Samsung is so terrified of the iPhone 14 that it launched an ad campaign to mock Apple (again) right before the launch event. Samsung keeps pulling the same stunt only to copy Apple’s biggest decisions later. To that point, in a recent One UI 5 beta, Samsung basically cloned one of the best new iOS 16 features: Lock Screen customization.
The new Lock Screen experience in iOS 16 is something smartphone users who love customizing their handsets have been excited about. The Lock Screen is more exciting than ever, allowing you to add all sorts of widgets and visual effects. You can also change fonts and colors to match the static or dynamic images that act as the Lock Screen wallpaper.
Moreover, you can set up different wallpapers for each Focus mode. And each one of them can have its own widgets that are relevant in the context of that mode.
iOS 16 Lock Screen customizations. Image source: Apple Inc. Finally, if you have an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, you can pair the new Lock Screen with Apple’s always-on display feature for even greater utility.
Apple wasn’t the first to do this, and Android fans point out that they had access to Lock Screen widgets long before iOS 16 rolled out. But Apple built its own Lock Screen customization, giving users plenty of customization options to suit their needs.
How Samsung cloned iOS 16’s Lock Screen feature
In turn, Samsung could have come up with an original Lock Screen customization experience for its own smartphone users. Instead, Samsung just copied Apple.
Maybe there’s no other way to make a Lock Screen with widgets now that Apple released iOS 16. Perhaps Samsung had no choice but to arrange user interface elements in One UI 5 just like Apple did in iOS 16. The same goes for the available customizations.
Just like there probably wasn’t any other way to make the first Galaxy phones than to copy the iPhone pixel by pixel.
However, 9to5Mac points out that the customization options aren’t totally identical. iOS 16 offers eight clock styles for the Lock Screen, while Samsung has just five. And the wallpaper picker’s choices aren’t all that similar either.
Moreover, Apple supports more third-party widgets than Samsung. Samsung only supports notifications icons for the time being. But One UI 5 is still in beta.
What’s missing from Samsung’s iOS 16 Lock Screen clone is the Dynamic Island of the iPhone 14 Pro. Then again, iOS 16 beta 1 came out in mid-June. Samsung had plenty of time to study it. The Dynamic Island didn’t see the light of day until Apple’s iPhone 14 reveal earlier this month. We’ll likely see how Samsung responds to that feature soon.
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Apple will launch the iPhone 14 in just a few days. And all estimates say the new series will see incredible demand after launch. iPhone 14 sales might outperform the iPhone 13, which already sold amazingly well, defying the economy. Furthermore, the iPhone 14 should sell very well in China. All of this must give Samsung nightmares, as the company has just mocked the iPhone 14 in a brand new ad.
Rather than promote its newest Galaxy phones on their own merits, Samsung felt it had to troll the iPhone 14 with less than a week to go until the phone’s launch. It’s a habit that Samsung is yet to correct, even though some of these trolling ads might hurt the Korean giant.
Here’s how Samsung words its ad above:
Samsung’s fear is the best possible promotion for the iPhone 14 too. If you’re still on the fence about this upgrade, then Samsung trolling Apple is the kind of sign you might have needed.
As a reminder, the iPhone 14 trolling campaign comes from a company that copied the iPhone pixel by pixel in its early days. Even today, Samsung still follows Apple’s every move after mocking the iPhone maker. And that’s why some of its anti-Apple ads then hurt Samsung.
Speaking of innovations, let’s also remember Samsung is the only big smartphone maker that had to recall a flagship phone after its innovations caught on fire. Twice.
Similarly, Samsung shipped a poorly designed Galaxy Fold a few years ago. It then had to postpone the launch by months. It redesigned the handset so it wouldn’t break as easily.
Then there’s this year’s Galaxy S22 performance scandal. Even if you don’t want to buy the iPhone 14, you should avoid the Galaxy S22 at all costs. Samsung’s innovations turned the Galaxy S22 into an overheating mess early this year. And then there were additional misleading claims about the handset’s capabilities that should keep you away from it.
