Over the past few years, the rivalry between Apple and Samsung has increased, ten fold, from patent suits, billion dollar victories (which were later reduced), to Samsung actually becoming more popular as a result. It was recently announced that Samsung spent well over $400 million on marketing last year, which actually may increase this year with the launch of the Galaxy S IV and Note III. It may be a lot of money, but the message they are promoting obviously working, it’s hard to argue with numbers. Samsung’s begun to chisel away at Apple’s armor, all the while making the Cupertino company seem less cool, while making their products “The Next Big Thing.”
For decades, Apple has been a company that’s been shrouded in secrecy, they try desperately to prevent their products from being leaked—but alas,their Chinese manufacturing partners are leaking secrets, images and even videos like a sieve. But it’s become worse with Apple recently, the company acts like people don’t know what they are working on, like the iPad Mini. The whole world knew it was coming, yet they denied it right up until it was announced. We know a new iPhone is coming every year, it’s like clockwork. Sure the month may change slightly, but we know it’s coming. But again, Apple thinks they are playing it cool by not discussing it, as if the next iPhone doesn’t exist. I know part of this strategy is to not cannibalize their own sales, but times have changed. Social media, the internet and tech blogs have changed the game and Apple simply isn’t moving along with them. Instead, they are fighting it all, tooth and nail. It’s almost embarrassing, no… it is embarrassing. Last year, Tim Cook spoke at the AllThingsD conference and said that they [Apple] where doubling down on security, that same day, the iPhone 5 leaks poured out like a mid-summer rain storm. The iPhone 5 leaked like no iPhone before it and when it came time to announced the new device in September, nearly four months later, the wind had been taken out of Apple’s sails. There was no excitement, no surprises, no “one more thing” to blow the audience away. As an Apple fan, it pains me to say it, but Apple’s lost its way, they’ve lost their element of surprise, they’ve lost their innovation, they’ve lost their “coolness” so to speak.
Samsung on the other hand is playing their cards perfectly, they’ve used the patent suits against them to propel them to the next level. They’ve learned from Apple, by successfully marketing their devices everywhere. Samsung has gone to great lengths to show people their devices are superior. They have bigger screens, faster processors, more RAM, expandable storage, and software features that the iPhone can’t match. Their clever commercials promote features like NFC, enhanced camera software (like party share and burst mode) and then there’s features like Picture in Picture, Smart Stay and my personal favorite, when you’re texting someone, you simply put the phone to your ear and it calls that person, without ever leaving the text message app or going into the phone app or contacts page. There are all kinds of features that Samsung has added into Android that has made their devices special among that community, but it may be their marketing and build up that’s making them topple Apple. Rather than ignore their customers and naively believe they don’t expect a new Galaxy phone, they’ve embraced it. Sure, there may be leaks, real or fake, but Samsung has taken the last month to build up their Galaxy S IV reveal. They’ve created commercials (the Jeremy series), they’ve sent out teasers and invites, they’ve even created a flash mob in NYC. All of this is building up to the announcement of the Galaxy S IV. It’s building momentum, anticipation and a buzz. It’s putting the public’s interest in the Galaxy S IV on the same level, if not higher, than that of Apple’s iPhone.
Finally, Samsung is getting what they said they wanted years ago, for people to want and crave their products, like Apple fans do the iPhone. They’ve not only matched Apple in the marketing department, they’ve surpassed them. Their “Next Big Thing” commercials have made the consensus that buying an iPhone is uncool, because you’re parents have one or because it doesn’t have NFC or the screen is too small. With the Galaxy S IV set to be announced tomorrow, Samsung is without a doubt already planning a new marketing campaign that will surely tout how great it is and how it puts the iPhone to shame. If rumors about the Galaxy S IV’s specs are true, then Apple is going to have a hard time convincing consumers that another iPhone “S” is the must have phone for 2013. If an iPhone 5S is all Apple has planned for this year, then Samsung’s already won, it’s game over. No amount of clever wordplay is going to cover up the iPhone 5S’s shortcomings after Samsung’s marketing team gets through with it.
2013 is going to be the year of Samsung, they already dominate the Android community and they share 90% the smartphone market with Apple, but this year, Samsung’s Galaxy S IV is going to solely overtake Apple’s iPhone in the US, mark my words.