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The CEO of China's smartphone Brand 'Honor' Dreams of the day they'll Overtake Apple's iPhone in his Country

1 cover MagicOS

In 2022 Apple's iPhone 13 was the number one smartphone in China and to start the year off, Apple's iPhone 14 was the number one smartphone in China for Q1 2023. It's enough to drive China's smartphone OEMs crazy. In early April Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's competitors are doubling down on the Foldable Smartphone form factor to Challenge Apple's Dominance in the Premium Space." The report also touched on OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi formed an alliance to make it easier on smartphone users in China to transfer data between smartphone brands in an effort to challenge the iPhone's popularity in their country.

When China's smartphone brand 'Honor' released their foldable smartphone, the presentation went out of it's way to compare its specification with Samsung's Z Fold and Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max on battery life, on wireless connectivity, on design and so forth. 

Then at a recent press conference, Honor Shenzhen R&D Lab opened to the public for the first time. Honor's CEO Zhao Ming spoke with the media on tech research and development.

Honor's CEO took no time in targeting Apple in his commentary: "When it comes to Apple, everyone says that Apple’s hardware is not well equipped, the wireless communication is poor, and the battery life is poor. This is recognized by everyone. You can see that the signal of the standard version is poor, the battery life is poor, and the black border on the screen is larger than ours. But the reason why it is so expensive is that Apple has iOS and ecology, it seems that their iOS can cover up all the issues of the Apple iPhone.”

Further, Ming pointed out that the company was focused on  their fight with Apple's iOS with their vastly improved MagicOS 7.0. He claimed that their next steps are will be to create an experience comparable to or even better than iOS for the Chinese market.

Honor wants to catch up with or surpass Apple in terms of OS fluency and ecology. The company is also aiming to build its own core capabilities. Zhao Ming believes that after the release of the Honor Magic 5 series, there is no rival in terms of communication, screen, eye protection, and comprehensive experience of the flagship phone.

MagicOS 7.1 offers a range of features and customization options, including a custom always-on display, a built-in screen recorder, and a range of themes and wallpapers. The system also promises better performance, smoother animations, and longer battery life. The software design of the MagicOS 7.1 is almost unrecognizable from Android 13. Though keep in mind that MagicOS is simply a skin on top of Android. The key features for 7.1 will include:

  • A Brand new user interface
  • Built-in tools to help users multitask and use multiple apps at the same time
  • AI-inspired enhancements on camera, GPU, and smoother system output
  • MagicRing for multi-device collaboration
  • Stylus support with the HONOR Magic Pen
  • HONOR Computer Manager to control multiple devices with one set of mouse and keyboard
  • HONOR Health app to custom workout plans with personal routines and provide 300+ system workout and health suggestions according to Smart Workout Scenarios


At present, Oppo is China's leading smartphone brand followed by Vivo. Honor is China third largest brand that was 6.3% behind Apple in Q1 2023, according to Counterpoint.

Honor's CEO admitted that Apple's ecosystem that includes iOS, watchOS and iPadOS is what keeps Apple number one in China, yet is under some illusion that a new skin on Android will be some kind of breakthrough for them.

Perhaps for casual users Honor's MagicOS could be enough to assist them in their quest in taking on iOS, but it's a longshot to be sure. On the global stage, Honor was nowhere to be seen in Q1 2023.

Will Honor be able to win over a noticeable number of iPhone fans in China anytime soon? I rather doubt it. While it was interesting to listen to Honor's CEO express his company's daydreams at recent events, for now, that's all they are.

Though to their credit, they did get one thing right. It will take a "MagicOS" to take on Apple's deep iOS and ecosystem in China. Just not theirs.

10.0F - Apple News


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