Which smartphone should we choose in 2013 – iPhone, or Samsung?
Debate: Two flagship smartphone corporations – but has Korean manufacturer Samsung recently taken a ‘bite’ in to market leader, Apple?
Radio Glamorgan – Technology Show!
Nicholas Simmons and Aaron Andre James:
Quote (November 2012):
(Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business /story/2012/11/08/samsung-apple.html)
CNN – 18 million units of its Galaxy S3 between July and September 2012.
[This] marks the first time since the iPhone’s release that a non-Apple device has held the top spot.
So you’ve heard it before.
Apple. Samsung. Iphone. Galaxy.
It’s a ‘never ending debate’ over two enormous technological giants fighting tooth and nail at the forefront of the smartphones industry. Two huge global markets who fiercely compete for the largest annual smartphone sales worldwide.
But who is better?
Is there a true champion? In taking this debate further, I shall adopt the most objective view I can possible, before any views or personal user experiences influence the outcome. It is worth informing you, the reader, that I am now (much to the disappointment of many avid Apple users reading here) a converted Android user, or “FAN-DROID”, as YouTube users now brand the individual. My personal use has now found me taking advantage of the Samsung Galaxy SIII, and Google’s latest offering, in collaboration with the electronics manufacturer Asus, which is of course, the Google Nexus 7.
Each week, thisdebate feature shall be uncovered and critiqued in three parts, with each week featuring:
Part 1: Which smartphone should we choose in 2013 – iPhone, or Samsung?
An evaluative overview of both Apple and Samsung’s markets, providing evaluative detail on each of their respective smartphone launches
Part 2: Which smartphone should we choose in 2013 – iPhone, or Samsung?
a) The Apple and Samsung advertising campaigns b) The smartphone markets c) Samsung’s most recent offering, launched in New York (March 14th 2013) – the ‘Galaxy S4’ (GS4) d) The next iPhone – rumoured to be the 5S, launching in July – to be reported on when more information is available in the coming months!!
Part 3: Which smartphone should we choose in 2013 – iPhone, or Samsung?
And finally, IN a nutshell – which phone is BETTER?
But, before I begin, please familiarise yourself with Apple and Samsung’s latest offerings (as of March 14th 2013), courtesy of an interesting side by side close up comparison feature by the guys over at pocketnowvideo:
Part 1: Which smartphone should we choose in 2013 – iPhone, or Samsung?
Having been a keen Apple user since more or less ‘day 1’ (2007-2008, to be precise) when Steve Jobs officially launched the Iphone at keynote, I , as I’m quite sure, most of the world were, just mesmerised at what was unfolding. Was it the dazzling multi-touch capabilities? The convergence between a phone, a multimedia device, an internet browser and a communications platform device? It must be some, if not, all of those. Just watch the famous presentation the late Steve Jobs gave here.
It was – A PHONE, A WIDESCREEN IPOD, and, as Jobs put it, a “BREAKTHROUGH” internet communications device. In fact, given the time it was released, much before the advent of social media and higher processing devices, saying it was a revolutionary device would be an understatement. For credit where it is due, Apple deserve it here. NO ONE, prior, or after the launch of the Iphone, had ever attempted to launch an abstract piece of technology, much less a ‘smartphone’, on such a large platform before, to a world stage of critics, news outlets, and the forming Apple community.
Just watch these moments I have highlighted, presented by the charismatic Steve Jobs, below:
Credits go to user rubaninferno
The creative design forefront of Apple: Jony Ive
He also was featured on the long running children’s educational programme, Blue Peter, awarded with the “highest accolate – the “gold Blue Peter badge”, (source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21470637) for his creative contributions to hardware design. Since being given the role, as of October 2012, to now design the Apple OS interface, without the further creative direction of the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, it will be interesting to see which way Apple will go in terms of design, visuals, and aesthetic feel for the future of their users. Whether or not they will continue to be as successful without their former entrepreneurial juggernaut, Jobs, remains to be seen. The Iphone 5’s launch has posed a lot of questions – from design to user interface to less innovativity on Apple’s part – and the most common question on people’s minds – why is the Iphone 5, arguably, just the same as any other previous Iphone generation? What is going on behinds the doors at California’s Silicon Valley Apple HQ?
