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It’s iPhone 15 Pro launch day, when we see which new features Samsung and Google copy next

Published Sep 12th, 2023 12:13PM EDT
iPhone 14 Pro on an Apple coffee table book
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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Among the tens of millions of iPhone fans watching Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event live on Tuesday, plenty of Samsung and Google engineers will be in the virtual audience. That’s because the new iPhone series will debut features that will almost certainly make their way into future Galaxy S and Pixel models.

I’m not saying that Samsung and Google will blatantly copy Apple’s features. We’re past the days when Samsung would write literal books about how to best copy the iPhone. I’m just saying that everyone in the business will be watching Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event and release closely, looking in many cases to follow Apple’s lead.

Samsung and Google are just two of the Apple rivals out there. They’re also the ones that recently mocked the iPhone in ads.

Like it or not, Apple still sets the bar in the mobile business. And everyone else tries to reach it. Also, the iPhone is still the best-selling smartphone out there, with Apple expected to weather the current economy better than any other company. Of course, any rival would want to try to replicate Apple’s success, and that means adapting some of the features the iPhone 15 will introduce.

You can argue against that point. But go ahead, point to your Galaxy S Ultra or Pixel phone’s microSD card, headphone jack, or charger-in-the-box while you tell me how that’s not true. Or explain why Pixel phones got wireless charging, a zoom camera, and a makeshift Face ID alternative after the iPhone did.

With that in mind, I’ll list all the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro features Apple rivals will want to copy. And believe it or not, I’m going to start with USB-C.

Thunderbolt 4 speeds, anyone?

It’s not a bad thing that smartphone vendors copy each other. And yes, Apple will bring USB-C to the iPhone years after Samsung, Google, and everyone else did it. Apple isn’t making the change because it wants to. It’s the EU that’s forcing Apple’s hand here. That’s why we’re getting USB-C on iPhones.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Port
iPhone 14 Pro’s Lightning port. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

So, how might Samsung and Google consider copying it? Well, the iPhone 15 Pro will introduce Thunderbolt speeds on mobile devices. That’s something we haven’t had on Android handsets so far. And it’s a feature that pro-grade users will want from the iPhone and Android flagships.

Titanium chassis

The iPhone 15 Pros will also introduce Apple’s first titanium frames for iPhones. The handsets will be more durable and lighter than before. And I expect others in the industry to follow Apple’s lead. It might be too late for Google to make the switch to titanium for the Pixel 8 series. But we already have rumors that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will feature a titanium chassis.

Other vendors should follow, especially when it comes to foldable handsets.

Yes, the Essential Phone came with a titanium chassis, but almost no one actually bought that phone, so it didn’t have to be manufactured at scale. That’s why we haven’t seen titanium widely used until now. Also, titanium is expensive.

iPhone 15 mockup shows titanium frame and rounded edges.
iPhone 15 mockup shows a titanium frame and rounded edges. Image source: yeux1122

The iPhone 15 bezels

The iPhone 14 Pro introduced the new Dynamic Island notch, which some Android vendors tried to copy. Thankfully, Samsung and Google were not part of that. The iPhone 15 series will make the Dynamic Island the default design across all models, including the cheaper ones. And I don’t expect anyone to copy this notch design, although I might be wrong.

But what some Android vendors might hurry to replicate are the iPhone 15 Pro’s bezels. The more expensive iPhones are getting even slimmer bezels this year. And the bezel race, as stupid as it might sound in 2023, will continue. Expect Android vendors to challenge Apple with future creations.

Samsung makes most OLED panels for Apple, so it’s in the best position to know everything about Dynamic Islands and buttons. And the best prepared to match those bezels with future Galaxy S creations.

iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro bezels comparison
iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro bezels comparison Image source: yeux1122

MagSafe for everyone

The iPhone 15 handsets will come with MagSafe charging support like their predecessors. And rumors say we’re in for faster wired charging speeds, too.

Now, Android handsets have had wireless charging since before the iPhone. Even Google’s Nexus devices did, though Google dropped the feature before reintroducing it on the Pixel 3.

What’s happening this year, independent of Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event, is the introduction of the new Qi2 standard. The widely-used wireless charging standard is getting support for faster charging. But to do that, Qi2 chargers will use magnets. So yes, the Android phones in the not-too-distant future will need to include magnets on the back — just like the ones Apple uses with its pioneering MagSafe tech — so they can support faster charging speeds.

