Why Apple Has Gotten Rotten In The Tech Industry (Part 2: Samsung)

Editor’s Note: Barring a schedule change, Parts 3 (Amazon) and 4 (Apple itself) of this series will appear on this blog next week.

Today, we will take a look at how Samsung has done damage to Apple’s image as the tech leader. You can see how Google has done damage to Apple via Part 1 of this series.

Samsung has been one of the most prominent manufacturers of smartphones and tablets when it comes to the Android operating system.  Samsung has created the Galaxy S series of smartphones to rival Apple’s iPhones.  The Galaxy S3 and S4 smartphones have received strong reviews, though some were disappointed that the S4 didn’t do more to upgrade on the S3’s impressive features.

However, Samsung’s technology has greatly caught up with the iPhone, and in some ways, has surpassed it.  For instance, Samsung includes a 13-megapixel camera with its smartphone, whereas Apple’s iPhone 5s’s camera only has an 8-megapixel camera (just as the iPhone 4s and 5 have), just as the Galaxy S3 does.  Samsung has jumped ahead of Apple in this regard, likely because more and more people are taking pictures with their smartphones, even more so than using them for voice calling.

There’s more features that show that Samsung has overtaken Apple as an innovative of technology.  The Galaxy S4 has two other impressive features that overshadow the iPhone 5s’s technology.  One is the size of the screen: The Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch screen, whereas the iPhone 5s (like its immediate predecessors) only has a 4-inch screen.  Even more than that, the Galaxy S4 introduced the ability to control the touchscreen via the user’s eyes or hand gestures, known as “Air View” and “Air Gesture,” respectively.  Thus, it’s not even necessary to touch the touchscreen in order to control the on-screen display, something that iPhones don’t have at this point.  It’s important to point out that the S4 was released on March 13, 2013, whereas Apple released the iPhone 5s on September 20, 2013, six months later!

Samsung has another line of smartphones that is also doing damage to Apple’s reputation as the tech leader.  The Galaxy Note series is one of the most prominent types of smartphones that is commonly referred to as the “phablet” class.  This name is a combination of “phone” and “tablet,” largely due in part to the size of the screen and the ability of that screen to accept motions from a stylus (a type of electronic pen).  Whereas most smartphones have screen under 5 inches in diameter, the Galaxy Note has consistently been over 5 inches, with the latest version, the Note 3, coming in at a large 5.7 inches. The Galaxy Note 3 was released in September/October 2013, about the same time as the iPhone 5s.

While Apple got rave reviews for its Retina display, it falls short of the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 in terms of pixels, as the iPhone 5s only has 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, while the S4 has 1920 x 1080 Pixel, 441 ppi and the Note 3 also has 1920 x 1080 Pixel display.

Plus, Samsung’s phones provide the user with the ability of replacing the batteries (whereas Apple’s aren’t removable without service support from Apple technicians), batteries that provide even more talk time than Apple’s iPhones.   Surf times are about the same for both companies, though Apple does win out in LTE with 10 hours versus Samsung’s 8 hours.

In fact, Apple is falling behind in the smartphone industry in terms of popularity, as reported by Mashable.  While Apple did increase the number of iPhones it sold by 13% in 2013, Samsung increased the number of smartphone sales by 43%.  The overall smartphone market grew by 38.4%, thus showing that Apple’s demand is slowing down compared to its competitors, largely because it is not seen as “cool” or “innovative” compared to its competition.

In fact, Apple is following in the footsteps of Samsung in the following regard.  Reports are surfacing that the iPhone 6 will have a 5-inch screen, the first iPhone to have greater than a 4-inch display.  As mentioned above, Samsung has already achieved 5+” status with both its S4 and its Galaxy Note 2 and 3 “phablet” phones.  Again, Apple is not being innovative enough to keep up with the “Joneses,” and is now starting to follow them, further showing why many investors and analysts are looking down upon the stock, which is currently under $500 as I write this post.

One other area where Samsung has outmaneuvered Apple is in the “wearable tech” industry.  Many people have talked about “smartwatches,” which is a watch device that allows you to receive notifications that your smartphone is receiving a call, as well as enabling you to accept that call.  You can also adjust various settings on your phone via this device, as well as surf directly on the device via its roughly 1.5″-2.0″ screen.

Samsung has already released the “Galaxy Gear” to combat the industry leader in the field (no, not Apple, but Pebble, a company I’ll discuss more in Part 4 of this series).  This was released on September 4, 2013.  The reviews on the Galaxy Gear were less than favorable by many, especially to Pebble’s smartwatch, but the fact that Samsung has already dived into the wearable tech industry shows that Samsung is more in tune with the development and speed of the technological industry than Apple.  In fact, word has it that Samsung is about to release the “Galaxy Gear 2,” an updated version of its smartwatch, to go with its new Samsung Galaxy S5 (and potentially other Samsung smartphones).  No date has been mentioned of when these two devices will be available, but probably a safe bet that they will appear sometime in 2014.

Apple had excelled in the development and speed of the technological industry when it released the iPhone and iPad, but it has failed to maintain that standard.  There are continuing rumors that it will release an iWatch in 2014, but at this rate, it might be after Samsung releases its second smartwatch.  Apple is using 64-bit processor technology in its iPhone 5s, whereas it seems that Samsung will stick with 32-bit technology in its new S5 smartphone, so that is one area where Apple is leading in technological innovation, but those moments have been few and far between for Apple over the last few years.

In Part 3 of this series, we’ll look at how Amazon is outmaneuvering Apple in the tech industry.  Watch for that. In the meantime, let me know via the comments below if you are a Samsung or Apple user, if you have used one and switched to the other, and what you like/don’t like about either Samsung or Apple.  Also, let me know if you think Apple’s best days are behind it or if there are brighter times ahead for the tech giant, and why you think or don’t think so.  Thank you for reading, and have a great day.

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