Later today, Samsung will finally reveal the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that has been rumored since the latter part of 2013. And while the spotlight will be on many of the competitors that the Galaxy S4 will definitely see on shelves when it’s released, many consumers will be trying to match up Apple’s rumored iPhone 5S alongside it as well.
Back in September, the first Samsung Galaxy S4 rumor trickled out. That rumor only came a few months after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and things settled down for a few months until the dam opened up and the flood waters came through. Since then, the Galaxy S4 has seen an avalanche of rumors, with whispers about the next Galaxy S4 smartphone leaking on a daily basis.
The amount of leaks though hasn’t been surprising given the amount of interest in the Samsung Galaxy S4. Since launch, the Galaxy S3 was sold over 40 million units, a record for a Galaxy S smartphone. And backed by a superb ad campaign, wherein Samsung directly attacked the iPhone 5 and its users, the Galaxy S3 was able to place itself on the same pedestal as the iPhone for not just power users but for average consumers as well.
This type of success has almost certainly contributed to the frenzy that is currently surrounding the Galaxy S4 and its launch. Average consumers, not just Android enthusiasts and Samsung fans, are genuinely excited to see what Samsung has in store for them and the company has obliged with a massive pre-launch campaign on the web and in New York City, the venue for the Galaxy S4 launch.
And whereas in years past, where rumors of a new iPhone would be dominating the rumor mill, the Galaxy S4 has dwarfed them in size. However that doesn’t mean that we haven’t heard anything about Apple’s iPhone plans for 2013.
In fact, we’ve heard quite a few things about what Apple may, or may not, have up its sleeve for later this year. Indeed, the iPhone 5 will start out as the Galaxy S4’s greatest threat but all signs are pointing to an iPhone 5S coming out at some point later this year. Details are more scarce than the Galaxy S4’s, but we still have enough to make a comparison.
We’ve already taken two initial looks at how the iPhone 5S might compare to the Galaxy S4 and now it’s time to enter the final round and see just how Apple’s rumored iPhone 5S stacks up versus the rumored Samsung Galaxy S4, set for launch later today.
Today, Samsung will take the wrappings off of the new Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that will replace its current flagship, the Galaxy S3. The event is set to take place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, which has a capacity of over 6000 and an orchestra pit, which points to Samsung putting on another spectacle.
The announcement will reveal the key components of the Samsung Galaxy S4 including its hardware, software, and most likely, its upcoming release date as well. It’s unclear whether or not Samsung will offer specific dates or if it will leave the dates up to carrier to announce as it has done in the past.
Last year’s Galaxy S3 was tagged with a specific release date in the United Kingdom, the same city where its launch date took place, and it could be that Samsung offers similar for the Galaxy S4 in the U.S. It’s also possible that Samsung may offer specifics for other regions instead.
Thus far, rumors have suggested that the Galaxy S4 will be released in Europe in April with the United States getting it later on, possibly as soon as May or June. If true, that would mean it would be getting it much earlier than the Galaxy S3 which U.S. carriers in June and July.
Last year, the iPhone 5 launched in September, several months after the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S3. This gave Samsung and its flagship a bit of a head start over Apple’s 2012 iPhone.
So far, rumors have suggested that Apple might be moving the iPhone 5S launch up to the summer to better situate it against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Rumors and analysts notes have all suggested that the iPhone 5S will be released sometime this summer with July and August both being mentioned as possible release months. Apple is also rumored to have already begun iPhone 5S production ahead of a release this summer.
If that’s true, it would likely mean that the iPhone 5S would be announced at WWDC 2013, Apple’s annual developer conference which takes place in San Francisco. In past years, the company has used the event to showcase iOS and OS X, but given the rumors, it’s possible that Apple may use it to announce a new iPhone.
It’s also entirely possible that all of this is incorrect and Apple will again release its new iPhone ahead of the fall shopping season. Nothing is for certain when it comes to rumors.
Up until the past few weeks, the Samsung Galaxy S4 design had been a bit of a mystery. However, through leaks, rumors and chatty Samsung executives, we know have a very solid picture of the Galaxy S4 design, even if the real Galaxy S4 hasn’t leaked out.
The latest rumors have suggested that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will boast a design that is 7.9mm thin. The most current design leak shows off a phone that is much thinner than some of the other leaks that we have seen though it’s unclear if it’s the final design or if it’s 7.9mm thin. The Galaxy S3 was 8.6mm in size and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsung shave some of that off.
Recently, a Samsung executive hinted at the possibility of a plastic Galaxy S4 design. Some consumers have been hoping that the company shifts away from its usual polycarbonate plastic design with the Galaxy S4 but the company’s touting of the material points to the Galaxy S4 likely having it on board. So do leaks.
