What does the Samsung Galaxy S5 mean for Apple and the iPhone? [Editorial]

So unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few days, you’ll be well aware that at MWC 2014, Samsung announced its brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 to much fanfare.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will probably prove to be the most anticipated phone of 2014, except for maybe our beloved iPhone. Personally, I would argue that the incredibly exclusive nature of Apple’s iPhone launch, its secrecy over the phone, and its decision to steer clear of events like MWC give Apple the edge in terms of anticipation. It would seem that some of the impact of the Galaxy S5′s release was lost in the hype of the most momentous weekend in the mobile world. Without a doubt, the S5 made a big splash for sure, but certain elements of the announcement were overshadowed, such as Samsung’s new special effects for photography, which weren’t quite as spectacular as those announced by Sony some hours prior. Nonetheless, the Samsung Galaxy S5 deserves all of the praise and attention it has already received, and the detailed scrutiny to come. In the very least because of the phone’s significance to the mobile world, but more likely because it is a truly incredible piece of technology.

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As is the case every year, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 will face countless comparison to the iPhone 5s, and likely the next instalment of the iPhone when that is released. However this year, I can’t help but notice that the emphasis of Samsung’s announcement was very much different to previous years. I think there were a couple of really key feature surrounding the Galaxy S5 that will push Apple further to the limit than Samsung has ever pushed before.

I say this because during the launch of the device, Samsung’s marketing team very deliberately skirted round some of the Galaxy S5′s core specifications. Rather, the emphasis really seemed to be on the user experience and functionality of the device. Indeed, JK Shin, Samsung’s head of IT and mobile communication claimed that customers don’t buy technology because of the specifications. The marketing decision to focus on some of the phone’s more lifestyle orientated features, such as the camera and its aesthetic charm may well be a clear sign that Samsung is no longer simply seeking to create powerhouse devices, but is instead focusing on a phone’s user experience. Cynics may argue that Samsung didn’t focus too much on the devices specifications because the numbers aren’t great, but I really don’t think that is the case, particularly because the numbers are actually quite impressive:

  • 5.1-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display
  • 2.5GHz quad-core ARM chip (Snapdragon 801)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB internal storage plus microSD up to 64
  • 802.11ac MIMO
  • LTE Cat. 4
  • USB 3.0
  • 2800mAh battery
  • 16MP rear camera, 2.1MP front camera
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Heart rate sensor
  • IP67 Dust and water Resistant
  • 142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm, 145g
  • Android 4.4.2

With all this in tow, the S5 is certainly no slouch, and initial hands-on reports are lauding the phone’s response times and lag free user interface.  A Samsung slip yesterday also gave away an info graphic that revealed a 2.1 GHz Octa-Core S5 is also in the works, showing that the device has even more power up its sleeve. A 1080p display, 2GB of RAM and a 2.5GHz processor is nothing to be embarrassed about. Samsung’s fairly low-key coverage of the S5′s impressive specs are a clear sign that manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Sony and HTC are no longer competing with each other to see who can build the most impressive device. The S5 lays down a very high benchmark in terms of internal capability. More importantly however, Samsung’s decision not to shout about that achievement is a message to competing manufacturers to become innovative in other ways. Adding more RAM, CPU cores and pixels simply won’t do any more.

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The Korean giant got the ball rolling on that front, in the guise of Samsung’s very large emphasis on the device as a tool for personal fitness. The S5 was released alongside 3 new smart watches, including the Gear Fit, which has the first ever curved super AMEOLED touchscreen ever to appear in a wearable device. The announcement of these watches alongside the S5 is on coincidence. Clearly, Samsung’s most recent innovation efforts have been focused on using smartphones in conjunction with wearable tech. The Gear Fit is an absolutely revolutionary device, and Samsung’s concerted foray into the world of tech is clear sign that most manufacturers, likely Apple included will also be pushing this market in the coming year. Again, Samsung’s emphasis on the Galaxy S5′s fitness uses is a clear sign that the S5 is no longer simply meant to encapsulate the epitome of mobile computing power.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will also force Apple to push the boat out in other areas of mobile technology. Some other notable features include the S5′s download booster, which can combine your Wi-Fi and LTE connection to achieve download speeds of up to 650Mbps, absolutely phenomenal numbers. The S5′s bandwidth capabilities will certainly make Apple sit up and take note. Smartphones have reached the stage where performance, particularly in terms of network-orientated entertainment is currently being held back not by device capabilities, but by network performance. Samsung certainly appears to be addressing that imbalance, and no doubt Apple will do this too.

