It’s a clash we look forward to every year: Apple versus Samsung, tech’s equivalent to Frasier versus Ali. It’s a rivalry as old as smartphones themselves, one that’s predicated on respect, lawsuits, and partnerships. Neither would be the same without the other. And it’s about to get more heated than ever.
We can all agree that the past few years have been primarily about iteration, refining features and software in preparation for big new innovations. Based on rumors we’ve been hearing, Apple and Samsung will be at the forefront of a renewed revolution in mobile, one where screens are edge-to-edge and facial recognition is the norm.
Recently, Samsung’s had the upper hand, if only just. Sure, Apple is technically the world’s top vendor, and Samsung endured an embarrassing Note 7 recall. But the Korean company’s devices, let’s be honest, are technologically superior in almost every way. Have been for the past few years.
If not for faulty batteries, the Note 7 would have been our favorite phone of 2016 (a title it would still hold today). The company’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, two technological marvels, are still holding strong. The iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 are much less exciting, despite selling like gangbusters last quarter.
Let’s make some predictions
If we were to pick a winner right now based entirely on credible rumors—not just crazy concepts—we’d say the iPhone 8 is the more exciting device.
Several reports—some stretching back several months—claim the iPhone 8 will feature advanced facial recognition, an iris scanner, AR capabilities, and a curved OLED display that’s edge-to-edge.
Meanwhile, the device is expected to ditch the Touch ID home button for a “function area,” which may feature a fingerprint sensor built right into the screen. Think of it as a Touch Bar for your iPhone, something Apple introduced in the new MacBook Pro.
The iPhone 8 is also rumored to a redesign that ditches all physical buttons, and wireless charging that may allow users to charge their phone from a distance. Not to mention, it should come with a more advanced camera, faster guts, improved water resistance, 3D Touch, and iOS 11, which Apple will likely detail at WWDC this summer.
All together, the iPhone 8 promises to not only be the most advanced iPhone yet, but the most feature-packed smartphone on the market.
The Galaxy S8 will be no slouch: Rumors claim it will have a 5.8-inch display that’s also edge-to-edge, wireless charging, microSD card support, and a Snapdragon 835 chip, which a recent report said will make the device more energy efficient.
The device is also said to pack a new “visual search” function, an iris scanner, and Samsung DeX, a feature that will allow users to connect the Galaxy S8 to an external monitor. However, as we’ve learned in the past, features similar to DeX have been underwhelming, and it’s unclear what Samsung’s take on the technology will bring to the table.
Finally, Samsung is expected to introduce Bixby, though there have been conflicting reports about how useful the assistant will be. We expect the AI to be based on Viv, a company Samsung acquired last year. But a recent report said it will be a lot less exciting than we initially thought.
Consumers will win
No matter how you slice it, both devices are going to be amazing. But all these rumors about the iPhone 8 are making me much less excited for the Galaxy S8, which is beginning to sound like an apology for the Note 7 fiasco.
Of course, this is assuming all of the rumors we’ve heard wind up being true. It’s very possible none of the features we’ve heard will be included in the new iPhone, perhaps saved for next year or the year after that. With 2017 being the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, however, we’re expecting Apple to pull out all the stops.
It’s true, too, that Samsung has offered many of the features rumored to come to the iPhone 8, including a curved display and wireless charging. In that respect, Apple is still playing catchup. Samsung has been Apple’s superior when it comes to innovation over the past few years, but the tides finally seem to be turning in Apple’s favor.
There is one caveat worth mentioning, and that’s price. Apparently, due to all of the new technology, Apple’s iPhone 8 (or iPhone X, as it may be called) will retail for over $1,000. As we’ve said, however, that price isn’t quite as scary as it sounds. But it’s still worth mentioning.
Look, if you’re a Samsung fan, you’re going to be excited for the Galaxy S8, and vice versa. Either way, the smartphone market is becoming exciting again, which is great for the consumer. Personally, I welcome a renewed Apple versus Samsung battle, which has been decidedly one-sided over the past few years.