What’s on the next iPhone? Check out Samsung’s new Galaxy S21.

3 seconds. 3 seconds of my utmost care. The time it takes to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask. Face ID is failing and I’m typing in a Neanderthal-like passcode.

0.5 seconds. According to my reliable stopwatch, it’s the speed at which I can unlock the new Samsung Galaxy S21 using its improved in-screen fingerprint sensor.

Do you know what I can do with the time saved? Probably … nothing.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 (left) starts at $ 799, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra (right) starts at $ 1,199.


Kenny Wasss / Wall Street Journal

If you missed the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 altogether a few weeks ago, it’s acceptable. It doesn’t have any whimsical features and can be distracting. Still, the three new phones, the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra, are Samsung’s best ever and the best Android phones to date. The S21 starts at $ 799 and is $ 200 down from last year’s model.

That’s what I call Samsung’s sophisticated year. (See Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S10 for other examples.) The company has the best features ever introduced, including a fingerprint sensor, a fast-updated 120Hz screen, and the S21 Ultra’s 10x zoom lens. Polished and improved some.

Not just a coincidence, these are just some of the features of Apple AAPL. -1.43%

Whether the brand is iPhone 12S, iPhone 13, or iPhone Super Max Crazy Deluxe 2021, it may be incorporated into the next iPhone.

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What are the features of your favorite smartphone? What features do you need for your next phone? Join the conversation below.

Apple is working on in-screen fingerprint technology and is considering including both Touch ID and Face ID on the same device, two former Apple employees told me. They couldn’t confirm the company’s plans, but other reports, including one from Bloomberg, say Apple is testing an in-screen fingerprint sensor on the next iPhone.

Apple declined to comment on future products.

There are additional industry reports pointing out that Apple is adopting an improved faster OLED screen and an additional telephoto camera, but I can also point out a little one called history. As you can see in the video above, for the past five years I’ve been graphing hardware features with Apple following Samsung and Samsung following Apple.

There is a clear pattern. Samsung will announce state-of-the-art features (water resistance, wireless charging, 5G connectivity, etc.) as soon as possible. My estimate is a couple of years ahead of Apple. Apple follows when technology considers it ready for the masses. When Apple beats Samsung to the market, it tends to use proprietary technologies such as AirPods and Face ID, or remove features such as headphone jacks.

“It’s never too early for Samsung lovers,” said Drew Blackard, vice president of product management at Samsung Electronics America. He emphasizes the value the company gets from early adopter feedback. They “help refine what will be a product in two years.”

And sync. Just as Samsung is improving its previous features, as it was on the Galaxy S21, you can usually believe that Apple isn’t too late with its own variations.

In-screen fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S21’s fingerprint sensor is located at the bottom half of the screen. If necessary, a fingerprint icon will appear to indicate where to press. It’s fast and reliable, it recognizes the sides of my fingers and even the lightest touches. That wasn’t always the case.

On the Galaxy S10 and S20, the technology slowed down, error messages were returned frequently, and it failed with a wet finger.Improvements are the result of Qualcommof

Second generation ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. The sensor covers a larger surface area, works 50% faster, and captures more fingerprint data in the scan, making it more accurate.

All three Galaxy S21 models feature a new, faster and more reliable in-screen fingerprint sensor.


Kenny Wasss / Wall Street Journal

Qualcomm didn’t say whether Apple is another customer of its ultrasound technology.

A former Apple employee who worked on Apple’s Touch ID said the company used an optical sensor to read fingerprints on the screen. He said optical sensing is more reliable than ultrasound. Apple has filed various related patents as early as 2014. Recent patents have shown that fingerprints can be recognized anywhere on the screen. Apple refused to comment on the patent.

A former employee emphasized that no matter what solution Apple adopts, it must meet the current Touch ID security standards still in use on the iPhone SE, iPad, and MacBook.

120Hz OLED display

Join us for a rudimentary refresh rate class. All displays are updated a certain number of times per second (often 60 times) to convey movement. It is “60Hz” because it is measured in Hertz. This works most of the time, as video is typically below 60 frames per second. However, if you double the refresh rate to 120Hz, some animations, especially scrolls and transitions between menus, may appear smoother. You can also reduce the latency when writing with the stylus and improve some video games that can run faster than 60 frames per second.

The screen 120Hz refresh rate is set by default on all Galaxy S21 devices, but you can disable it in the settings to save battery life.


Kenny Wasss / Wall Street Journal

Can you really tell the difference unless you compare the two side by side? No, but it’s convenient. The biggest problem with this technology is the battery. Last year’s Galaxy S20 had a 120Hz option, but it’s turned off by default due to battery drain. The Galaxy S21 has a new adaptive frame rate that is turned on by default to improve screen power efficiency and adjust to the screen content. With the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung uses a new low-power 6.8-inch OLED screen that reduces power consumption by 16%, yet it still has very high resolution.

It has been reported that Samsung, which regularly manufactures iPhone components, will offer this type of display for the next iPhone. In addition, Apple already has that marketing term. The iPad Pro’s LCD screen refresh rate is 120Hz, which is called “ProMotion”.

According to Ming-Chi Kou, an analyst at TF International Securities, the 2021 iPhone Pro model will have a 120Hz display and has a long track record of accurately predicting future iPhone capabilities. Apple tested it on the iPhone 12, but pulled it because of battery and performance issues, he says.

Ultra zoom camera

Last year, I called the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s “Space Zoom” (which allows you to digitally magnify your photos up to 100x) as a creep cam. This year, the optical performance has improved further. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has four rear cameras, including a telephoto lens with a 3x optical zoom and a telephoto lens with a 10x optical zoom.

Translation: Crazy-Clear photo when standing crazy-In the distance.

A squirrel taken with a 10x optical telephoto camera on the Galaxy S21.


Joanna Stern / The Wall Street Journal

A squirrel caught by the iPhone 12 Pro’s 2X telephoto camera.


Joanna Stern / The Wall Street Journal

Are you still creepy? Yes, but is it also useful when trying to take pictures of a distant deer or a child in the middle of a soccer field? It is certainly so.

According to Mr. A, Apple is seeking to increase the telephoto magnification, but the timing is uncertain. Apple has also applied for a related patent. This includes this week’s patent, which refers to cameras that include “two light folding elements.”

When you zoom out, the big picture becomes clear. Whether Apple buys Samsung technology or invents its own technology, we’re working to bring many of the features that Galaxy owners already have to the iPhone.

Let’s count the cameras! The Galaxy S21 Ultra has four cameras, including two telephoto cameras. There are three on the iPhone 12 Pro.


Kenny Wasss / Wall Street Journal

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What’s on the next iPhone? Check out Samsung’s new Galaxy S21.

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