Why did Apple avoid talking about Android in the iPhone X announcement?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Why did Apple avoid talking about Android in the iPhone X announcement?
In many ways, the Apple event unveiling the new iPhone 8, iPhone X, Apple Watch series 3, and Apple TV 4K was business as usual for Tim Cook and company. There were plenty of features in Apple products that were legitimately new as well as plenty of other features that Apple talked up quite a bit but have been part of the smartphone ecosystem for years. One thing that was odd though was that there were no mentions or even backhand swipes at Google, Samsung, or Android.

Sure, there weren't necessarily a ton of opportunities for Apple to gloat. Apple is the number one watch maker in the world (though I'm not sure how much that actually means), so mentioning Android Wear just gives attention to a non-competitor. Android TV isn't worth mentioning for a similar reason and Apple wouldn't want to talk about Chromecast, because Chromecast far outsells Apple TV. 

Apple even avoided a lot of the old standbys like OS update metrics or app store revenue. The latest says that Android Nougat is on just under 16% of devices, so Apple certainly had an opportunity there. But, Google Play has been closing the gap in terms of app store revenue, so that might not be a great subject for Apple right now. 


iPhone vs Android

The iPhone X gave Apple some legitimate reasons to gloat, but of course there was also plenty in the device that is thanks to Android. Historically, Apple hasn't much cared about calling a feature "magical", "revolutionary", or "novel" even if it had been done before in many devices and that was also on full display this year (Super Retina Display... really Apple? Was that part of the deal with Samsung to buy so many Super AMOLED panels that the word Super had to be tacked on to the Retina Display branding?) 

Some other examples are a bit more complicated. It would make sense that in all of Apple's talk about Qi Wireless Charging that there was no mention about Android, but it was also very strange. Apple fully embraced an open standard, which is rare but actually pretty great. Although many (myself included) might favor wired quick charging to wireless, the fact that the iPhone will work with existing Qi certified products is a huge bonus to consumers. And, it seems a bridge too far to expect Apple to give thanks to the Android hardware makers for driving the Qi accessory market since 2012. 

Similarly, it was unlikely Apple would mention how Google has pushed for getting rid of the hardware home button since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in late 2011, or how Google found a way to have Quick Settings and Notifications live together in the top tray of Android starting with 4.2 in 2012. And, in both cases it feels like the Android solution to each issue is more intuitive than what Apple came up with. A software home button and multitasking button is quicker and less prone to accidental triggering than the gesture system on the iPhone X appears, and the toggle of either swiping twice or swiping with two fingers for Quick Settings seems more intuitive than having notifications on one side and Control Center on the other, like iOS has done.

Face ID

Apple rightfully spent a lot of time on Face ID during the presentation and if the company's claims about security hold true, then Apple would have done something impressive: take a feature that was mostly a gimmick rather than a security feature in other devices and made it a viable security option. Face ID doesn't look like it will ever be as fast or as convenient as simply using your fingerprint to unlock your device (do we even know if it works with sunglasses?) But, the likelihood is that Apple will bring back Touch ID eventually anyway. 


Still, the Face ID announcement was a moment that would normally have been tailor-made for Apple to mention the failures of the Android ecosystem. It feels like in years past, Apple would have pointed out the failures of facial recognition options on Android devices so far -- many can be fooled by a still image, many don't work in the dark, etc. But for whatever reason, Apple didn't take any swings at Android or Google. 

Is Apple scared?

With many of the areas discussed above, it could be surmised that Apple might be scared of the backlash from trying to claim so many relatively standard options from the Android world as "revolutionary" in the iPhone X, especially when the implementation of so many features might not be as good as what you would get on Android. Without a doubt, the AirPower pad seems really nice (if you've got multiple devices and accessories like that which support Qi charging,) but in general wireless charging isn't as practical as wired fast charging. The software changes aren't as intuitive in iOS as they are in Android (even if you do prefer the look of no software buttons), and the use of a Super AMOLED display is certainly nothing new. 

That still leaves Face ID, but the reason there could well be that for all of Apple's testing of the feature, it's not quite as confident about the security as it would seem. Apple says they used creepy Hollywood face masks to test out the feature and claims it can't be fooled by still images or video, but no one has been able to test those claims yet. Even if you want to trust Apple's process on this, there's a non-zero chance that Face ID is just another gimmick and that would be a huge hit to the usability of the iPhone X. It's not very likely, but it is possible. 

The other possibility is that Apple isn't scared, but wanted to project as much confidence as possible with the iPhone X announcement. Gloating can sometimes come off as defensive, so maybe they felt best to avoid the issue all together. Maybe Tim Cook wants to have an air of positivity around Apple events. Whatever the reason, Apple definitely swung big with the iPhone X and we really will need to wait for the reviews to see if it works out. 

