As the MWC 2018 closes its doors, the time has come for the balance sheets. We walked the corridors of the show, attended many conferences, visited dozens of stands. One observation seems clear: Apple definitely does not need to be physically there. The vast majority of competing manufacturers have introduced their iPhone X. To our dismay. This is not the iPhone X It is with much excitement and impatience that I took off from Paris to go to the MWC 2018. For three days, I was going to live with you, readers, the event the most important of the year for any technology enthusiast, especially mobile. Yannick, editor on the site, joined me on the eve of hostilities in the Spanish economic capital. The material was ready, we had recovered our badges, the next three days would be under the sign of innovation. The competitors of Apple were going out the big game to eclipse the iPhone X, anniversary edition of 10 years of the first iPhone. Lost. This 2018 MWC edition was disappointing. Apple's competitors had only one thing in mind: to unveil their own iPhone X.
Notch and double vertical sensor of the iPhone X stars of the show
Remember the release of the iPhone X. All observers have been very critical of the "notch". Not very ergonomic, not very aesthetic, this notch was not really the best idea of Apple. The competitors either did not miss out and sent some tackles to the Apple brand. Yet, a few months later, the notch has become a real star. Most builders, including some big names, have adopted this little protrusion at the top of the screen.
The first to be unsheathed is Wiko with its View 2. Its notch is closer to that of the Essential Phone, the smartphone of the creator of Android, Andy Rubin. The most disturbing resemblance comes from Asus and his Zenfone 5. The builder did not even hide his intentions. Throughout his lecture, he compared his Zenfone 5 to the iPhone X or rather the "Fruit Phone". The screen of the Asus Zenfone 5 is an almost perfect clone of that of the iPhone X. Side by side, not sure that we distinguish between the two models.
And this is just the beginning of the big brands. The first leaks concerning the Huawei P20 or the LG G7 let us think that a notch will also be there. And beyond these manufacturers, most of the Chinese brands present on the show have gone from their small model "notched". We have even seen missed clones of the iPhone X, like the Leagoo S9.
The other trend was the double vertical photo sensor. Whereas until the iPhone X the manufacturers placed their double sensor horizontally. Some even went further. Wiko, Leagoo or Asus have seen fit to position their dual sensor on the top left of the smartphone, with up and down small rounded like …. the iPhone X. Never had a living room been invaded by smartphones that looked so much like an iPhone. This choice to copy the notch is all the more strange that these smartphones do not embark Face ID technology, which forced Apple to leave this notch. In addition, the interfaces have not been optimized (except at Asus) to take advantage of this notch. And the similarities do not stop there.
Animojis are ridiculous! What if we put ourselves in it?
Another big trend of the show, the emojis in augmented reality. Yes, they dared. In the weeks that followed the presentation of the iPhone X, almost all manufacturers have made fun of Apple and its Animojis, these little animal heads that reproduced words and movements of the head of the user. Apple had particularly emphasized this feature when presenting its iPhone X to show the power of Face ID.
The AR emojis on the Galaxy S9, WTF! At the MWC 2018, many manufacturers have gone for their similar small function. Apple's biggest rival, Samsung, has succumbed to temptation and offers the "Emojis AR" feature in its Galaxy S9 and S9 +. But the Korean has not integrated technology comparable to Face ID, and the result is not up to par. To stand out, the brand has personalized the experience. With Emoji AR you can create an emoji in his own image from a selfie. But as we saw in our handling of the Galaxy S9 Plus, it is missed. Asus has also introduced this feature in its Zenfone 5, making this smartphone the closest Android model of the iPhone X. Between the notch, the double vertical photo sensor and Animojis, the Asus Zenfone 5 is almost an iPhone X Android. And what about the facial recognition that has been invited on almost all smartphones in the show, from the most affordable model to the most expensive. A face recognition at a discount since no brand has integrated technology comparable to Face ID. Among competitors, it is a simple software recognition, far from being sure. What an originality!
So who's the boss?
To my dismay and that of Yannick with whom I walked in the corridors of the MWC, innovation was the great absent of the show. We felt the shadow of Apple hover over our heads at every moment. With a lot of marketing messages, the brands have put forward features that smelt warm. The notch, the emojis, the double vertical sensor and the facial recognition are the new standards of 2018. At least for the first half of the year. Standards that Apple has already integrated into a smartphone launched in September 2017.
We pointed out the technological backwardness of the Cupertino firm until the announcement of the iPhone X. There, we thought that Apple had more or less equaled its competitors. In February 2018, we realize that the American giant is the one leading the dance. The iPhone X has allowed Apple to catch up (finally an Oled and borderless screen). Better, the Apple brand inspires all rivals and ahead. Almost all manufacturers have taken at least one element of the iPhone X. Some have taken everything back without any embarrassment. None has been able to present a technology similar to Face ID. None presented a smartphone with fingerprint sensor under the screen, even the giant Samsung.
A very sad observation for us, passionate about technology. Yes Apple has good ideas, yes it is a brand that innovates. But we would really like his competitors to do the same. Innovation is change, risk taking. Alas, this year the brands present at the Mobile World Congress had crunched the Apple until the core.
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