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Samsung doesn’t need to worry since Apple has given up on innovation


Last updated: November 23rd, 2021 at 18:48 UTC+01:00

Samsung and Apple are the world's leading smartphone manufacturers. Both are in an envious position. Samsung ships the most units while Apple's margins on its smartphones are the best in the business. They're so far ahead of the pack that catching them has been difficult.

Both also compete with each other in the premium segment. Apple doesn't make mid-range and low-end devices so it doesn't compete with Samsung there. The company's iPhones do compete with the flagship series that Samsung launches every year.

Even as Samsung pushed the envelope on its flagship Galaxy S series every year, Apple has been taking a different approach with its iPhones. Every new model seems to be an exercise in refinement. Apple isn't making any major new changes. Perhaps it has truly subscribed to the idea that you don't need to fix something that's not broken.

It's true that Apple tends to take its time before it adopts new technologies. We saw how it waited to launch a 5G iPhone when most Android manufacturers were already on their second iterations. That's also true for other improvements such as OLED panels for its iPhones. The company still hasn't made an OLED iPad while Samsung has too many OLED-touting tablets to count.

Samsung also has an entirely new product line that Apple has no answer to. No iPhone can hold a candle to the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip series. Samsung has singlehandedly brought the foldable form factor to the mainstream. This year's Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 have proved to the world that foldable smartphones can be durable and that they're more than capable of being your daily driver.

The Korean conglomerate has been fearlessly innovative in its pursuit to make foldable smartphones the norm. Its subsidiaries have achieved great advancement in display and battery technology to make foldable phones a reality. Samsung's engineering and design teams have knocked it out of the park, especially with the latest models.

Truth be told, it often feels that Samsung is the only company that really cares about innovation in the smartphone market anymore. All other phones are either too similar or follow the same blueprint. There's nothing “new” or exciting anymore. While Apple has delivered plenty of new innovations with iPhones in the past, it no longer seems to care about that.

If it weren't for the changes made to the camera housing, all iPhones going back the past few years look quite similar. You can even buy third-party conversion kits to transform an iPhone 7 through iPhone 11 Max to an iPhone 12. At least Samsung has been quite bold when it comes to the design even for its Galaxy S series.

Apple's lack of interest in innovation might also have to do with the shift in its business model that has been implemented over the past few years. It's a fact that the high-end smartphone market is stagnating. Margins are getting slimmer and the competition continues to increase.

That's why Apple has been increasingly relying on services to boost its revenues and profits. It offers users a variety of services such as the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Care, Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+, Apple Arcade and Apple Pay.

Its revenues from services continue to grow. In the third fiscal quarter of 2021 alone, Apple raked in $17.5 billion from its services, a 33% surge compared to the same period last year. The company now has over 700 million paid subscriptions.

The way Apple has built out its entire ecosystem has contributed to this surge in services revenue. This essentially acts as insulation for its device business. Even if it doesn't push the bar or make any major innovations, customers who are tied to its ecosystem has little incentive to leave.

Samsung doesn't have this services empire and competing with Apple on this front will be difficult. The fact that Samsung doesn't own the underlying OS on its smartphones is also a factor.

Besides, Samsung is on a mission to revolutionize the smartphone market once again. It was monumental in pushing the industry to adopt larger display sizes. With foldable smartphones, Samsung is blazing a trail once again that will change the smartphone market as we know it.

There have been rumblings that perhaps Apple might consider a foldable smartphone of its own. No evidence has emerged as yet to substantiate those rumors. The company has previously shown that if it doesn't believe in something, it won't do what everyone else is doing.

Apple is making money hand over fist. Its customers are happy and its shareholders are very happy. Does it really need to upset the apple cart, pun intended, just so it could go back to its innovative ways? Right now it seems that the company doesn't think this is necessary.

So Samsung may very well have nothing to worry about, at least as far as Apple is concerned, Apple fans might wish that their favorite company comes out with a response to Samsung's foldables. They would want to see it be innovative. Ultimately, it's a business decision, and it seems like Apple can't be bothered enough about it right now.

Galaxy AI summarized

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