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142 Comments

143. gamehead unregistered

Making a comparison of a better product is dumb

131. P-YWS

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 12, 2011

Face ID was the only new technology. The others could be better (to be proven) implementation of existing technologies popularized by the Android world for many years. But, I cannot understand why Apple keeps selling the antique, by today's standard, 750x1334 and 1080x1920 display on iPhone8 and iPhone8s. After all, when one is buying the BMW 7-series the Mercedes S-series, the Lexus LS-series, the highest features comparable to each others are expected. But, for the money which Apple is asking for, 750 x 1334 is pretty low by any measure. "Greed", not "Apple cares for its customers", is perhaps the true reason. In any case, I wonder if such lowly resolution could hurt people' s eyes, especially those converted from the Android eco-system because they are used to the 2K or even 4K display. Lol.

106. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

I just finished binging The Night Of, a crime drama, and there was a pretty obvious explanation there as to why Apple doesn't discuss Android any more. In the past they were always able to find selective numbers showing the greatness of iOS and Apple, that isn't the case any more. So, their ostrich behaviour, trying to pretend Android doesn't exist any more in a wish that it'd go away is quite natural. I predict, in a few years they'll be in full underdog-mode, using aggressive language like HTC and Sony has for the last half decade.

99. psigate

Posts: 25; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

IPX users will end up using a passcode or pin because face recognition will be too sensitive to recognize users.

93. E34V8

Posts: 111; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

Soo the new super revolutionary iPhone x has far less ppi than the s8 (or the s7, or the s6...), is heavier, with worse screen to body ratio than the S8, again with protruding camera. I bet the battery capacity AND battery life are smaller than the current S phones, again... Now that's revolutionary!

85. truthbetold

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 16, 2015

Next up, an article discussing whether the color of Tim Cook's shirt symbolized Apple's latent pessimism about their future as a dominant driving force in the industry. You're really grasping for straws here.

53. YeahYeah

Posts: 253; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

They couldn't do anything cause they copied android especially Samsung and iPhone x is an unfinished product. They rushed it.. I'd call it "iPhone Galaxy S8 lite"

42. adorable

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 10, 2012

1. Aside from the front 3D depth camera, a bit of software lighting change on a face in a photo, and AR integration, is there anything New and Exciting? Nope. Even their 'full screen' display is annoying with the top cutout. They should have simply made it a thin horizontal black area like the S8/G6 so that videos, photos don't get chopped up at that edge. 2. Still no headphone jack in a waterproof phone even though Sony, Samsung, and LG flagships all have one and are waterproof?? 3. Still no microsd card slot even though the competing flagships all have one?? 4. Still no multi-window multitasking?? (No not that lame oh, look, I've swiped up and can multitask - no, that's just a list of running apps you can switch to, not multi-window multitasking). 5. Face ID that was demonstrated NOT to work the very first time the Apple employee went up on stage and started demonstrating it. Remember? Didn't work for him the 1st time!! Total fail!! 6. Still no usb standard charge port. (And they likely haven't fixed their silly fragile lightning cable issue either) 7. Display isn't 'better' than the competition, with lower ppi, resolution, etc. Not bigger than a note 8. (Costs more than a note 8, but lesser screen??) 8. Still no Samsung Pay, which has wider store acceptance than apple pay. 9. Still no 32-bit 192khz+ dsp dac/audio. Huh? Even a s8 handles dsp hires audio. V30 has better dac. Etc. 10. What? Iphone 8, iphone 88, and iphone 888 @$888 should have been the model naming and pricing. Huge opportunity lost. And no red and gold Dragon edition. Bye bye China market.

51. Jolliebee

Posts: 39; Member since: Sep 12, 2017

O love the end of number 10. I think Apple expected, being on China Mobile, they were gonna have nearly double the windfall of cash coming it. POP!!!!! Bust that bubble!

33. domfonusr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I think most people know that the best way to detract from your opponent is not to attack them, but to utterly ignore them. It is a lot less costly, cannot be turned around on you, and gives you an air of distinction and class among your friendly peers. Apple is smart to cease attacking Android, and to simply ignore them instead. Google would likewise be smart to ignore Apple, though it may be more difficult done than said. Google and Android don't bring in nearly as much money from the mobile phone industry, so they have less incentive to stay quiet on the subject of Apple. Ignoring ones opponent, when done on both sides, definitely favors the party who is already in a superior position. I'll let you all judge for yourselves who you think is in the superior stance for this one...

31. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Why? Because iOS is now several years ahead.

36. Bigg6987

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Because iOS is now ONLY several years behind.* Fixed that for ya. This one is free of charge.

37. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Of itself, but still several years behind Android.

