6 years ago I said that in around 5 years laptops and desktop computers will be a niche market due to smartphones advancing in capability at a phenomenal rate. I said that we will get to a point where we will just purchase a phone, dock it to a screen and keyboard and that will also be our PC. Oh, how I was wrong. Over the past 5 years, we have seen smartphones advance at a snail’s pace, and frustratingly one of the slowest of them all has been Apple.
With the release of the new £1,049 iPhone 11 Pro, it’s even more prominent how far behind Apple is when a £225 Xiaomi Mi 9T has more capability and features. Here are the top 5 things the £1,049 iPhone 11 Pro can’t do but the £225 Mi 9T Pro can.
USB Type C Port
The USB type C port has become the well known standard charge and sync port across a multitude of devices, from laptops, phones, smart devices and peripherals. It’s strong, powerful and intelligent. Its physical design is robust, it can not be easily damaged or bent and as long as you buy a decent cable it shouldn’t fall apart. Its data transfer rates are incredible, with the addition of the thunderbolt standard it is capable of data transfer rates up to 40GB per second. It also has built-in intelligence meaning you can plug your laptop charger into your phone and it won’t blow up, not only will it not blow up, it will actually charge your phone just fine. This interchangeability and no need to worry about the right charger for the right device is the modern way of tech.
Apple, however, has decided to stick with the out-dated lightning connector for the iPhone 11. It’s a weak connector, can not reach anywhere near the data speeds of USB-C with thunderbolt and is also licensed and controlled 100% by Apple. This is a big one. Because the lightning connector is licensed by Apple, if any 3rd party company wants to manufacture cables or devices using lightening they must pay a costly licence fee to Apple. This is the reason why the choice of wired lightning headphones is very limited. USB-C, on the other hand, is an open standard that any company can manufacture cables and devices for.
The wide notch was being replaced by teardrop front-facing cameras on phones as far back as this time last year with the Vivo V11. The £225 Xiaomi Mi 9T has completely ditched the idea of a front-facing camera eating into the screen and have instead placed the camera on a pop-up mechanism at the top. This creates a stunning, full-body and nearly bezel-free display. Plus, you also get an ambient light on the pop-up camera so you can add a little splash of coloured light to your selfies – nice touch.
Apple, on the other hand, has just re-used the exact same form factor as the previous iPhone 10 with a huge notch at the top of the display which basically renders the two strips that extend up the sides as pointless. Apps still don’t fit within the notch very well and from one of the richest companies on earth, we expected more innovation.
Under screen fingerprint scanner
The iPhone 11 wouldn’t need such a big notch for FaceID if it reinstated FingerprintID right under the screen. That’s right, the £225 Xiaomi Mi 9T has an under-screen fingerprint scanner, meaning you just tap the screen in the middle and you’ve unlocked your phone. It’s fast, works when you’re lying down, wearing a big hat or even sunglasses. Surely, when a phone has a price tag of £1,499 it should be able to include a seemingly simple feature which exists on a £225 phone?
2 ‘Physical’ SIM cards
The ability to have 2 physical SIM cards in an iPhone is something I have wanted from way back when Apple was releasing the iPhone 4. But it never came. And it never came the year after, or the year after that. So I have given up. With the iPhone 10, they did launch the ability to have a virtual SIM card alongside the physical but that option isn’t always supported, it’s often complicated to set up and isn’t as interchangeable as literally popping a SIM card out and adding another.
Having the ability to run Dual SIM card in a phone has multiple benefits for many people. The obvious benefit is the work / personal split. Many people carry two phones, one for work and one for personal. Although it may sound fairly flashy at first, if you’ve ever had to do this you’ll know that it’s actually quite an inconvenience. Being able to have both your work number and personal in one phone with the addition of clever software to allow you to disable one or the other at any point would be super helpful to millions of people. The £225 Xiaomi Mi 9T knows that and that’s why it offers a dual micro-SIM card tray, so you can do just that. Plus, because it’s Android you can configure a multitude of options to allow you to cleverly alternate between to two SIMs using either stock software or third-party apps.
Yep, it’s still on this list. The classic 3.5mm headphone jack. It was removed back in 2016 from the iPhone 7 but it is still causing waves of anger even now. At first, I wrote about how I thought it wasn’t much of an issue and I actually sided with Apple on the basis that consumers demanded more technology to be crammed into a smaller form factor, so something had to give. However, I was wrong. The removal of the headphone jack has frustrated me ever since for one core reason. Lightening. Unless you pay Apple’s, ridiculous £9 for a tiny lightning to headphone jack connector, it is almost impossible to get a decent connector or a decent set of headphones with a lightning cord. This means I’m forced to either use Apple’s out of the box wired lightning headphones or pay up for some wireless Bluetooth headphones. None of which I want to do as I really enjoyed using my relatively in-expensive Sony earbuds which provided a great quality of sound.
To also, counteract my own argument about there not being enough space to fit it in anymore, the £225 Xiaomi Mi 9T seems to be able to do it just fine, and it still has 4 cameras, a pop-up mechanism and motor, a huge screen, huge battery, 6GB of RAM and everything else that goes into a phone – so why can’t Apple do it? They can, they just don’t want to because they can make more money selling £199 AirPods.
Okay, so I can’t just bash Apple and be pro-Android all day and be an avid user of all of Apple’s products, that’s fairly hypocritical of me. I still like Apple’s products, they’re engineered to a high standard and I trust that they will work reliably with free software updates for many years to come. I also still believe the “it just works” phrase still stands. Apple’s hardware to software integration is still silky smooth across all of their devices and that is keeping me hooked on my iPhone 8 and 7 year only Mac Book Pro for the time being.
However, the above rant all comes from someone who’s been a long term Apple fan but is frustrated at the rate of development combined with the increasingly high premium I have to pay to continue using Apple products. If Apple wants to charge £1,049 for its baseline iPhone 11 Pro, then that’s fine – but it should absolutely smash sub £300 Android phones out of the park with all of their features, and more, wrapped in Apple’s finely-tuned engineering elegance. But it doesn’t, and that’s disappointing.
5 Things The £1,049 iPhone 11 Pro Can’t Do But A £225 Android Can