Reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S IV phone which came out last week have been mixed. It’s clearly a great phone, but many of us were expecting more. What we got feels like an incremental upgrade rather than the revolutionary one that Samsung’s pre-release marketing and the Android rumour mill had led us to believe. Still the Samsung S IV is going to be very popular, and it’s specifications put the current iPhone 5 to shame in most categorises.
Apple hasn’t failed to notice this, and is clearly on the defensive after Samsung has received substantial publicity from media outlets that would perviously only throw this much coverage to an iPhone event. It doesn’t come at a good time for Apple – their next smartphone is at least several months ago, possibly half a year, in which they have to compete with what many see as a phone that just doesn’t quite match up to the latest Android offerings.
Their latest Why iPhone marketing seeks to challenge this. The campaign starts with a page on their website, but is bound to spread larger than this so it’s likely you might see adverts based on this in magazines, newspapers and television shortly. Apple’s message is simple: the iPhone is more loved and more used than any other smartphone.
Some of the points made ring very true. Especially their section on design. As we noted in our review of the Samsung S IV yesterday the shell feels cheap compared with the magic going on inside. Why iPhones use glass and aluminium, Samsung still opts for plastic. Apple claims this is about the whole difference in philosophy between the companies. Apple has ‘every detail … considered’ while Samsung cares only about what will bring sales volume is the implication.
However some of their arguments are less than fair. Claiming only Apple has Retina display is more about the choice of works other manufacturers use. Apple might be the only phone manufacturer to use the term, but others including the latest Samsung S IV have far higher pixel densities which make their screens noticeably more sharp. They’re also about as good as the iPhone at in-plane-switching (which allows you to view the screen at extreme angles). The only advantage an iPhone can legitimately claim on screens is that it’s colouring is more true to real life than Samsung’s, but this is more of a question of taste than of quality.
Other areas are more mixed. Apple are advertising that their camera is better than rivals due to its popularity, pointing out iPhone holds the three top spots on Flickr. This is probably more due to Apple’s single-phone philosophy while all other manufacturers sell multiple models. The Samsung S IV has a more powerful camera in terms of megapixels (13 vs 8 on the iPhone 5), and has far more options in its camera app (although of course you can download additional camera apps for both that use filters such as Instagram). Megapixels of course aren’t everything and we’ll need to see more Samsung S IV photos in the wild before we can make judgement on which has the best camera.