A Not So New Competitor

9/14/2012 8:59:06 PM

Apple and Microsoft have been at each other’s throats when it comes to Smartphones, but are the companies ignoring a bigger threat?

Recent reports point to a consumer technology war brewing between Apple and Microsoft. The two have been battling for a while now over dominance of consumer technology. Whether its personal computers, tablets, televisions, or any other device, you can be sure that Microsoft and Apple are blowing up the newsrooms. But new evidence is suggesting that Apple may have a much bigger competitor to worry about, specifically in the realm of smartphones.

Description: Apple and Microsoft
Apple and Microsoft

Samsung's impressive growth

With all of the media attention between Apple and Microsoft, it's easy to understand how other companies could seemingly fly under the radar. But a new report by Juniper Research is suggesting that Samsung has experienced abundant growth in the smartphone market, which has gone by seemingly unnoticed by most of the big players in consumer tech.

According to the report, Samsung has managed to ship 52.1 million smartphone units in the second quarter of 2012. That number is a little hard to put into context unless you compare it to Apple's shipments in quarter two, which only equated to around 26 million. Samsung managed to move twice as many mobile devices as their lead competitor. That's almost unheard of, in an age where Apple products generally dominate the market. The iPhone 4 and iPhone4S were among some of the best-selling Apple products and it seemed that almost everyone who was anyone had one of these phones at their fingertips. But the Juniper Report suggests that Apple's products are slowly losing steam when compared to the constantly changing, innovative devices that Samsung has been cranking out lately.

Description: Samsung Galaxy SIII
Samsung Galaxy SIII

Take, for example, the new Galaxy S3 smartphone, which comes packaged with the Android OS. This popular Samsung product is lighting up the mobile world with its impressive stats. The Galaxy S3 boasts a powerful 1.4-Gigahertz Quad Core processor, along with 1-Gigabyte of RAM. You get 16-Gigabytes of total storage space, with the option to add additional memory via an SD slot. With the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, you've got access to almost any application imaginable, and a large 2,100mAh battery will allow you to surf, play, and photograph for hours on end. Your photographs will look great too, thanks to an 8-Megapixel auto focus camera. But none of these stats compare to the Galaxy S3's monumental 4.8 inch HD super AMOLED 1280x720 displays.

This phone has been phenomenally successful for the company and helped them to dig in and set up shop within this niche. Their recent victory is only going to propel the tech developer to craft a bigger and better phone, something that both Microsoft and Apple have been ignoring lately.

When Apple became a smartphone contender

Description: iPhone 4S
IPhone 4S

When Apple first unveiled its revolutionary design for the iPhone 4, it seemed like a glimpse into the future. Its sleek design, large screen, and powerful chipsets helped to craft a device that was lusted for by many a consumer. It was the first time that Apple released a smartphone that was truly breathtaking to the general public, and the rejoicing of fans had the developer walking tall with pride over their newfound success.

It was obvious that Apple didn't just want to reach the top; they wanted to stay there. This was evident by the release of the iPhone 4S. This sleeker, slimmer design with a more powerful auto focus camera and improved hardware seemed to be just what consumers were looking for and it really helped to draw in the non-believers who had yet to try an Apple mobile device for themselves. But one added feature to the iPhone 4S would prove to be the catalyst for what really pushed Apple into the limelight, causing many developers to become envious of the companies advancements.

Apple's flagship A.I., Siri, is considered to be the feature that changed a lot of consumers’ minds when it came to purchasing an Apple device. Her ability to go far above and beyond the normal capabilities of voice dictation helped to transform the iPhone 4S from a smartphone into an artificially intelligent mobile superpower.

Is Apple's design becoming stale?

But is Samsung's recent rise to the top a sign that Apple's once treasured designs are becoming stale in the rapidly changing world of mobile technology? It seems likely, and according to the Juniper Report, Apple will really need to wow the consumer technology world with its iPhone 5 device if it has any hopes in toppling Samsung's vast lead.

Description: Apple and Samsung
Apple and Samsung

But why exactly are so many consumers flocking to the Galaxy S3? Analysts are suggesting that its futuristic design and powerful internals may be the reason that so many customers are passing up the iPhone 4S in favor of Samsung's device. In fact, it isn't really difficult to see why so many individuals prefer the new smartphone, considering it makes the iPhone 4S appear to be an outdated technology.

Taking these specifications into consideration, it's obvious that the Galaxy S3 has the iPhone 4S beat in a lot of different areas. It's more powerful, sleeker, and offers a larger viewing space. It also seems to boast a better visual rating, and offers more storage. However, the iPhone 4S definitely has it beat in price point at a discount of $200.

Will Apple rise again?

