SMARTPHONES:
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020

History of iPhone vs. Samsung

History of iPhone vs. Samsung

There's Mac vs. PC, there's Coke® vs. Pepsi®, and there's iPhone® vs. Samsung®. The heated rivalry between these two companies has been going on for more than a decade, producing some of the most impressive electronics of the 21st century, with a vast range of advanced technologies making their way into our pockets.

Apple might be the worldwide leader with 20% of the market share in 2020, but Samsung phones are still immensely popular, following behind Apple at 16% of market share. Still, the debate comes down to a lot more than Apple's vs. Samsung's sales — there's also marketing, social status, company relations and, of course, technology innovations. Let's dive into the Samsung vs. iPhone rivalry, starting from the top.

How Samsung and Apple Got Their Starts

Many people know the story of Apple, founded in the 1970s in Steve Jobs' garage. Apple had great success with its Mac computers and iPods®, but it needed something big to have a horse in m resulted in the first iPhone, boasted as a phone, internet device and iPod all in one. With its reliable computers, iPods and other devices, Apple grew steadily in the last part of the 20th century. 

Meanwhile, Samsung's history involves a slower rise to fame. This South Korean company started in 1938 as a grocery store and trading company, later expanding into various industries like insurance, security and retail. It started making electronics in the 1960s and dabbled in everything from semiconductors and home appliances to TVs and telecommunications devices. 

Samsung and Apple started as partners, and they still are today. Samsung has supplied Apple with a range of components, like processors, display screens and lightweight flash memory. Before becoming an Apple competitor, Samsung had made many phones, but nothing that would cement them as a serious competitor, especially against the behemoth of the iPhone, which took the world by storm. 

The release of the Galaxy put them on the playing field and sparked a long-running rivalry between the two

iPhone vs. Samsung Over the Years

Apple released the iPhone in 2007, and Samsung entered the race in 2009 with the Samsung Galaxy S® — and Steve Jobs was furious. In Apple's eyes, the Galaxy was a direct copy of the iPhone, and Jobs wanted to launch "thermonuclear war" with Android. Tim Cook, Apple's supply chain effort and Jobs' future successor, encouraged him to be patient and remain civil to avoid hurting their relationship with a critical supplier.

Apple initially created a proposal to license its patents to Samsung, but Samsung reversed the offer and claimed that Apple copied Samsung's patents. 2011 marked the start of some hefty litigation and an Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit as the two sued and countersued each other in multiple countries for patent infringement. After considerable back-and-forth and some temporary product bans, a court ruled in Apple's favor, awarding over $1 billion in damages after finding that Samsung copied critical Apple features from iPhones and iPads.

That win was eventually sent to retrial due to incorrect calculations from the jury, with Samsung paying a penalty of $929 million. Even though they were found guilty of copying some of Samsung's patents, the case was seen as a big win for Apple and helped them label Samsung as a copycat and less of a threat in the iPhone vs. Android competition. Samsung, meanwhile, thought Apple was aiming for a monopoly and creating overly generic patents, such as one for the iPad's rounded, rectangular shape.

Samsung's creatives saw an opening. They wanted to challenge the cult of Apple and position themselves as a leader to the Android tribe. Samsung's goal became clear: to redefine Samsung and market accordingly.

More phones were sold in the last fiscal quarter of 2008 — 6.9 million units — than in the previous three combined.

2007-2009: The iPhone Takeover

Apple advertised the iPhone as a combination of an iPod, an internet device and a mobile phone. Its large touchscreen design was nothing short of revolutionary, incorporating an on-screen keyboard, the iOS® interface, a 2 megapixel (MP) camera and other exciting-for-the-time technologies.

At first, the phone wasn't highly regarded by other mobile manufacturers, and its sales were lower than expected, but the second version released in 2008, the iPhone 3G, caused demand to explode. More phones were sold in the last fiscal quarter of 2008 — 6.9 million units — than in the previous three combined. Just before the release of the iPhone 3G, the App Store also hit the market.