Another interesting feature is the S5′s built-in heart-rate monitor. Apple’s Touch ID was the first significant manifestation of biometric security in a smartphone, but now Samsung is pushing mobile phones towards sensory activities that open up a world of possibilities for using your phone as a device to keep track of your body’s “status”, which in time could see smartphones become an integral part of healthcare. Samsung’s biometric security is also a big step forward, allowing users to assign their fingerprint to individual files and apps. Perhaps most importantly, Samsung has released an API for developers which allows them to use the S5′s fingerprint scanner in their own third-party apps, something that Apple may well have to respond to in the future.

Gear Fit

To conclude, I reckon that Samsung’s choice not to emphasise to heavily the fairly awesome specs of the Galaxy S5 is a clear sign that the S5 is a benchmark, a new standard in mobile processing technology. Having achieved that, Samsung has made it clear that for other companies to keep their smartphones innovative and relevant, they will have to push their devices capabilities beyond raw processing power and performance. , instead focusing on how a device can enhance users lives. Wearable tech is another huge area that Samsung is pushing, and Apple again will likely have to respond to this development.

These are just some of the effects that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will have on Apple and the development of future iPhones. But what do you think? Has Samsung got it right with the S5? What will Apple have to do to respond to Samsung? Where should its focus be? As always, leave your thoughts and your comments below, or hit me up on Twitter @TiP_Stephen

 

 

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  • georges dahy

    a phone is all how the software and hardware work together and quality of apps …and in those fields apple is way ahead …and the best example the dual core iphone 5s beat the quad core s4 with more quality of graphics ..the s5 forms no threat to the iphone 6 by the way samsung lied again about the storage

    • banglaz bless

      You keep telling yourself that ok sheep.

      • umadbrah

        typical Android loving faggot reading apple related sites

        • banglaz bless

          I’m just a mere imitation of your father. Damn idiot

          • Bill Thomas

            Wow that one hurt!!!

      • RedGeminiPA

        The proof is in the benchmarks, except the ones Scamdung rigged. It’s amazing how the Android sheep can’t accept the fact that specs don’t equal great performance and user experience.

      • donnybee

        I’ve used 5 different Android phones – including the most recent, a GS4. They are buggy, laggy, they freeze, they hang, take longer to do the same tasks, produced slower network speeds (in my area), need ridiculously high specs just to run efficiently, not as portable (not the case with ALL Androids, but any that are worth buying), slower and fragmented updates, lower resale value, increased obsolescence rate, application experience/selection is lacking (most of the apps look and feel like they have no design at all), not as enticing for serious app publishers (easier to steal apps / fragmented device hardware and software that each app needs to be able to work with), most devices come with TONS of bloatware that can’t be uninstalled (even though Android fanboys swear on the customization of Android), not as many device-specific accessories (unless it’s a Samsung or HTC), and all of this comes in a package that costs about the same (brand new) as an iPhone.

        “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware”

        Android has a lot of work to do. In reality, though, their fragmentation is their foundation. They’ve built their image around it not being the same experience twice. But Android is really just a dime-a-dozen.

  • Bill Thomas

    The only thing that really impresses me is that it’s dust and water resistant other then that to me is just another Galaxy phone

    • Adam Oram

      I’d love water resistance to come to iPhone

  • TheAppleGuy

    The Galaxy S5 has great spec’s, but so did the S4. The S4 had dramatically better spec’s than the iPhone 5/5s. Yet somehow the iPhone won by a landslide in performance. I’m not sure if you forgot that, or what? But Spec’s mean nothing. The heart rate monitoring is available to any smartphone with a camera, so focus on health is a great thing, but that’s not pushing the envelop. And of course they’re switching their focus. They’re mimicking Apple’s marketing to promote switching. The S5 is an awesome phone, but it’s clear they are imitating Apple.

