Back in September, Apple released its new iPhone 5, the first iPhone to feature a larger display and 4G LTE data speeds. And as we head into 2013, future competitors to the new iPhone 5 are already dotting the landscape with one of those devices being the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that should battle the iPhone 5 and presumably the iPhone 5S, for the hearts and minds of customers.
In 2012, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 faced some serious competition in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S3 which replaced the Samsung Galaxy S2 in May as Samsung’s flagship smartphone. Six months after its release in the United States, it has become apparent that Samsung has firmly established the Galaxy S series as a credible rival to the iPhone, amassing over 30 million in Galaxy S3 sales.
The Galaxy S3 has virtually pushed all other big name Android smartphones out of the picture, Motorola and HTC included, and along with the Galaxy Note 2, have put Samsung in the drivers seat as the main competition to Apple’s iconic smartphone.
With the iPhone 5 though, Apple upped its game and introduced the first iPhone with a larger display and fast 4G LTE data speeds, both of which were present on Android phones long beforehand. However, with these new features, Apple has even better positioned its yearly smartphone against the opposition and they should help to keep it relevant well into 2013.
Lurking in the distance though are several competitors that hope to put a serious dent into iPhone sales before Apple introduces a new one. One of those devices is the Galaxy S3’s likely successor, the Samsung Galaxy S4, which has already cropped up in quite a few rumors over the past few weeks. Already, we have decently clear picture of what will likely be the device that Samsung relies upon to keep pace with the iPhone during the course of 2013.
But how does the rumored Galaxy S4 stack up against the iPhone 5? Here, we take a close look at how Apple’s current-generation iPhone 5 fares versus the rumored next-generation Galaxy S4 smartphone from Samsung.
On September 21st, Apple finally released its new iPhone after months and months of speculation about its features and its release date. As expected, the device quickly sold out and up until the beginning of December, the iPhone 5 was extremely difficult to find without any sort of a wait. Now, Apple seems to have gotten a grip on the iPhone 5’s supply and those looking to snag one shouldn’t have to wait for more than a few days to get it.
The iPhone 5 is already available on a number of major and regional carriers and it’s possible that 2013 will bring even more carriers into the fold, including Virgin Mobile which has long been rumored to be getting the device.
Of course, while the iPhone 5 is out, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is not. In fact, Samsung hasn’t even announced it yet and likely won’t until at least February. Thus far, four reports peg Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona as the launch date for the Samsung Galaxy S4. MWC is the same show that Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S2 and was heavily rumored to be the launching pad for the Galaxy S3.
The Galaxy S3 wound up launching at a separate event that took place in England during the month of May. While Samsung has not elaborated greatly on why it made the move, one supposed reason is that it wanted to put the launch date of the Galaxy S4 closer to the release date in the United States. Samsung announced the device in May and released it in the U.S. in June.
The Galaxy S2, which debuted in February of 2011, had a much windier road to the United States and one that Samsung likely wanted to avoid with the Galaxy S3. That being said, Samsung is also rumored to be launching the Galaxy S4 in April of next year with two reports pegging the month for launch.
A specific release month isn’t clear but it could be that it’s either announced in February and released in April or announced in April and released closer to the June release date of the Galaxy S3.
Either way, the first half of 2013 looks good for a Galaxy S4 release.
Apple completely changed the design of the iPhone with the iPhone 5. With the iPhone 5, Apple now has a device that sports a taller design due to the larger display, a anodized aluminum back held together by two pieces of glass at the top and bottom and metal. It’s an industrial design that is both easy to hold and durable.
As for the specifics, the iPhone 5 is both lightweight and slim. It weighs 112 grams, much lighter than the 140 grams of the iPhone 4S, and much lighter than most smartphones in the market. In fact, it’s so light that some users were complaining about how light it was when it first came out.
The iPhone 5 is also one of the slimmest smartphones on the market checking in with a design that is just 7.6mm thin. That slim form factor makes it both sleek and pocketable.