Samsung hit the ground running with the Galaxy S, offering a larger 4-inch display, a slimmer body, a 5 MP camera, 720p video recording and a super active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screen.

2010: Samsung Enters the Ring

Samsung hit the ground running with the Galaxy S, offering a larger 4-inch display, a slimmer body, a 5 MP camera, 720p video recording and a super active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screen. This feature-rich alternative to the iPhone would soon become their best-known phone, complete with aggressive marketing campaigns.

The iPhone 4, technically the third iPhone, offered the first major redesign, with a glass body and metal frame. It added a front-facing camera, a 5 MP and 720p camera to match the Galaxy and a micro-SIM slot. It also introduced Retina® Display, with a higher pixel density than previous displays, and the A4 chip, which started the shift to Apple-designed processor chips. This iPhone, however, came with one considerable flaw. The user could block the antenna with their hand while holding the phone and interrupt functionality.

2010: Samsung Enters the Ring

For Samsung, the 2010s started with beefed-up specs on the Galaxy S II, released in 2011. It had a bigger 4.3-inch screen, an 8 MP camera and 1080p video recording, along with the TouchWiz® interface, which reskinned the Android experience for a unique aesthetic. In the same year, Samsung also released the Galaxy Note, another flagship line of popular phones. The Samsung Note® had a massive 5.3-inch screen, a stylus and other advanced features that made it a mainstay.

The S III and S4 models saw progressively larger screens and higher resolutions, along with quad-core and octa-core processors, respectively. The S4 also had a few odd features, like Floating Touch and Smart PauseTM. Floating Touch allowed you to control the screen by hovering your finger instead of clicking, and SmartPause allowed you to pause a video just by looking away.

Apple headed into the decade with the addition of Siri®, Apple's voice assistant, and iCloud® on the iPhone 5. Display sizes only moderately increased this time, reaching a screen size of 4 inches on the new 5c and 5s phones, compared to the Galaxy S4's 5 inches. It did affect the aspect ratio, though, changing it to 16:9, a better ratio for video.

Apple focused on the processor and security features of the phones with the help of the A7 Cyclone chip on the 5s. This was the first 64-bit chip on a phone and was quite advanced for the time. The other sizeable addition at this time was Touch ID®, which turned the home button into a fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone with just a touch. Other improvements included the camera's low light performance and iOS interface.

2014-2016: Flashy Features, Video Improvements and Premium Designs

Back at Samsung, flashy new capabilities were added to the Galaxy S5, like waterproofing via an odd flap over the ports, a micro USB 3.0 charging port and a swipe-based fingerprint reader. With the Samsung S6 Edge®, Samsung delivered a buzz-worthy futuristic display that curved toward the sides of the phone. It also used a more premium metal frame, following Apple's lead from the iPhone 6.

The S7 and S7 Edge brought waterproofing to the table, too, along with features that made the Galaxy lineup shine in the optics department. These phones got dual-pixel autofocus, a piece of tech taken from advanced digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras for faster focusing. They also added a super-wide lens for night photography.

Apple finally joined the large-screen game with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. This lineup also solidified the iPhones — and flagship phones in general — as having "premium" materials with its durable and light aluminum body. These phones got camera improvements and continuous autofocus during video recording, as well.

With the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple made a bold move and increased the phone's thickness to support its new feature, 3D Touch®. Users could access multiple "levels" of pressure to open up new menus and shortcuts. The 6s also added 4K capabilities without some of the restrictions of Androids, such as five-minute recording limits. Apple added full 4K recording and iMovie® support for a phone — which was especially impressive considering that many laptops struggled with video editing at the time.

Apple started ramping up its cameras with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus by adding dual-camera systems, a telephoto lens and the new Portrait mode. Apple also killed the headphone jack in 2016, moving consumers toward wireless solutions. Losing the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack was a controversial move, but it didn't seem to hurt consumers' interests in the phone. It seemed inevitable with the rise of wireless technology, and Samsung got rid of the jack in 2019.

