Samsung will take the stage in its home country later this week to unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 foldables. This marks the first time the summer Unpacked event is being held at home rather than in an international market. It’s also the first time the mid-summer Unpacked press conference will take place in July rather than August or September.
I thought the arrival of Google’s Pixel Fold might have scared Samsung into moving up the launch event. But what if Samsung is really looking to deal with the iPhone ticking time bomb at home by looking to launch the new foldables as soon as possible?
Until this year, Samsung has had virtually no competition in the foldables space since the first Galaxy Fold. Samsung could take its time to upgrade the Fold and Flip each year without delivering massive redesigns. But Chinese vendors started putting pressure on Samsung in previous years. And some of those devices launched in Europe and other international markets in early 2023.
The Google Pixel Fold is perhaps the biggest threat to Samsung’s dominant position in the industry despite some of its obvious faults.
Samsung is responding to these threats with the kind of big Fold and Flip design updates we’ve been waiting for. The Fold 5 will be slimmer than before, thanks to a no-gap hinge. The Flip 5 will feature a large external display occupying almost the entire surface of one of the phone’s halves.
Google Pixel Fold smartphone unfolded. Image source: Jonathan S. Geller, BGR On top of that, Samsung set its Unpacked press event for July 26th, the earliest date ever. As a reminder, this Unpacked event used to be the home of the Galaxy Note series. And it used to happen in early September before Samsung detached it from the German IFA tradeshow. The reason Samsung went to early August was the iPhone’s early September launch which would routinely obliterate Note sales.
All that is to say that Samsung might be worried about increased competition in the foldables space. But the iPhone might be the real reason it’s focusing on the Korean market.
The big iPhone problem
Samsung might want to make an impression on a specific category of smartphone buyers in its home market. Per The Korea Herald, a new Gallup survey shows that young adults in the country prefer the iPhone overwhelmingly to a Samsung phone.
The study indicates that Samsung is the main smartphone vendor in Korea, with 69% of adults owning a Galaxy phone. Only 23% of respondents have an iPhone.
But younger millennials and Gen Z like the iPhone increasingly more than Samsung phones. In the 30-39 age group, 41% of respondents have an iPhone. The percentage goes to 60% in the 18-29 group.
Samsung vs. iPhone market share in Korea for different age groups. Image source: Gallup Korea via The Korea Herald This is a major problem for Samsung. These young adults are growing with the iPhone and the entire ecosystem of apps and hardware. Switching from iPhone to Android becomes increasingly difficult the more you use the products.
As a longtime iPhone user, I can attest to that. I’ve been on iPhone and Mac for over a decade, and there’s nothing to make me switch to a different combo. And I was in the 18-29 group when I started using Apple for my main computing needs.
The young adults who bought iPhone over Samsung cited Apple’s premium branding as one of the reasons. They’d buy the iPhone even if the same storage device is more expensive than the Galaxy S equivalent. For example, the 128GB iPhone 14 costs 1,250,000 won in the country, or $980. The Galaxy S23 is 100,000 won ($78) cheaper.
Various Galaxy Fold 4 and Flip 4 foldable phones. Image source: Samsung Apple Pay, which arrived in Korea earlier this year, is another factor that convinces young adults to buy iPhones.
The study also says that 85% of respondents say they are likely to stick with their current brand. That’s great for Samsung in the older groups. But if young adults stay with iPhone, we might be looking at decades of problems for Samsung. Especially if the teenage generation in Korea positions itself in favor of the iPhone. That wouldn’t be a surprise if their parents also use iPhones.
The unsung heroes in this survey are the older smartphone users who still have LG phones. LG is no longer making Android handsets, of course.
Samsung is apparently aware of the iPhone problem. The Herald says the Korean giant opened a flagship retail store in Gangnam last month, branding it a “playground for millennials and Gen Z.” The store is less than a kilometer away from Apple Gangnam store.
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The global smartphone market suffered its fifth consecutive quarterly decline, falling by 12% YoY in Q1 2023, according to a Canalys survey. That said, iPhone sales have grown year over year from 18% to 21% due to the solid demand for the iPhone 14 Pro series after supply constraints made the company sell fewer models during the last holiday quarter.
Another interesting piece of information regards Samsung, which was the only leading vendor to achieve a quarter-on-quarter recovery and struggled back to number one with a 22% market share. That said, the South Korean company still sold fewer phones than last year when it had 24% of the market share.
