Samsung and Apple have been bitter rivals for a while now, with each taking it in turns to outdo the other and steal market share. And when they aren’t battling for customers it seems, they’re battling for intellectual property as each takes pot shots at the other to try and end the production of handsets and tip the scales further in their favor.
Recently Samsung has famously managed to take a greater share of the smart phone market than Apple and has inched ahead in turns of sales and adoption. This doesn’t paint a whole picture though, as Apple operates with large margins meaning that they’re technically probably still turning over more money for their devices.
And now both have unleashed their latest batch of products – Samsung with their Mega 6.3 and the Note 3, and Apple with their iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. The question is, if this continues, who will emerge victorious? Where might we find these companies five years from now? And who will manage to get the edge on the other? Of course we’ll have to use our imaginations a little, but let’s take what we know and extrapolate that to see who’s on course to be dominant in five years’ time…
Samsung and Apple Devices
One of the ways that Samsung has managed to gain an edge recently over Apple is through sheer market saturation. Samsung have such a sheer range of products on the market, that even if they only sell a very small percentage of those they’re still guaranteed to dominate a large portion of the industry. This also give them the advantage of choice over Apple – users who like big phones, who like small phones, who like gimmicky phones and who like high-end phones can all find a Samsung product to suit them, whereas Apple only really has one thing to offer: it’s iPhone.
That has also been a strength of Apple’s in the past though. I means that every app is guaranteed to work on a new iPhone handset, and it gives the device an ‘elite’ feel that has helped to create such a dedicated fan base that you just don’t see for Samsung’s plastic phones. While Samsung might have had the edge in specifications and versatility, Apple had sheer brand power that was hard to beat.
But with this new ‘budget’ iPhone, Apple threaten to damage that brand by diluting the message. Apple is no longer a company that makes only top of the range products, they’re now a company that’s willing to compromise. And other hiccups in the past have done little to help this: the failure that was Apple Maps for instance is one that is still fresh in the memory of many fans.
Iteration Versus Breakthrough
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Another problem with iPhone has been its refusal to truly innovate. Each iPhone has offered only iterative change over the last which is hard to get excited about. When you can get huge waterproof devices from Sony and stylus devices with 3 gigs of RAM from Samsung, how excited can you get about a slight boost in performance from another samey iPhone?
The iPhone does need to change and diversify – Apple is right in thinking that – but not by releasing ‘cheap’ options of their core line. What they really need to do is to create a new phone altogether – the ‘Apple Phone’ perhaps – that has such powerful new features that it can blow other smartphones out of the water in the same way that the original iPhone once did. They need to strengthen their prestige rather than dilute it and they need to excite.
Course is Set
As things are though, it seems unlikely that that is going to happen. Rather Apple are going to keep iterating and it seems bringing out side products that simply distract from their main offerings. This will then give them no grounds on which to compete with Samsung which meanwhile is starting to learn from its mistakes and offer better built products (just look at the ‘leather’ effect on the Note 3) that retain the same versatility and excitement that they always have.
It would seem then that on the current trajectory Apple are sealing their own fate. They’re likely to continue to slowly lose market share to Samsung and other phone manufacturers (Sony appears to be on the rise, and we shouldn’t rule out Microsoft now that they’ve bought Nokia) and in Five years’ time they might find themselves coming full circle and back to where they were before the iPod and the fateful iPhone.
Author bio: Today’s featured author is Henry Smith, an employee at Cellphone Unlocker, providers of unlock codes for mobile handsets. He is a tech enthusiast and he likes to keep up with the latest breakthroughs in the world of technology.