If Apple delivers the iPhone 5S with a fingerprint scanner next week, then they'll have beaten Samsung to the punch. With the Samsung IFA event concluded, they failed to deliver this new feature that was highly anticipated. It appears that Apple could very well end up being the first top tier smartphone player to deliver this next generation biometric security feature. With Samsung missing out on a fingerprint scanning feature, you have to wonder if Apple will still be able to deliver this feature on cue next week. You have to admit, it sure ups the ante for next week's iPhone event.
Although I watched the Samsung event from Germany, I didn't take notes to many of the specifics. However, below are a few slides from the event for those who are interested.
The slide above covers a new Samsung Note 3 UI feature called "Air Command." Two points for Samsung with this feature, though it's primarily used with their new S-Pen. Both of these features (Air Command + S-Pen) were first captured by our Patent Bolt site last week in patent form.
This type of feature is definitely one that I'd like to see on an iDevice. In fact, for those of you who follow Patently Apple, you know that Apple has three or more patent (one, two, three and more importantly four) filings on this very user interface concept.
Samsung Event – Gear Photos
In 2009, Patently Apple posted a special report titled "Apple Mages Working on Augmented Reality Magic." It was in this report that we covered a wearable computer known as "The SixthSense," developed by Pranav Mistry, a then PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT's Media Lab. At that time we stated that "Science fiction is sometimes the inspiration behind motivating entrepreneurs to invent great things that the public are already comfortable with. For example, the race is on for a miniature video iPhone that resembles that of a Dick Tracy watch."
So who introduced Samsung's new computer watch called Gear at today's event? Yes, surprisingly the very same Pranav Mistry behind The SixthSense.
The following photos illustrate some of Gear's features that Pranav briefly touched on during his keynote.
By placing the watch/Gear up to your ear you could make a brief call without having to use the Note 3 which powers the Gear watch.
Gear has a built in camera on the side of the device so that consumers will be able to take quick photos in a split second as action is happening. Yet it must be said that the camera is really a huge ugly design distraction as you can see in one of the other photos below.
While there were a few interesting surprises at the Samsung event, it was still the lack of a fingerprint scanner that stood out for me considering the amount of hype surrounding this feature.
Beyond that point, the new Air Command was interesting, though I'd love to see when they filed for a patent for this just to verify that it was their idea and not one quickly copied from an Apple patent filing. Samsung's Gear had some thinking behind it, considering that Pranav Mistry was behind it. Yet, there was nothing there that is likely to compel many to actually buy it. It's bulky and delivers little to nothing in real value. I'm sure that Samsung thinks that this is a "breakthrough" product, but it's just a super-charged wrist watch that's ugly. But hey, I'm sure Androiders will eat it up like a dog on a bone.
At the end of the day, I think that Samsung moved the innovation needle up 0.1% and that's actually a start for this copycat designer. If someone can point me to an USPTO patent filing from Samsung predating Apple's radial user interface filing, I'd gladly up that innovation needle up a notch. But I'm not sure that anyone will be able do that. Are there any Android takers out there? I'm waiting.
If you have an opinion on Samsung's new Gear watch or want to weigh in on whether Apple will deliver a new fingerprint scanner for the iPhone 5S next week, then send in your comments below.