPhone owners with features that rivals don’t have.
Good examples include custom wake words instead of “hey Siri”, which when uttered in a house with multiple Siri-enabled devices – can cause a bit of confusion. Similarly, some sort of offline-mode would mean fewer performance issues when your connection is patchy or nonexistent. Offline functionality could also mean adding an additional privacy feature too, which would be timely considering recent stories about Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft letting human contractors listen to private audio clips.
Lean-in to eSIM
Aside from region specific devices that offer slots for two sim cards, Apple and Google are two of a small handful of big manufacturers offering eSIM (electronic sim card) support in Western markets.
Why would it be useful? Well there’s a tantalising – probably distant – future where it’s possible to quickly and instantly switch carrier based on the best rates at that time. There’s an obvious benefit if you’re travelling, but the ease of moving to another provider – without the rigmarole of swapping out a physical SIM card and any associated headaches of moving your number over – would likely mean more competition between carriers and therefore more competitive rates.
This only happens if one company is willing to drive the technology forward and bring (perhaps resistant) carriers along. Apple has shown that it can organise multiple companies to support new tech – or partner up on a new platform – like it did with Apple Pay, Apple TV and the new Apple Card, so it’s entirely possible it could do the same with a revolutionary new concept for phone tariffs.