Let’s first start by stating the obvious. The iPhone 7 has not yet been released, we’ll probably see it in September, and Apple will undoubtedly rave how it’s the best iPhone ever. We’ll be told about all these cutting edge features that are, in fact, features already existing on Android devices. So nothing new there then. You see, the thing is that Apple has become boring – it did a long time ago but sheer arrogance has stopped them from seeing it clearly. It’s been a while since I have looked at an Apple device and had that sheer geeky “oh my god I must buy this” feeling. They are relying heavily on their formidable eco-system and ‘it just works’ ethos which admittedly lives up to expectations.
The thing is that the iPhone no longer looks shiny – it’s a predictable formula and predictability is dull. It’s starting to have an impact – Apple’s growth is slowing. There’s even another big threat just around the corner – Whatsapp’s foray into video calling. An app used by everyone, available on any device, that effectively does the same job as iMessage and FaceTime do. Apple will no longer be able to rely on iMessage and FaceTime locking people into their ecosystem. The ‘everyone I know has an iPhone’ argument becomes less relevant. Then there is Samsung. Gone are the days where Samsung was trying to simply replicate Apple’s award winning formula. The first Samsung phones didn’t look too similar to the iPhone – they seemed to borrow some of the design queues. Then Samsung tried to find their own style but it didn’t really work (remember the Galaxy S3?!). Now they have it spot on – enter the Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S7 Edge.
Here’s the rub. The Galaxy S7 Edge is absolutely stunning. Without a doubt it is the best mobile phone on the market right now. If you are getting an Android device and have the cash to splash then this is the no brainer. It has that geeky man must-buy-tech drool effect. The camera produces beautiful pictures, it’s nice to hold, the screen is stunning, and battery life is solid. There are only two minor points that let it down. Firstly some might argue that although nice to hold a smaller size would have been preferable. I fit into that camp – the obsession that bigger is better must stop (*childish giggle*). For me the Galaxy S2 was the perfect size. Sony’s strategy is spot on here – exact same phone, two size screens. Secondly Touchwiz, although acceptable, is completely unnecessary. Pure Android is best and means you get instant updates without having to wait for Samsung to update Touchwiz first. Touchwiz is however here to stay – it’s the only way Samsung can differentiate between the competition on a software level. Plus they want to use their own mobile payments and content services rather than Google’s. It would however be nice to have the choice between the two.
I am not going to pretend I know what the future holds for the iPhone 7. Let’s not go down the lines of rumour and conjecture. We know what Apple needs to do. It needs to get over it’s own arrogance. Acknowledge that they cannot rely so heavily on incremental steps. Crucially they need to come up with a new design. Unfortunately if we are to believe the rumour mill they still haven’t got it… And Samsung haven’t fully got it either. The Galaxy S7 is, design-wise, extremely similar to the S6. This time round they have made the best ever phone but by doing what they should have done in the first place. This is an Apple-esque move. There is no huge wow moment however for some reason I still must have a Galaxy S7 Edge. They have however lost an opportunity to put themselves out of reach of Apple. They are relying on Apple’s we-know-best attitude.
So here’s how I am calling it. The Galaxy S7 versus the iPhone 7 will not be the massive tech fight we are looking for. The Galaxy S7 edge will still remain the best mobile on the market. Apple will be boring and release a phone that’s incremental – they know they can probably get away with it one more time even if sales are slowing. They’ll add a new dual lens camera, a faster processor, but everything else will be the same if not similar. Apple may be waiting to release their 10th iPhone in 2017 to make a statement, a comeback. But you know what… I think Samsung will walk it. They’re on top form whilst Apple is lazy and reliant on a loyal fan-base. Game set and matched.