Little is known of the Galaxy S4 design though a recent report suggests that it may be thicker than the Galaxy S3. The report suggests that it will be 9.1mm thick, much thicker than the iPhone 5. That would be a little strange given that smartphones, especially high-end ones, are slimming down so it could be that that information is off base. A look at a possible design for the Galaxy S4 can be seen in the video below.
Samsung typically uses polycarbonate material to build its phones and it could opt for the same with the Galaxy S4. Unfortunately, Samsung has made it a priority to keep the designs of its Galaxy S smartphones under tight wraps so we may not actually know what it looks like until it launches.
The iPhone 5 keeps the Retina Display that Apple has put on its two previous smartphones though this time, it’s bigger than the usual 3.5-inch display that was featured on previous iPhone models.
Apple’s new smartphone features a more spacious 4-inch display which offers 1136 x 640 resolution and 326 pixels-per-inch which make for crisp images and text. It also features a 16:9 aspect ratio which offers widescreen resolution for content like television shows and movies.
The arrival of the Droid DNA by HTC has ushered in a new era of Android smartphone screens as the Droid DNA’s 1080p HD display will more than likely be mimicked by other Android manufacturers, Samsung included.
So far, the Galaxy S4 has been rumored to have a 5-inch AMOLED HD display that features 1080p resolution and 441 pixels-per-inch. If true, it could mean that the Galaxy S4’s display will trump the display of the iPhone 5.
Samsung is rumored to be showing off new screen technology at CES 2013 in January and it could be there that we get our first glimpse of the Galaxy S4’s display.
Apple’s iPhone has always had one of the best cameras for a smartphone and that did not change with the iPhone 5’s 8MP iSight camera which shoots great video and captures fantastic photos. The iPhone 5 also has a high-definition front-facing camera that makes for good video chats.
The Galaxy S3’s cameras are not as good as the cameras on the iPhone 5 and that’s an area where Samsung might be looking to make up some ground. Already, the Galaxy S4 is rumored to have a 13MP camera and while megapixels don’t mean everything, it would be strange to see Samsung refrain from outfitting its flagship smartphone with a camera that isn’t at least close to the best on Android.
We imagine that it will also upgrade the front-facing camera as well which, while solid on the Galaxy S3, had some room for improvement. At the very least, look for the Galaxy S4 to sport some upgrades both in the hardware and software department.
Of course, there is hardware beyond the design, display and cameras on board the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 that will appeal to or dissuade potential customers. Here, we take a look at the other specs found on the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4.
First, here is the rundown of the iPhone 5’s specs:
- 4-inch Retina Display with 1136 x 640 Resolution
- Apple A6 Processor
- 16GB/32GB/64GB models
- 8MP rear camera/HD Front-Facing Camera
- 1440mAh Battery (Non-Removable)
- 1GB of RAM
Because the Galaxy S4 is still in the shadows, its other specifications are virtually unknown. Thus far, we’ve heard that it might sport a Exynos 5440 quad-core processor which makes sense considering quad-core processors are now the norm on high-end Android smartphones.
It’ll also likely, like the iPhone 5, come with several storage options besides the base 16GB model. A 32GB is likely and it could be that a 64GB Galaxy S4 hits the United States as well. It’s possible that it will have a microSD card slot for expanded storage as well.
Samsung likes to put removable batteries on their smartphones so expect that from the Galaxy S4 and it should also have a large battery to help power the device throughout the day. Battery life is huge to current customers and with the iPhone 5 up there with the best 4G LTE battery life on the market, Samsung will need to keep pace.
Lastly, while the iPhone 5 doesn’t feature built-in wireless charging, this is something that the Samsung Galaxy S4 could have as it has now become common in high-end smartphones including the Droid DNA and Nexus 4.
One rumor suggests that the phone will have an S-Pen stylus, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, though that seems a little off base considering the S-Pen is one of the Galaxy Note’s unique features.
