2015 is over and both the iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy S6 seem like old hat now. This is a new calendar year, baby, and Apple and Android fans want the next flagships. As Samsung always launches its Galaxy flagship well before Apple—usually in the early spring—Android fans can expect to be satiated first. Matter of fact a number of recent leaks suggest the Samsung Galaxy S7 is on the verge of being officially announced, perhaps as soon as next month, with a March ship date.
As for iPhone fans, it’s likely Apple will be releasing a new iPhone easier this year—just not the iPhone 7. There are strong rumors Apple will launch a new 4-inch iPhone in the March-April timeframe, dubbed the iPhone 6c. This will essentially be a less powerful, smaller version of the existing iPhone 6s. As for Apple’s next flagship iPhone—the iPhone 7—expect to see it during the usual September timeframe.
The one thing that is certain is both of these technology giants’ will have new flagships out this year. How might they compare? Let’s gaze into our crystal ball to see what each phone will be like, starting with the specs. Do keep in mind that this VS is just hypothetical for now based on leaks—we’ll have a final comparison between the phones when each one’s specs are officially announced.
Rumored Galaxy S7 vs Likely iPhone 7: Major Specs
Rumored Galaxy S7
Display: 5.1-inch and 5.7-inch, max res of 2560x1440 pixels
Design: Expect a design change, but not as radical as from the S5 to S6
Storage: 32, 64, and 128GB
CPU and RAM: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM
Front Camera: 5MP
Rear Camera: 12.2MP, 4K video recording
Likely iPhone 7
Display: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Force Touch, but likely with a QHD display of 2560 x 1440 resolution
Design: Completely new design. Thinner body and bezel.
Storage: 32, 64, 128, and 256GB
CPU and RAM: A10 processor, 3GB RAM
Front Camera: 5MP with wide angle lens
Rear Camera: 12MP, 4K video recording, optical image stabilization
The big fight between the two phones are always in the specs. And as usual—on paper the Galaxy S7 comes out on top. It’s rumored to have 4GB of RAM standard, besting the rumored 3GB in the iPhone 7. The processors themselves are harder to compare, but it’s known the S7 will feature the blazingly fast Quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor or, in some regions, Samsung's very own Exynos setup.
The iPhone 7 will run Apple’s next-generation A10 mobile chipset and, if previous versions are anything to go by, it should be an alarmingly powerful chipset. Apple’s A8 and A9 chipsets dominated the mobile space in 2014/15 showcasing just what was possible with processing power when you have complete control over specs, hardware and software. And this is no doubt the reason Samsung invested so heavily in its Exynos solution — it wants more control over its devices’ performance and capabilities.
One thing that can be expected for sure is that both phones will likely come in 32, 64, and 128GB models. Thankfully Apple should drop the 16GB iPhone version this time around. However there are rumors the iPhone 7 could also come in a 256GB model…something that seems far too good to be true at present. Nevertheless, should Apple get rid of the 16GB version — something it really needs to do, as 16GB is just pathetic these days — then it stands to reason it will have to replace it with something at the top-end to bump everything down a peg and make 32GB the standard model, before 64GB and then 128GB and finally 256GB.
Rumored Galaxy S7 vs Likely iPhone 7: Design
The iPhone 7 will feature a radically different design since this is a prime year (as opposed to an S-year) upgrade. What to expect? A thinner body is guaranteed. But also expect thinner bezels and maybe–maybe–an edge-to-edge screen. There’s also strong hints that Apple is working on doing away with the physical home button and embedding a virtual home button and Touch ID in the screen itself, but that might not come until the iPhone 8. The iPhone 7 will almost certainly retain the same size display as this year's models with 4.7in and 5.5in models to choose from - although there is talk of a 4in iPhone 6c dropping in April.
Word on the street suggests Apple will ditch the standard 3.5mm jack headphone port aboard the iPhone 7 in order to make the handset thinner. The move, which is part of Apple’s MFI licensing program, if true, will mean all headphone manufacturers will have to support Apple’s lightning bolt connector, or, failing that, users will have to buy a converter. Sound familiar?
“A pair of sources from within Apple’s Chinese supply chain have both independently confirmed Apple will ditch the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and use the Lightning port instead,” reports Forbe’s Gordon Kelly. “Anzhou states the move is driven to engineer even thinner new models as well as drive users towards wireless headphones (could a mobile variant of AirPlay be on the way?). Meanwhile WeiFeng expands upon this saying Apple will introduce audio output profiles to compensate for the loss of the headphone jack with users able to setup the iPhone 7 to smartly switch between different wired and wireless output profiles depending on the scenario, location or app.”
