In just a few weeks, Samsung will announce its latest entry to the smartphone world in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 will replace the previous Galaxy S smartphone, 2012’s Galaxy S3, and look to challenge the best of the best on the smartphone market including Apple’s most current iPhone, the iPhone 5.
Last year, Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy S3 in May to compete with Apple’s then current-generation iPhone model, the iPhone 4S. The device quickly proved itself to be a best-seller as it not only was backed by the United States’ five largest carriers but also featured some fantastic hardware and software to boot.
Samsung announced that the Galaxy S3 had broken sales records previously set by the Galaxy S2, 2011’s Galaxy S smartphone, and so far, the device has gone on to sell more than 40 million units around the world.
Besides the carriers and the features, part of the Galaxy S3’s success can be attributed to an expansive marketing campaign aimed directly at the iPhone and its users. Right around the time of the iPhone 5 launch, which took place later in the year in September, Samsung released Galaxy S3 ads that poked fun at the iPhone, its perceived lack of “new” features and owners of the iPhone.
While Apple fans weren’t amused, the advertisements seemed to strike a chord with the general public, and that maybe has best been shown in the excitement surrounding the Galaxy S4 launch.
In late 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S4 leaked for the first time, and the attention that consumers gave it was immense, much larger than the attention shown to the Galaxy S3. And since then, the Galaxy S4 has been one of the most heavily rumored and highly anticipated smartphones in recent memory. That said, despite the anticipation and the good-looking rumors, it’s not going to go unchallenged.
Apple’s iPhone 5, while a 2012 smartphone, is still a wily veteran, and one that will likely offer some advantages over the powerful Samsung Galaxy S4 when it arrives.
We’ve already taken a look at how the Samsung Galaxy S4 could beat the iPhone 5 and now, it’s time to take a look at how Apple’s current iPhone could best the Samsung Galaxy S4.
7 Ways the iPhone 5 Could Beat the Samsung Galaxy S4
For years, Samsung has used polycarbonate plastic designs for its high-end devices and current rumors suggest that the design of the Galaxy S4 will either mirror the Galaxy S3’s or the Galaxy Note 8.0’s, both of which are made up of plastic.
As we’ve argued numerous times, while the plastic designs from Samsung aren’t absolutely terrible, they are no match for the looks and quality of the iPhone 5’s industrial design.
One of the trends of smartphones these days are huge displays. We’ve seen the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2 and even a Galaxy Note 8.0 smartphone with an 8-inch display.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 won’t be quite as big as either of those, but it will have a large screen. Rumors suggest a 4.99-inch to 5-inch display. And while Samsung may be able to keep it thin, rumors suggest it will check in with a design that features a sub eight millimeter design, it won’t be able to keep down the weight and the overall footprint if the screen is that large.
The iPhone 5’s smaller 4-inch display means that it’s a smaller smartphone than most smartphones. It also is extremely thin, checking in at 7.6mm and weighing a mere 112 grams. While the Galaxy S4 could be as thin, it likely will weigh more due to its overall design. It will also likely be wider than the iPhone 5.
What this means is that the iPhone 5 could be much easier to hold and much more pocketable than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Quicker Bug Fix Updates
Samsung may have the most popular Android device on the planet but it doesn’t mean that the carrier is granted a special pass when it comes to the clutches of American carriers.
For example, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, which had issues at launch, saw its first bug fix update five months after launch which, while officially unknown, likely had less to do with Samsung than it did with Verizon.
What we mean by all of this is that American carriers consistently meddle with updates – whether its through testing or adding bloatware – and it will likely be the same for the Galaxy S4 which is expected to arrive on an assortment of carriers.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 5 and Apple are unobstructed by carriers. Instead, if a bug is discovered with the iPhone, Apple gets to work and an update is issued as soon as Apple is ready. Not the carrier.
This translates into quicker bug fix updates and happier customers.
Software Release Dates
Bug fix updates aren’t the only software updates that iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 owners have to look forward to. In addition, there are big yearly software updates that deliver a host of features. And one of the biggest drawbacks of the major Android updates is that they have unpredictable and often slow release dates.
For example, in July of last year, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean rolled out to Google’s Nexus devices. Android manufacturers, per usual, offered no specific release dates for the updates release. It wound up arriving for Samsung’s smartphone in September and even later for the Galaxy S3 devices in the United States.
And now, Galaxy S3 owners are waiting for Android 4.2 Jelly Bean which was announced in November, three months ago, and still hasn’t hit any big name devices outside of Google’s Nexus stable.
It’s a frustrating experience, not having any clue when a major update, which is already out, might arrive for a device, if at all.
With Apple, it’s like clockwork and iPhone 5 owners are never wondering about when an update might roll out. Apple typically announces major iOS updates alongside its next iPhone. It gives a specific date, and it rolls out the software on that date. No games, no surprises, no wondering.
iPhone 5 Accessory Ecosystem
When the Samsung Galaxy S3 launched, its accessory selection was no where close to the ecosystem that Apple had in place for the iPhone 4S. And the same could happen to the Galaxy S4, particularly if it comes with a different design.
Apple dominates the accessory ecosystem as its sales mean its highly lucrative for accessory makers. What this means is that the iPhone 5 will never be in short supply of a variety of cases, docks, and more.
As the months have gone on, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has come on strong with accessory makers offering a good mix of accessories. However, we still aren’t sure of the Galaxy S4 design so it’s hard to say if current accessories will apply to the current model.
If it is different, it could mean that Galaxy S4 owners are going to have to wait for accessories to arrive. And even when they do, the selection likely won’t be as top notch as Apple’s.
The Google Play Store and the iOS App Store both feature hundreds of thousands of applications but there are some key differences.
One of the benefits that the iPhone 5 has over the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the fact that app developers tend to release applications for iOS first and Android, the operating system on the Samsung Galaxy S4, second.
Examples include Crazy Taxi, Instagram, Temple Run and more, all of which came to iOS first before they came to Android. What this means is that Samsung Galaxy S4 owners are going to have to be resigned to the fact that new apps may come to iOS first.
Additionally, as we’ve seen with products like the Nike+ FuelBand, companies often choose not to develop at all for Android leaving them looking at alternatives.
One thing that consumers are going to want to look for in a new smartphone is whether or not it will last through a contract or better yet, last even longer than that. Remember, not everyone buys a new smartphone every year or even every two years.
Samsung has done a great job of updating its older phones with Android updates but history shows that Android devices often come to an end of life, in terms of software, long before iPhone models.
Case in point, the Samsung Galaxy S2 which recently shocked the world by getting its second major Android update in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. And while owners were excited and surprised by the update, they likely aren’t looking very far ahead.
With the iPhone, Apple has proven that owners can keep a phone for two years or more. The iPhone 3GS for instance is over three years old and just got the most recent iOS update, iOS 6.1.2 just like the iPhone 5.
Three years and some change of support is not typical of Android phones which often fall by the wayside once a new flagship arrives. (Just take a look at last year’s HTC One X which is still without Android 4.1 on AT&T.)
With the iPhone 5, owners are guaranteed a long lasting life. The Galaxy S4? It’s a roll of the dice.