Getting Lost in the Galaxy: Apple Falls Behind in the Smartphone Race

On June 27th, 2007 Apple released the first iPhone, the first multi-touch interface smartphone. More than a year later on October 22nd, 2008 the HTC Dream became the first Android powered touch screen phone, and so started the heavily contested smartphone race. For many years the major competitors have been Samsung and Apple. For many years Apple has led the race as the most successful smartphone in the US. But is Apple falling behind?

AppleBeginning in the first fiscal quarter of 2010 Android had taken the lead for global sales of phones. Since that time the increase in total sales of Android products versus Apple products has been striking.

At the end of 2012, Apple’s total phone sales were $135.9 million. By the end of 2013, Apple’s total phones sold had grown to $153.4 million. Pretty good, right? Well let’s take a look at Android’s phone sales for 2012: $219.7 million. Wow, that has stomped out iPhones sales for 2012! What about 2013? In 2013 Android sold 313.9 Million phones.

Apple2The iPhone has held its ground in the United States due to a loyal fanbase and killer advertisements by Apple’s marketing department. But, Apple isn’t one to take to innovation. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, stated in an interview, “Improving is not Apple-style innovation.” Apple is losing ground because they only make what they know how to make.

The current flagships for Apple and Samsung are the iPhone 6 and the Samsung galaxy S5. The technology inside each phone determines which phone is the most advanced.

Both phones are competitive, and while the Galaxy is definitely the more advanced phone, with its larger phone screen, larger battery, and 12 megapixel camera. The iPhone 6 is still in the race because of its loyal fanbase.

Samsung has something in store for Apple though. Recently Samsung has taken the next step to make the next innovations with the Samsung Galaxy S5, but they have also introduced a new phone that is very similar to the iPhone. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha mimics the iPhone in more ways than one. With an aluminum casing, the exact same screen size, and a smaller overall build the Alpha has copied the iPhone in several key ways. Samsung is looking for innovation and also providing a cheap alternative to the iPhone. The iPhone lists for $650 dollars without a 2-year contract, but the Samsung Galaxy Alpha will most likely list for considerably less, as is the current trend with the Galaxy S5.

The iPhone is more expensive and is basically the same phone as the last version—and then there are a number of key features the S5 has that the iPhone does not have.

The S5 has an improved wireless transmitter that actually allows for better access to cellular 4g networks. While Android was the first phone to accept 4g wireless in 2010, it was more than 2 years before the first iPhone that would connect to 4g. Android was also the first to offer a fully functional landscape mode for horizontal typing on their phones. In 2010, Android embraced bigger screen size, allowing people to type in landscape mode. Apple only adopted this feature for the iPhone 6. The S5 has a 12 megapixel camera versus the iPhone’s 8 MP camera. One of Apple’s biggest “new features” is Apple Pay. This allows you to pay with your phone, by sending your bank information to pay stations. Android offered similar capabilities back in 2010.

Apple came into the phone game very strong and fast. In 2007, they provided a phone that was revolutionary, but they haven’t improved their product much since then. Apple’s loyal fanbase will always be willing to pay $600 for the newest phone, but Android is offering a wide array of competitive phones, many of them better.

Thomas Winkleman

3 thoughts on “Getting Lost in the Galaxy: Apple Falls Behind in the Smartphone Race

  1. My first smartphone was a Samsung Android and it was terrible, given it was before the start of their Galaxy line. Now, I have the S4 and I absolutely love it. So, I would definitely take the Android side of this debate. Back when I was selecting a phone, the only incentive I felt towards the iPhone was the plethora of phone case options. Even without research, I have definitely noticed the Apple side of the race falling back while Galaxy charges forward in to innovative new technologies; this is even with having a close friend who is basically obsessed with Apple products trying to explain to me why Galaxy phones are lesser. Now, I think Galaxy is both more innovative and has a loyal fanbase just like Apple.

  2. As someone that has never owned either of these products I find it interesting to see the stats and info in this ongoing battle. I think that you are right when you say that Apple consumers basically only buy the next iPhone because of brand recognition too. But can’t the same be said now for Galaxy users? Sure Samsung basically hits it out of the ballpark with each new Galaxy, but who is to say that people don’t just buy them because the last few have been amazing?

  3. This smartphone battle of the past several years has always felt like a political battle. When it comes to the opinions and objective reasoning of consumers that own either phone, I barely notice technological findings and specs in their arguments. It’s simply, “Oh, I’m a Mac person, always have been, I’ll never change!” or “I’ll never buy into Apple’s garbage propaganda.” My personal history with smartphones is somewhat brief compared to others. I purchased the Galaxy S3 only a year and a half ago (the S4 was already released, but I went with the cheap option). While getting into the smartphone game was completely refreshing and a great feeling, I noticed many problems shortly after. The camera, especially with Snapchat, was awful, and the charging port was absolutely obliterated after months, not because of carelessness, but because of its fragility and tendency to slowly break the tiny components of the port (almost like a corrosion effect). I currently have the iPhone 5S, and I couldn’t be happier. Almost every feature of this phone is miles ahead of my previous one, possibly because I didn’t have the improved version of the Galaxy line, but nonetheless I was hooked into what Apple was offering. Sleek yet simple, it’s a very solid phone that I will stick with for a long time.

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