Anyone involved in the tech industry knew what was going down yesterday evening in the Big Apple. Phil Schiller – in timely fashion – had a dig at Android the day before the show took to the stage (literally). And HTC and LG both had campaigns ready to campaign against their rival. LG decided to run a huge advert mimicking Samsung’s own in Times Square, where as HTC blatantly just trolled the line of media folk while they were waiting to go in, handing out chips and water in HTC One branded packaging.
Once the show was over, and the smoke cleared, all of our favorite Apple analysts came out of their shells and waxed lyrical on how they see the Samsung Galaxy S4 affecting Apple financially. Surprisingly, none of them were overly downbeat. Instead, they went along with the general consensus that the hardware wasn’t improved enough and that most of the new Samsung-exclusive software and interaction features will lose their novelty value after a while and could be easily copied. But that’s not to say that the Korean company isn’t posing a genuine threat. Apple should be concerned.
Here’s what they said:
Gene Munster (Piper Jaffray):
“The Galaxy S4 appears to be largely an incremental update to the S3 including a slightly larger screen (4% larger on diagonal), better camera and processor, and updated software, but largely the same body style and casing. We believe some of the software features are unique, including the tilt to scroll, video pausing based on facial recognition, and hand gesture based interactions, but view these software improvements as minor compared with what Siri was to the iPhone 4S or even Google Now to Android… Despite the launch and fanfare around the Galaxy S4, we continue to believe that Apple will maintain a low 40% market share in the high-end smartphone market in CY13.”
Peter Misek (Jeffries):
“We believe the S4 will certainly sell well and it is incrementally negative for Apple; however, the device is not revolutionary, in our view. Aside from the large screen size, which we believe gives Samsung a large advantage over Apple, we believe many of the features can easily be replicated. Additionally, a major complaint amongst Galaxy users is that they do not like Samsung’s customized software, especially when it is a downgrade in performance from stock Android features. We wait to see the real world performance for the many new features.”
Ben Reitzes (Barclays):
“In terms of competition vs. Apple, the GS4 seems largely as expected – and there could be some relief for Apple (certain versions of LTE won’t be available until later this year). However, as we stated recently in a recent report – we believe that Samsung’s momentum is a major issue for Apple. As a result, we need to see Apple expand its iPhone market this year in a big way – and improve its platform. However, Apple seems rather silent of late – and could be waiting until C3Q to make any competitive response outside of potential adjustments to pricing.”
Brian White (Topeka):
“Samsung introduced some interesting new features in the Galaxy S 4 many of which we expect newer smartphones to include as the year unfolds. As such, we view the Galaxy S 4 as a refresh but NOT a game changer. We believe the iPhone 5S will handily outsell Samsung’s new flagship smartphone in the second-half of the year, while we believe Apple will expand its world with a lower-priced iPhone in 2013.”