Why Apple doesn't care that flagship Android smartphones are better than the iPhone

Apple's iPhone 7 seems set to lag far behind flagship Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the Note 7, but there's a very good reason why Apple doesn't care.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

As has been the case for several years now, I'm confident that we have a pretty good idea of what the iPhone 7 is going to bring to the table, thanks to all the leaked photos, reports from "people in the know", and supply chain chatter.

Here, in as concise a form as possible, is what we expect from the iPhone 7:

  • The form-factor is going to be identical -- or near identical -- to the iPhone 6S/6S Plus
  • The headphone jack is gone
  • Stereo speaker
  • The antenna bands on the rear of the case have been redesigned
  • Dual-lens camera for the iPhone 7 Plus
  • Faster processor

Some reports point to increased water resistance, but this is likely down to the removal of the headphone jack (the primary point for water ingress).

There are a lot of other rumors and ideas floating about out there, but this is the stuff I have the highest confidence in.

So, bottom line is that there's nothing that blows your hair back. Sure, if you're running a two- to three-year-old iPhone, then a new iPhone is going to feel faster, and you'd see a benefit from some of the improvements, but for those who have upgraded in the past couple of years, there's very little to get excited about.

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Rumor has it that the cool stuff is being saved for the iPhone 8.

Now, compare this to the cornucopia of features that flagship Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the Note 7 have, like IP68 water- and dust-proofing, curved displays, and iris scanners.

Yes, you read that right: a James Bond style scanner that can identify you based on a scan of your eyes!

So, what's going on here? Why do Android users get cool stuff like iris scanners and IP68 waterproofing and neat curved touch-screen displays while iOS users just keep getting an iPhone that's thinner and lighter than the old one?

It feels like Apple is playing some cruel practical joke or maybe some sadistic psychological experiment with iPhone users. The gulf between what those buying a flagship Android handset get and what iPhone user get is almost a joke.

So, what gives?

Earlier this month I wrote about why Apple doesn't care about updating Macs and leaves them -- sometimes for years -- between upgrades. The reason for this is that they still sell, and Apple doesn't feel a huge pressure to kit Macs out with new features every six months.

The same is true for the iPhone. Apple sells tens of millions of iPhone a quarter -- about five a second, or over 300 a minute -- so there's very little pressure on Apple to do much more than it's already doing. Why bother coming out with a super-waterproof iPhone kitted out with an iris scanner and tentacles that shoot out a comb for your hair before taking a selfie when all that is going to do is eat into Apple's healthy 30+ percent profit margin?

The truth is Apple isn't competing against anyone. It's selling iPhones to people who are falling over themselves to get one. Sure, there's a bit of a lull in sales, but Apple still pulls in 80+ percent of the smartphone revenue on a market share that hovers around the 20 percent mark.

It's far too early to start panicking.

But Samsung is competing, and not just against Apple, but also makers such as Huawei, LG, Xiaomi, and Lenovo, and this means that Android users who are willing to fork out for a flagship smartphone really are getting some amazing, cutting-edge hardware.

Hope all you iPhone users enjoy your thinner and lighter iPhone.

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