7 new Samsung features Apple should steal

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Note10
The Note 10 packs a ton of new features. Not all of them are great.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung’s new lineup of smartphones, tablets and notebooks were on full display today during the company’s Unpacked event for the Galaxy Note 10 in Brooklyn. Instead of waiting for Apple to introduce new iPhones and MacBooks in September, Samsung decided to get a head start on the competition.

Like pretty much all Samsung keynotes, the event included a shotgun blast of new features. Some of them are absolutely ridiculous and will be dead in the water at launch. However, Samsung’s team also uncorked a couple of great ideas that have us green with envy.

Hopefully, Apple execs are taking note of the good and bad things Samsung just revealed.

Video bokeh

Portrait Mode comes to moving images with Samsung's video bokeh.
Basically, Portrait Mode comes to video.
Photo: Samsung

Portrait Mode on the iPhone was a game-changer. It didn’t take the competition long to catch up, though. Now Samsung is taking it to a new level by bringing bokeh to video. The Note 10 lets users control the background blur when you’re shooting video so subjects really pop.

We’ve been wanting Apple to bring this to the iPhone pretty much ever since Portrait Mode came to the iPhone 7 Plus. It seems like it shouldn’t be hard for Apple to follow suit. Portrait Mode on the iPhone already has a live video feed of the background blue in action, so adding the ability to record it might be coming soon.

3D scanning

The iPhone leads the field when it comes to augmented reality, but Samsung is starting to put a bigger focus on AR this year. With the new 3D scanner on the Note 10, Samsung’s phones let you draw objects in a 3D space and stick them to people or objects. We haven’t seen the 3D scanning in person, so it might not be a great experience yet. Recent rumors indicate Apple plans to add 3D lasers to upcoming iPhones, too, but not until 2020.

Super Fast Charging

You can completely recharge the Galaxy Note 10 in just 30 minutes.
You can completely recharge the Galaxy Note 10 in just 30 minutes.
Photo: Samsung

Apple is finally starting to add bigger batteries to iPhones after slimming down its devices for years, but what we also need is the ability to take those batteries from 0 to 100 real quick. With the Note 10 Plus, Samsung added support for charging adapters up to 45 watts. You don’t even need a different cable, because it uses USB-C. The new Notes also offer two-way charging, which Apple reportedly will add to the 2019 iPhone lineup.

Aimable microphone

One of the most surprising new features on the Note 10 is its ability to hone in on the sound you’re pointing to while recording video and isolate it from other noises. Basically, think of it as Portrait Mode for sound. Using three microphones to beamform, Note 10 could prove capable of capturing some of the most impressive audio from a smartphone (if it works as well as advertised).

Riskier colors

The new Galaxy Note 10 in the Aura Glow color. Apparently, iridescent is a big thing with the kids right now.
Apparently, iridescent is a big thing with the kids right now.
Photo: Samsung

The iPhone XR became one Apple’s most popular phones this year, and the array of colors it comes in probably has a lot to do with that. (So does its lower price tag, obviously.) Samsung’s new Aura Glow color takes things even further. Aura Glow looks ridiculous and cool at the same time. I’m tired of the best iPhone only being available in black, white and gold. Give me some better options, Apple. Take some risks with new colors. Remember how you made the Bondi Blue iMac and dozens of other color options? Give us that, only on the iPhone.

Steady cam

People use iPhones to record some of the most stunning videos you can see on the web. The only problem is you usually need a handheld stabilizer to get buttery-smooth shots. Samsung’s new Super Steady feature looks like it might solve this problem. By predicting movement to reduce vibrations, the Note 10 can remove shake from videos to make them look more cinematic. GoPro’s Hero 7 action camera and the DJI Osmo Action camera pack similar tech in a tiny package. iPhone should get something similar soon.

LTE Notebooks

More laptops need LTE like the new Galaxy Book S.
More laptops need LTE.
Photo: Samsung

I recently ditched my MacBook in favor of a 12-inch iPad Pro with LTE, and I have to say, enjoying cellular data pretty much everywhere is a game-changer. We’ve heard rumors for years that Apple might add 4G modems to its laptops, but it never happened. Samsung beat Apple to it today with the new Galaxy Book S.

The notebook itself might be utter rubbish. It’s designed to be a mobile-first laptop. Inside, it harbors a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor that runs Windows 10 while offering up to 23 hours of battery life and LTE connectivity. At $999, it seems like it might be overpriced. However, the idea of never having to search for a Starbucks for free Wi-Fi ever again sounds extremely appealing.