Flash: Apple is slow to adopt new technology, but only on iPhones


The iPhone 5 was announced on September 12, 2012, ten years ago. It was the first iPhone to ditch the 30-pin dock connector inherited from the iPod while introducing a Lightning adapter.

It was the first alternative data connector on mobile devices, the predecessors – both proprietary and USB – had “polarity”, that is, there was only one correct direction.

While this was once an advantage over phones using micro USB, it is now seen as a downside and everyone is waiting for Apple to adopt USB-C.

For all its influence on the smartphone market, Apple has sometimes been slow to adopt new technology. This week we’ll look at several examples, starting with the aforementioned USB-C.

USB-C: 8 years

Well, it hasn’t happened yet, but EU legislation has made it certain that Apple will switch iPhones to USB-C by 2023. The law doesn’t kick in until 2024, however, as new iPhones are introduced later that year. , analysts expect the switch to happen in 2023 with the iPhone 15 series.



By Ken Pillon, the iPhone X has been upgraded with a USB-C port
By Ken Pillon, the iPhone X has been upgraded with a USB-C port

By Ken Pillon, the iPhone X has been upgraded with a USB-C port

The US and Brazil are considering similar laws that would make USB-C available for phones (and possibly, though not necessarily, other portable electronics), as is the EU.

The first Android phones to use USB-C started appearing in 2015, meaning Apple was 8 years late to the party. of The first phone was the LeTV One Max (remember LeTV?).

Ironically, that also means the first iPhone with USB-C comes 5 years after the first iPad switched from Lightning (which was the iPad Pros from 2018). Even more ironically, Apple released one of the first USB-C devices, the 12-inch MacBook, from 2015.

Four Bayer sensors: 4 years

After years of 12MP cameras, Apple has finally made the leap to a high-resolution quad-Bayer sensor. That’s only for the Pro models, of course Apple has a conservative approach to adopting new technology.

Flash: Apple is slow to adopt new technology, but only on iPhones

Flash: Apple is slow to adopt new technology, but only on iPhones

For years, the Nokia 808 PureView has reigned supreme as a high-quality camera phone – 41MP with a standard Bayer filter. Then in 2018, the Huawei P20 and Mate 20 are expected to come with 40MP sensors. In the year In late 2018, Nokia was finally dethroned (in terms of resolution) by the Huawei nova 4 and Honor View 20 and their 48MP cameras.

Anyway, the Huawei P20 Pro camera had a Quad Bayer sensor – something new in mobile at the time – so we had to do some writing to explain what it was doing. It allows things like single-shot HDR (half the pixels are short-exposure, half long), the extra resolution enables lossless digital zoom (as described in Manual 808) and of course, there’s always the option to reverse the banding and apply demosaicing to get a high-resolution photo.

By the way, Nokia 808 Purview was famous not only for the quality of the camera sensor, but also for its size. The sensors of the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are almost identical in size – 1/1.2″ for the Nokia and 1/1.28″ for the iPhones.

5G: 1.5 years

The iPhone 11 series arrived in 2019 with only a 4G LTE modem. Apple’s jump to 5G may not be the iPhone 12 series in 2020. The reason behind this has nothing to do with marketing strategy or Apple’s usual stubbornness.

Instead, it was an unpleasant mix of Apple and Qualcomm’s patent beef and Intel’s failure to deliver the modem part. Apple eventually had to settle with Qualcomm and is currently using Snapdragon X modems.

There were rumors that Samsung, MediaTek and Huawei might offer modems, but they didn’t go away (Huawei denied this was ever an option, Samsung reportedly didn’t have any modems to spare, MediaTek wanted to do it though).

Flash: Apple is slow to adopt new technology, but only on iPhones

All attention is now on Apple’s own modem division, which includes Intel’s modem business, which was sold to Cupertino in 2019. Some analysts believe the modem is ready for action, but is being held back by patent licensing issues.

The first 5G phone was the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, released in early 2019. Unless you want to count the Moto Z3, which came out in mid-2018 and had an optional 5G mode (though it’s only still on pre-order until 2019, so it doesn’t really change the math). So, Apple was 18 months later, which feels longer as Android makers suddenly released dozens of 5G phones.

Always on view: 6 years (minimum)

Apple pioneered LTPO display panels in 2019 as it needed more power efficiency to enable always-on display mode for the Apple Watch Series 5. Of course, this same feature wasn’t available on iPhones until this week. The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are the first (and only) in the family to have AOD.

Back in the day, some feature phones could switch their LCDs to dynamic mode, which gave them a very readable, very power-efficient mode that allowed them to display the clock and notification icons all week long. There were also rare phones like the Yota Phone that had an E-Ink display on the back (this was always the case, because the E-Ink only used power when updating, not when displaying a still image).

Flash: Apple is slow to adopt new technology, but only on iPhones

But putting those aside, the first Android phones to get AOD arrived in 2016 — the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5. Then AOD came with a significant hit to standby battery life, things are much better these days.

We’ve dismissed oddball solutions above, but we think one is worth mentioning. The LG V10 from 2015 had a second display above the original, which had its own display driver and always-on backlight.

Wireless charging: 8 years

Like AOD, wireless charging first came with Apple Watches (with its debut, in fact, in 2014), and it will be a few years before it comes to iPhones. The first smartphone with wireless charging was the influential Palm Press from 2009. A press was the only real option for a few years (with the awesome magnetic Tostone chargers).

Other platforms will eventually offer wireless options, such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and Nexus 4 from 2012. It took a while, but eventually everyone settled on the Qi level (PMA was around for a few years).

Flash: Apple is slow to adopt new technology, but only on iPhones

iPhone 8 and X generation In 2017, at the end and dawn of the classic iPhone design, Apple brought wireless charging support to phones. Then in 2020, Apple unveiled MagSafe, which includes magnets that hold the phone and charger in place (and some accessories like wallets). Of course, the president was from the beginning.

Level: 3 months

Some of you might think that the iPhone X brought the curse of the notch into this world, but you’d be wrong. Well, technically wrong, the iPhone X is definitely the phone that made it popular.

But it wasn’t of To get the first place – not one, but two Android phones won in three months. The Sharp Aquos S2 was released on August 14 and the Essential Phone followed a few days later. They both pushed their LCDs to the top of the phone, leaving the selfie camera on a similar peninsula.


The notch was born: Sharp Aquos 2
Notch was born: the essential phone

The notch was born: Sharp Akos 2 • The Essential Phone

Thin upper bezels aren’t the only thing that tempted Android makers to this design. The iPhone X ditched the fingerprint reader and introduced 3D facial scanning as a secure way to unlock the phone. Android makers toyed with the same technology (and related technologies like Google’s Project Soli Radar), but quickly turned to fingerprint readers.

Of course, these days that means a fingerprint reader on the bottom for most phones above the entry level. This is the technology that Apple has refused to use yet, despite many rumors about it. Maybe one day.

We think this is a good place to leave things for the day. There’s a lot we haven’t mentioned – let’s mention the fingerprint reader, and the technology predates the iPhone 5s. However, this is the first phone to get the FP reader working properly, as previous tests (which I posted in this post) didn’t quite work out.

There’s more ground to cover, like water resistance, autofocus on the selfie camera, and so on. And “Switching Island,” which has better marketing than a punch hole. If there is enough interest, we can do part 2.



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