Samsung Grows An Ego

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For the first time in the six years of the iPhone’s life, Apple seems to be going on the defensive, and with good reason. Apple’s global marketshare is slowly shrinking alongside the growth of Android, and Samsung is leading the way as smartphone king, shipping over 50 million Galaxy S IIIs since the phone launched.

And remember, that’s just one of dozens of phones Samsung launches on the Android OS every year.

The Samsung Galaxy S4, the latest generation of Samsung’s flagship series, was debuted on Thursday, March 14. It was quite the spectacle. Two days later, Apple erected the “Why iPhone” page, which lists all the reasons why the iPhone 5 is better and everything else is… well, not.

The “Why iPhone” page talks about how the A6 chip and the iPhone 5 battery were carefully crafted by “Apple Scientists” to offer lots of power without sacrificing battery life, as opposed to “settling for a large, off-the-shelf option,” like competitors.

“Why iPhone” also mentions how the iPhone’s camera is the most popular camera on Flickr. “And while other smartphones simply tout large amounts of megapixels, taking great pictures is about so much more,” reads the page. Interesting how major Android competitors, like Samsung and HTC, just recently graduated past the 8-megapixel zone into 13-megapixel territory. Coincidence?

The page talks about how iPhone’s content comes from the Apple iTunes Store, “the world’s most trusted entertainment store.” By buying content from Apple, the page promises, you don’t need to worry about dreaded malware.

This jibes quite well with a very rare tweet out of Apple’s Phil Schiller. After citing a recent security study that in the fourth quarter of last year, “96 new families and variants of Android threats were discovered,” Schiller told Phandroids to “be careful out there.”

Apple usually finds a way to interrupt competing news. The company has been known to drop press releases during CES or send out invites to iPad events during Mobile World Congress. Yet, there hasn’t been a bold, prideful interruption this year, but rather defensive interviews and tweets.

Phil Schiller even did an interview with the WSJ one day before the Galaxy S4 unveiling to slam Android as a whole. “When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with,” said Schiller. “They don’t work seamlessly together.”

And that is but just a taste of the Android bashing.

What’s perhaps most interesting about this newfound defensiveness from Apple is Samsung’s attitude. During the massive Galaxy S4 announcement, it was hard not to notice Samsung’s ego in the whole thing. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but it was more of a sense I got. Samsung officially knows its the top global smartphone maker in the world, and more and more you’ll see it start to act that way.

For one, the show was held in a massive venue at Radio City Music Hall, complete with minor celebrity appearances and full-on Broadway skits. Usually, the press gets special front-row seats to these events, with semi-solid WiFi to cover the event. At Samsung Unpacked, we were herded in with general consumers and struggled to get a connection to cover the Galaxy S4 announcement. It’s Samsung’s big phone, and it’s so big they don’t even care if we can cover it.

Meanwhile, Apple seems to be backsliding into a defensive position, no longer surprising us with news in the middle of an Apple-free conference or scoffing at cuts from Google or Samsung.

And it’s real fun to watch it go down.