Samsung is hoping that the Galaxy S6 can dethrone the iPhone 6 and become the market-leading smartphone in the next six months. This will obviously be an extremely difficult undertaking for Samsung considering the massive popularity of Apple. One shouldn’t underestimate the achievements of the consumer electronics giant in the last 12 months.
Apple achieved a noteworthy triple-whammy in 2014. Firstly, it became the first ever corporation to achieve a market capitalization in excess of $700 billion. Secondly, it achieved the highest ever single-quarter profit in recorded business history during Q4. And thirdly, it was recently announced by Gartner that Apple had overtaken Samsung in terms of pure mobile sales.
Samsung has trailed behind Apple in terms of profitability for sometime, but the fact is that profits tumbled by 60 percent in 2014 while Apple took over the lead in terms of pure quantity of devices sold indicates that the gap has widened. Apple draws upon a street cachet that no other company can match, and it seems that the value of this fashion appeal played a major role in the successes of the corporation in 2014.
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Apple takes East Asia
The Galaxy S6 is therefore a critical release for Samsung as it attempts to reclaim some of its market share. Samsung has been hugely successful in its native East Asia, where until recently Apple has not been able to call upon the same level of fashion credence that it enjoys as a matter of course in the West. But this situation seems to be changing.
When Gartner announced that Apple was now selling more mobile devices than Samsung, this was largely attributed to the successes of Apple in China. Hardly a week goes by now without the media reporting some new incredible indication of the popularity of Apple in China. Perhaps the most notable story of this nature emerged when it was reported that a teenager in the world’s most populous nation had sold a kidney in order to buy an iPad.
Thankfully, most purchases of Apple devices in China do not needed to go to these extreme lengths. With an aspirational middle-class increasing in China, it is becoming far more feasible for the average Chinese person to purchase consumer goods. Considering that China has a population in excess of one-billion people, this has translated into massive sales for Apple, effectively ensuring that it overtakes Samsung in the world’s list of mobile manufacturers.
So Samsung has a lot to think about and respond to as it prepares to release the Galaxy S6 smartphone. Apple is eating into its traditional marketplace and the profitability of the company plummeted during 2014. And to top it all, the Galaxy S5 was not a critically acclaimed device. The plasticky feel of the smartphone did not curry favour with either the critical community or consumers, and the first step Samsung has taken with the Galaxy S6 is to radically depart from its design.
The Galaxy S6 has already received praise from critics for its design quality and build. It was obviously essential for Samsung to produce a smartphone with a more metallic visage after the largely plastic Galaxy S5 received a lukewarm response. Samsung has also, as expected, produced a curved version of the smartphone, and it is clear that the corporation intends to place more emphasis on curved displays going forward.
However, unseating the iPhone in this department will be extremely difficult. Not only is the iPhone renowned for the quality of its design and build, the Apple brand has become one of the most iconic on the planet. The iPhone is instantly recognisable, and this has played a huge part in the authoritative Interbrand survey ranking Apple as the world’s most important brand.
So Samsung can be applauded for improving the design of the Galaxy S6, but the iPhone 6 still seems to have an advantage in this area.
Samsung has become associated with the quality of its displays; after all the corporation has made its name to some extent with its television sets. Particularly in recent years, since Samsung unveiled its first high-end curved screen television, Samsung has made arming its devices with the best quality screen possible a central part of its strategy.
With this in mind, Samsung has been clearly ahead of Apple in recent years in the screen department. Certainly the Galaxy S5 had a superior screen to the iPhone 6, and thus it won’t come as a huge surprise that the Galaxy S6 builds on this impression. The Galaxy S6 will feature a quad HD display, which will make it possibly the best smartphone screen on the mass market. The Super AMOLED Technology which Samsung has built its smartphones for sometime will ensure that this smartphone display is well received by both critics and the general public.
It is difficult to compare the displays of the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 directly, as the two Apple devices available on the market don’t correspond precisely with the Galaxy S6. But what we can say for certain is that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have inferior screen resolutions to the Galaxy S6. The iPhone 6 in particular is lagging miles behind the Galaxy S6, with Apple yet to release a smartphone-sized model of its flagship handset which is even full HD.
So even the most enthusiastic Apple fan would have to admit that the Galaxy S6 wins hands down in this department.
It is a slight surprise that Samsung has chosen not to upgrade the camera in the Galaxy S6, but the 16-megapixel snapper included in the device is still capable of taking high-quality photographs. The iPhone 6 does lag behind the Galaxy S6 in pure spec terms, but this can give something of a false impression. The iPhone 6 has been praised for is low-light shooting, features outstanding optical image stabilization, and it is also an excellent video camera. Perhaps the extra spec of the Galaxy S6 gives it a slight lead, but there is little to choose between the two in the camera department.
Unquestionably, the Galaxy S6 is fitted with the more powerful processor. Although it is not a true octa-core device, the two bundles of quad-core processors which are featured in the device ensure that it is an extremely powerful smartphone. The quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57 make it more powerful than the dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone included in the iPhone 6.
However, Apple has always relied on its proprietary software and hardware package to ensure that the iPhone 6 runs slickly, and there are certainly no performance problems with this version of the flagship handset.
Again, the Galaxy S6 comfortably outranks Apple in this department, with its 3 GB of RAM being triple that of the iPhone 6. This isn’t necessarily reflected in performance terms, but some dissatisfied iPhone owners have suggested that Apple should at least double the amount of RAM in the device when the iPhone 6s / 7 is released.
Both of the devices offer a maximum storage capacity of 128 GB, so there is little to choose between the two smartphones in this area.
Samsung also has the edge in battery terms, with the iPhone 6 having been criticized by some for delivering a rather weedy battery life. This is reflected in the cell specifications of the two devices, with the Galaxy S6 being armed with a 2,550 mAh battery that is rather larger than the 1,810 mAh cell included in the iPhone 6.
It is also worth noting that the Galaxy S6 will introduce wireless charging to the Samsung range, which will only make the smartphone more convenient for users. It is already rumored that Apple will respond by including wireless charging in the next-generation of iPhone releases.
In the short-term, there is no doubt that the Galaxy S6 is the most advanced and impressive smartphone on the market. To some extent this should be expected, as Samsung is releasing the Galaxy S6 some six months before we will see the next iteration in the iPhone series. In an incredibly fast moving marketplace, the iPhone 6 is effectively already out of date, and thus in this respect we should perhaps expect the Galaxy S6 to be superior.
How it will compete with the forthcoming iPhone 6s, or even the hugely successful existing iPhone 6 remains to be seen. But Samsung have certainly produced a device worthy of doing this.