Samsung's Galaxy S4 no Apple iPhone killer, analysts say

Samsung's Galaxy S4 no Apple iPhone killer, analysts say

Summary: Analysts wondered whether Samsung's Galaxy S4 was more like the S3 "S," an evolutionary smartphone that wouldn't put much of a dent in Apple's iPhone franchise. The Samsung-Apple duel is closely watched in both the consumer and business tech space.

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Samsung's Galaxy S4 debut went off largely as expected and yielded an evolutionary device that won't dent Apple or its iPhone franchise too much, say analysts.

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Indeed, Morgan Stanley analysts in a research note asked whether the Galaxy S4 was more like the S3S in a reference that swiped Apple's iPhone 4S device, which was more evolutionary.

The impact of the Galaxy S4 on Apple is closely watched in both the consumer and business tech space. Samsung and Android have a commanding lead in the consumer market, but lag in business tech, where Apple has shined courtesy of bring your own device, consumerization and one flavor of mobile operating system to secure. 

Earlier:  Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch makes Google's Nexus smartphones more critical |  Amid great expectations, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has arrived| Samsung reveals the Galaxy S4 (photos)Samsung's Galaxy S4 first to launch with B2B tool Knox | Samsung's Galaxy S4 focuses on differentiation but reveals growing problem for handset makers On CNETFull coverage of Samsung Galaxy S4 launch

Here's a roundup of what analysts are saying about the Samsung launch and its impact on Apple.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said:

We believe the S4 will certainly sell well and it is incrementally negative for Apple; however, the device is not revolutionary, in our view. Aside from the large screen size, which we believe gives Samsung a large advantage over Apple, we believe many of the features can easily be replicated. Additionally, a major complaint amongst Galaxy users is that they do not like Samsung's customized software, especially when it is a downgrade in performance from stock Android features. We wait to see the real world performance for the many new features.

Misek did wonder if an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 would be enough to hold Apple's fort against the phablet craze.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers said:

Samsung released the Galaxy S4 at a polished event in New York on Thursday evening. We believe that the display, the camera, the software and several unique features ups the ante in the smartphone market.

Specifically, Rakers noted that Samsung's screen size over the iPhone 5---5 inches to 4 inches, respectively---is critical.

Topeka analyst Brian White said:

Samsung introduced some interesting new features in the Galaxy S 4 many of which we expect newer smartphones to include as the year unfolds. As such, we view the Galaxy S 4 as a refresh but NOT a game changer. We believe the iPhone 5S will handily outsell Samsung's new flagship smartphone in the second-half of the year, while we believe Apple will expand its world with a lower-priced iPhone in 2013.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said:

While there was hype around the event approaching that of an iPhone launch, the device launched was very similar to an Apple "S" model update. While the S4 is likely to be the iPhone's biggest competitor this year at the high-end of the market, we remain confident in our iPhone estimate for this year of 177.5 million, which includes a cheaper phone in the September quarter. We view the S4 as unlikely to meaningfully impact iPhone share of the high-end over the full year, but do expect it to take share from other Android phones...

The Galaxy S4 appears to be largely an incremental update to the S3 including a slightly larger screen (4% larger on diagonal), better camera and processor, and updated software, but largely the same body style and casing. We believe some of the software features are unique, including the tilt to scroll, video pausing based on facial recognition, and hand gesture based interactions, but view these software improvements as minor compared with what Siri was to the iPhone 4S or even Google Now to Android.

Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes said:

In terms of competition vs. Apple, the GS4 seems largely as expected – and there could be some relief for Apple. However, as we stated recently in a recent report – we believe that Samsung’s momentum is a major issue for Apple. As a result, we need to see Apple expand its iPhone market this year in a big way – and improve its platform. However, Apple seems rather silent of late – and could be waiting until C3Q to make any competitive response outside of potential adjustments to pricing.

Topics: Bring Your Own Device, Apple, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones

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83 comments
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  • I have a Note II

    My wife has an S III. They are both excellent phones that are ideal as mobile internet devices. The larger screen sizes were a major factor in choosing them over the iPhone. Within my own personal circle of friends, family, and coworkers, Samsung has replaced iPhone as the phone of choice when upgrading.
    krossbow
    • wait

      Just wait for the cheaper and bigger iPhone, then you will all be crawling back, Apple could do what Samsung do in a heart beat, with a more regular updated software and less glitchy operating system, and apps. iPhone is always going to win, more and more people I know regret going away from Apple, cause of samsungs crap reception issues and regular outdated software that never get updated enough
      Hoggy866
      • It will be a looooong wait

        Cheaper Apple? What an oximoron!
        d3d4E4
        • You're right...