However, going past the design aspect of Apple’s contribution to the industry, I believe it is the phone manufacturer, Nokia, in my eyes, who were in fact the ‘Apple success’ even before Apple bounced back around 2001, with the “Ipod”. Nokia were almost the ‘Apple of the 1990’s mobile phones’, if that’s how best it is to put it.
Everyone also remembers ‘Snake‘ , and the countless amounts of hours people played with the long, pixelated reptile. Snake was almost the ‘Temple Run’ of it’s day, to put it best. It was a ‘play to infinity’ game, with little features and upgrades along the way to keep you going. But thinking about it now (and chuckling at myself using the Nokia 5210 as a late 1990’s pecker, Snake just led you down a tricky obstacle of trying at best to keep the length of the Snake compact and untangled within the minuscule inched mobile screen/frame, almost like wires behind your computer or TV.
Bringing back the ‘mobile’ days (above right)
And ‘Temple Run 2’ for iOS/Android devices (2012), below:
Adding to the platforms Nokia offered on their compact, practical handsets, they made mobile phone communications available on a global scale in the western and eastern corners of the earth. There was nothing quite bigger at the time, and, according to ‘tomshardware.com’ (source: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Samsung-Cell-Phone-Smartphones-Nokia,19891.html) , it is only since November of last year, that “Nokia led the worldwide cell phone market with a 30 percent share compared to Samsung’s 24 percent”, which has only just, in the entrance year of 2013 been beaten by Samsung, leading the market share by 30%.
So what does Samsung have to offer against Apple since the launch of the Galaxy SIII? Which leads us to ask:
The forever ending question – ‘who is the clear winner?’
Samsung’s side of the story:
Quote from a 2013 report: Apple is no longer the world’s largest smart phone maker, Samsung is. This achievement was bagged quite recently (in 2011).
Literal meaning ofSamsung = ‘Three stars’ Source: “Chacha” (http://www.chacha.com/question/what-does-‘samsung’-mean)
“the words of the founder of the Samsung Group, the three stands for big, numerous and powerful and stars stands for eternity. It’s living right up to its name as of now.
“Samsung electronics” , a Korean manufacturer based in the town of Seoul, is a worldwide supplier of a broad range of electronic applications, ranging from TV’s to washing machines, various telecommunications peripherals, and now, in the past few years, smartphones. Their company comprises of a multitude of subsidiaries, which include “Samsung Electronics, Samsung Life Insurance, Samsung Heavy Industries, Samsung C&T” (Source: http://www.thetechnologytalk.com/2013/02/top-10-facts-about-samsung/).
The current chairman of Samsung, Lee Kun-Hee, has in recent years, pushed the marketing boat out on Samsung’s smartphone brand, the “S” series (‘S’ meaning smart) during the fall quarter periods of 201, and onwards, with the launch of the “Samsung Galaxy S II” on the 2nd May, 2011 (competing at the time with Apple’s Iphone 4/4S generation models), which, according to a review over at Engadget (April 2011), was “the best Android smartphone yet, but more importantly, it might well be the best smartphone, period”.
Take a look at the ‘Apple-esque’ launch Samsung hosted during May of 2012, at Earls Court, London for the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy SIII:
Credits go to user LiLAs3N
Samsung’s dominant strap market line of “S” series smartphones (standing for smart, of course) was, and still certainly is proving quite a heavy rival and threat up against market leader Apple. Although the manufacturers core services range greatly, their strategy for smartphone dominance has certainly proved worthy in this past year of 2012, especially since the launch of the phone, that they believe is “designed for humans” in mind (source: http://www.samsung.com/levant/promotions/galaxys3/) .
To support this, taken from the BBC radio 4’s “Today programme” aired on Wednesday 6th March, 2013, technology journalist Rupert Goodwins discusses the possible mistakes Apple have made as of recent times:
“In the 18 months since Steve Jobs died, the company hasn’t done very much right. “There have been a lot of missteps, they messed up the mapping product on the iPhone, the new iPads haven’t been universally acclaimed as innovative. They’ve lost their way a bit.” Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21683490 To add even more damage to Apple’s untouchable reputation, “phones review” recently reported (2nd March 2013) that “the tech giant (*Samsung) picked up the award for the year’s finest high-end handset at the Global Mobile Awards, held this week at the Mobile World Congress gadget expo in Barcelona.” (Source: http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2013/03/02/samsung-galaxy-s3-beats-iphone-5-and-wins-smartphone-award-at-mwc-2013/)
Part 2: Which smartphone should we choose in 2013 – iPhone, or Samsung?
