With technology moving so fast in the world of smartphones, the once great iPhone 4S has been overshadowed by a range of new Android devices, particularly Samsung’s latest Galaxy S3. Apple has dominated the smartphone market for so long, but with the brilliance and popularity of the S3, it seems like their reign as top dog may be coming to an end. While the iPhone 4S is undoubtedly a great phone, it is made to seem insignificant when compared to the Samsung and with 9 million pre-orders and sales set to reach 19 million by the autumn of 2012, Apple are going to find their flagship phone further behind the Android super-phone.
The new iPhone 5 is widely expected to hit stores in October of this year, but unlike the 4S which was released with little in the way of competition, Apple will face the mammoth task of attracting smartphone users away from the Galaxy S3, which will have already been on the market for six months. The Apple name and reputation will naturally attract a number of fans, but when all is said and done, it will be the better phone that wins the war. So what features does the iPhone 5 need to have to beat the Galaxy S3? We can think of a few things.
The biggest attraction of the new Galaxy is its brilliant 4.8 inch Super AMOLED screen. Large displays are the latest trend in new smartphones so it is likely that Apple are going to have to move away from their trusted 3.5 LED screen. It is highly unlikely the Apple will go out and try to match Samsung in the size of the screen on the iPhone 5, but an increase to 4.0 or 4.3 inches will be more than welcome. The problem Apple face with a larger screen is the risk of hampering Retina Display – one of the outstanding features of the 4S. A slight drop in pixel density or a change of aspect ratio may be required in order for a bigger display to be realized. The iPhone 5 will also need to improve the resolution from the current 960 x 640p specs on the 4S. Apple will at least need to match the 1280 x 720p of the S3, but to really entice fans; a resolution of 1440 x 800p may be required.
A new iPhone will most certainly need to feature an improved camera. The 8-MP rear-facing camera on the iPhone 4S is every bit as good as the one in the Galaxy S3 so any improvement on that will put Apple ahead of Samsung. If Apple does opt to stick with the same mega-pixel unit, optics will need to improve to offer greater sharpness and detail resolution. Improved low-light performance will also be needed. The S3 also has great camera features including, zero shutter lag, and best shot selection which suggests the best picture based on smile detection and face recognition, the iPhone 5 would be best of mimicking such features, in the same way that Samsung “mimicked” Siri with S-voice.
Rumours suggest that Apple has registered a patent relating to a 3D camera – this will certainly intrigue fans.
The front-facing VGA camera will also need improving to match the 1.9-MP unit in the S3.
Despite its size, the Galaxy S3 is one of the thinnest smartphones there is at 8.6mm. This makes the 9.3mm iPhone 4S seem rather chunky in comparison. Much like larger screens, thin phones are somewhat of a trend in new smartphones so it is likely that Apple are going to have to shave some millimetres off the form of the iPhone 5. There are rumours of Apple changing the looks of the iPhone 5. While the width is likely to remain, close to what we are used to, the length may increase to accommodate a larger screen and the width could decrease to a very impressive 7.6 mm. This will be a bigger winner with smartphone fans. But just how will they achieve such a thin form? Well, using Sony’s new CMOS illuminated streamline camera sensor which is designed to be more compact will help to reduce the thickness of the phone greatly.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 leads the way when it comes to smartphone performance. Using Samsung’s own Exynos 4412 quad-core processor, clocking 1.4GHz, the S3 is the most powerful smartphone there has ever been. Anything less than a quad-core processor will be a disappointment in the iPhone 5 so rumours that Apple are likely to use a similar Exynos quad-core chip to the one in the S3 are definitely pleasing.
The Galaxy S3 also has 1GB RAM compared to the 512MB RAM currently seen in the iPhone 4S. The next generation iPhone will need to match the 1GB RAM, or risk failure.
Apple’s iPhone has also been at the forefront of smartphone storage with 8, 16, 32, and 64GB options; however, this has now been matched by Samsung who offer the new Galaxy in 32 and 64GB internal storage options. The S3 has also taken it to the next level by including a micro SD card for a further 64GB of storage space. We shouldn’t expect Apple to market the iPhone 5 complete with micro SD card slot, but maybe an increase in storage is a possibility – 96GB anyone?
The Samsung Galaxy S3 runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) which is plastered over with Samsung’s own TouchWiz interface, providing an excellent user experience. However, this is matched, if not bettered, by iOS 5 in the iPhone 4, so if the new iPhone runs iOS 6 as expected, we can expect Apple to take the spoils in this area.
The Apple App Store is already superior to that of Google Play, so nothing will need to change in this area to compete with the S3.
The iPhone 5 will undoubtedly be the biggest smartphone release of the year, but there is a lot of work ahead for Apple to ensure their flagship handset competes with the Galaxy S3.