The arrival of the iPhone 5 also marked the arrival of Apple’s brand new operating system, iOS 6, which offers more than 200 features over the previous version of iOS, iOS 5. Many of those new features can be seen in the video below.
To touch on a few of the big name ones, Apple included more features with its virtual personal assistant Siri, a useful Do Not Disturb feature that can be seen below, Facebook integration, Apple’s new controversial Maps application, Panorama mode for the device’s stellar camera, and a app called Passbook which allows users to store gift cards, airline tickets, sports tickets and more.
And because it’s an iPhone, the iPhone 5 will be getting iOS updates for the years to come.
Samsung does not feature its own operating system and instead uses Google’s Android OS. Right now, there are two rumors out there about which version of Android will be running on the Galaxy S4. Previous rumors suggested that it would have Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie on board, Key Lime Pie of course being the as of yet announced version of Android. Its likely arrival will be at Google I/O 2013 in May.
No features of Key Lime Pie are known at this time.
Another rumor suggests that the Galaxy S4 will have Android Jelly Bean on board though no version was specified. We imagine that the device will have Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board, the latest version from Google, if it indeed has Jelly Bean. Android 4.2 can be seen in the video below.
Samsung will also likely be tweaking the Android software with some powerful features of its own, it did the same with the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, though those features remain firmly in the shadows at this point.
The iPhone 4S was the first iPhone to launch on all three major carriers in AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Previously, the iPhone had only been available on AT&T and Verizon. The iPhone 5, not to be outdone, followed suit and launched on the 4G LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon right from the get-go.
Of course, each network has its advantages and disadvantages, but the point is that the iPhone 5 is available on the three largest 4G LTE service providers in the United States. Apple will be adding the fourth largest mobile carrier in 2013 as well as T-Mobile finally confirmed that it will start selling the iPhone in 2013.
It did not say if it would be the iPhone 5 though which leaves open the possibility of the carrier opting for the iPhone 5S instead of the iPhone 5. Whatever the case may be though, the iPhone will land on T-Mobile and it will likely do so on its 4G LTE network.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 still has no rumored carriers though its arrival is just as predictable as the iPhone’s. With the Galaxy S series, Samsung has launched the device on major U.S. carriers. With the Galaxy S3, the device landed on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon, a launch that was a clear advantage over of its Android rivals. Look for it do the same with the Galaxy S4.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 smartphone will almost assuredly launch on the four current 4G LTE networks in place and it will likely hit T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE network, set to arrive next year, as well.
One of the constants with the iPhone has always been its price and with the iPhone 5, Apple kept the status quo. When the iPhone 5 was released in September, it hit the major carriers with the usual $199.99 on-contract price. That price of course nets customers a 16GB model. And, as iPhone pricing goes, more storage means more money.
Here is how Apple’s on-contract price for the iPhone 5 breaks down:
- iPhone 16GB – $199.99 on-contract
- iPhone 32GB – $299.99 on-contract
- iPhone 64GB – $399.99 on-contract
If T-Mobile does indeed get the iPhone 5, expect the price to be more in line with the off-contract pricing that Apple offers with its iPhone 5. Here is how the off-contract pricing breaks down:
- iPhone 16GB – $649.99 off-contract
- iPhone 32GB – $749.99 off-contract
- iPhone 64GB – $849.99 off-contract
With the Samsung Galaxy S3, the company followed Apple’s pricing structure and American carriers offered the 16GB Galaxy S3 starting at $199.99 on-contract. T-Mobile was the only one of the major carriers to offer it for more and its Galaxy S3 starts at $279.99.
There is currently no rumored pricing for the Galaxy S4 though it would be surprising to see Samsung stray from what has worked so well in the past. Look for the Galaxy S4 to check in with a starting price of $199.99 for a 16GB model.
And with T-Mobile switching over to Value plan pricing, expect a number of different price points for its likely 4G LTE version of the Galaxy S4. We haven’t seen the policy enacted quite yet so at this point, it’s impossible to predict how much the carrier might charge.