With the iPhone 5′s new elongated screen, Apple has managed to separate itself from Samsung’s Galaxy S. 2013′s iPhone 6 and GS4 won’t battle over screen size, but rather over next-generation features, such as NFC.
Over the long, 2+ wait for the iPhone 5, no other feature was mulled over more than the screen size. Burning for a larger screen, iPhone users lamented Apple’s lag in finally expanding the iPhone’s standard screen size, which Steve Jobs was quite fond of. In the end, the new iPhone delivered a middling compromise — longer but not wider — which obviously sought to satisfy a design compromise, and give consumers an alternative to the more mini tablet-like displays of the iPhone’s chief competitor: the Samsung Galaxy series.
(I suspect the choice of a longer-but-not-wider screen for the new iPhone had a lot to do with the impending iPad Mini, and Cupertino trying to differentiate between their two screen dimensions.)
To be sure, there is a subset of the smartphone user populace who aren’t at all happy with the iPhone 5′s elongated screen, feeling as though “longer” doesn’t really equate to “larger” in the absence of a proportional expansion of the screen dimension. But if you find yourself among those who are still hoping that the iPhone 6 could deliver a more GS3-like screen size, I wouldn’t hold your breath. In fact, I don’t think that the 2013 iPhone 6/Samsung Galaxy S IV match-up is going to be about screen sizes at all.
For as much as the tech community has been making hay about the new iPhone’s screen dimensions, early sales and pre-orders indicate that the masses are embracing the new display. This means that Apple will move on from the issue of revamping screen dimensions for the foreseeable future; as far as Cupertino is concerned, they did their part to enlarge the screen, people appear to like it, and I would imagine they’ll stand pat with this new design for at least two more years.
What this means is that the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones now offer quite different hardware features in terms of their display and user interface are concerned; they give consumers two very different choices. I think that Apple and Samsung will look to keep this differentiation in place. Or, if either of the two were to budge on copying the other’s design, it would be Samsung looking to adopt the iPhone 5′s screen dimensions.
After all, a company only overhauls a product when its sales begin to sag.
However, 2013 could usher in an entirely new battle between Apple and its top-tier Android competitors, should Cupertino decide to launch iWallet on their next iPhone iteration. For as much as the tech world is looking to Apple to really crack open the mobile payments market, Google was actually the first to market with NFC technology. Their attempt at mobile payments via Android devices has been characterized as a failure by users and the tech media, however, Google could argue that, while Apple still needs to build an NFC infrastructure from the ground up, Google already has its NFC assets in place.
And there is no way that Google will cede NFC to Apple; Android will come out of the gate at the same time that iOS does.
Apple will of course have the hardware advantage: if the iPhone 6 comes equipped with NFC, it will be well-positioned to become the new mobile payment standard. But it is also possible that Google could offer a much more feature-rich mobile payment system, what with its robust search engine, maps, and data collection. If Google can combine these elements, they might be in a better position to offer not only users, but also retail vendors, interfacing novel advertising schemes and directory listings that could giver them a tremendous B2B advantage in getting NFC adopted for Android as quick or quicker than iOS.
It’s even possible that Apple and Google might cut some kind of deal to share point-of-sale technologies.
Regardless, because of these realities, it is very likely that the iPhone 6 and GS4 might be more about what they can do as far as NFC and mobile payments are concerned, and less so about screen sizes.
Screen size is so 2012.
By Michael Nace