a) The Apple and Samsung advertising campaigns
Boasting features to go up against the Apple Iphone, Samsung in recent times have positioned themselves as a much more original, fresh idea service to always have their ‘foot in the door’ amongst the innovative features Apple showcase. As well as this, supporters of Samsung would appreciate the companies more modest approach to marketing, and by not ‘over-glorifying’ their products with Hollywood style adverts and events, as for example, Apple’s “Key-note” presentation conferences, routinely held in California where Steve Jobs routinely pitched each new Iphone from 2007 onwards until his passing, on October 5th 2011.
Check this video showcasing Samsung’s ethos and vision for their most recent Galaxy smartphone (the SIII), in the lead up to the launch. It’s taken a very different perspective from Apple. Apple’s vision of it’s Iphone takes the simplistic approach of appearing practical, functional and a luxury brand product, with screaming amounts of quality.
Samsung, on the other hand, almost naturalises the relationship between consumer and device to make the interaction appear seamless, which takes the attention away from trying to just sell you a phone communications device.
Take a look at two adverts by Samsung and Apple, back to back, in order to understand:
Credits go to user eClickandBuy:
Apple ad feature for the Iphone 5 launch, September 2012:
Credits go to user Apple:
Something I thought would provide a bit of humour to this debate is the long drawn discussion over how Apple always emphasises every ‘minute detail’ in their products, which are made out to be a much bigger deal than they actually are, but also their practical relevance to everyday life applications. The style of the advert features are mocked explicitly in the video shown below, as the white backdrops used almost try to represent the Apple members of staff as these definitive, larger than life figures of the industry (which, in all probable fact, actually are considering their market dominance of the past, but it’s just an interesting point to realise and consider in their strategies taken to consumers).
Another debate raised from this is also the lack of, perhaps, innovative ideas Apple is not coming up with in recent years, as the hardware and software of the iPhone (since the launch in 2007), has more or less, remained the same, with only a few feature enhancements and software upgrades along the way. Just observe this Apple parody advertisement to gain an idea. Enjoy!:
Credits go to user Satire:
b) The smartphone markets
To be completely objective and fair in this debate, however, I looked at the problems with Samsung. In a far and wide Youtube search, I uncovered a Samsung ad parody of “the next big thing” campaign, that in my estimation, has been made with an anti-Apple agenda in mind. It points fun at how Samsung users try to look different, and more unique to Apple, but as good as a guess as anyone’s, in this parody, it is turned right on it’s head! Perhaps to take what Samsung had marketed, and exploit it’s ‘under-dog’ marketing success recently with the Galaxy SIII and hand it back to Apple! You must remember who this is produced by and who it is made for in mind. This is imperative to note when watching this video and the Apple parody, above.
The scenario of the video plays on the themes of “the next big thing”, and brings in many, quite offensive, and frankly, explicitly grotesque! – innuendo’s which point a sense of ‘lucid’ fun at the ‘smart’ features of the smartphone; frantically presenting and comparing them with the Iphone. I won’t go in to too much detail as the video does, so instead, I will just let you watch everything unravel….
Credits go to user bfirenzi
But coming back to the actual campaigns the smartphone rivals launched in the build up to their releases, take a look at the first advert Samsung launched in 2011 as a competitive, tactical, ‘tongue in cheek’ approach to representing Apple fans as unsophisticated, intellectually challenged, vain, Iphone conscious users, whilst the Samsung users are waiting on “the next big thing”.
That ‘thing’ being the Samsung Galaxy SIII, strategically shown amongst a mock up of a typical crowded Apple launch at one of it’s flagship stores. Such advertising tactics have prompted much hate from the Apple fan community, forming a constant area for debate and speculation against the Android community!
The wars have begun! The ‘ilovers’ and the ‘fan-droids’:
Credits go to user samsungmobileusa:
A January 2013 report from Wall Street Journal (WSJ) provided further scope surrounding the advert campaign:
“The ad was part of a more than $200 million U.S. marketing blitz that Samsung launched in 2011 to lampoon Apple, according to Kantar Media. The creative vision for those ads was a former Nike NKE -0.41% executive, Todd Pendleton, who now runs Samsung’s marketing in the U.S.
