Did Xiaomi Just Steal the iPhone 8's Coolest Feature?
The iPhone 8 may be a year away, but it looks like Xiaomi just stole a bit of its thunder.
Based on earlier reports, the 2017 iPhone is expected to sport an all-glass front design that ditches the traditional Home button. Xiaomi has presumably beaten Apple to punch with its Mi 5s phone (starting at $300), which integrates an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under its glass.
According to Engadget, which covered the launch event for the new phone in China, Xiaomi has been working on this feature since 2014. The company was hoping it wouldn't have to cut a hole in the glass for the fingerprint sensor, which would not only save on costs but make the design more attractive and less prone to breaking.
Apple has already gone half-way there with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which feature a new Home Button that doesn't physically depress but use a Taptic Engine to provide haptic feedback. So there are no moving parts in the new iPhones, but the Home button isn't integrated as seamlessly with the rest of the design as the Mi 5s. Xiaomi still provides a dent on the screen so you can easily find the button without looking.
The Mi 5s is no slouch in the specs department, either, as it boasts a Snapdragon 821 processor, up to 128GB of UFS 2.0 storage and up to 4GB of RAM. There's also a 12-MP camera with f/2.0 aperture, a 5.15-inch 1080p display and a 3,200 mAh battery.
Not ashamed to use the same naming convention as Apple, Xiaomi also introduced the Mi 5s Plus (starting at $345). It sports a larger 5.7-inch screen and a dual-lens 13-MP camera, as well as a beefier 3,800 mAh battery.
Xiaomi hasn't announced plans to bring these phones stateside, but that could change. Xiaomi has indicated it wants to start selling phones in the U.S., possibly as soon as this fall.