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.
After years of accusing Samsung of cribbing its designs and ideas, Apple seems to be looking to its smartphone rival for inspiration for the next iPhone.
The Wall Street Journal dropped a big report Tuesday on what to expect from the next iPhone, and a lot of the new features are things that have already become defining elements of a Samsung device.
Let’s break it down:
A curved screen:
The WSJ report says the iPhone will have a curved screen. This was a feature that Samsung first introduced in 2014 with the Galaxy Note Edge and later streamlined a few months later with the Galaxy S6 . Samsung’s next phone, the Galaxy S8 , is also expected to only come with a curved screen. There won’t be a “flat” screen option.
This is the most shocking move by Apple. According to the WSJ report, Apple will ditch its proprietary Lightning connector in favor of USB-C, a new standard plug found in all kinds of devices, especially premium Android phones . This would be a huge reversal for Apple, which usually prefers to use its own connectors in order to keep users locked into an ecosystem of Apple-approved accessories. USB-C on the next iPhone would theoretically open the device up to a slew of other third-party accessories. This would be the most Samsung-y move Apple has ever made.
The report backs up several other claims that the next iPhone will use a new type of screen technology called OLED. OLED is more power efficient and shows color better than the LCD screens Apple has used since the very first iPhone. Samsung specializes in OLED displays and has been using them for several years in its phones.
This wasn’t in the WSJ’s report, but it’s been widely rumored that the next iPhone will have wireless charging, something Samsung has been pushing for years. Apple recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium , an industry group that works on wireless charging standards, which fueled the speculation that the next iPhone will be able to charge wirelessly. Apple is also said to remove the home button in favor of digital keys, something Samsung will beat Apple to with the launch of the Galaxy S8.
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.