Samsung says that plastic not only helps to make the device durable, but it also offers consumers a removable back and helps Samsung pump out devices at a speedier rate in an effort to keep up with demand.
We’ve also seen alleged Galaxy S4 photos leak out and all of them have sported a plastic design. There is a good chance that all of these are dummy phones and not the real thing, but at this point, a Galaxy S4 with a non-plastic design would be strange.
Rumors also have suggested that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will keep a home button, just like the previous Galaxy devices like the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2.
Samsung also recently teased a photo of what could be the Galaxy S4 and the teaser showed a device with a curved design similar to the Galaxy S3, something that lines up with rumors as well.
If this is all true, the Galaxy S4 will likely look much different than the iPhone 5S as Apple’s new iPhone is currently pegged to look exactly like the iPhone 5 from a design standpoint.
The iPhone 5 represented a vast departure from the iPhone 4S as it features an aluminum back, metal band and two pieces of glass holding it together giving it an industrial design. Apple was not able to slim the device down and make it extremely lightweight, but it also managed to keep the width the same while making the screen larger.
Apple’s iPhone 5 is one of the slimmest and most lightweight smartphones on the market. It features a design that is a mere 7.6mm thin and weighs only 112 grams. Rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S will keep the same design as the iPhone 5 which means that it could keep these measurements as well.
Typically, Apple keeps a design around for two devices. It did so with the iPhone 4 and 4S and iPhone 3G and 3GS so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the iPhone 5S arrive with a similar form factor.
Should this occur, it could be that the iPhone 5S features a slimmer and more lightweight design than the Galaxy S4. It should also be much smaller given that it would likely keep the same display size as well.
Apple increased the size of the display with the iPhone 5, pushing the screen from the usual 3.5-inches to a larger 4-inches, a size that helps it be more comparable to the other large screen smartphones on the market.
What Apple didn’t do however was increase the resolution of the iPhone 5’s display. Instead, it features a Retina Display with 1136 x 640 resolution, which is less than HD. It still features a high pixel-per-inch count which helps it to compete, however.
The iPhone 5S will likely keep the same size display as the iPhone 5S. Tim Cook recently said that it was happy with the size that it chose for the iPhone 5, a hint that big changes aren’t coming this year.
Recent rumors have not suggested any significant upgrade to the resolution or pixel-per-inch count of the iPhone 5S, but it’s possible that Apple could do something in order to keep pace with some of the big time phones of 2013. Sharp’s IGZO displays have been rumored in the past but thus far, there has been no credible evidence of one appearing in the iPhone 5S.
Apple has reportedly been testing new screen technology for new iPhone models but thus far, there is no credible evidence that suggest that Apple will be making huge improvements to the display. Instead, it may feature the same one as the iPhone 5.
Samsung on the other hand is said to be bringing a significant display upgrade to its Galaxy S4. While the Galaxy S3 featured a 4.8-inch display with 720p HD, the Galaxy S4 is currently rumored to have a 5-inch display with 1080p resolution and a high pixel-per-inch count.
If true, it would put it on par with other Android smartphones that have launched this year and make for some of the best looking on-screen content that the smartphone world has ever seen.
What’s more is that Samsung is rumored to be using sensors that will allow Galaxy S4 users to interact with content on the display, without having to physically touch the display itself.
The technology is currently being called floating touch and while it has shown up on phones in the past, it never has arrived on a device as big as the Samsung Galaxy S4. A video seems to offer proof of this feature.
In it, we see a person activating Air View, a preview like feature found on the Galaxy Note 2, by hovering his finger over the Galaxy S4 screen. As the video proves, he is simply hovering over the display with his finger to access content on the display. The Galaxy Note 2 requires an S Pen stylus for this type of magic to happen.
At the very least, expect a larger, higher-resolution display in the Galaxy S4.
One feature that consumers look for in a smartphone is a great camera and both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S will likely deliver.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is rumored to have a 13MP sensor on board. Recently leaked images, thought to have been taken with the Galaxy S4 camera, show that it may be able to capture some extremely detailed photos. Rumors also suggest that it could have a 13MP Sony Exmor RS sensor on board, the same found in the Sony Xperia Z.
If true, that could mean that the Galaxy S4 will shoot HDR video, something that the Galaxy S3 could not do.
iPhone 5S currently suggest that Apple will be making a big upgrade to the camera with the iPhone 5S. In fact, rumors suggest that the device could feature a 13MP camera, perhaps the Sony Exmor RS sensor that’s found in the Galaxy S4.
