The iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S4 represent two of the biggest smartphone names of 2013 thus far. Thing is, neither of them has even been announced yet. We’re a little more than a month into the new year and we’ve not only seen a healthy amount of rumors regarding both devices but both rumored smartphones have emerged at the top of consumers wish lists. We’ve already taken a look at how they stacked up initially and now, it’s time to dive in for the second round of iPhone 5S versus Samsung Galaxy S4.
Last year, the smartphone landscape was dominated by the launch of two smartphones. The first was the Samsung Galaxy S3, a device that was the company’s follow up to the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy S2 from 2011 and a device which went on to set sales records. The anticipation for the Galaxy S3 was great leading up to its launch in May and Samsung delivered.
The Galaxy S3 was a sleek piece of hardware, inspired by nature Samsung said, and featured the company’s brand new Nature UX software to compliment not just the hardware, but a host of carrier options as well. Samsung’s device not only went on to become one of the most popular smartphones in 2012, but it smashed the sales records that were originally set by the Samsung Galaxy S2.
Thus far, Samsung has sold over 40 million Galaxy S3 units around the world, a figure that was helped along by its features and a successful marketing campaign aimed at the iPhone. All of these components has helped to lift the Galaxy S series to the same pedestal as the iPhone and it’s no wonder why there is a Samsung Galaxy S4 frenzy amongst smartphone enthusiasts and average shoppers.
Of course, the Galaxy S4 isn’t the only big name smartphone that has been rumored in 2013. No, Apple has not been left out of the rumor game this time around either. This might seem like a bit of a surprise. The Galaxy S3 is an aging smartphone, released back in June in the U.S., while the iPhone 5 was only just released in September.
To put it bluntly, this isn’t a surprise at all. In fact, next-generation iPhone rumors generally surface after the buzz of the latest launch dies down. So, it’s not surprising to see the iPhone 5S, the rumored successor of the iPhone 5, being mentioned amongst the big names of 2013, Galaxy S4 included.
So far, we’ve seen rumors swirling around about both phones. As we said, we already made one initial comparison between the devices but in the weeks since, we’ve seen a host of new rumors emerge prompting us to pit them against each other in the ring once again.
That said, here is how the rumored iPhone 5S matches up against the rumored Galaxy S4 in terms of release date, features, and more.
Maybe the biggest piece of information that consumers look for ahead of a smartphone launch is the release date. Fortunately, release dates are often the most heavily rumored pieces of information and already, we’ve heard possibilities in regards to both the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The latest rumors suggest that Apple may again be changing up its launch timing for the iPhone. Prior to this week, we had heard a number of leaks and analysts, including the trustworthy KGI Securities analyst Ming-Cho Kuo, suggest that Apple may be looking to move up the release of the iPhone even further than it did with the iPhone 5S. More specifically, this summer.
Several iPhone launches, pre-iPhone 4S, took place during the summer at Apple’s WWDC developer conference in San Francisco. It was the iPhone 4S launch, which happened in October, which changed up the game. However, all signs so far point to Apple possibly making a return to WWDC this year with a new iPhone model.
The latest assertion comes from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek who claims that Apple is slowing down iPhone 5 production ahead of iPhone 5S production. Misek believes Apple will start mass producing the iPhone 5S in March in preparation for a launch this summer in June, the same month that WWDC typically takes place.
We’ve also see one analyst predict that Apple might use a new chip from Broadcom in the iPhone 5S which is rumored to be in high-production in mid-2013, pointing to a summer iPhone 5S release.
The well-sourced iLounge has backed up the claims of a summer launch with a specific month that Apple is apparently targeting for a release date. That month? July.
Apple generally releases its devices shortly after they launch so July makes perfect sense if Apple is indeed looking to launch a new iPhone during the summer once again.
One of the reasons that Apple may be bumping up the launch is to better compete with the Samsung Galaxy S4. Last year, the Galaxy S3 got a head start on the iPhone 5 by launching in June and Apple may want to creep up closer so that it can bite into its sales. Like the iPhone 5S rumors though, the Galaxy S4 launch situation remains unresolved.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 currently has two possible launch dates. The first, March 22nd, emerged out of a report from Asiae. The second, March 15th, is from a report by SamMobile who has been deadly accurate with its information in the past. Even without a date pinned down, it’s looking like March may very well be the launch month for the Galaxy S4.
As for its release date, Samsung is rumored to be moving it up from May, the month that the Galaxy S3 launched, to April, at least in Europe. The U.S. is currently pegged to have a Galaxy S4 release date in either May or June.
No specific dates have been set but it’s looking like, at the very least, the Galaxy S4 is only a few weeks away from launching.
