Re: new phones very similar.
To add to your comment (BTW, great article), if we look at the trend we can definitly see a push more on the hardware side.
I think from the list you mentioned, the Google Nexus 5 has more innovation since it's pushing to have a 2K display, which is something that's pretty amazing to achive in such a small package.
With smarphone hardward constantly being pushed and improve, it'll be interesting to see if the industry in general will shift on what is delivered. An example is how Video Streaming has picken up a lot of traffic thanks to wider smarphone screens.