Apple Inc. (AAPL): Can Samsung Hit Gold With the Latest Galaxy?

Samsung and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are two of the biggest players in the smartphone industry, with several small players using Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Android platform. Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event was one of the most awaited events of 2013 and it finally happened this month. The stage was set, the lights were shiny, and Samsung finally unveiled its latest flagship. Even though their were mixed reviews about the entire event and the actual smartphone, 2013 will be a big year for both Samsung and Apple.

Current situation

Apple is currently trading around $450, and the tech giant is currently the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, just behind Samsung. After hitting the $700 mark last year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s shares continue to tumble as the stock has been declining after reaching its all time high.

Apple’s position in the smartphone market continues to decline as more and more manufacturers are trying to step up their game. Even though Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android platform is considered as a direct competition to Apple’s iOS, Samsung is seen as the company’s biggest competitor, as the Korean electronic giant contributes more than half to the total Android smartphone sales.

The table (Source: engadget.com) shows that Samsung really stepped up its game in 2012 compared to the previous year. Samsung’s total shipments rose over 100% in 2012, while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s share increased only 46%. Samsung’s turning point was its Galaxy S3 smartphone, which created a lot of hype in the market. Even though Apple finally increased the screen size in the latest iPhone, it couldn’t knock out Samsung from its strong position, despite the iPhone 5 being the best selling smartphone (based on the last quarter).

Enters the Galaxy S IV

It’s not Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android platform which has posed major problems for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL); instead It’s Samsung’s Galaxy line. After the S2, Samsung has improved its hardware and software features in order to make the S3 a direct competitor to the iPhone. On March 14, people experienced the latest smartphone from the Galaxy line, the S IV. However, reception has not been the best and the smartphone might create the same level of hype as the S3.

Samsung has incurred a lot of expenditure on advertising prior to the smartphone’s release. The unpacked event created so much hype that people expected something totally unique. While the smartphone might not be what many enthusiasts were expecting, it is definitely a premium smartphone which can cause serious threats to the iPhone 5.

The latest Galaxy looks quite similar to the previous one, but packs some impressive software enhancements. Apart from the screen size, nothing has been changed in terms of design, and the S4 still looks like last year’s S3. The event hosts demoed some of the new software features, including the eye scrolling, air gestures, and the new camera features. The S4 packs a better processor, a superior screen, possibly a better battery and yet a lot of people have been disappointed, mainly due to the design factor.

While the latest Samsung smartphone might not be the most innovative smartphone, it will still sell in huge volumes. Some users will still be looking for an answer to why they need to update to the S4 from the previous Galaxy. However, Samsung’s superior position in the market, and its advertising/marketing strategy will make the S4 another successful Galaxy product. The Galaxy Unpacked event created so much hype that even a regular Quad-core 1080p smartphone, without software or design enhancements, would have gotten a relatively good reception.