Samsung just took the wraps of its latest Galaxy S10 phones, along with an exciting new folding phone / tablet called Galaxy Fold. They were all the internet could talk about on Wednesday, and for good reason: there are some legally cool things there. But none of them presents the existential threat to Apple. In fact, they probably won't have a measurable impact on iPhone or iPad sales at all.
The biggest threat to continued sales of Apple products is Apple, not the threat of a superior product from Samsung.
Must-have functions are often overrated
The general press of the annual "Apple needs to worry about these new Samsung phones" punditry goes like this: These Samsung phones have more features for the same money!
It's not wrong. The $ 750 Galaxy S1
When else did Samsung's flagship phones have had more features or sounding specifications than the comparable prices on the iPhone? Pretty much every year since the Galaxy S4. Whether it's wireless charging, waterproof, OLED monitors, stylus support or NFC, Samsung's headphones have often had a wash list of features months or years before appearing on an iPhone. Samsung's hammers often do the fact in their advertising and yet iPhone sales have not suffered.
Of course, some people are willing to jump out of the iPhone ecosystem and land in Samsung's domain. It's not new. But in the big scheme of things, most iPhone users seem to replace their old iPhones with new iPhones, and if you beat Apple to a handful of cool looks, you haven't tipped the scales over the last five years, it won't to start now.
Until it's a true competitor of ubiquitous iMessage and FaceTime, Apple probably doesn't have to worry about some Android phones coming with a feature before the iPhone.
It's too early for a folding phone
What about Galaxy Fold, though? The first real big-name folding phone / tablet! Of course, it's undoubtedly slim, it doesn't seem clear to the mass market yet.
The price tag alone – starting at $ 1,980 sets it out of reach for almost anyone. It doesn't seem to solve many of the predicted issues with folding phones either. In its folded state, it is too thick and tall to fit well into anyone, but the largest pants pocket (and if you're a back pocket person, forget about it). The screen size ratios are weird both folded and unfolded, and it is not clear how well the wide range of popular apps will work with it. Samsung continues to show the same few apps scaled gracefully, but how good will it work with all apps people use?
There are strange design qualities as a strange corner in tablet mode, and durability is still a big question mark. (How would a case for that thing even work? Or screen protectors?)
Galaxy Fold is another cool piece of tech that lets Samsung proudly preach it was first. But Apple's innovation has very rarely been about being the first market. It's about being the first to make a technology reliable, usable, and mass-productive enough to transmit over 100 million phones in a year. There is the kind of thing that moves markets.
And it's too early for 5G, also
Samsung also announced the version of its Galaxy S10 phone for 5G networks. It is large (6.7 inches!), Expensive (no price stated, but more expensive than $ 1,000 Galaxy S10 +), and will ship once in the second quarter exclusively on Verizon.
It alone makes it out of reach for everyone on the nation's other three major carriers. But even for Verizon customers, it is going to be some time before the 5G is a thing . Verizon has promised to distribute 5G in 30 cities by the end of the year. But it has not yet said what these cities are and has not given any details on pricing or how wide coverage will be. The real fast 5G things will require many small towers across each other, meaning that the launch of 5G in a city is very likely to mean "you get 5G coverage over ten quarters in the city center, and there is still 4G LTE everywhere. "
All major carriers will know about their 5G deployments, but the fact is that only a small percentage of the country's population will live or work in an area where 5G coverage is reliable until well into 2020. You are far more likely To be connected to a solid Wi-Fi connection – Motivate the benefits of 5G than you really see these multi-gigabit speeds on your cellular network. It's good to have a future-proof phone, but will you really pay big money today for a first-generation 5G modem that you're not going to spend for a year or two?
Apple's problem is pricing, not Samsung
Apple needs to continue to improve the iPhone, of course. From multi-camera setups and 3D sensors with a two-way wireless charging path and fancy software tricks like Google's Night Sight, Apple must definitely push ahead. (Don't get me started with Siri.)
But it's never been Apple's problem and that's not why iPhone sales are plateauing (or even descending).
If Apple has a current problem selling iPhones, it's that the prices are too high, no matter what features they have (especially in some overseas countries). And with subsidized prices going along the roadside, the entry barrier is just too big. In this regard, a "good enough" $ 400 phone far outweighs Apple's threat than Samsung's similarly-priced flagship phones.
The company is moving to a model where iPhone upgrades are not very important as long as customers continue to use their old iPhones. It wants people to be in Apple's ecosystem so that it can consume a growing array of services, and growing that base is more important to the iPhone or iPad or Mac sales rate.
Nevertheless, most companies that make money from consumer services will virtually give away hardware, sell it to a diet or even a loss. Losing money on the razor, making money on the leaves. Apple is light-years away from this type of pricing, but it is worth considering that over time, the company will want to reduce hardware margins to build a larger base for its service business.
Samsung has not been able to build a successful ecosystem by itself, no matter how hard it has. The company pushes its own apps, store, interface and features like Bixby, but consumers don't want them. They want Google Services -Maps, Gmail, Chrome, Google Photos and the Google Play Store. Apple's ambition to grow a consumer business can only really be threatened by another manufacturer with a large hardware / software / services ecosystem in itself, and it's not Samsung.