Get ready for the next smartphone smackdown next month
Apple and Samsung are set for another big faceoff in the coming months as both prepare for major smartphone launches. Which means that we, as the phone-buying public, are being inundated with rumours about what these phones could do.
Keeping track of prerelease rumours can be exhausting, and the predictions should always be taken with a grain of salt. But this past week brought us more credible glimpses of what prospective phone buyers should expect and offered food for thought on today’s smartphone market.
Let’s start with Samsung, which will show off the Galaxy Note 8 on Aug. 23. The phone is Samsung’s followup to its (exploding and recalled) Note 7. Its debut will beat Apple’s next iPhone, which is traditionally launched in September, to market — perhaps by a lot, if rumours of a delay for a redesigned iPhone are true.
Renderings posted by reporter Evan Blass — who has an excellent track record when it comes to prerelease leaks — show a Note 8 with the same fingerprint reader configuration as the Galaxy S8. That wasn’t a popular design decision with users, who found it awkward and pretty smudge-prone for the cameras.
In those examples, the phone would also have a dual camera and what appears to be the same dedicated button for Bixby — Samsung’s voice assistant — that’s already in the Galaxy S8.
Apple, meanwhile, turned out to be the source of some of its own leaks, after iOS developers tweeted that they found references to the next iPhone in a release of firmware for the upcoming HomePod speaker. The revelations appear to confirm that new iPhones will have advanced facial recognition and biometric features.
There appears to be a bezel, or border, in the image included in the tweet, but developers commenting on the thread said that the border would not appear on the phone.
What will show up on the real device, they say, is the cutout at the top of the phone — what some have dubbed a “receding hairline.” That spot is supposed to house the camera and speaker, while providing limited intrusion on the screen. The Note 8 is expected to have a thin bar all the way across the top.
A Reddit user pointed out other code in the HomePod firmware indicating the possibility of wireless-charging in the new iPhone, tech blog BGR reported. That matches a much-touted feature that Samsung and competing phones have had for a while.
So, what does this mean for consumers? Chances are that if you’ve fallen into one camp or the other, nothing that leaked over the past week will change your mind about which phone you’d buy.