With all that in mind, Samsung better buckle up. The massive iPhone 14 sales that will follow in the coming year will obliterate all the 2022 and 2023 flagship Galaxies.
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Samsung formally announced its new 3nm chip technology a few weeks ago. But the Korean giant will reportedly showcase the world’s first such processor next week. Samsung unveiled the 3nm chip’s new Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistor architecture, which is supposed to be significantly more efficient and faster than current 5nm chips.
While Samsung has started mass-production on the new 3nm chips that will hopefully power flagship phones like the Galaxy S one day, it’s unclear what these devices might be. It’s also not clear if Samsung has a chance to actually steal any business from TSMC. The Taiwanese foundry builds the most important mobile processors in the world right now.
Samsung’s new 3nm chips look good on paper
Samsung said in its original announcement that the new 3nm GAA chips will offer plenty of reasons to upgrade from the current 5nm tech. The GAA tech will bring substantial efficiency gains that should improve battery life. That’s on top of significant performance improvements and size reduction:
But the specs alone aren’t enough to guarantee the success of Samsung’s semiconductor business in winning 3nm chip orders from major companies.
TSMC continues to be the main Samsung rival. Among others, TSMC manufactures all the A-series and M-Series chips that Apple uses in iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
Even the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chips that will power many Android flagships in the second half of 2022 are coming from TSMC plants.
Samsung’s 3nm GAA chip tech compared to 5nm FinFET. Image source: Samsung Not to mention that Samsung dropped the ball on the Exynos 2200, the equivalent of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The processor powers some Galaxy S22 versions, having caused a major PR nightmare for Samsung earlier this year.
Samsung also mass-produced the original Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor before Qualcomm moved to TSMC.
When will Samsung use 3nm chips in its Galaxy S smartphones?
Samsung vowed to create a new flagship chip for future flagship phones after the Galaxy S22 throttling disaster. The company didn’t offer specifics, and it’s unclear whether the chip will be based on the new 3nm GAA technology.
A report from Korea indicates that Samsung has scheduled a launch ceremony for the 3nm chips for July 25th. But the first company to purchase the new Samsung chip will be a Chinese cryptocurrency mining company. That’s not the kind of customer that will help Samsung steal business from TSMC.
Moreover, reports say that Samsung is still struggling to increase the yield of its 3nm chips to make them profitable. And Samsung is far from ramping up production of the new processors.
Meanwhile, TSMC will start manufacturing 3nm FinFET chips this month. GAA chips will follow in 2025.
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Like clockwork, Samsung president and head of the mobile division TM Roh penned a blog this week, just a few weeks ahead of the upcoming Unpacked press conference that will focus on this year’s Galaxy Z foldable phones, the Fold 4 and Flip 4. We saw the same thing happen last year, and we now expect Roh to keep writing similar blogs with every Fold and Flip release.
Roh just hinted that Samsung sold a massive number of foldable phones in 2021 by mentioning a figure of 10 million foldable phone sales for the period. Or so it seems. Because, when you think about it, 10 million units is a drop in the bucket for Samsung, whose smartphone sales routinely pass 250 million units a year.
Roh’s remarks indicate what some consumers might have already realized: Foldable phones might not be worth it yet. What Samsung really needs is a foldable iPhone to lead the way.
Foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold and Flip are fascinating on paper. They offer larger screens and smaller footprints. The Fold is especially exciting as it lets the user make the most of two types of devices — a smartphone and a tablet.
A brief history of Samsung’s foldable phones
Samsung has been at the forefront of foldable handsets for years. It teased the form factor well before the technology was ready. And then it released the first Galaxy Fold before actually testing it properly in real-life environments. The initial launch failed miserably, as Samsung had to find fixes for critical design flaws that led to the destruction of the phone.
