Samsung's on a streak of not copying the iPhone, with original features like curved edges and iris scanners actually outpacing innovation at Apple. But that could end with its upcoming Galaxy Note 8.
A new report from The Investor claims the Korean electronic giant's follow-up to last year's disastrous Note 7 will come with a pressure-sensitive screen. The screen technology is said to be similar to the iPhone's display, which has supported 3D Touch since the iPhone 6S launched in 2015.
The new display, which is able to detect how hard you press it, will be used to "replace all the functionality of a home button and open a hidden menu with shortcuts to different features."
It's unclear if the new screen will replace the thin pressure-sensitive area that only covers the bottom portion of the Galaxy S8's display. But it's better late than never since Android Nougat already supports the special displays.
Copying the iPhone's pressure-sensitive screen isn't even the worst part. The report also says Samsung's going to call it ... 3D touch. Oh boy, do you hear that? That's Apple's big scary lawyers getting ready to leap out from behind their desks and run straight to Samsung HQ.
Samsung will have to face the laughs of a billion Apple fanboys for being so unoriginal, but there might not even be a courtroom battle between the two tech titans.
Eagle-eyed readers will recall that Huawei's Mate S, the world's first Android phone to copy the iPhone and sport a pressure-sensitive display, also called its technology 3D touch (with a lowercase "t"). If Huawei can get away with the name, perhaps Samsung could, too.
Despite initial excitement, 3D Touch hasn't exactly become a must-use feature on iPhone. Apple has yet to announce a compelling feature that makes use of it. A long-press works just the same on iOS and Android devices that don't have pressure-sensitive screens.
There's not much else we don't already know about the Note 8. We know that it'll be announced on Aug. 23 and The Investor claims it'll launch on Sept. 15, which matches reports that the phone would launch in mid-September to beat the Apple's iPhone 8.
Several comprehensive leaks suggest the Note 8 will be a pricey beast of a phone. It'll reportedly come with a 6.3-inch display, Snapdragon 835 chip, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, dual cameras that might offer even better optical zoom than the iPhone 7 Plus, and an S Pen with enhanced stylus features.
The one thing that won't get a significant improvement is battery life. Samsung's reportedly going with a 3,300 mAh battery, which is smaller than the S8+'s 3,500 mAh battery. It'd also be smaller than the Note 7's battery, which has the same capacity as the S8+.
The smaller battery might turn some Samsung fans off, but there probably isn't much to worry about. Battery capacity and longevity aren't always directly related. Software optimizations and power efficiencies from the chipset can make up for a smaller battery. Just look at the iPhone; iOS and Apple's custom A-series chips allow it to last just as long or longer than Android phones with bigger batteries.
Whatever Samsung announces later this month, it's sure to attract the world's attention. The company will no doubt boast about the phone's myriad new features, but all it really needs to do is make sure there aren't any explosions again. If the safe S8's anything to go by, then Samsung should be in good shape with the Note 8.