Forget the fact that both models are not yet shipping, and only Apple knows the specifications for the iPhone 6, but already soothsayers and naysayers are prepared to battle with bullet points. Let the leapfrog games begin, with Samsung in the lead.
It’s Time To Not Wow
By most accounts, Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 is fully evolutionary, not revolutionary, and pundits would have us believe it packs all the things Apple’s iPhone 6 does not.
As usual, reality with Samsung is different than reality with Apple. The Galaxy S5 is more muscle car than state of the art.
For example, the S5 comes with 2GB of RAM but still uses a 32-bit CPU. Yes, there’s a model in gold but the S5’s case is plastic, not metal.
Samsung is playing catch up to the iPhone 5S’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, but also has a built-in heart rate sensor in the flash, sports a micro-USB 3.0 connection behind a little door (which helps with waterproofing).
GS5 uses a 2,800mAh battery, a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel camera on there front. The screen is pure 1080p HD. There’s also the usual list of bullet point suspects– 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and an SD card slot (add another 128GB to the base model 16GB (over half of which is already used) and 32GB model.
Autofocus in the 13-megapixel camera is improved and much faster, and the GS5 comes with the usual array of Samsung ‘innovations’ including Virtual Tour (think 360-degree panorama), HDR, and the S Health app (pedometer, fitness coach, exercise tracker, plus the pulse taker in the camera).
Evolutionary, My Dear Watson
In short, Samsung has leapfrogged Apple’s iPhone 5s model, to a degree, but the whole package is merely an evolutionary step up from last year’s model. Android KitKat is still a 32-bit OS, and the 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon is still 32-bit.
Hardware wise, the GS5 compares favorably to Apple’s iPhone 5s, but only Apple knows how it will up the ante in the iPhone 6.
We don’t know much about iPhone 6, but the list of expectations is filling in quickly. Expect iOS 8, also 64-bit, and perhaps a sapphire screen, at least in the high end model. Apple watchers also expect an A8 multi-core CPU, and improved graphics thanks to the 192-core PowerVR GPU.
Of course, 2014 will be the year that Apple introduces a larger screen iPhone, though the guesstimates vary as to screen size and resolution. That said, putting a plastic case on an iPhone 5s, and making it the lower priced iPhone 6c would put some magic back into entry level.
A larger screen, a sapphire display, a faster CPU, faster and more capable GPU, improved power management and longer battery life, as well as improved cameras, are expected bullet points. The key question is, ‘What will Apple do with the iPhone line that surprises and delights?‘
Apple doesn’t care to match competitor’s hardware specifications, hence the iPhone and iPad have anemic RAM amounts. Apple forgoes the use of external storage (I’d love to have a 16GB iPhone with an option to plug in another 128GB with an SD card) options and instead gouges customers with high prices on additional storage options.
Apple disrupted the smartphone industry with the iPhone, and set the course for all of today’s modern copycats. The original iPhone was revolutionary. Today’s iPhones and Samsung’s new Galaxy line are merely evolutionary improvements bolted onto the iPhone’s original revolutionary design.
Another question to ask is, ‘What will it take to make a market disrupting, revolutionary smartphone?‘ Until that can be answered and delivered, we’re deep into the leapfrog feature era.