The Fold 2 and Fold 3 significantly improved the phone’s durability, especially the latter. The Fold 3 is the best possible foldable phone that Samsung can make. And even so, the Fold 3 is hardly perfect. The Fold 4 should fix some of the usability and design issues the Fold 3 suffers from. The new foldable will have a larger external display and weigh less than its predecessor.
Galaxy Fold (2019) teardown highlights the phone’s design issues. Image source: iFixit But Samsung’s foldables aren’t true flagships like the Galaxy S and Note. The Fold series actually helped “kill” the Note without replacing it. The camera experience is still unable to match that of the Galaxy S Ultra, although the Fold 4 might change that. The Flip 4 is even further away.
Not to mention that Samsung can’t fully control the software. Samsung’s success in the foldable business hinges on Google’s willingness to adapt Android for foldable screens. And it’s up to Google to convince Android app developers to update their apps to make the most of Fold and Flip phones. But why go through all that hassle for just 10 million potential customers?
Add to that the flagship price for a somewhat fragile, not-flagship device, and you’ll get why people won’t want a foldable instead of a traditional phone, especially in this economy.
Are foldables really going mainstream?
This brings us to Roh’s new post about Samsung foldable phones titled The Mainstream Moment for Foldable Smartphones Is Here.
In this post, he said the industry registered almost 10 million foldable smartphone sales worldwide last year. That’s an increase of more than 300% from 2020. And Roh says he predicts “this fast-paced growth will continue.”
“We are reaching the moment where these foldable devices are becoming widespread and staking a bigger claim in the overall smartphone market,” he said.
A quick back-of-the-napkin calculation tells us that handset makers should sell 30 million foldable phones this year to keep that 300% pace in place. That is hardly reasonable for the economy we’re currently living in.
Not to mention that some estimates see Samsung selling only 15 million foldable phones in 2022. It’s unlikely that Chinese companies can make up for the rest. And a foldable iPhone isn’t coming anytime soon.
Google apps running on Galaxy Fold 3 foldable. Image source: Google How many Galaxy Z Fold 3 units did Samsung sell?
Then, Samsung might sell only 10 million Fold 5 and Flip 5 units in 2023. If these estimates are accurate, Samsung’s foldable sales will grow by 50% this year compared to the entire industry’s performance in 2021. And then they’ll stay flat next year in a best-case scenario.
To put things in perspective, Apple routinely sells around 200 million iPhones yearly. For massive profits and without crazy deals in place.
Also, annual smartphone shipments have reached at least 1.28 billion units per year since 2014.
Meanwhile, reports say that Apple can’t make a foldable iPhone because it can’t mass-produce enough foldable glass covers to satisfy its needs. That implies that foldable iPhone volumes would be so large no supplier could handle the parts order. Not even Samsung, whose foldable phone tech might very well end up inside a foldable iPhone.
Let’s also observe that Roh did not reveal which foldable smartphones sold the best. Last year, Samsung sold four foldable handsets: The Fold 2, Flip 2, Fold 3, and Flip 3. But he did say that 70% of Samsung’s buyers opted for the Flip experience rather than the Fold.
The Note would have probably outsold all Samsung foldables combined last year. But Samsung had no Note 21 in stores. Apple’s iPhone SE 2 outsold the Galaxy Folds and Flips combined. And while that’s a mid-range device, it still delivers better durability and performance than any Samsung flagship.
Oppo Find N foldable phone. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR Where the foldable iPhone could help
These are all signs that Samsung’s foldable phones while doing well, are hardly getting to be mainstream devices. And while Samsung has been selling more foldables than anybody else, it barely has any competition. Some of the exciting foldable phones from China aren’t available widely.
Not to mention that Samsung ran massive campaigns to convince buyers to try and keep foldable phones. You could try the Fold 2 for 100 days and then return it. Or trade in everything but the kitchen sink to buy a Fold 3, with a retail price starting at $1,799. The Fold 4 isn’t out yet, but you can already save up to $200 on it by reserving the right to preorder it.