The campaign swayed consumers including Will Hernandez, an Apple iPhone owner who bought a Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone about three months ago after seeing Samsung’s ads.”
In appealing to much more niche consumers in the smartphone market, Samsung utilise their android OS experience and hardware to give individual a feel for an independent user experience, where customisation is by no means limited, and the application ‘open source’ development possibilities are endless.
In fact, it has been without doubt in recent times, that the “Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has been the major driving force in Samsung becoming the world’s biggest mobile manufacturer.
The Smartphone hit 40 million sales just 7 months after its launch and continues to sell in huge volumes.”
Here, sourced from IDC/Observer (March 2013), is a data chart representing smartphone sales from the financial years between 2010 and 2012, indicating Samsung’s larger ‘bite’ over sales in Apple, during 2012, most notably (with Iphone’s only outselling Galaxy phones in 2012 at a 1.8x sales level rate with a clear steady decline indicated in preceding years:
Regardless of the view you may take on smartphone preference/use, the picture is becoming a lot more clearer now – Apple is no longer the defiant smartphone leader in the global market they once were during the onset craze of the Iphone launch, starting from 2007. There is far much more choice out there for consumers now to suit their preferences, and many other factors which affect their choice of purchase, such as phone size, OS, customisability and practicability, all features of which I shall touch upon later in this debate.
Back to the focus on the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Here are just a few of the unique “smart” features Samsung has showcased to the market through it’s latest device (until the Samsung Galaxy S4 launches this March), since it’s international launch in May 2012.
– Smart stay – a detective front facing camera detects your eye movements, turning the screen off (thus saving power) when your eyes avert or close
– Direct call ( a proximity sensor installed in the headset device means when you place the phone up to your ear (from the text message screen), the phone will automatically dial that assigned contact – Smart alert (a pattern of ‘nudge’ vibrations means you won’t be left in the loop over any missed calls or text messages) – S Voice (much similar to Apple’s voice based system, “Siri”, command your phone to ‘wake up’, ‘sleep’, ‘play artist’, or even ‘set alarm’) – Social tag (a Facebook like utility integrated in the user interface to allow you to ‘tag’ subjects in your photo gallery with corresponding assigned contact information on your phone
Sourced from: http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxys3/smartstay.html
Take a look at the launch of the flagship smartphone at Earls Court in London during May 2012, to gain perspective on how these features are put in to practice:
Credits go to user DigitalPhoneCompany
When I had seen and heard about the Samsung Galaxy S3, at the time, my main concern and smartphone use was still tied with Apple. As a ‘for’ (not against!) Apple Iphone 4 user, I was still at the point of not severing my ties with Apple just yet. I think, depending on your peers, who in most instances, possess an Iphone – can have a huge influence on your choice for a phone. Also, not to forget the majority of critics and media outlets out there who are already established with the “Iphone brand”, are very hard to crack or be swayed from their non-pressured, non-conformist ‘i-love everything Apple’ opinions.
Take a look at an example of such ideas from a tech critic, reviewing the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3, back in May 2012:
“Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, said via email: “The S3 has some commendable new features but despite its Apple-esque, near-global launch I don’t think this phone is set to be an iPhone killer. S-Voice is shamelessly, if effectively, mimicking Apple’s Siri, which has proved to be more of a gimmick, unless you want to know what the weather is like in London.”
So what you may see here – is a clouded judgement on a new potential entry in to the smartphone market. To me, at the time, Samsung was a mobile manufacturer of the past who I did respect, and make use of, in moderation, much during the days of the “Samsung D500” (may I point out here – what an age-less phone it was, packed with ‘ahead of it’s day’ MP3 playing and Bluetooth sending, carrying me through the years of 2005 – 2007/2008) but did not ever admire as much as I do now the true potential I see in the not only Samsung’s ‘push out the envelope’ hardware, but the open all areas Android interface and customisation.
The time-less phone: The D500 model, which ‘you can drop a million times and will still work’
To balance the ‘clouded’ perspective on Samsung that has surrounded them in their past smartphone launches, take a look at a completely ‘other end of the stick’ critic reaction to the New York launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, less than a year later. Clearly, something has CHANGED, or at least in some aspects of the market. Taken from Charles Golvin (analyst) of Reuters:
“It holds up very, very well (against the iPhone 5). There are lots of things that are in there that the iPhone doesn’t have. People who like larger displays will see this as a better phone than the iPhone.
