The latest rumors put Apple and Samsung on a direct collision course. If they pan out, the next iPhone and Galaxy will look very similar with curved screens and thin bezels. But then there’s the price. One option is going up market, while the other will probably stay mainstream.
Once upon a time Samsung blatantly copied Apple to the point the courts agreed and forced Samsung to pay $399 million in damages thought the two are still going at it.
This time around, though, it sounds like Apple will be the company directly following Samsung’s lead as the available technology converges on obvious conclusions.
Sharpen the pitchforks and fletch the arrows. The fanboy wars are about to flare back up.
iPhone rumors have surfaced over the past weeks describing a phone with a curved OLED screen and the lack of a physical home button. With those features, there’s only a few ways to design a phone and most roads lead to something that looks like this leaked image of the Galaxy S8.
The design would not likely be an exact photocopy. Apple will make the iPhone look like an iPhone. I would expect the next iPhone to have a bit more squared-off corners. Don’t expect a 3.5mm jack like the Galaxy S8 is rumored to sport; Apple is committed to wireless headphones and is not looking back.
The camera placement on the next iPhone could be dictated by the new curved screen, as well. Since the first iPhone, the rear-facing camera has always been housed in the top left of the back panel. This was in part made possible by housing the camera behind the large bezel that matched the size of the bottom bezel where the home button is located. If Apple is doing away with the home button, there will not be a need for a large bezel on the bottom so Apple could reduce the size of the top bezel as well. With a smaller top bezel, there will be less room to house the internal camera components and this could force Apple to either employ a larger camera bump or move the location of the camera to the middle of the backside — like where most Android phones have their camera lending more credence to the notion Apple is following the lead of Android phones.
There is just little Apple will be able to do to make the next iPhone look much different from the next Galaxy phone if the rumored specs are correct.
The physical size of the upcoming devices could be different, though. Mobile device makers are playing with screen aspect ratios in an attempt to make large phones a bit more usable in the hand. LG recently unveiled the G6 at Mobile World Congress. The company is marketing the screen on the phone as 18:9 (so 2:1). It’s twice as wide as it is tall. It feels slightly different and at first blush, does appear to make the phone more comfortable to hold. The leaked image of the Galaxy S8 shows a device that looks similar in stature.
With the curved screen, Samsung, or even Apple, will be able to design a phone that has a larger screen than past models but is relatively smaller in the hand. If these companies use even a slightly different aspect ratios the Galaxy S8 and iPhone X could have a radically different feel even if they have similar design traits.
It might come down to price. The WSJ reported yesterday that Apple is readying a special edition of the next iPhone to celebrate the device’s 10 year anniversary. This is the device rumored to have the curved screen. And The Journal is reporting it will cost $1,000. That’s $350 over the price of an iPhone 7 and $200 more than the price of the Samsung S7 edge. And if Samsung keeps with its pricing scheme the S8 edge will be priced similarly to the S7 edge, putting the iPhone at a different price point even though the design and specs are rumored to be similar.
Both companies could drop surprises when they announce their upcoming devices. Storage capacity and camera capabilities could set the next iPhone and Galaxy devices apart. One could have novel battery or charging feature, too. Or there’s casing material too. Apple could ditch a metal exterior for something more exotic like glass or ceramic. Samsung might use something different from glass for the S8. But options aside, fanboys often disregard specs and focus on design aspects and from the sounds of it, both devices will looks the same.
Samsung is set to announce the next Galaxy phone at a special New York City event on March 29th. Apple traditionally announces new iPhones in September. By announcing its phone much earlier, Samsung fans will no doubt have plenty of ammo to support the attack that Apple is following Samsung’s lead. Just never mind the fact companies often start designing devices years in advance — logic is not allowed in a fanboy war.