          Hoggy 866 is an oximoron...
          simul8guy
    • In my circle of friends

      The opposite has been true - they've gone from various Android devices to the iPhone and had no regrets.

      In regards to the S4 being an iPhone killer I find it quite fascinating that the iPhone STILL is the device to beat. There no one saying that the S4 is an HTC One X killer or a Motorola Razr Maxx killer... why is that?

      And why is it we keep going to bigger and bigger screens on our phones? While I'm at work I use Otterbox cases but when I'm off from work I ditch those cases because I prefer a phone I can slip in my pocket. This S4 is pushing the limit of "pocket sized".
      athynz
      • But why is the iPhone the device to beat?

        Is it because it is actually a better phone?
        John Zern
        • Usability: Samsung S4 v. iPhone 5

          The most important usability feature is how easy is it to read/view information and images on the screen.

          The S4’s 5-inch Super AMOLED screen registered at 258 lux, which is brighter than the S III’s 213 lux display but way below the 299 lux category average. By comparison, the HTC One registered 463 lux on our light meter, and the iPhone 5 got 525 lux.
          CTinCT
        • not even close

          Android handsets no longer even try to measure themselves against the iPhone anymore. The goal post has moved so far from the iPhone it isn't the standard anymore.
          warboat
    • You are in the minority

      Krossbow, if you really have switched from iPhone to an Android phone, you are in the minority.

      According to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, “36% of iOS sales were derived from other smartphone users over the last year. The proportion of Android users moving towards the Apple brand increased: 19% of iOS sales over the last year were derived from Android users, compared to 9% in 2011.”

      That’s almost 2 out of every 10 iPhones being sold to Android users!

      Meanwhile, less than 4% of iPhone users like you, have switched to Android. So over all, the iPhone is making a 15% gain of new users from former Android users.
      Harvey Lubin
      • Re: That’s almost 2 out of every 10 iPhones being sold to Android users!

        Given their relative popularity, that means more than 9 out of 10 Android users are staying with Android.
        ldo17
      • stats and logic

        seems like their stats suggests people are switching to iphones, yet Android phones are outselling iphones.
        Something doesn't add up.
        warboat
        • Re: stats & logic

          Or that your grasp of stats and logic is minimal.
          StandardPerson
          • You pretty much nailed it StandardPerson

            Unless something is anti Apple he never gets it.
            non-biased
  • TGFT

    Yes, 'No iphone killer' thank god.

    Obviously when that is declared as happening is when Samsung has crapped on us all.
    That's life.
    albionstreet
  • Watched the presentation..

    Highly polished but bland and cheesy beyond stomach churning and what's with all the sexist stuff? It certainly didn't appeal on any sort of personally engaging level...quite the opposite.
    Also seems kinda dumb to promote all the super specs stuff whilst short-changing US users with 2nd best CPU. Makes me think they are building this one 'down' to a price.
    So no, if you like your iPhone...there's zero chance of switching to either Android or the S4.
    frogspaw
    • Wow, Cheesy is right.

      Lol, just watched the presentation, thought it was funny when he said: "Imagine a Picture with Sound" ....yeah we call that video.

      One word that keeps me on the iPhone. iCloud.

      Keeps all my iDevices in sync and when I upgrade my iPhone this coming summer, all I need to do is login with my iTunes account and everything on my old iPhone is loaded on my new one. iOS's ecosystem is second to none.
      jonbren
      • What makes you think Android doesn't do that also?

        Even Windows8 does that.
        Emacho
        • Not even in the same league...in my opinion.

          I didn't say that those platforms did not. I said iCloud and Apple's ecosystem is second to none. In functionality and ease of use.
          jonbren
          • fanboi analysis

            fanboi has little idea of what's out there but can say with absolute certainty that Apple is second to none.
            warboat
          • Who is the fanboi?

            If you have a good argument for the superiority of the Windows 8/Android counterparts of iCloud then please let's hear them.
            StandardPerson