Monday, 18 March 2013


The lightning war between Samsung and Apple is already here.

Samsung's newest, feature-packed Galaxy S4 may put pressure on Apple Inc to accelerate its pace of smartphone design and venture into cheaper devices - both departures from usual practice.

The latest Galaxy, unwrapped with much fanfare in New York on Thursday, defeats the iPhone in most technical aspects. But the challenges it encapsulates run deeper than just a simple specifications comparison.

"It would be overstatement to say Apple is far behind," Charles Golvin, analyst with Forrester, said, but it does need to note the quickening pace of competitive devices being released (Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S4, HTC One or Sony Xperia Z -not to mention LG Nexus 4 or even blackberry Z10-).

"If anything, what Apple needs to respond to is the cadence of their own releases, probably a completely new design every two years and a sort of speed bump every year is not an adequate cadence for Apple to remain at the forefront of smartphone innovation today."

Samsung's apparent ability to go toe-to-toe with Apple on cutting-edge smartphones may prompt the U.S. titan to finally make its own assault on the lower-end of the market that it has famously stayed away from -- not least to get into untapped markets like China and India.

Many analysts now say Apple has to respond in force to Samsung and other rivals that are grabbing attention. Much of Wall Street is now looking ahead to the next iPhone, but expectations are muted.

Once the darling of Wall Street, Apple has in six months seen its shares fall 30 percent. Its Maps software was panned for inaccuracies; its once-reliable financial results, that rarely failed to surpass Wall Street estimates, missed analysts' expectations.

Apple appears stuck in an iPhone product cycle, with a new phone typically launched in the second half. In past years, the iPhone has gotten a complete redesign only every two years. This product cycle development stage should be shortened to 6 months. If not, apple should develop some revolutionary solutions each time -in order to keep its global market position.

Depending on whom you believe, Apple’s seventh generation handset is arriving early next year or in June at the latest. Either way, the handset will arrive less than a year after the iPhone 5. No one has suggested, however, that the iPhone 5S will be anything more than a modest update. Instead of a new form factor, for example, think better internals and a kaleidoscope of colours.

With the iPad, however, a much more significant update could be coming. The iPad 4 looks exactly the same as Apple’s two previous generation tablets. 

Finally, the second-generation iPad mini will almost certainly look the same as its predecessor except in one important way. Just like the iPad 2 to iPad 3 jump, expect the next iPad mini to include a Retina display. Also, don’t be surprised to see a full line of coloured iPad minis too.

In the short-term, expect a modest iPhone update in 2013, followed by a more significant one later in the year or in early 2014. With the iPad, watch for a new form factor to debut next year, followed by a lighter refresh later. For the iPad mini, a new Retina display is a given, plus some (nothing astonishing) bumped up internals.

The war has come and now it is Apple's move.

Source:, Apple UK, Reuters U.S.

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