It’s not that often that we cover anything related to the iPhone series, but, if you think of it, it is the best selling line of smartphones ever made. Under these circumstances, it does makes sense to compare the rumors that have been circulating about the next iteration of the iPhone series against the rumors regarding the upcoming beast of a device in the Samsung Galaxy S line. According to analyst expectations, these will be the two best selling smartphones of 2012, so why not subject them to a grueling rumor pit-fight?
While it does not mean that there aren’t at least a couple of other manufacturers that can produce even better smartphones (Motorola and HTC being two of my personal favorites), it’s the fight between the Apple and Samsung flagship smartphones of 2012 that will count the most towards shaping the future of smartphones as we know it.
First of all, it should be mentioned that the next Galaxy S is likely to be called the Galaxy S3, as some leaks seem to prove. On the other hand, the next iPhone is expected to be branded as the iPhone 5, iPhone 4G or as the new iPhone. I’ll refer to them as the Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 throughout the rest of this article.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 will be officially revealed on May 3 at the Samsung Unpacked Event in London and is expected to be released internationally around June. Many are basing this estimation on previous statements from Samsung officials that claimed that the official announcement of the smartphone will be made closer to its actual commercial availability. In the US, the Galaxy S3 is expected to arrive over the summer as Samsung will probably want the S3 to be available in as many countries as possible before the start of the summer Olympics in London in late July, an event they are putting a lot of money into as one of the main sponsors.
In the other camp, some credible sources claim that the iPhone 5 release date might come as late as October, due to the fact that the iPhone 4S is still selling very well, especially in some emerging markets where the iPhone has been launched for the first time. Being highly likely that Apple will want to milk the iPhone 4S cashcow for at least a full year, an October release date for the iPhone 5 seems to be the logical timing. The first 4 versions of the iPhone (up to the last model, iPhone 4S) were launched in June.
Samsung has managed to keep the design of the Galaxy S3 very much a secret, and that is unlikely to change before May 3 when the smartphone will be officially released. That’s because all test units for the Samsung Galaxy S3 had a dummy case that did not reflect the actual design. Here’s one of these dummy cases:
This is a sketch that appeared in a leaked user manual for the Samsung Galaxy GT-9300, a smartphone that is believed to be the Galaxy S3:
As you would expect, there are quite a number of rumors regarding the design of the new iPhone, but all of them revolve around the same point: the iPhone 5 will sport a new design, probably something different enough to differentiate it from the two previous versions of the iPhone (4 and 4S), which were both (sadly, to the chagrin of many Apple fanatics) released with the exact same case. Some say that the iPhone 5 will be thinner – probably around 8mm thick – while some say it will be as thick as the 4S, but will sport a larger battery (and last only as long as the 4S due to reasons I’ll explain a little later). As far as construction materials go, some rumors claim that Apple will use Liquimetal (and make a lighter smartphone) while others claim it will feature a unibody design.
It seems that as weeks pass, the rumored Galaxy S3 display size increases by 0.1-inches. It’s an odd thing, really. First there were rumors of a 4.6 inch display, then a benchmark result leaked a few days back seemed to point towards a 4.7-inch display, followed by the most recent of leaks, the leaked user manual that says the S3 will feature a 4.8 inch screen. The rumored resolution of the display is expected to be 720 by 1280 pixels (not accounting for the area of the display dedicated for the ICS soft buttons, if that will be the case).
As i’m sure you you may know, all previous versions of the iPhone – the original, 3G, 3GS, 4, and 4S, by their order of appearance – featured a 3.5 inch screen. While the number one motivation for using a 3.5 inch screen will always remain valid (at that size the thumb is able to reach all corners of the display), at some point Apple is bound to follow the reports claiming that most smartphone users actually prefer larger screens. It is possible that Apple will start following this trend sooner rather than later as the iPhone 5 is rumored to feature a 4 inch retina display.
According to a number of reports, the iPhone 5 will be the first Apple smartphone to include LTE-connectivity. As Apple have already used an LTE modem inside one of their products (the third generation iPad), it doesn’t seem that hard to believe, does it? That’s the reason why some believe the iPhone 5 will not be any thinner: to make room for a bigger battery that can sustain the higher power requirements of an LTE modem, a move Apple has already demonstrated with the “new” iPad 3.
As far as the Galaxy S3 is concerned, some unofficial reports claim that the S3 will actually come in two variants, one without an LTE modem, and one with a Snapdragon S4 SoC that will make use of the integrated LTE modem inside Qualcomm’s latest SoC (that also contains a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and an Adreno 225 GPU). The way I see it, the rumor above is inspired from HTC’s move with the One X. Why would Samsung decide to use a Qualcomm LTE modem if the one they produce seems to work perfectly well inside the LTE version of the Galaxy Nexus? They are, after all, one of the largest chipmakers in the world. What remains to be seen is they have been able to make quad core and LTE play nice. Have they succeeded where NVIDIA failed? Time will tell.
Processor & GPU
Let me highlight a trend for you: the Apple iPhone 4 used the same Apple A4 processor as inside the original iPad in the same way that the iPhone 4S uses the same dual-core Apple A5 processor as inside the iPad 2. Hopefully, it’s easy to see why Apple is expected to equip the iPhone 5 with the same A5X processor as inside the new iPad (3d generation). Granted, that isn’t the biggest upgrade you can think of, but if the iPhone 5 will also feature the new iPad’s quad-core GPU, the bump in graphical performance can be considered an evolutionary leap. The quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU performs quite well at the impressive 2048×1536 resolution of the new iPad. As the iPhone 5 will surely have a much lower resolution, the graphical performance should be quite impressive.
Back in the Samsung camp, it was officially announced that the Galaxy S3 will use a quad-core Exynos processor produced by Samsung, clocked around 1.4GHz. In addition, one leaked benchmark result led many to believe that the S3 will feature the ARM Mali-400 GPU. Historically, Samsung’s Exynos line of CPU’s provide one of the best performance per power consumption ratios on the market.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 will run the latest version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the OS released by Google, while Apple’s iPhone 5 is expected to run iOS 6 (a version expected to be revealed at WWDC 2012 in June).
So there you have it folks, these are the most credible rumors regarding the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5. Not all of them might turn out to come true, but most of them will. What are your thoughts on the fight between the Apple and Samsung flagships of 2012? Who will take the crown as the best selling smartphone of the year? Which will be the best performing smartphone of 2012? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. As always, make sure you drop us a thought in the comment section below!