[THE INVESTOR] The global smartphone market will soon see a fresh round of battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple as the latter is set to showcase its brand new iPhone on Sept. 12, following the Korean tech giant’s unveiling of the Galaxy Note 8 last month.
The US firm is expected to take the wraps off three new smartphone models -- two LCD-based iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, and an OLED-equipped iPhone X -- in an auditorium, named after the late former CEO Steve Jobs, located inside the firm’s new headquarters in California.
All eyes are now on whether Apple will be able to keep the crown in the ever-competitive premium smartphone segment with its new iPhones, marking the 10th anniversary of the smartphone brand this year.
Some market analysts forecast Apple, which is considered to have lost momentum for innovation since the death of Steve Jobs, will struggle to fend off a challenge from the Galaxy maker.
“Apple’s new features for the new OLED iPhone, such as an edge-to-edge screen and facial recognition, seem to be good, but not fascinating enough to meet the high expectations of consumers, who have already seen similar features in other premium phones, including the new Galaxy Note,” said a market analyst who wished to remain anonymous.
Others also expected the iPhone X to face a tougher competition than before due mainly to its high price tag.
The new Apple smartphone based on the OLED screen is expected to be priced above US$1,000, while Samsung offers the 64GB Note 8 for US$967.
Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in an recent report that the new iPhone itself would be “more evolutionary than revolutionary,” and will encounter staunch competition in the premium sector.
The delayed production of the OLED iPhone will also likely cause trouble for Apple. As The Investor reported early this month, the US tech firm started to receive iPhone X components from some of its partners in late August, hinting that the smartphone maker will have a production bottleneck and consumers in many global markets will not be able to get their hands on it, at least until October.
In a bid to take the crown away from Apple, Samsung has been ramping up its marketing efforts for the newly launched Note 8.
The Korean smartphone maker has started to receive preorders for the Note 8 online and offline in 20 countries, including the US and UK, from Aug. 24, and plans to sell the phone from Sept. 15, two days after the launch of the new iPhones.
Pinning high hopes on the new Note, Samsung mobile division CEO Koh Dong-jin said in the unveiling event that the flagship smartphone will set record sales among the Note series. Samsung has sold around 11 million Note 5 units.