Small Button Demonstrate Apple’s Great Power

We have seen Apple’s control over what users can do on the iPhone. For accessories companies, however, there is more to it than that.

The shutter button that Apple added on the iPhone 11 battery charger accessory is nothing special. It is just a small indent in the right edge, surrounded by a faint cut, hard to see and hard to press.

However, this is still the best camera button for iPhone, simply because no accessory products are optimized by iOS.

Small Button Demonstrate Apple's Great Power
Camera shutter button on the back of the battery charger for iPhone 11 Pro.

When you connect an accessory to a smartphone or computer, software plays an important role in connecting them. Developed by Apple, it’s no wonder hardware accessories are optimized by the software system.

There was once a button camera accessory for the iPhone was born that Moment case. This product is easier to press, supports many features with the same operation as a shutter button on a professional camera.

However, Moment only works when the camera application is opened. Due to restrictions from Apple, Moment has not introduced new products for the past 3 years.

With the shutter button on Apple’s iPhone case, you can press and hold to open the camera app even while the screen is locked. In the app, press the button once to take a photo, or press and hold to record a movie (QuickTake mode).

The special thing is that the button still works even when the case is empty, showing the remaining battery capacity right on the main screen. No third-party accessory product for the iPhone does this.

Small Button Demonstrate Apple's Great Power
No camera button accessories work while the screen is locked, except for Apple’s battery case.

Third-party accessories and buttons are also tied to Made for iPhone, meaning that if Apple doesn’t like the accessory, it won’t be made. For example, there was no battery charger case for the iPhone X that debuted in the first year with the Made for iPhone standard, simply because Apple was concerned they would affect battery life.

If you use an Apple Watch, you’ll find that the photography app on watchOS can automatically activate the camera on an iPhone, even displaying images from the camera. Very few smartwatches have this ability, if any, it also depends on the own photography app released by the smartwatch manufacturer.

Or with AirPods and Beats headphones, the use of Apple’s chips makes it possible to connect them to iPhones and iPads with just one touch, check the battery capacity or connect an additional headset at the same time. These are very rare features on 3rd party headphones, if any, then difficult to use.

Just a small button shows how strict Apple controls its hardware and software ecosystem. It also points to the difficulty that third-party accessory manufacturers face when they cannot access the iOS platform much.

Of course everything has 2 sides. This control allows Apple to be more proactive in optimizing hardware and fixing bugs when necessary, which in turn makes some people feel too limited about what they can do.

What do you think?

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