  • TBN27

    If it is reliable is also the question. Other galaxy S devices have crapped out under my normal use after a few months and after updates. Some of the of the new features on the galaxy S5 are useful like the coining LTE and wi-fi to make downloading and web browsing super fast. However all that will not matter if the phone cannot run smoothly after updates, as in the next version of android. Away from that, I like what I see in the galaxy S5 as well as it’s android competition.

    • RedGeminiPA

      The WiFi and LTE double usage will only spell doom for many users, since most are still on capped data plans. It’s nice in theory, but it’ll quickly get VERY expensive for users who are unaware of what’s going on.

      • Lawrencekaroumy

        It is only a feature and can be turned off. Also, it only kicks in for downloads above 30mb in size. Samsung can’t just hold back on features because someone might not know about it. They should know the phone they’re buying.

      • TBN27

        That is so true I totally forgot about that. It will only benefit those that are t-mobile and sprint.

  • Devesh

    Users asked for a few things from samsung which they partly delivered,, they speeded up the camera( but the initial videos show the camera app itself takes time to launch , no matter how fast the autofocus is , it won’t help if it opens up late compared to iphone ), and another we ll have to see if touch wiz is snappier,, well opening heavy apps like gallery ,, health, will show that, third thing expected was design front,, seriously how can one ignore the UGLIER THICKER HEAVIER design,, I’m a samsung fan like forever ,, but please this is a biased review,, who doesn’t know how to count heart rate with their fingers!!!!! Have u seen the touch here is a two step procedure ,, again it makes it slows to open up cos u have to turn on the screen first n then slide ,,, good attempt but..

  • De’Marcus Kourage Winbush

    One things I liked about the S4 was the screen. All the specs really don’t mean nothing. My wife has the S4 and i see her using my iPhone 5 more to take and record videos. Plus Apple has mastered the camera on a phone so the iPhone 8mp camera is still going to be better than the 16mp on the s5. Apple has got security down and they hopefully got one more trick up their sleeve with the iPhone 6. I just hope that don’t focus on bringing out an iPhone 6C and wait next year to release it. iPhone 6, Apple TV, iPad air 2, and the iWatch and Apple will lock it down and keep the crown.

  • Tulio

    see the sad part is that its the iphone 5S, so the iphone 6wont really have much difference about it. I wish apple would do something right for the user
    Allow further customization of the phone
    allow a wider screen

    if apple can provide just those two things, i feel like alot of people would flock over to their overly expensive phones, hell i would consider flocking over

  • roopull

    I am actually more interested in how HTC, Motorola, Sony and others are going to respond to the S5 than Apple. I saw almost nothing cutting edge with the iPhone 5, and no longer consider Apple a key innovator in the mobile space. They lost touch with what people wanted from their devices for a while & were playing catch up with the i5.
    ………………
    A phone’s slimness is stupid if you can’t drop it and have it survive.
    No phone that isn’t at least water resistant is garbage.
    ………………
    Apple focused too much on making the phone “gorgeous” rather than actually making it usable. The second people put the required case on their fragile (yet gorgeous) glass iPhones, the bulk of what made them so special was rendered moot.
    ……………..
    The phone needs to be ergonomic, sturdy and functional to compete in today’s mobile world. Those have not been Apple’s strong points necessarily.
    ……………..
    That being said, they get high marks for the lightning connector and marked improvements with making the OS more usable. But, to keep up with Android, WP and the emerging innovators, they need to quit concentrating on making jewelry. Otherwise, they’re going to further relegate themselves to niche status… I’m no fanboy of any stripe, but the marketshare numbers both here in the US, but especially in Asia, make it clear Apple isn’t exactly gaining ground.

  • zerilos

    The specks of the S5 are in many areas behind phones that are already on the market; and where they are ahead of the other flagship devices it’s just barely. I’m yet to talk to or read about a single person who cares about the fingerprint sensor. Regardless, the iPhone 6 will obviously have to come with some substantial improvements to continue to be a viable alternative to Android. Screen size and pixel density are obviously a must. Fortunately, from what I can tell, Apple plans to make those changes. Add that to the fact that it seems likely that the A8 will be way ahead of the competition, I think that the iPhone 6 will regain it’s advantage.