2014 will be a massive year in smartphones, with new handsets to be released by both Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The iPhone has been the market leader in this sphere for some time now, being the biggest selling smartphone of all time, but the Korean manufacturer has seriously closed the gap on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in recent years.
The Samsung Galaxy S III actually sold better than any iPhone in 2012, moving 35 million units to become the biggest selling mobile phone of that calendar year. However, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has come back strongly since then, with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) selling over 40 million iPhone 5 units during 2013. The buzz that surrounded this device also suggests that the cachet of Apple has yet to be supplanted by any other manufacturer.
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Nonetheless, the intention of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) is absolutely clear. They have an extremely ambitious remit, which they have made very explicit at a very high profile event. When unveiling their new range of tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Samsung stated that they expect to overtake Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) at the head of the tablet market during 2014. It is clear that they also intend to repeat this feat within the smartphone market.
Thus, the scene is set for a battle royale between the two premier smartphone manufacturers in 2014. So based on what we know about the two forthcoming mobiles, the Apple iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S5, which one is better placed to top the smartphone market in 2014?
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Appearance
This will be kept strongly under wraps by both parties until such date as they consider it to be in their interest to put it into the public realm. Considering how similar every major smartphone now looks to the iPhone, it must be said that Apple’s design department has done an excellent job, as they can quite reasonably make the claim that the iPhone is much imitated but never equalled. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s devices are still renowned for their sleekness and attractiveness, and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) has some work to do to catch up in this department.
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Processor and chipset
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) has already announced that the Galaxy S5 will feature 64-bit processors, and this is considered to be a solid assumption for the new device. Apple is also on record, though, regarding the processor that will be in their new device, with the suggestion being that the iPhone 6 will contain a new 64-bit A7 chip. So there is little to choose from between the two rivals in this department.
We know a little more about Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)’s chipset than that of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The specifications of the new Galaxy are rumoured to comprise either a 64-bit Exynos chipset or a Snapdragon chipset. While Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s release is further into the future and thus less information has seeped out regarding the chipset, Apple insists that the iPhone 6’s overall set-up will ensure double the processing power of its existing device.
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Camera
It would be fair to say that Samsung has placed more of an emphasis on putting a high-quality camera in their mobile phones of late than Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). That’s not to say that it’s not possible to take a decent photograph with an iPhone, just that its real strengths lie elsewhere.
In accordance with this, it has already been rumoured that the forthcoming Galaxy S5 will include a 16 megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation. Apple has steadily improved the quality of cameras in the iPhone as well, and it’s possible that we will see a better camera in the iPhone 6 than the 8 megapixel camera which was included in the iPhone 5.
But at this point in time, it’s reasonable to conclude that Samsung has the edge in this department.
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Storage
It is thought that both Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) might ditch the 16Gb versions of their smartphones, and put out 32, 64 and 128Gb versions this time round.
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Display
Many people are hoping that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) will make the Galaxy the world’s first Ultra HD smartphone, after Toshiba Corp (OTCMKTS:TOSYY) (TYO:6502) released the world’s first UHD laptop at the CES trade show. However, I feel it is likely to be a little too early for this, and Samsung will probably have to rely on their reputation as a television manufacturer for producing high-quality displays. The new iPhone will feature its first ever 5” screen, bringing it in line with Samsung S4, so we may see a slightly bigger screen in the S5 to compensate.
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Construction
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has pulled out all the stops in this department. Apple has recruited GT Advanced Technologies to produce sapphire glass in a plant in Arizona to ensure that the iPhone 6 is its most durable handset yet, while the iPhone 6 will improve on the liquid metal feature from the iPhone 5, making this the most sophisticated iPhone yet.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature an aluminium unibody metal chassis in an attempt to respond to this strategy, but it seems that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are extremely keen to produce another high-quality device in both looks and construction.
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Price
There isn’t too much to choose between the two competitors here. Early indications are that the Samsung device will retail for around $800 – 900, while iPhones are usually released at a similar price point to the previous version, so there is little to choose between them in this department.
iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Consumer appeal
In the West at least, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) retains the edge in this department. While consumers queue round the block in Indonesia to get their hands on a Galaxy, Apple still rules the roost in the fashion stakes in Europe and North America, and it will be extremely difficult for Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) to negate this.
Conclusion for iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5
Without doubt Samsung is closing fast on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Galaxy has been lauded for the quality of its overall package, and many critics believe that the Galaxy S4 was technically superior to its iPhone competitor. However, Apple retains a buzz factor in the West which is extremely hard for Samsung to match, and has put a clear corporate emphasis on delivering an extremely physically attractive, durable device which creates an instant impression with consumers.
This will see Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continue to fare better in the Western marketplace, but Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) will continue to perform well in East Asia in particular and may be neck and neck with Apple by the time this mobile phone generation is done.