Concept image of a foldable iPhone with a clamshell design. Image source: ConceptsiPhone/YouTube Time will tell whether Samsung can accelerate the rate of foldable smartphone innovations without a real competitor to pressure it. And whether foldables will go mainstream with Samsung as the locomotive.
But that’s where a foldable iPhone would really help. Samsung would not rest on its laurels and write self-congratulatory blog posts every summer if a foldable iPhone were to launch just a few weeks after the newest Fold.
Also, the more time that passes without a foldable iPhone, the harder it will be for Samsung to replace the traditional smartphone with a foldable form factor. And at 10 million units sold annually, that’s hardly going mainstream. That’s because something else might kill traditional smartphones: The sophisticated AR glasses of the future. And that sort of tech is a priority for Apple.
That’s not to say all the tech Samsung has devised for foldable phones won’t come in handy. But the world might use it to create other types of foldable devices instead of phones.
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The original iPhone launched 15 years ago, on June 29th, 2007, revolutionizing the industry. Other companies in the business had two choices: copy the iPhone, or stick with what they were doing. Google immediately saw the genius behind the iPhone and overhauled Android so that it was more like the iPhone instead of a BlackBerry clone. But it was Samsung that really made the most of the iPhone in the years that followed, copying everything about that original iPhone.
The topic resurfaced 15 years later during a documentary released ahead of the iPhone’s 15th anniversary. It’s in this context that an Apple executive commented on the way Samsung copied the iPhone in the early years.
15 years of iPhone
The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern made the iPhone anniversary documentary. The video features various current and former Apple executives talking about what it was like to make the first iPhone. They also explained all the innovations that followed. From the original iPhone to the iPhone 13, the clip shows the iconic designs and the features that helped Apple transform the industry.
The clip looks at what the iPhone (and smartphones in general) mean for the younger generations, who were born into a world that relies on smartphones for everything. From keeping in contact with loved ones to work and entertainment, these devices do it all. And with that comes the problem of spending too much time on these screens.
Apple’s marketing chief Greg Joswiak talked to Stern about the history of the iPhone. And that involved the impact the handset had on Apple’s competition. It’s in this context that Samsung came up, with the executive explaining how Apple felt about Samsung copying the iPhone.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus smartphone. Image source: Samsung Did Samsung copy the iPhone?
“They were annoying,” Joswiak said of Samsung. “And they were annoying because, as you know, they ripped off our technology. They took the innovations that we had created and created a poor copy of it, and just put a bigger screen around it. So, yeah, we were none too pleased.”
Apple sued Samsung around the world starting in 2011, and it won one of the biggest cases, getting $1 billion initially. The final amount was just over half that following Samsung’s appeal. But by then, Samsung was already the big winner in the mobile industry. Its decision to ruthlessly copy the iPhone was the smartest decision Samsung ever made.
The Korean giant never acknowledged any wrongdoing, and the two companies eventually settled in 2018. By then, Samsung was no longer copying the iPhone design and experience as blatantly. The Galaxy S phones had a different design and a different user interface.
Ironically enough, most current smartphones look similar nowadays. And many Android designs still copy the iPhone.
There’s no question that Apple took inspiration from Samsung too, at least when it comes to bringing bigger screens to the iPhone. But, to this day, Samsung continues to copy Apple’s iPhone innovations.
Samsung also regularly mocks the iPhone maker in ads it then has to suppress when it eventually copies the very features it mocked.
The Apple vs. Samsung camp continues to be divided even now, 15 years after the launch of the first iPhone. Each side accuses the other of copying mobile innovations. But nobody can ever forget Samsung’s 132-page internal document that shows Samsung’s plan to copy the iPhone pixel by pixel.
That Apple vs. Samsung rivalry is only a tiny part of The Journal’s iPhone documentary, which is certainly worth watching in full. You’ll find it at this link.
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