No-one’s suggesting that the game is up for Samsung. But news of its financial results, which have seen profits grow at their slowest rate since 2011 and its mobile division stagnate, suggest that the days of the Korean giant having everything its own way are over.
According to Daewoo Securities analysts, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 sold just nine million units in the three months to December.
Yes, that phone is ageing somewhat, but compared to Apple’s projected 55 million iPhone sales for the same period, it shows just how Sammy is being squeezed.
Samsung’s sheer breadth as a tech company, allied with its willingness to release a wide variety of smartphones and tablets that cater for every possible segment of the market, mean it’ll always be competing at the top.
But the fact is that while hype around its new devices is very real, it’s still not a patch on the global salivating that occurs in the run-up to an Apple launch.
The Galaxy S5 is causing a stir at the moment, just two months from launch. But already we’re seeing an equal number of iPhone 6 rumours.
That phone isn’t even expected until October, but it’s already set to be 2014’s game-changer.
Why? Because it looks increasingly as if Apple is going to make the jump in screen size that so many have been crying out for ever since Samsung et al started amping up their displays.
A 4.8–inch screen is reportedly ‘locked-down’ according to one analyst, with supply-chain sources regularly confirming the growing suspicion that Apple will ditch its commitment to its iPhone being all about one–handed use.
Such a device could shake up the market at a time when it’s beginning to show signs of saturation.
The iPhone 6 will be a proper update, rather than an iterative boost like the iPhone 5S. Make no mistake of thinking otherwise.
Apple may not be the first company to release a phablet, granted. But it’ll be offering its own take on the capacious smartphone, something which will doubtless impress a wider audience and sell in the millions.
That’s largely down to the Apple brand’s continuing premium appeal.
Until now, most phablets (the HTC One and One Max aside), have looked awkward and clunky.
The Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 are plasticity hulks, despite having great software.
A Jony Ive-designed phablet would not only look great, it’ll once again give Tim Cook and co the edge in a crowded marketplace.
Apple understands users want bigger screens. By delivering one at a time when the market has matured, it’ll be ripe to capitalise and make a killing as others look on in envy.