Apple has been in some pretty bitter legal wrangling with Samsung over the last year. In August they won a billion dollar case against Samsung for copyright Infringement. Seeking to push home their advantage they recently applied for Samsung to have to withdraw infringing headsets from the market. A judge recently dismissed this please saying that it was not appropriate to withdraw products based on limited patent infringements in minor phone designs.
Apple seems to have lost its impetus in the courts but has still had massive success with the iPhone 5. The sold 5 million handset on per-release and have sold 45 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. So how do these two phones stack up against each other?
How Good Is the iPhone?
Unfortunately for Apple the answer is not so well. The iPhone 5 has been criticized for its lack of innovation. It is taller than the iPhone 4, thinner and has a 4-inch screen instead of a 3.5-inch. But as far as I can tell that is about it. It has not improved a great deal. To its credit it has kept what works and it is still a lovely premium looking phone that shouts Apple; a factor that all iPhone owners love as owning the iPhone is an immediate source of conversation in most groups.
How Good is the Competition?
The Samsung Note II is much bigger and bulkier. It has a 5.5-inch screen and incredibly vivacious colours. Its curves are nice and the only thing letting it down is it is maybe a bit plasticky. For those that know their phone it is a much better phone than the iPhone. Recently magazines have hailed it as gadget of the year and it has garnered much kudos in the techie world (normally better judges than the general population when it comes to this type of thing).
The question is how long Apple can maintain their market leading position putting out phones that just dont match up to those of their rivals. The iPhone 6 will have to be more innovative or they do, in my opinion, face the very real possibility of slipping back, RIM fashion. Sure there will always be those that go for an iPhone and are happy in their ignorance. But the public is value focused and when people wake up to the reality they may well shift. The power of the Apple brand is compelling but will not last another below par iPhone I fear.
It is time that Apple stopped focusing on their patents and started innovating in their labs again. Patent infringements are bad, yes, but so is lacking innovation in perhaps the most innovative retail market there is.
HTC, Samsung, Google and Nokia are doing an incredible job with their phones. Microsoft is only going to get stronger.
Apple should be nervously looking over their shoulder. Unless that is they have a master plan ready for iPhone 6. We can only wait and see what they have in store for us.