As the makeup of Galaxy S6 becomes clearer, can the iPhone 7 usurp it?
With the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona just a couple of weeks away, anticipation is building for the unveiling of Samsung’s next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6. This will be an extremely important release for the Korean manufacturer, as the last Galaxy S release was perhaps not as well received as the corporation would have liked. Although it was a pretty good seller for Samsung, the Galaxy S5 was ultimately considered an underwhelming device with physical design defects. Samsung will be intending to address this impression when it releases the next in this hugely popular series.
So mobile purchasers are already presented with a conundrum in 2015; should a new smartphone buyer opt for the Galaxy S6, or wait for the iPhone 7? The more impatient smartphone purchaser may automatically decide to choose the Galaxy S6, considering that the iPhone 7 will probably not reach the shops until October. Rumors seem to have died down about the possibility of a smaller iPhone 6s device accompanying the Apple Watch when it is released in April, so we are not likely to see the next Apple smartphone for several months.
Samsung will be banking on this advantage in the marketplace to a certain extent when it releases the Galaxy S6, and will be safe in the knowledge that this is the first major smartphone release of 2015. But the corporation will still need to deliver something outstanding when the Galaxy S6 hits the market, as the perception of the Galaxy S5 was that it was merely an upgraded version of the Galaxy S4; not even really differing significantly in appearance.
Well, this first issue looks an absolute certainty to be addressed. Samsung-following blogs, websites and analysts have all been of the opinion that Samsung will ditch the much maligned plasticky feel of the Galaxy S6 in favour of a metallic design. And throughout the last few months, it has become a widely held opinion that the Galaxy S6 will sport a full-metal unibody.
However, sources close to Samsung are now suggesting that this might not be the case. Reports in Korea suggest that Samsung will instigate full wireless charging with the next generation Galaxy S6. This might sound unrelated to the build of the device, but in fact it is a critical issue; magnetic induction can simply not function with an all-metal body, as the material is a formidable barrier for electro-magnetic waves.
And wireless charging does seem to be among the portfolio of features which Samsung has planned for the Galaxy S6. This has been reported by sources previously, and would unquestionably be a feature which would appeal to smartphone users. But now both DDaily and News 1 Korea consider wireless charging to be a cast-iron feature of the flagship Samsung device.
So it will be interesting to see how Samsung deals with this in terms of the design of the device. The Korean corporation will, as always, be faced with balancing the practical qualities and functionality of the device with a cool and attractive appearance. This is something that Apple has done extremely well in the past, where Samsung has tended to focus on packing its devices with impressive spec, perhaps sometimes to the detriment of the design and construction quality of its smartphone range.
But it’s possible that Samsung could utilize plastic inserts, in order for the majority of the rear of the device to be of metallic build.
Curved screen technology
Another physical aspect of the device which also now looks to be a certainty is curved screen technology. Again this will come as no surprise to fans of Samsung, as the company has almost trademarked its curved displays as a feature of Samsung devices, following the successful introduction of this in a range of televisions. Since then Samsung has produced its first curved screen smartphone with the Galaxy Note Edge phablet, and it would seem to be completely logical for the corporation to include curved screen displays when it releases the Galaxy S6.
But will these aspects of the Galaxy S6 be enough to enable Samsung to fight back in the battle with Apple? And will the iPhone 7 be able to exceed these new features when it is released later this year?
Certainly Samsung has placed a great deal of emphasis on its display quality in recent mobile releases. The Super AMOLED technology which is central to the Samsung smartphone portfolio has been extremely well received, and displays in Samsung’s premier mobile devices are better than most smartphones on the market, and in most people’s opinions at least the equal of anything available on the market.
Apple has definitely lagged behind in this department, even though the iPhone 6 Plus was the first full HD mobile device which Apple has produced, and the iPhone 6 had a superior resolution to previous devices in the iPhone range. But even the most devoted Apple fan would be forced to concede that the screen quality of the iPhone range is not equal to that of either the Galaxy Note or Galaxy S series.
With Samsung expected to upgrade the Galaxy S6 screen resolution to quad HD, Apple could find itself lagging even further behind if it does not seriously tinker with the iPhone 7’s capabilities this time out.
In terms of design parameters, Apple has always been a market leader. Although Apple can be reviled for selling what some people perceive to be fashion items, there is no doubting the street credibility that Apple devices possess. It is generally regarded that the iPhone is the genre-defining smartphone in terms of physical appearance, and indeed Samsung has been criticized in both the near and distant past for effectively copying Apple in this department.
One suspects that the iPhone will continue to trump Samsung in terms of its physical qualities, but the Korean manufacturer is at least attempting to establish its own distinctive identity with its curved screen technology. This could well pay off for Samsung in sales of the Galaxy S6.