While many consumers may be hoping for a redesigned iPhone with the iPhone 5, rumors point to that not being the case at all. Instead, the company is rumored to be continuing its trend of keeping the same design with the ‘S’ model of its iPhone.
iPhone 5S rumors thus far have unanimously claimed that the iPhone 5S will keep the exact same design as the iPhone 5. If true, it wouldn’t be surprising. With the two other ‘S’ iPhone models, Apple kept the design of the predecessor, specifically, the iPhone 3GS design mirrored the iPhone 3GS’ and the iPhone 4S’ was the same as the iPhone 4′s.
Should the iPhone 5S keep the same design as the iPhone 5, it will employ a industrial looking form factor that is comprised of metal, glass and anodized aluminum. It will also have one of the most lightweight, slim designs on the market.
The iPhone 5 checks in with a design that measures a mere 7.6mm thin and weights a feathery 112 grams. Both are top of the line for smartphones on the market right now, though the Galaxy S4 could certainly challenge it.
If that’s the case, we likely won’t know until the actual Galaxy S4 launch event. Even now, with all of the rumors swirling, the only thing that we’ve heard about the Galaxy S4 design specifically is that, according to Korean publication DDaily, the device will indeed have a physical home button and will look similar to the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Specific dimensions, building materials and the like remain unknown and likely will until the launch due to high security measures that Samsung puts around its flagship devices.
However, given that smartphone designs are getting thinner and thinner and Samsung generally uses polycarbonate material to build its phones, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Galaxy S4 with a thinner design than the Galaxy S3, but keep the same plastic material.
If the iPhone 5S keeps the same design as the iPhone 5, it will more than likely have the same 4-inch display size as the iPhone 5. In fact, rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S will indeed keep the same 4-inch screen size to go along with a 4-inch cheaper iPhone that is rumored to possibly be coming alongside the iPhone 5S.
What’s unclear though is whether Apple will make any adjustments to the display’s resolution or pixel count. With 2013 smartphones upping their display tech, Galaxy S4 included, Apple’s Retina Display will likely start looking a bit outdated.
Apple has long been rumored to be using Sharp’s IGZO display technology in its mobile devices and it could be that it decides to use IGZO display tech with the iPhone 5S’ display.
If it were to do that, Apple would likely be able to increase the pixel-per-inch count to better compete with 2013’s high-end displays while also increasing the battery life of the iPhone 5S. Both additions would be significant additions to the iPhone 5’s successor.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is said to be one of the devices that will be arriving with new display technology. Rumors over the past few days, including benchmarks, suggest that the Galaxy S4 will come with a 4.99-5-inch FHD display with 1080p resolution and a 400+ PPI count. However, Samsung apparently isn’t content with that.
More recently, the company has been rumored to be including touch less gestures with the display which would allow for users to manipulate content on the screen without physically touching the display itself.
The technology has appeared on other smartphones, namely the Pantech Vega 4G LTE and the Xperia Sola from Sony, but it has yet to arrive on a big name smartphone.
The Galaxy S4 could be the first big name phone to boast it.
The iPhone 5 had one of the best rear cameras of 2012 and rumors claim that the camera on the iPhone 5S will be even better.
iLounge claims that the device could be outfitted with an upgraded rear camera sensor that could very well wind up being of the 13 mega-pixel variety, courtesy of Sony. The report claims that it might wind up being the star of the iPhone 5S show, a sign of how impressive this camera might be.
Apple typically upgrades its rear camera from iPhone to iPhone so it would be surprising not to see the iPhone 5S feature an upgrade to its rear camera, at the very least.
Same goes for the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S3 boasted a decent camera but with camera tech and user camera dependency on the rise, the company is likely going to install a brand new camera in the Galaxy S4.
Rumors still point to a 13MP sensor though, as we saw with HTC’s One, it could be something more impressive. The HTC One is said to have a 4.3 Ultrapixel camera, which uses three 4.3MP sensors to produce a high quality image.
Whether Samsung does something similar with the Galaxy S4 remains to be seen.
Beyond the display, design and the camera, there of course will be other specifications powering both of these phones. Specifications are currently scarce for both unfortunately but we have heard a few rumors recently that point to some significant developments.
The Galaxy S4 might be coming with the new Broadcom 4335 chip on board. If this is true, it could affect the Galaxy S4 positively in three ways. One, it could help to keep the device thin. Two, it could help to offer improved battery life as Broadcom claims that it “features the industry’s most advanced idle power consumption performance, which significantly extends a mobile device’s battery life.” And three, it could mean that the device is equipped with improved Wi-Fi.
The new chip not only supports a number of Wi-Fi driven features such as Miracast, PassPoint and WiFi Direct, all of which would help to make the device smarter, but it also could feature 5G Wi-Fi which would increase the connection’s range.
Samsung also may be putting the Exynos 5 Octa quad-core processor on board the Galaxy S4 which could lead to improved battery life as well. Benchmarks have shown that at least some models could feature Qualcomm’s SoC chip but that should mean improvements over the Galaxy S3 nonetheless.
