Apple has been arguing for years — both in the courts and in the court of public opinion — that Samsung copied the iPhone to get a leg up in the smartphone market. That may be true for some functions, but Steve Jobs admitted in 2010 that there were areas where his company needed to catch up to Android. Fast-forward four years, and Samsung (the king of Android) has become the most innovative player when it comes to features.
Granted, the Galaxy S5's built-in fingerprint reader is almost certainly inspired by the iPhone 5s' Touch ID sensor. And I'm not suggesting Apple add a heart-rate monitor, either. But there are other features Samsung's flagship phone possesses that I wish the iPhone had. For me, adding a bigger screen on the iPhone 6 won't be enough. Apple should borrow or improve upon these Galaxy goodies.
Steal Best Parts of Quick Settings
Swipe up from the bottom of the iPhone, and you'll be greeted by iOS 7's handy Control Center, which lets you toggle multiple settings (Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi), adjust the brightness and more. However, in Samsung's Quick Settings menu, you can long-press a button to dive right into related options, such as a view of the available Wi-Fi networks. On the iPhone, you'll need to back out of Control Center, hit Settings and then tap Wi-Fi. Why?
Adding a Settings button to the Control Center — something the Galaxy has in its Quick Settings menu — wouldn't be a bad idea, either.
Wouldn't it be nice if your iPhone could easily slug off a splash by the pool or even survive a dunk? The Galaxy S5 can. It's rated to withstand 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. During our review, we placed the phone in a shallow vase for a few minutes, and it worked perfectly once we dried it off. With the iPhone 5s, you need a case to get this sort of protection.
To be clear, the S5 requires an annoying trade-off for its submersibility. There's a cover for the microUSB port, which must be removed every time you charge the device. Perhaps Apple can figure out a way to make the iPhone 6 water-resistant while still keeping the Lightning port exposed.
More: Top 15 iPhone 5s Cases
Keyboard with Number Row, Better Prediction
Having a dedicated number row on the Galaxy S5's keyboard is one heck of a time-saver. It makes entering passwords and phone numbers so much easier and faster. I can see why Apple hasn't yet embraced this perk, though; the iPhone's display is too small. But if the iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches or bigger, as it's expected to be, there's no reason not to let folks access those digits without having to press a separate 123 button.
Another handy feature on the S5 is next-word prediction. As you type, the keyboard tries to guess what you're going to type next. Samsung worked with SwiftKey to offer this feature, which gets smarter the more you use it.
Ultra Power Savings Mode, Longer Battery Life
One of the big reasons the Galaxy S5 edged out the iPhone 5s in our face-off is that its bigger battery lasts more than 2 hours longer on a charge. But Samsung didn't stop there. A new Ultra Power Savings Mode turns the screen to black and white, and tightly restricts app usage. The S5 is rated to last a whopping 24 hours in standby mode with only 10 percent juice left. That's impressive, but perhaps Apple could figure out a way to make the iPhone 6 last longer without radically changing the user experience.
Finger Scanner That Does More Stuff
Apple's Touch ID on the iPhone 5s works more consistently than Samsung's finger scanner, partly because you don't need to swipe your digit on the iPhone's sensor; you just press and hold. But the Galaxy S5 does more with its fingerprint reader, letting you pay for stuff with PayPal. You can also use Samsung's scanner with the LastPass Android app, enabling you to access all of your passwords with a single swipe.
Here's hoping that Apple opens up Touch ID to developers with iOS 8.