|Apple, Samsung Phone War Heats Up|
|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Mar 18, 2013, 1:22 PM|
It looks like Apple is wishing it could wave off Samsung's Galaxy S4 phone, which, yes, responds to wave gestures. Following Samsung's big Android smartphone launch last Thursday night, Apple has responded with new marketing to remind buyers of its popular iPhone.
Over the weekend, Apple posted a new iPhone 5 marketing page on its website entitled "There's iPhone. And then there's everything else." The website highlights a number of the iPhone 5's attributes, including its design, battery life and camera.
"What makes an iPhone unlike anything else? Maybe it's that it lets you do so many things," the site reads at the top. It goes on: "Or that it lets you do so many things so easily. Those are two reasons iPhone owners say they love their iPhone. But there are many others as well."
On Saturday afternoon, Apple also emailed a promotional note to its customers with a link to the page.
Apple doesn't directly mention Samsung's Galaxy S4 or Android in the web promotions, but Apple Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller did attack Android last week in two media interviews prior to Samsung's event.
"Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn't as good as an iPhone," Schiller told The Wall Street Journal. Schiller also criticized Android's fragmentation, the idea that all the different phones run different versions of the software.
"With their own data, only 16 percent of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system," he told Reuters. Most iPhones, on the other hand, run the latest version of Apple's iOS 6.0 software.
When reached, Samsung said it declines to comment on its competitors. Apple did not respond to ABC News' request for comment on the marketing.
Analysts say it's not surprising that Apple has responded through marketing, especially after the hype Samsung created around its event, which was held at Radio Music Hall in New York City.
The predecessor to the Galaxy S4, Samsung's Galaxy S3, which was released in May 2012, has become the best selling Android phone and emerged as the greatest competitor to the iPhone. As of Jan. 15 Samsung had sold 40 million of the 4.73-inch Android Galaxy S3. In comparison, Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones in just the first quarter of 2013; Apple does not break down sales based on the iPhone models.
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the iPhone 5 was still the best-selling smartphone worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2012; Apple shipped 27.4 million phones and Samsung 15.4 million. Still, Samsung sells a host of other phones, making it the largest phone maker in the world. Additionally, all the Android phones now outnumber the number of iPhones in the world.
The numbers aside, Samsung is Apple's fiercest competitor in the smartphone market. The two companies have had it out on shelves, in the courts, and, of course, in advertising. Samsung's creative Galaxy S3 advertising campaign, which poked fun at those Apple line sitters, particularly caught the attention of phone buyers.
"There is a narrative in the media that Samsung has taken Apple's crown," Avi Greengart, research director of Consumer Devices at Current Analysis, told ABC News. "And Apple wants to provide a counter narrative to that and remind people that the iPhone has many impressive merits of its own."
Samsung's Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch, 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, and a quad-core processor. It also has a number of new software features, including the ability to tilt the phone to scroll and wave your hand over it to swipe through photos or webpages. There's also its S Health app, which monitors fitness activity. The phone will be released in April, the company announced last week.
Apple is not expected to refresh its iPhone until this summer or early fall. The company is also rumored to be working on a watch that would work with the phone.
"Typically Apple has been able to offset the enthusiasm around competitors with its own products," Greengart said. "Right now there is a lull in Apple's introduction rate, so it is focusing on showing that its current product is superior."