30. palmguy

Posts: 991; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Oh M Gee! "the toggle of either swiping twice or swiping with two fingers for Quick Settings seems more intuitive " I forgot about that. 2 fingers, ahhhh. Embarrassed long time Android user. Let's see how grandma uses the new gestures. :-)

23. joseg81

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

i would prefer that both sides stop talking trash when announcing products. just make it about the device or service you're there for. i'm die hard android but i get sick of the back n forth i went so far as to start deleting the turds in my fb friends that were going back n forth all yesterday on my timeline. we can honestly go back n forth about it til the end of time but the facts don't lie sometimes one company puts out something before the other does. oh well it's just how it happens. now if only PA could do the same n just report on the tech instead of leaning one way or the other the way this article does. can we all just agree that none of these phones are worth 1k? i'd like to see PA check into how much it costs to make each device n put that on the spec sheet for each device. show consumers what the phone actually cost n how much each company is marking them up.

32. palmguy

Posts: 991; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

It doesn't matter the cost. Apple is a lifestyle brand. The "cool" kids will pay $2,000 to be cool.

21. MartyK

Posts: 1045; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Maybe Apple is more focus on it's products and their clientele. I'm a 100% Google fan; however, if companies spend more time listening to customers demand vs attacking each others, they can produce better phones that don't break when you accidently drop them.

164. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

"if companies spend more time listening to customers demand vs attacking each others, they can produce better phones" Agreed.

18. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Now that's what I call a PhoneArena article.

15. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

What the he** type of question is this? This is something straight from the comment section. This guy should be fired!

14. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

"I'm going to destroy Android because it's a stolen product". These are the words of the so called 'legendary' Steve Jobs which he subsequently told his biographer! "I'm willing to go to thermonuclear war on this" he added. The reason Mr. Jobs was furious (to say the least) because HTC added "pinch to zoom" feature in its phone back in 2010. Fast forward to about a decade and see how Apple has made it's iPhonen X Edition: 1. Cutout display from Essential Phone a.k.a “The Cyclops”. 2. Wireless charging, OLED Display & 3D face recognition from Samsung. 3. 2:1 aspect ratio from LG. 4. Pull down gestures for opening notifications etc are without a doubt inspired from Android. 5. Pull-up to enter multi-tasking menu and dismiss an app is clearly inspired by the great, though ill-fated Blackberry 10 OS (RIP). 6. The iOS 11 Control Center is inspired by Microsoft Windows Metro. Jobs ought to see what Apple has become! A bloody Copycat! No wonder they didn't dare to mention Android because they know without Android there would be no "X". Android is iPhone's MENTOR ever since Jobs passed away! G'Day!

34. palmguy

Posts: 991; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

I would say number 5 was the 2009 Palm webOS Palm Pre R.I.P. :-(

35. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Well, the essential phone only came out a couple of months ago, so it's not like apple had time to copy it. And, Samsung's facial recognition wasn't 3D. But, Steve's comment about Android being a stolen product was especially ironic considering Apple was built on a stolen product, the GUI.

46. domfonusr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

If Xerox PARC had been more thoughtful, perhaps they could have made something out of the GUI, and not been convinced that it was useless... they ended up selling it to Steve Jobs for cheap, and Jobs turned it into what it became in, say, the Apple Lisa, and later the early MacIntosh's. Bill Gates, on the other hand, did shamelessly steal the GUI from Jobs and Apple, but because he made it almost free in comparison, everybody applauds that, and so Windows got all the mind-share for several decades.

48. Jolliebee

Posts: 39; Member since: Sep 12, 2017

They did not sell anything to Apple. You really need to go and read the complete facts.

55. domfonusr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

In exchange for Jobs and his team's visit to Xerox PARC, and the invitation to implement some of the concepts seen there, Xerox got shares in Apple, and this was, at the time, considered a fair trade. The only thing Jobs did that was dumb was to then hire half of Xerox PARC's employees, skimming their talent. Was that a fair trade? Certainly not, in hind-sight, but at least it was initiated through a proper channel.

58. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

That's not an agreement of sale or licensing. Apple did not buy it, they stole it. They paid for a tour, specifically to see other tech. During the tour, they saw the GUI, and stole the idea. You don't get to pay for one thing, then take another and claim its a fair trade. That's why Xerox sued them for stealing it, and why Apple argued that it wasn't protectable in court, rather than that they'd paid for it.

60. domfonusr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Jobs did not steal the GUI. What he DID steal was talent... when he started skimming off Xerox PARC employees and hiring them for Apple, and I'm sure that went over like a lead balloon at Xerox by the time they figured out what was happening.

67. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yes, he did steal the GUI. Xerox did not sell it to him, therefore it was stolen. It's a simple concept.

52. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Sigh. More revisionist history. No they did not sell it to Apple, Apple stole it. The fact that Parc didn't recognize what it was doesn't make it any less theft.

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