An Apple executive took a shot at Samsung and the next model of its Android-based smartphone, less than a day before the larger rival was set to release its Galaxy S IV device.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal late March 13, Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, played up his own company's iPhone devices, played down Samsung's gains in the booming smartphone market and dismissed Google's Android mobile operating system as inferior to Apple's own iOS.
"Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn't as good as an iPhone," Schiller told the The Wall Street Journal, noting the fragmentation in the Android market with a slew of vendors—such as Samsung, HTC and Google's own Motorola unit—selling smartphones running the OS. He also said that with Android phones, users have to deal with devices that have components that come from various suppliers, whereas everything in the iPhone comes from Apple.
"When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with," Schiller said. "They don't work seamlessly together."
Schiller's comments came a day before Samsung launches the next model of its popular Galaxy series, the Galaxy S IV. Samsung is set to release the smartphone at an event in New York City March 14. The company is looking to build on the momentum it generated with the Galaxy S III in May 2012.
Company officials have been cagey about what improvements will come in the new smartphone, though some reports have focused on such areas as the processor, cameras and battery life. Copies of what were reported to show early images of the Galaxy X IV show a device that's a bit larger than its predecessor, with a 5-inch display. It reportedly will run Android 4.2, have an eight-core processor, and offer up to 64GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel camera.
The new device comes as Samsung looks to grow its market advantage over Apple, which essentially created in the market in 2007 with the release of the first iPhone. The iPhone reportedly is still the single most popular smartphone, but with its multiple offerings, Samsung has grabbed a strong market-share lead.
According to IDC analysts, in the fourth quarter of 2012, Samsung shipped 63.7 million smartphones, for a 29 percent share of the market. Apple shipped 47.8 million iPhones, grabbing a 21.8 percent share. Almost 70 percent of the smartphones shipped in the quarter were Android devices from the likes of Samsung, ZTE and Sony.
Schiller in the The Journal interview dismissed the market-share numbers, noting that surveys have found that more people are satisfied with their iPhones than are happy with their Android devices. He also boasted about the iPhone 5, which launched in September 2012.
He said the screen is "still the best display of any smartphone. … Given the iPhone 5 is so thin and light, the reason that people are making their devices bigger is to get up to the battery life the iPhone 5 offers."
Still, Apple reportedly is looking for ways to expand the reach of its smartphone. There has been speculation about a low-cost iPhone that could help the company capture a larger share of the coveted Chinese market. In addition, Apple is expected to release the next version of its smartphone—which some analysts said will be an iPhone 5S—sometime this summer, with some thinking as early as June.
Apple was burned a bit last year when it scheduled the iPhone 5 to be released in September, giving Samsung a good four months of running room between the release of the Galaxy S III and the launch of the iPhone 5.
Apple and Samsung not only are in a hotly contested competition in the marketplace, but also in courtrooms around the world, where each has filed patent-infringement lawsuits against the other. A jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion from Samsung following a trial in August 2012, though the judge in the case has since cut that award in half. In addition, Federal Court Judge Lucy Koh on March 7 opened the door to a second trial next year between the two companies.