Google Apple logo EOY 2020

Google and Apple no longer innovate on smartphones

Google Apple logo EOY 2020

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Google and Apple are two pillars in the smartphone world. Without either company, the smartphone landscape is unlikely to look like what it is today. Apple gave the world the world’s first popular touchscreen smartphone. Google is responsible for the operating system that is used on billions of devices. Both have brought innovations to the table in recent years, but is either company still as influential as it was before?

connected: 8 things iOS can do better than Android

In a recent survey, we asked our readers for their opinion on Google and Apple innovations in the smartphone sector. Does one of the two companies still offer innovations on smartphones? Here is what you told us.

Do you think Google and Apple are still innovating on smartphones?


We conducted this survey on our website on Twitter, and on YouTube. Each platform produced similar results, but readers on the website were more critical of the two companies. Almost 47% of readers believe that neither Google nor Apple are innovating on smartphones. Almost 21% of readers believe otherwise. If they chose a company that still brought innovative features to the table, it would be Google. One in four readers (25.1%) believe that the Android maker is still contributing to the industry, while only 7.4% of readers are on Apple.

Read more: Is Android 12 the most innovative mobile operating system from Google to date?

Votes were tighter on Twitter. While 38.9% of readers believe that none of the companies are innovating in smartphones, just over 30% believe the opposite. Again, Apple is considered the least innovative of the two companies.

After all, the YouTube results reflect what we saw above. Around 42% of those surveyed believe that innovation is dead for both companies, 29% believe that the opposite is the case.

But if Google or Apple lead smartphone innovations, which companies are they? Readers outline some of their own theories below.

You told us that

  • Tony Talks: The only real innovation these days comes from Chinese manufacturers. Google and Apple haven’t innovated for a long time.
  • Avieshek: Innovations lately have only come from smaller companies, including Chinese OEMs, and their little experiments with their software, including ‘scrolling screenshots’ as small as anything original – where Google is making them widespread like OCR and Apple is sprucing them up like iOS15 Mac OS; otherwise, see the disappointment of an iPad as a glorified walled garden for an infinite, self-sustaining source of subscriptions to earn, even though the hardware is there in every way.
  • DigitalBenny: It’s a shame Huawei was targeted for politics. You undoubtedly drove innovation.
  • Varusal: It depends. Google really asserts itself with some “innovations” in the software department. Apple doesn’t do anything really innovative anymore, at least nothing that would be called “innovative”. Overall, I think most of the innovations we get come from other companies like Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo, etc. In the past few years they have shown a lot of new and interesting things, like foldable phones, Xiaomi’s Alpha phone, roll-up displays, etc. Apple is good for having a “standard” like the privacy changes that forced Google to step up as well.
  • EasyCare: Nobody has made an innovation (that is actually useful) lately. Smartphones in general have matured in many ways and I believe that innovation has decreased in terms of demand. What people care most about are the basics; long-term support, and most importantly, value. I see where the Pixel 5 is aiming, but it’s not there yet.
  • Takagi: Not for me. I think we have already reached a point where these so-called “new functions” are just existing functions that are imaginatively named or improved (e.g. from a camera to a multi-camera setup). I’ve been using my Galaxy Note 9 since 2019 and despite these “new features” I still haven’t found a phone that is a worthy replacement. I could probably hold on to it until it dies. Even the unusual functions on Apple phones are not enough for me to switch.

That’s it for this poll. Thanks for voting and commenting. We assume that readers have a lot to say about the topic and the results of the survey. If you have any other thoughts on either of the two, drop a comment below.

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