“The smartphone market’s decline in the first quarter of 2023 was within expectations throughout the industry,” said Canalys Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia. “The local macroeconomic conditions continued to hinder vendors’ investments and operations in several markets. Despite price cuts and heavy promotions from vendors, consumer demand remained sluggish, particularly in the low-end segment due to high inflation affecting consumer confidence and spending.”
While Canalys predicts the inventory of the smartphone industry can reach a relatively healthy level by the end of the second quarter of 2023, it’s still too early to predict the recovery of overall consumer demand.
Image source: Canalys Of all the top vendors, only Apple and OPPO had a YoY increase with their flagship phones during the first trimester. Samsung and Xiaomi had a decrease in market share, and Vivo retained its 8% from last year.
“The sell-in volume of the global smartphone market is expected to improve due to the reduction in inventories in the next few quarters. In addition, vendors have focused more on innovations and raising production and channel efficiencies after a round of fluctuations, shifting from growing for volumes and shares to growing for quality. 5G popularization and foldable phones are also becoming the new driving forces in the industry,” said Chaurasia.
For Apple, the company could be preparing for new highs with the iPhone 15 series. Without the fear of supply constraints for another quarter, the company is still selling iPhone 14 models while preparing a solid lineup of four new iPhone versions.
With a new design, better cameras, and processors, the Cupertino firm could see a new high during the holiday quarter later this year, which could also positively impact the first quarter of next year.
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How can I set screen time limit for my kids on Samsung tv.I know there are parental controls to block apps etc but no way to set screen time limit.
I couldn't find any parental control apps either that control TV devices, are there any?
Smartthings app didn't work either to block TV. I can set scenes etc. but kids can just turn the TV back on.
It’s been four months since Apple released the iPhone 14 Pro with the A16 Bionic chip. While the company already touted that this was the fastest smartphone available, a Geekbench score shows even the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra is still behind Apple’s premium smartphone.
According to Compare Dial, the previous iPhone 13 generation also beats every Galaxy S22, or S23 released. For comparison, Galaxy S23 Ultra is 21.02% slower than the iPhone 14. It scores 1480 for single-core performance, while the iPhone 14 Pro clocks at a higher 1874.
In multi-core performance, Samsung’s new flagship is 14.86% slower than Apple’s iPhone, averaging at 4584 against 5384.
For Samsung users, on the other hand, the spec bump from Galaxy S22 Ultra to S23 Ultra is expressive, as the new model has boosted speeds by 59.83% in single-core performance and 57.47% for multi-core performance. That said, Apple will likely continue to differentiate from the competition when it introduces the iPhone 15 Pro later last year.
Image source: Compare Dial According to rumors, the next iPhone will use a 3nm process technology, meaning we’ll see a more expressive spec bump as the company still uses a similar 5nm process available with the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic chip released in 2021.
The A17 Bionic processor is expected to be faster and 35% more power-efficient than its predecessor. With that, Apple will continue as the best chip maker in the smartphone industry.
Apart from the fastest chip, the iPhone 14 Pro models have a new design with the Dynamic Island cutout, integrating software and hardware in a seamless experience. This phone also introduces a 48MP main camera and larger sensors for better photos and videos in low-light conditions.
The iPhone 14 Pro also adds a new Cinematic Mode in 4K and Action Mode, which stabilizes a recording when you’re running or biking while filming.
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While the global smartphone market recorded its third consecutive decline this year, Apple remains the only company to register positive growth. This time, the new iPhone 14 lineup, in addition to the previous models, helped Apple to be the only vendor in the top five to record this positive growth.
According to Canalys, Q3 2022 registered a drop of 9% in a year-on-year comparison, marking the worst Q3 since 2014.
Samsung still maintains the leading position with a 22% market share. Apple, as pointed out by the analysis, “was the only vendor in the top five to record positive growth, improving its market position further with an 18% share during the market downturn thanks to relatively resilient demand for iPhones.”
Image source: Canalys While iPhone 14 Pro models are surely helping Apple to maintain its position, several reports show the company is struggling with the base models iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. A new DigiTimes story (via MacRumors) shows that “several supply chain makers” received a notification from Apple to cut iPhone 14 Plus production by around 40%.
Not only that, but DigiTimes’ sources show that Apple will revise downward the total shipments of iPhone 14 Plus to around 10 million units for 2022. At least, it seems the company is moving its production efforts to the iPhone 14 Pro models.
Recently, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple failed with its product segmentation for the base model iPhones as the iPhone 14, the iPhone SE 3, and even the iPhone 13 mini sold poorly.
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