Apple is expected to release the iPhone 8 this year while Samsung is set to release the Galaxy S8. It’s an interesting year for the two biggest smartphone makers in the world, as both must put everything on the line to keep their customers. Apple has more going for it than Samsung, but this could be the year we see a lot change in terms of smartphone standards.

If you’ve been following rumors about the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8, you’ve probably noticed that it’s pretty easy to get them confused because they’re sounding like practically the same phone. And so it seems that the race to the top has become a race to the exact same place—the path where Apple and Samsung will meet.

iPhone 8 Concept
Image source: Apple designer – YouTube

No physical Home button

This year could be the year smartphones start doing away with the physical Home button. We’ve been hearing for months that both the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 won’t have one, with the rumor about the latter receiving a reboot this week.

There’s no denying that the mockups we’ve seen showing the phones without a Home button on the front are quite attractive, and the prospect of an edge-to-edge display is appealing. More available real estate means a bigger screen without increasing the size of the phone. But the technology needed to do this has gotten much more complex over the last few years with the addition of things like a fingerprint scanner, making the possibility of getting rid of physical problems that much harder.

But we’ve seen a hint that the Nokia 8 might not have a physical Home button, so would the underdog from Finland manage this before the giants Apple and Samsung? Then again, the phone someone spotted at a CES booth might not even be the rumored Nokia 8.

Same water resistance rating

We’re also hearing that the iPhone 8 is expected to receive an IP68 water and dust resistance rating, meaning it could be submerged for up to half an hour minutes in 1.5 meters of water. An unnamed source reportedly told The Investor that this feature is coming to the iPhone 8 this year, which would be an improvement from the IP67 rating the iPhone 7 has. The IP67 rating allows for submersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

It wouldn’t be a surprise for the Galaxy S8 to have the IP68 rating because last year’s S7 has it. Anything less would be a step back for Samsung, which it can’t afford to do. The Investor’s sources claim that Samsung is even looking for ways to add the IP68 rating for its cheapest models because they are the most popular.

The website also claims that both the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 will use waterproof tapes instead of adhesives to achieve the IP68 rating because tape makes them easier to repair. This is interesting because Apple has not cared much about ease of repair in the past.

Other smartphone makers such as LG and some Chinese companies are adding the IP68 certification this year, demonstrating how important it is to have this designation.

galaxy s8
Image Credit: Samsung Display via YouTube (Screen grab)

Other areas of interest in the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8

Other similarities include the suggestion of an iris scanner in both and dual-lens rear-facing cameras on both. Both may have wireless charging, and we’re probably missing some others here.

So these are the big similarities, but of course there will likely be some small differences, such as storage capacities. The iPhone 8 will probably come in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, while the Galaxy S8 will likely come with 64GB of internal storage expandable to 256GB with a microSD card. The processors will be difference, as Apple uses its own processors, and the iPhone 8 probably won’t have as much RAM as the S8 will have.

Perhaps the available display sizes will be different, and the cameras could be different, albeit with some key similarities.

The key difference between the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8

So as you can see, the rumor mill is pretty much churning out the same stories about both phones, but there is one key difference we can count on, even if they turn out to be nearly identical. One will have an Apple logo on it, and the other will not. Apple has the loyalty and premium nature of its brand to fall back on—whether it disappoints or not—and Samsung doesn’t, especially after the fallout from the Galaxy Note 7 last year.

So the question is whether that Apple logo will again be enough to convince people to buy an iPhone 8, even if the technology is hardly befitting of a 10-year anniversary edition. If history is anything to go by, it probably will be (call me jaded, if you must).

Aside from the Apple logo, if the rumored iPhone 8 Pro makes an appearance, it could bring some key differences between the two lines, but then Samsung may up its game in this department by pushing out the Galaxy Note 8 earlier than it usually releases the phablet. The Korean firm is also said to be planning a Galaxy S8 Plus with S Pen support, which could again be similar to the iPhone 8 Pro, only with S Pen support.