What Samsung expects from iPhone 8

Samsung works pretty hard to make sure its products offer more or less the same features as Apple's iPhone, so the rumors speak volumes here.

The explosive Apple/Samsung relationship lacks romance but has launched over a billion smartphones all the same.

One way Samsung tries to compete is to match the iPhone rumors with the features of its own flagship phones, which it rushes to market to remain competitive.

In my opinion this means that when we look at what Samsung is expected to ship we are also looking at what Samsung thinks Apple may be working on. Given both firms have connections across each other’s supply chains, I think it’s a supportable theory.

What are Samsung’s plans?

The Samsung v. Apple struggle is good for consumers (other than when devices are rushed to market in order to explode), but it also means that when you look at the rumors you’re also getting a good insight into what Samsung thinks the next iPhone will look like. So, what are people predicting? A quick scout around the Web gave me:

  • Ultra HD display (2K in S8 series smartphones)
  • Faster processor
  • VR capabilities, and a new Samsung Gear VR wearable.
  • Note S Stylus support in Galaxy S8
  • Curved edge AMOLED display
  • Dual lens camera for high end device (Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus?)
  • IP86 certified, dust proof and water resistant
  • No headphone jack
  • Wireless charging
  • Available in gold, silver, black, and blue.

Samsung will also introduce its recently acquired Bixby virtual assistant in its high end Note and S8 phones.

Bixby was created by Siri developers, Viv Labs, and is just part of the company’s focus on Artificial Intelligence. "Samsung is setting its sights on becoming a major player in software and services, and specifically AI, Viv Labs CEO Dag Kittlaus told the Express.

"You will soon come to see the utter seriousness of Samsung’s intentions. And like us, they aim to win."

What are Apple’s plans?

Samsung may well be playing to “win”, but so is Apple. It is doubtful both firms share the same vision of victory. Samsung focuses on selling vast quantities of product at low profit margins, while Apple’s business plan is to sell vast quantities of product at more sustainable profit margins*.

(*Apple’s plan appears to be changing – in future it hopes to build business value through attachment of services, which is something its biggest competitor cannot match).

This will be the tenth anniversary iPhone, though it isn’t known if Apple will mark it. MacRumors tells us to expect:

  • OLED display, potentially curved
  • Faster processor (Apple’s A-series chips are the fastest in the industry)
  • No Home button
  • Wireless charging with partner, Energous
  • All glass body
  • Waterproof
  • No headphone jack (“Courage”)
  • Apple Pencil support in larger model
  • More sophisticated biometric sensors, potentially including non-invasive diabetes blood tests?
  • Also available in white.

We also expect Apple to reveal some of what it has been developing for VR/AR this year, potentially including VR glasses it has been working on for years.

In other words, Samsung appears to think the iPhone will match the rumors, given the similarity of the speculations being made for future devices from both firms.

One more thing

Apple finds it much harder to keep secrets than it once did. Its success means it endures constant scrutiny from media, government and everybody else.

It may also feel that the legal system has proved itself unable to effectively protect iPhone design patents.

In order to maintain a unique market position, Apple will need to rely heavily on proprietary technologies, software, processors, component, and unique material and manufacturing processes within the tenth anniversary iPhone. It needs to weave these deep inside its new product, in order to create something that isn’t only protected by patent law, but by utility patents that protect unique and proprietary manufacturing processes. You may be able to match the design, but can you imitate the components? How else will it slow its fast follower down?

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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