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4 Big iPhone 7 Features That Started On Android Phones

Forbes logo Forbes 18-09-2016 Shelby Carpenter, Forbes Staff

iPhone7Plus-Lineup-PB_PR-PRINT© (Credit: Apple) iPhone7Plus-Lineup-PB_PR-PRINT

Apple fans flocked to stores this week to finally get their hands on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. The phones come with a handful of new features that are significant changes for Apple and, arguably, improvements in the phones’ design. But no one works in a vacuum, and the top smartphone makers tend to borrow ideas from one another when certain design additions take off with consumers.. Here are some top features on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that had their beginnings on Android phones:

1. No Headphone Jack

The removal of the headphone jack was perhaps the most controversial change on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus this year. Some love it and some hate it, but Apple has tended to be prescient with technology pivots like this. Apple is, after all, the company that did away with the floppy disc once and for all.

But this trend toward ditching the headphone jack started long before Apple came on the scene with the latest iPhone. All the way back in October 2014,  OPPO released its R5 smartphone, a super-thin Android phone without a headphone jack. And LeEco’s Le 2, Le 2 Pro and Le Max 2 as well as Motorola’s Moto Z and Moto Z Force all came out this year without headphone jacks.

(Credit: Motorola)© The Moto Z smartphone. (Credit: Motorola.) (Credit: Motorola)

2. Dual Rear Camera

The first major smartphone to come with a dual camera was the LG Optimus 3D in 2011, and the HTC EVO 3D which followed just a few months after. The dual cameras on these models were different from the iPhone 7 in that they were designed to capture 3D video and photos.

More recently, the HTC One M8 came out in 2014 with its “Duo Camera” setup, which technically was not a rear camera but actually a camera plus an extra sensor to boost depth of field perception. Nevertheless, it was a jump in the dual-camera direction.

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Then the LG G5, released in theUS in April 2016, came with a true dual rear camera: in addition to its standard 16-megapixel camera, it also has a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens. You can then go back and forth between either lens depending on the photo you are trying to take. Also in April, the Huawei P9 came with a dual camera. Rather than switching between the lenses, the P9 uses both to take a single photo. One 12-megapixel lens takes standard RGB (color photos) and the other takes monochrome, and by combining the two your the P9 captures greater detail in each photo. The Huawei Honor 8 came out in August with a similar setup to the Huawei P9 with dual 12-megapixel cameras.

© The LG G5. (Credit: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

The iPhone 7 Plus uses two camera lenses to take a single photo, much like the Huawei P9 and Honor 8. Except instead of one color lens and one monochrome lens, it comes with one 56mm 12-megapixel telephoto camera and an f/1.8 28mm 12-megapixel wide-angle lens to create a better sense of depth perception. And note that the dual camera just comes on the iPhone 7 Plus, not on the iPhone 7.

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While Android device-makers may have been the first into this category, Apple’s move to put a dual camera on the iPhone 7 could ultimately be what moves dual cameras from a fringe feature for photo buffs to the mainstream.

3. Stereo Speakers

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have front-facing stereo speakers Apple says let the phones play twice as loud as the iPhone 6s. But once again Android beat out iPhone in the race on this category, with the HTC One M7 coming with stereo speakers all the way back in 2013, and then following with the M8 and then the M9 this year. The HTC 10 was released in May this year with dual speakers–one on the top of the phone and one on the bottom–just like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

The HTC One M8. (Credit: HTC.)© The HTC One M8. (Credit: HTC.) The HTC One M8. (Credit: HTC.)

4. Water Resistance

Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are rated as dust and water resistant to IP67. This means that the phones should be 100% protected from dust and survive being  submerged 1 meter (3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes. This is a significant move forward by Apple on improving the durability of its phones, and moving more towards users being able to enjoy the chic industrial design of their devices without the need for clunky cases.

© A Samsung Galaxy S7. (Credit: David Ramos/Getty Images.)

But this also isn’t the first time a high-performing smartphone has come with this level of protection. The Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and Note 7 are all rated at to IP68, a level up from the new iPhone’s IP67 rating. IP68 means the Samsung phones should be able to withstand being submerged 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet) for 30 minutes.

And some form of water resistance has been around on other Android phones for over half a decade, going all the way back to the Motorola Defy in 2010 and the Sony Xperia Z in 2013. The Xperia Z was IP55 and IP57 rated, meaning it had some limited protection from dust, could withstand jets of water from any direction, and could be immersed from between 15 centimeters (6 inches ) and 1 meter (3.3 feet) in depth. The Defy was IP67-rated just like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

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