It's highly unlikely that Apple is going to just let Samsung waltz into the pole position without putting up a fight, and the release of their new iPhone 5 (which is rumored to be coming this fall) will probably bring a lot of new features and innovations. But what exactly does Apple need to do in order to regain the top spot from their newest rivals?

Description: iPhone 5
IPhone 5

For one, the company needs to heavily focus on fine-tuning its popular A.I., Siri. Apple already gave Siri an upgrade in their upcoming iOS 6 operating system and they're promising that she's going to be more accurate and offer users more voice dictation options, but that doesn't mean that Apple should stop there. They should definitely keep improving Siri with new technologies and advancements. After all, this is the flagship tool that many consider to be the selling point of the iPhone 4S.

There also needs to be a change in the iPhone 5's display. I'm not talking about the HD quality, because we know that Apple has the capability to create a revolutionary and visually amazing screen (just look at the iPad HD). I'm talking about the overall screen size. The Galaxy S3 is already leaps and bounds ahead with a larger 4.8 inch display, and Apple is going to need to match that size in order to appeal to consumers that want a more visually impressive device.

Samsung has also managed to pack a barrage of impressive hardware into a much sleeker, thinner packaging. Apple is going to need to work heavily on "redesigning" the iPhone as we know it. New trends suggest that beveled edges and slim redefined lines are what consumers are craving. The blocky and thick (as it is now considered) design of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S just aren't going to cut it anymore, and if Apple does decide to create a larger screen then they're going to need to adjust the casing of the phone to ensure that it fits comfortably in a pocket or handbag.


Samsung Galaxy S3

Apple iPhone 4S


1.4-Gigahertz Quad Core

1.0 Gigahertz Dual Core


4.8 inch HD super AMOLED 1280x720

3.5 inch HD Retina 960x640


8-Megapixel Auto Focus

8-Megapixel  iSight


1-Gigabyte RAM

512-Megabyte  RAM


8.6 mm Thickness/ 133 gram Weight

9.3 mm Thickness/ 140 gram Weight


16-Gigabytes (Additional Memory Via SD)     

Base 16-Giga-bytes (No Additional SD)


Approx 400.00 USD

Approx 200.00 USD


Consumer tech thrives on competition

I know a lot of you Apple fans out there may be discouraged by this recent turn of events and you may even feel overwhelmed considering that the company has become the target of not only Apple but now Samsung. But to be honest, the small wars that are erupting are perhaps the best thing that could happen to you, the consumer.

Description: Description: iPad

Consider that in the recent years, Apple has seemingly dominated all of the smartphones that were currently on the market. Their ease-of-control in the tech world possibly had adverse side effects on the developer, creating a sense of stability. Usually from a business standpoint, stability is something that you strive to achieve. But for the consumer, a company superpower is one of the worst possible things that can happen. Imagine if Apple was continually at the top of the smartphone food chain, year after year, and other developers failed to even come close in toppling iPhone devices. This would create a comfort zone for Apple which, in turn, could create a large amount of turmoil for Apple fans. Without the threat of competition, Apple would be free to charge whatever it wanted for its devices and could seemingly "slack off" on bringing you new, innovative features each year.

So, in turn, fans should welcome this competition from Samsung (and Microsoft) with open arms. The farther ahead that Samsung appears to be, the better it is for Apple's developers. It creates a sense of urgency and passion, which helps the company to come up with new and truly exciting technologies. Remember that the iPhone 4, the iPad, Siri, and all of Apple are other innovative devices and tools were essentially bred from a passion to be the top-rated consumer technology company in the world. Without the constant threat of being over-thrown, Apple may not have the same spark and excitement to succeed that it does in the modern day.

An interesting battle on the horizon

Description: Description: IPhone and iPad
IPhone and iPad

From a personal standpoint, I was very excited to see that Samsung had propelled itself so far ahead of Apple in terms of units sold. I recall being really enamored will all of the interesting and intricate developments that were leaving Apple's production studios and the first time I got a hold of an Apple iPhone I was pretty floored by how ahead of its time it really was. But over the last few years I have been less and less excited with the impending release of the iPhone 5. Sure, it's going to be more powerful, and will probably sport a shiny new design, but I couldn't help but feel like it wasn't really going to be a game changer like I had experienced with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

Now, thanks to this recent spur in competition, my faith in Apple's ability to craft a truly revolutionary product has been renewed. If there is one thing I have learned about Apple over the years it's that they don't drag their feet when it comes to competing with a rival company. They come out swinging, and they come out with a fiery passion to succeed. These are the traits that breed innovation and that feed the discovery of new technologies. Over the next months, we're going to see Apple, Microsoft, and now Samsung, fight for the number one spot, constantly upstaging one another to achieve the dominance they desire. One thing is for sure in this cloud of uncertainty, as time goes on, and the fight rages, we're going to see the birth of some of the most creative and intricate devices to ever hit the world of consumer technology.

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