Samsung is also rumored to be working on a number of accessories including a wireless charging kit which looks like it may be available when the device is released. An official wireless charging kit would allow users to charge up the Galaxy S4 without the need for wires, perfect for those that tend to keep their phone on a night stand at night.
It should also come with all the bells and whistles of a big name Android smartphone, including NFC.
As for the iPhone 5S, rumors are scarce. We imagine that the iPhone 5S will either have the same great battery life as the iPhone 5 or better and will feature an improved processor as well. Apple generally puts improved processors in its new devices.
If the iPhone 5 does keep the same design as the iPhone 5, it will mean that it doesn’t have a microSD card slot or removable battery like the Galaxy S4 will. We’ve also seen evidence that NFC, Near-Field Communication, may not be present in the new iPhone.
Of course, we expect more information about the rest of the iPhone 5S’ specs to leak once we get closer to launch.
Typically, when Apple launches a new smartphone, it also releases a new version of its mobile operating system. With iOS 6, the software running on the iPhone 5, Apple introduced the software to the world at WWDC 2012 in June but released it for the first time in September.
This could play out the same way with the iPhone 5S. iOS 7, the successor to iOS 6, has shown up in logs already. However, the software itself has yet to surface. The last two years, iOS software has been shown off in June at WWDC and we expect iOS 7, despite it remaining in the shadows, to be debuted at this year’s conference.
What it will be comprised of when it does arrive is unknown though with Jony Ive and Craig Federighi taking over for former iOS chief Scott Forstall, we could see some drastic changes to how iOS looks.
Apple generally includes hundreds of new features in its new mobile software and users who are on older iOS devices should expect that from the iOS 7 update.
It’s also possible that the iPhone 5S could feature some unique software to differentiate it from the iPhone 5. With the iPhone 3GS, the S meant ‘Speed’. But with the iPhone 4S, ‘S’ stood for Siri, a software feature that remained unique to that model for quite some time.
The ‘S’ in iPhone 5S could potentially stand for some unique software component as well with ‘Security’ being a possibility given that we’ve seen an Apple patent filed for a hidden thumbprint scanner that could be used to make Apple’s devices more secure.
Samsung has been no slouch when it comes to software either. With the Galaxy S3, it introduced the Nature UX user interface which brought several features to compliment those of Android. Rumors about what Samsung has in store for the Galaxy S4 are unclear though two trademarks suggest that something big could be in the works.
The two features found in a trademark listing are dubbed “Eye Scroll” and “Eye Pause.” It’s unclear if they will arrive in the Galaxy S4 but we could potentially see the device arrive with Nature UX 2.0.
As far as Android is concerned, the Galaxy S4 has appeared recently in several benchmarks with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board so it appears all but certain that it will have Google’s latest Android update on board.
Android 4.2 features several new features to Jelly Bean including improvements to Google Now, a gesture-based keyboard, and a new Quick Settings menu.
The iPhone 5 launched on the 4G LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon back in September. It also launched on smaller carriers like Cricket Wireless in the days after and it’s also now available on smaller regional carriers throughout the United States.
That type of carrier support is not only important for the success of the device but it’s also important to consumers as they are able to pick and choose where to bring their iPhone.
No rumors about the iPhone 5S’ carriers have surfaced but again, we imagine that AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will be on board again and we should see T-Mobile launch the device as well.
T-Mobile, earlier in the year, confirmed that it will be carrying the iPhone at some point in 2013. It has not stated whether it will be the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S or both, but we imagine that the iPhone 5S will more than likely be a part of that launch.
Like the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S3 launched on an assortment of carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular. This too was likely vital to its success.
So far, we’ve seen the Galaxy S4 rumored for two carriers.A user string agent hinted at an AT&T model while the Verizon model purportedly showed up in a benchmark today.
Neither carrier has confirmed its plans but we imagine that they will be integral to the Galaxy S4’s launch In the United States. Furthermore, we would be surprised to see the Galaxy S4 miss other carriers. Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular are likely destinations.
Thus far, we’ve seen no rumors emerge in regards to the pricing of either the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, given their past, and how the market looks right now, we don’t expect either of them to arrive for anything over $199.99, at least for the starting models.
As we’ve heard, HTC is going to likely be pricing its HTC One flagship at $199.99. That will most likely net consumers a 16GB model. HTC set that pricing to best compete against the iPhone 5 which is priced starting at $199 and likely will be until the iPhone 5S arrives.
The Galaxy S3 also arrived last year for $199.99 for the 16GB model. So, it seems pretty clear that this is the type of price that consumers will be looking at when the devices arrive later on this year.
Expect the iPhone 5S to have, at the least, three models with pricing going up to $399.99. There have been rumors of a 128GB iPhone 5S and if it does arrive expect it to do so for $499.99.
Both models will likely be sold unlocked, like their predecessors, that model should command a price well over $500.