Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 and possibly other gadgets like the rumored iWatch at its planned event next week. The company’s stock has been climbing ahead of that unveiling—just as it has historically—but apparently investors are worrying because of what the company’s top competitor has just shown off.
Samsung unveils smartphones
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) showed off not one, but two new smartphones this morning. The Korean electronics giant unveiled the much-anticipated Galaxy Note 4 and a new member of the Galaxy family: the Galaxy Edge. But those weren’t all Samsung had to show off. The company also unveiled its new accessory, the Samsung Gear.
There weren’t many surprises in the Note 4 unveiling, although the Galaxy Edge was a bit of a surprise. Its curved screen makes it quite a bit different than the other smartphones on the market. The screen sort of wraps around the edges and provides an additional menu bar for ease of use, Samsung hopes.
Samsung unveils virtual reality device
But perhaps what scares investors the most is Samsung’s new accessory. The company teamed up with Oculus, the company bought by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) this year. For the very first time, a Samsung device will have virtual reality. And of course the Gear works exclusively with the brand new Galaxy Note 4 smartphone—uh oh, Apple.
According to MarketWatch, the Gear VR device turns the Galaxy Note 4 into a virtual reality device. The accessory uses technology from the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, and it adapts the phablet for mobile gaming. The phone basically becomes a sort of “virtual reality ‘brain.'” Just fit the Note 4 into the device, and instant virtual reality headset.
Can Apple stand up to Samsung?
So does Apple stand a chance against these new gadgets? Investors are apparently starting to wonder. The company is expected to finally get into the larger smartphone game with the iPhone 6. Two iPhone sizes are expected this year, one with a 4.7-inch display and another with a 5.5-inch display.
It’s been speculated that the phablet-sized iPhone will go head to head with the Note 4, as they’re both coming out around the same time. However, Apple’s phablet-sized smartphone will probably lack the stylus that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 has, so there may not be much of a competition between Apple and Samsung in this area.
Also Samsung already has a head start in the phablet segment of the smartphone market, and the addition of the Samsung Gear targets gamers big-time. Apple hasn’t particularly been known for focusing on mobile gaming, so this is an additional differentiator that could convince consumers who are on the fence to opt for the Galaxy Note 4 instead of the iPhone 6 or whatever the phablet version ends up being called.
Samsung versus Sony
What’s interesting is that Samsung’s new offerings will also put it head to head with the Sony Xperia Z3. Sony unveiled three new Xperia handsets today, and two of them allow users to play games off their PlayStation 4 remotely using their Z3. Of course Sony does have an edge in gaming already because of the popularity of the PS4, but it’s trying to catch up to Samsung in smartphones.
It will be interesting to see how this battle shakes out now that there are three warriors instead of just two. What interests gamers more? A wireless virtual reality headset powered by their smartphone or being able to play PS4 games on their smartphone?