However, there are some positives associated with this switch: high definition audio — unless you use Spotify, of course. Apple is also expected to include a bigger battery, wireless charging capabilities and also include full water and dust resistance!
Samsung is looking to save some cash in 2016/16 after a rather disappointing two year stretch in which Apple, as well as Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Huawei, have systematically eaten away at its global market share, resulting in lower than expected sales and profits.
The high-end market for mobile phones has kind of stagnated. For instance, 2015 will be the first time the smart phone space has grown below double digits. That is pretty significant and it will affect everybody’s bottom-line, even big players like Apple and Samsung.
"With the smartphone market finally slowing to single-digit growth, maintaining momentum will depend on several factors," said Ryan Reith , Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker .
"The main driver has been and will continue to be the success of low-cost smartphones in emerging markets. This, in turn, will depend on capturing value-oriented first-time smartphone buyers as well as replacement buyers. We believe that, in a number of high-growth markets, replacement cycles will be less than the typical two-year rate, mainly because the components that comprise a sub-$100 smartphone simply do not have the ability to survive two years. Offering products that appeal to both types of buyers at a suitable price point will be crucial to maintaining growth and vendor success.”
Android will still be the dominate OS for the foreseeable, however — it has 82% of the market, while Apple’s iOS platform takes care of just 15%. Importantly, though, Apple makes the most money in the smartphone space and with a lack of competition from other platforms – BB10 and Windows — this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 EDGE were two of our favourite handsets of 2015. They looked awesome and the performance was excellent. Solid stuff, indeed. Unfortunately consumers weren’t too impressed with what Samsung had brought to the table and sales were well below what the firm expected to shift. And Apple having two record-breaking years in a row did not help matters, neither did Xiaomi hoovering up in China.
But it’s OK — at least we have the Galaxy S7 to look forward to, right? Kind of. But ut all depends on whether or not you liked the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 EDGE because Samsung isn’t planning on doing much to the look and feel of the handset, according to sources familiar with its plans.
The sources mentioned above spilled their guts to The Korea Times, a usually very good publication for all things Samsung and LG. According to the sources, “the S7 will have improvements both in picture quality, performance and other some new features. But because smartphones have already been commoditised, you don’t need to spend more on a surface overhaul.”
Translation? The overall design of the phones will remain the same and all major changes will be under the hood — sound familiar? It should. This is exactly what Apple does with its iPhone cycle year-in-year out. The source claims the Galaxy S7 will feature faster processors, new DRAM chips with expanded storage, and OLED displays. All big, useful upgrades that will no doubt be appreciated by A LOT of people.
It's not exactly surprising that Samsung has gone down this route. For one thing the poor sales performance by the Galaxy S6 seems to have NOTHING to do with how people regarded its design and build - largely it received glowing reviews and was heralded as the best looking phone Samsung had produced to date. With the design established as really rather good that's the last thing Samsung should want to change, and what's more, it doesn't because that kind of development is a big costly overhaul; that's why Apple doesn't do it every year, and Samsung only just did it, so the design SHOULD be good for a while yet, if Samsung can generate interest through other features.
The big news for iPhone fans is the iPhone 7 will probably get a higher resolution display, specifically a QHD one with a resolution of 2560 x 1440—as many Android handsets already have. This will match the resolution of the Galaxy S7. One thing that isn’t clear is if Samsung will add some kind of 3D Touch-like pressure sensing display to the S7 that the iPhone 6s has now (something the iPhone 7 will retain).
As far as sizes, the iPhone 7 should come in the standard 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch (Plus) models. Rumors suggest Samsung could one-up this however, by releasing as many as four Galaxy S7 phones: a 5.1-inch and 5.7-inch “regular” model and a 5.1-inch and 5.7-inch “Edge” variant with curved display.
Rumored Galaxy S7 vs Likely iPhone 7: Camera
The iPhone 6s received a major camera upgrade over the iPhone 6—getting a 12MP rear camera and 5MP front one. Don’t expect any MP boosts in the iPhone 7 since Apple usually holds the MP for a few years. As for the Galaxy S7, expect similar camera specs: 12.2MP rear and 5MP front. Both will record 4k video.