“There’s a lot you can do with this phone with the range of applications in the app store that you can’t yet do on the iPhone. Samsung has fulfilled the promise of their marketing that they are the tech innovators. It remains to be seen whether it’s overload for customers, whether they can really take advantage of all these features.”
That’s where, in this debate, I want to say what I truly think is wrong, or perhaps, a great injustice in this smartphone battle.
Apple – with all due respect to them – are a great corporation – they are creative, bursting with ideas, and are most, if not always, at the forefront of the innovative industry where style, relevance and practical everyday applicability are concerned – but Samsung, on the other hand – are equally a company who have fought their way through to the near top spot with alternative and flexible features in their devices offered to their users. Also, their new sense for turning out phones quicker (such as their line of budget sub-smartphones outside of the “S” series, with the Samsung Galaxy Ace being a prime example of this) has been sure to rattle a few cages at Apple, and other competitors in the smartphone race for market share. They have stood the test of time in this fierce market arena against the western competitors of the world, well before Apple came back on the scene with the Iphone in 2007, or the iPod in 2001, for that matter, and are always a company, who, although have not always been primarily recognised for smartphones until recent years – are a huge developer in ares which include the electrical appliance industry.
This is where a great deal of concern and uneasiness tends to arise amongst tech market analysts as to where the line can be drawn on the global smartphone market share and Samsung’s other operations. It is becoming hard to separate Apple/Samsung’s market share from their other business activities. And with Apple potentially exploring the television and watch markets in these coming years, it’s becoming ever harder to point the finger exclusively to smartphone sales.
Have a read of this short overview of Samsung’s assets as a company, extracted from investorplace:
“Samsung controls more than 80 companies that make everything from defense equipment to oil tankers and household appliances. The mammoth size of the company relative to the size of the South Korean economy has now given Korea the nickname “Republic of Samsung.”
2c) Samsung most recent offering, the ‘Galaxy S4’
Samsung’s most recent smartphone contender (above): Are you ready ‘4’ your ‘life companion?”
As well as these features, Samsung have now recently gone on to stage their recent (and quick turnaround!) Samsung Galaxy S4 launch at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, which took off on March 14th 2013 – a bold move taken by the Apple contender – in what was, according to BBC news online, a “Broadway show [with] tunes and cringe-worthy scripted fun”
Credits go to user lifechannelable
From what I have made of the release, Samsung have clearly created a big, “American” blockbuster Apple styled launch, with a mix of theatre production and packed audiences in attendance. Their promotions have surely taken a big next step, as their campaigns, which saw the Korean manufacturer purchase the billboard space which showcased what CNET UK online believes to be their “portentous, ‘Be ready 4 the next Galaxy’ poster in New York’s Times Square”
However, with Apple clear out of campaign sight during this launch, another company had what could be seen as a cheap, undercut move. The lavish advertising space Samsung invested was stolen in part through a sneaky poster PR move by none other than a close Korean rival of the smartphone maker, device manufacturer LG (short for ‘Life’s good’).
This stunt ‘was tweeted by a PR bod kenhong@LG, and is a brash attempt on LG’s part to promote its own Optimus G smart phone alongside the next Galaxy smart phone, which has the attention of the world’s press.
Take a look at the photo which captured this unexpected event:
So what is all this ‘4’?: The ‘competitive race’ in the world of PR and advertising space
Next up soon:
The Apple and Samsung face off – who is the winner?
Photo Credits: http://www.gsmnation.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/vs.jpg http://www.digitaltrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/iPhone-5-vs-Galaxy-S3-angle-left-side-by-side.jpg http://appleffect.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/jonathan_ive_apple_.jpg http://static.fjcdn.com/pictures/Snake+Nokia_dceb04_3617249.jpg http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01878/snake_1878153c.jpg http://i-cdn.phonearena.com/images/articles/76060-image/mzl.wsxvshun.320×480-75.jpg http://awards.t3.com/files/xl_Samsung_GalaxyS3_4.jpg http://76.my/UserImages/Itemsemail@example.com http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/samsung-galaxy-s4-pranked-by-lg-in-brazen-billboard-banter-50010639/