Additionally, the company is said to be including dual-LED flash which would allow the iPhone 5S to take better pictures in low-light settings, a place where the iPhone 5 camera has struggled more than some of the competition.
Of course, both phones will feature specifications beyond their design, display, and camera. Here are some of the other key specifications that have been rumored for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S.
First, both will likely feature processor upgrades over their predecessors. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is rumored to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor on board for the U.S. and a Exynos 5 Octa quad-core processor on board for other parts of the world. Both processors are current-gen and will offer better performance than their predecessors.
Apple’s iPhone 5 is rumored to feature an upgraded processor, up from the A6, and rumors have suggested either an A6X, like the one found in the iPad 4 or a new Apple A7 chip. Apple routinely upgrades its processors so expect an upgrade in this department, something that should help to offer better performance than the iPhone 5.
Second, the Galaxy S4 has been rumored to be coming in six different variants. 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models in both black and white. If true, that would mirror the iPhone 5 exactly. The iPhone 5S has been rumored to be coming in more colors than just black and white but thus far, no credible evidence has surfaced.
The Galaxy S4 though should feature expandable storage, which means that it should have a microSD card slot that will take storage beyond those points. iPhones typically do not have expanded storage so expect the device to arrive with those options only, like the iPhone 5.
Third, the Galaxy S4 should feature a removable back so that users can replace or extend the rumored 2,600 mAh battery inside. The iPhone 5 does not feature a removable back which likely means that iPhone 5S owners will be stuck with the battery.
Fourth, the Galaxy S4 is rumored to be coming with a wireless charging kit, which takes advantage of the fact that its back plate can be removed. When the special back plate is attached, the Galaxy S4 should be able to charge without wires. There have been rumors that the iPhone 5S might have wireless charging but more recent rumors suggest that its more likely with the iPhone 6.
And finally, fifth, the iPhone 5S is rumored to have a fingerprint scanner for extra security. That may be the ‘S’ in iPhone 5S. It’s also thought to have NFC on board, much like the Galaxy S4 will. NFC would let both devices act as mobile wallets.
While the iPhone 5 ushered in the era of iOS 6 with Apple Maps, Passbook and more, the iPhone 5S will more than likely arrive with the new iOS 7 on board. Thus far, the software has remained a mystery, as most major iOS updates are prior to launch, but we should get a good look at it this summer at WWDC.
Based on the past, iOS 7 should feature hundreds of new features and given that Apple included a unique software feature with the iPhone 4S in Siri, we could potentially see some unique software arrive for the iPhone 5S to help Apple sell it over the iPhone 5. NFC and the fingerprint reader would likely have new software to take advantage of, but those features haven’t become clear.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be running Google’s Android software, likely Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the latest version. However, it will also likely be hosting a number of different software features courtesy of Samsung itself.
One of those features is said to be Smart Pause, which will automatically pause content when the user looks away. Another rumored feature is Samsung Orb, which is thought to allow users to take 360-degree panoramas with their camera. The feature is said to be like Photo Sphere which comes with Android 4.2.
Swiftkey has also been rumored to have baked in its smart keyboard software into the Galaxy S4 keyboard in order to offer, quicker, more efficient predictive typing.
The iPhone 5 is available on a wide range of carriers including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and several regional and smaller carriers. No carriers have popped up for the iPhone 5S yet, but consumers should expect the same carriers and the addition of T-Mobile which has announced the iPhone for launch later this year.
If AT&T, Sprint T-Mobile and Verizon all get the iPhone 5S, and they should, all four carriers will house the iPhone 5S on their 4G LTE networks which are much faster than their 3G or 4G networks.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will also see a wide launch in the United States though only AT&T and Verizon have been rumored as carriers thus far. Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular have all hosted the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 like AT&T and Verizon so it would be odd to see them left out of the Galaxy S4 party.
Expect the Galaxy S4 to run on their 4G LTE networks including on T-Mobile’s which is set to expand later on this year.
The iPhone 5 sports a $199.99 on-contract starting price across the board and that should be the expected price of the iPhone 5S with larger storage options seeing progressively more expensive pricing.
A 32GB iPhone 5 costs $299.99 and the 64GB iPhone 5 costs $399.99. T-Mobile will be shifting to unsubsidized contracts and its pricing will likely be different than the other carriers.
Apple also offers an unlocked iPhone 5 though it starts at $649, much more expensive. No word on whether it will do the same with the iPhone 5S but it’s likely.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 should follow suit. The Galaxy S3 was $199.99 for a 16GB model while a 32GB undercut the iPhone as it arrived with a $249.99 price tag.
Again, T-Mobile will likely offer a different pricing structure should it get the Galaxy S4.