That also means we’ll see even more MagSafe chargers from third-party companies. These accessories will probably work with iPhone 15 models, as well as future Galaxy S and Pixel phones.

iPhone 14 Pro Max MagSafe charges faster
iPhone 14 Pro Max MagSafe charges faster. Image source: ChargerLAB YouTube channel

The Action button

One of the things Android vendors never copied was the iPhone’s iconic mute switch. That switch is going away on the iPhone 15 in favor of a new Action button. It’s another feature I’d expect Android vendors to copy. Not because they need to replicate Apple’s Action button specifically. But because they might want, like Apple, to design iPhones without any buttons in the future.

One could argue that the Pixel phones had “action” buttons in the form of the former rear-facing fingerprint sensors. But where are those sensors now?

Stacked camera

The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are the new iPhones that will deliver the biggest innovations. But the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus should introduce a wide camera the Pros aren’t getting this year. That’s a stacked sensor from Sony that should improve color performance and low-light photography.

That’s the kind of sensor that other Android vendors might want to deploy in both cheaper and more expensive handsets. Assuming they can get the same cameras from Sony.

Sony's new 2-layer camera sensor (right) compared to the non-stacked version (left).
Sony’s new 2-layer camera sensor (right) compared to the non-stacked version (left). Image source: Sony

The A17 Bionic chip

Apple’s new 3nm A17 Bionic chip is the iPhone 15 feature nobody else can copy. If reports are accurate, there will not be another 3nm chip out in the wild for several months. Not even Samsung’s Galaxy S24 phones will have access to 3nm chips from Qualcomm. That’s because Apple bought out TSMC’s entire 3nm chip production for the following year. And forget about the Exynos 2400 matching the A17 Bionic.

As for Google’s Tensor chips that power Pixel phones, they’re great upgrades for these handsets. But the Pixel 8 Tensor G3 chip will be no match for the A17 Bionic.

Yet the good news is that everyone in the industry will try to match Apple’s customs chips. And I suspect the new RAM trend, going up to 24GB of memory on Android flagships, is meant to counter the A17 Bionic.

Battery life

The iPhone 13 Pro Max shocked the world by outperforming its rivals in battery life tests. The iPhone 14 Pro Max wasn’t as good, but it still excelled. Once the iPhone 15 Pros drop, I expect the new Max to deliver amazing battery life. And that A17 Bionic chip will make that possible, combined with a larger battery pack inside that slightly thicker iPhone chassis.

Since nobody else in the industry can make 3nm chips right now, Samsung and Google won’t be able to deliver similar performance and efficiency gains.

iFixit's iPhone 14 Pro Max teardown.
iFixit’s iPhone 14 Pro Max teardown. Image source: iFixit


Regarding the iOS vs. Android rivalry, Apple copies Google, and Google copies Apple. That’s been the case for years. I won’t even speculate on what iOS 17 features Android rivals will want to replicate here. My point is that Apple’s software is usually better optimized than Google’s. That’s why you don’t need 24GB of RAM on iPhone.

I say usually because iOS is still not where I’d like it to be in terms of stability and performance. And iOS 17 could change that.

However, Google and Samsung might want to further improve the Android builds running on their flagships, especially while they can’t compete against the A17 chip.

Apple’s pricing strategy

Smartphone sales are taking a plunge this year, but Apple is raising the iPhone 15 Pro Max price. How is that even possible? Well, it’s Android vendors that are suffering the most. Apple has hundreds of millions of iPhone users ready to upgrade. And they’ll pay any price, despite the state of the economy.

iPhone 15 sales will be so good that Apple might overtake Samsung to become the world’s top smartphone vendor this year.

What that means, however, is that Samsung and Google can also raise the prices of their flagships, while keeping them lower than Apple’s. Rumors already say the Pixel 8 might be more expensive than usual.

Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup includes iPhone SE, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup includes iPhone SE, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Image source: Apple Inc.

Final thoughts

Like millions of iPhone fans, Samsung and Google engineers already know the iPhone 15 rumors. They know what to expect and what they need to do with their future flagships to mitigate the iPhone 15 threat. But those are still rumors. They’ll need official news from Apple and public reaction before they know which iPhone 15 features to adapt.

For example, now that rumors say the 2TB iPhone 15 Pro isn’t happening, the Galaxy S24 Ultra might not feature up to 2TB of storage.

But I don’t doubt for a second that the iPhone 15 series will help Samsung and Google deliver better phones to those hardcore Android fans who don’t like to hear that Apple continues to set trends in the industry.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.