Apple often seems to stand alone when it comes to innovative new technologies. No, not as the first to market, but as the manufacturer that gets it right. Here is my list of historical examples.
Portable music players were plentiful before iPod. Apple married large storage with ease of use, then capitalized on that with iTunes Music Store and one-click purchases of affordable music. Napster died.
iPhone was not the first smartphone and iPad was not the first tablet, but Apple’s designs and implementation set the standard. What do all smartphones look like today? Tablets? Apple Watch? AirPods?
There are other areas of technological functionality where Apple does its thing better than competitors. Let’s take privacy and security. Apple launched Touch ID’s fingerprint sensor years ago. It was not the first to market. It was the first that worked very well.
Michael Simon did a comparison of fingerprint scanners– Samsung Galaxy S10+, OnePlus 6T, Galaxy S9, and an iPhone. iPhone 6s. Not iPhone 7. Not iPhone 8. But a much older model.
What happens when you compare new smartphones to an old iPhone?
Phone was the easy winner when it came to speed. Apple was one of the pioneers of the fingerprint revolution, and its scanners have always been among the fastest around. The size of the scanner also helps, as does the placement below the screen.
What does that say?
Not only did Apple not invent the fingerprint scanner, but has moved on to an improved feature that marries security to convenience. Face ID.
What of the competition?
We need a 3D facial-scanning solution for Android phones. While Huawei has one on the Mate 20 Pro and LG introduced a time-of-flight sensor on the G8, Face ID has yet to be mimicked in a mainstream way. And it needs to happen. Compared to the iPhone XS, all of the fingerprint scanners here feel like old tech, but only Apple has moved on to something better.
That comparison says more about Apple and competitors than a bullet point feature list. Apple seems to have the built-in patience and discipline to wait; to figure out the best way to implement obviously needed technology components, and then deliver in a way that turns the industry.
Touch ID and Face ID mirror previous products and innovations– in this case, improved security with improved ease-of-use. iPod? Easier to use. iPhone? Easier to use. iPad? Easier to use. The latter two came with improved security, too.
I’m not worried about Apple being first to market with new functionality. I see that as patience (a virtue) and discipline.