Four features the iPhone 15 stole from Android

Greg Joswiak presenting iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple just launched the new iPhone 15 models, and there's admittedly a lot to like about them, especially when it comes to new features and design flourishes. However, even looking at what's new with the iPhones, we can't help but think about how it all relates to Android.

Unlike previous Apple events, the iPhone 15 presentation didn't really introduce much that we didn't already know. Even still, we're back at it, taking a look at all of the "revolutionary, new" changes to the iPhone 15 that aren't actually all that new or revolutionary. We've managed to find four things that the iPhone 15 stole from Android phones. 

USB-C - Le 1 and Le Max 1 (2015)

LeEco Le Max 1 hero

(Image credit: Android Central)

This is the one that Apple fans have been waiting for the longest, and the wait is finally over. The Lightning port is now dead (for the most part), as it's now available on all four iPhone 15 models. We knew this was coming following the European Parliament's mandate late last year, which is requiring all smartphones to be released with USB-C by December 28, 2024. So, instead of waiting until the iPhone 16, Apple opted to make this change with this year's release.

Unsurprisingly, there are some limitations as even the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models are using USB 3 with 10Gbps transfer speeds. While it's quite a bit better than the 480 Mbps speeds offered by the Lightning cable, it's only half of the 20 Gbps speeds capable with the Galaxy S23 series.

Would you believe that it wasn't LG, HTC, or even Samsung to be the first to debut USB-C on their smartphones? Instead, it was a now-forgotten company by the name of "LeEco" with the Le 1 and Le Max. This was back in the days of Android Lollipop, and despite leading the charge, the company fizzled out just a few years later.

Periscope Camera - Huawei P30 Pro (2019)

Close-up on Huawei P30 Pro camera

(Image credit: Android Central)

Another long-awaited change for iPhone users is an improved periscope telephoto lens, and it's now arrived in the form of a "new" camera in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. While it hasn't been around on Android phones for as long as USB-C, you'll have to go all the way back to the Huawei P30 Pro from 2019.

Apple's implementation offers 5x optical zoom capabilities, an improvement over the 3x telephoto zoom in other iPhone models and matching what the latest Google Pixel 7 Pro offers. Keeping with the trend, this is just half of what you'll experience with the Galaxy S23 Ultra and its 10x optical zoom capabilities.

3D Video Recording - HTC EVO 3D (2017)

HTC EVO 3D in-hand

(Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

All the way back in 2017, HTC was working on different ways to entice users and improve the smartphone camera experience. One attempt was with the HTC EVO 3D, which allowed users to capture 3D content and view said content right on their phones.

In preparation for the launch of the Vision Pro headset, Apple has introduced Spatial Recording on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. According to Apple, this will allow users to "capture precious moments in three dimensions and relive those memories with incredible depth on Apple Vision Pro when it is available early next year in the U.S."

This is going to be more of a party trick that you won't actually be able to show off to your friends unless you end up spending more than $3,000 for the Apple Vision Pro headset. Unlike the EVO 3D, Apple didn't do anything special with the display of the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max to allow users to view this content on their devices. But hey, maybe this will spark the return of 3D TVs, right?

Titanium frame - Essential Phone (2017)

Bottom view of the Essential Phone

(Image credit: Android Central)

Besides USB-C, the periscope telephoto camera, and 3D video recording, Apple had "One More Thing" it stole from previous Android phones. Arguably, the second most important change out of them all is the introduction of a "grade 5 titanium" casing. Although it wasn't really pointed out during the announcement, Apple is actually only using titanium for the frame while still relying on glass for the back.

Even still, this isn't anything new, despite it not being done by a company since 2017 when the Essential Phone burst onto the scene. The Essential Phone introduced a few "industry-firsts," such as the notch cutout for the selfie camera, along with the use of ceramic for the back plate.

And while Apple may be able to tout that it's the only current smartphone to be available with titanium, that might not be the case for too much longer. Rumors suggest that the upcoming Xiaomi 14 Pro is slated to use a "titanium alloy" for the frame.

What's next?

There's really not too much else that Apple could "borrow" from its Android competition for next year's iPhone 16. Perhaps next year, Apple will reinvent faster refresh rates again, bringing it to the non-Pro iPhone models. Or maybe iOS 18 will actually make it possible to sideload apps on your iPhone, especially since the EU has a mandate that must be complied with by March 2024. Nevertheless, "Techtember" is underway, and now we're setting our sites on what's next to come to the Android space. 

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

  • fuzzylumpkin
    Much as I love talking crap about Apple, I don't think it's fair to say they "stole" USB-C considering they did it at gunpoint, so to speak.
  • PookiePrancer
    You forgot the re-assignable Bixby button from the S10 (I think?)
  • abduz
    Being able to select focus point after you take a picture, was already available on Nokia Lumia 930 (2014) and possibly even the 920 (2011).
  • BaumerS4
    The HTC EVO came out in 2011, not 2017...