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Innovation No Longer The Sole Province Of Apple

Competitors stole a lot of thunder from Apple in the past couple of weeks, diverting consumer attention away from the iPhone launch and reinforcing the point that Apple isn’t the only innovator in the wireless space.

The announcements at IFA and in the U.S. included the innovative Galaxy Edge, which features a display that’s curved along its right edge. App icons appear along the edge, enabling users to launch frequently used apps with a thumb swipe. Notifications also appear along the edge of the display, even when a video is playing.

That phablet and the Note 4 also feature UltraHD playback and recording, Quad HD display, and 192kHz/24-bit Flac high-resolution audio playback.

In launching the Android-based Z3 and Z3 Compact smartphones and 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact, Sony stepped up audio, photo and video capabilities compared to current models. All three feature high-resolution audio playback, and the two phones step up to ISO 12,800.

For most consumers, innovation isn’t the sole province of one supplier.

When it comes to smart watches, however, Apple innovated in developing its three Apple Watches at prices starting at $349. A new wearable OS that uses a digital crown to zoom, scroll and select is a key enhancement to the category. But Apple also impressed with the watches’ Apple Pay mobile-payment technology, Siri to dictate messages through a built-in microphone, ability to make calls through the mic and built-in speaker, turn-by-turn navigation, fitness sensors including heart-rate monitor, inductive charging, remote control of Apple TV and a computer’s iTunes application, and more.

Just one thing. The watches won’t be available until sometime early next year. The delay between announcement and availability threatens to tamp down demand for other-brand wearables through the Christmas selling season as people delay purchases to see the Apple products before they make a buying decision.

That’s no skin off the nose of Apple, but the company didn’t do any favors for its retailers.