2017-2020: Edgeless Designs and Stellar Cameras

In 2017, borders were out, and edgeless designs were in, creating some beautiful technology. For Samsung, that meant keeping the curve of the Edge phones and incorporating an edge-to-edge screen with minor bezels on the top and bottom. The design hasn't changed much since then, but the S9 offered improved durability, and the display of the S10 moved to a narrower aspect ratio. The S10 also created a "punch hole" design that avoided the "notch" at the top of the screen that plagued the iPhone lines.

Cameras continued to receive minor improvements, and the fingerprint scanner moved to an ultrasonic design beneath the screen. The cameras really moved front and center with the S20 lineup in 2020. Some standout additions include the S20 Ultra's whopping 108 MP main lens, a smooth 120 Hertz (Hz) refresh rate and a 5,000-milliampere-hour (mAh) battery.

2017-2020:
Edgeless Designs and Stellar Cameras

Cameras continued to receive minor improvements, and the fingerprint scanner moved to an ultrasonic design beneath the screen. The cameras really moved front and center with the S20 lineup in 2020. Some standout additions include the S20 Ultra's whopping 108 MP main lens, a smooth 120 Hertz (Hz) refresh rate and a 5,000-milliampere-hour (mAh) battery.

Apple started 2017 with the iPhone 8, which mainly just added wireless charging. The real design upgrade happened in the iPhone X, also released in 2017, which eliminated the home button with its own edge-to-edge display. While the size of the phone remained similar, the display size was much bigger. Its dual-camera system jumped up to 12 MP, and Apple added Face ID®, a feature that used the new TrueDepth® front-facing camera for 3D facial mapping technology, adding a new layer of security and functionality.

The iPhone XS and XS Max came out next, shortly followed by the iPhone XR, a cheaper version of the other two. The XS and XS Max retain the dual-camera setup of the X and feature a stainless steel metal frame. Apple then moved on to the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, with bright new colors and crisp displays. The Pro and Pro Max phones added a third high-dynamic-range (HDR) telephoto lens, further improving the cameras.

In 2020, Apple redid the iPhone SE, the younger brother to the flagship iPhones. This SE has a home button and is a bit smaller, with a 4.7-inch display compared to the 6.1-inch display of the iPhone 11. As for the flagships, Apple released the iPhone 12 lineup with the mini, the 12, the 12 Pro and the 12 Pro Max. Their designs harken back to older, flatter models by creating sharper edges. The higher-end versions of the 12 include some impressive new features like a triple-lens camera, LiDAR scanners and faster apertures.

2021: Refinement

Samsung's early January 2021 release of the Galaxy S21 delivered a similar phone to the S20, with another AMOLED screen, 120 Hz refresh rate and the same camera setups. The S21 Ultra offers the most notable improvement, with four rear cameras, including a 108 MP rear camera and a 10 MP telephoto lens with 10x zoom.

Apple has officially released the iPhone 13 which is packed with a faster chip, a new cinematic recording mode and much more. 

Samsung vs. Apple in the Future

So, which is better, Samsung or Apple? As you may have guessed, the answer isn't so simple. The Apple vs. Android rivalry has created some fantastic product designs. Phones have seen significant durability improvements, and both have excellent cameras, strong operating systems and beautiful displays. Apple's A14 Bionic chip still pulls ahead in most areas, but the Galaxy's Snapdragon® chips are still plenty fast for most consumers. 

Galaxy takes the lead with refresh rates, offering the 120 Hz option that Apple has yet to offer. They also allow for hefty customization, which is one reason why many say Samsung is better than Apple, but it really depends on what you want most from your phone.

Take Your Old Phone
To ecoatm

These two industry leaders keep each other on their toes and are guaranteed to supply us with exciting new tech in the years to come.

Take Your Old Phone to ecoATM

These two industry leaders keep each other on their toes and are guaranteed to supply us with exciting new tech in the years to come. If you're looking for a new phone, hopefully, we've given you a little more insight into how Apple and Samsung compare. And if you'll be getting rid of an old phone, be sure to bring it to an ecoATM kiosk. ecoATM can buy your old phone for cash on the spot or ensure it is properly recycled. Price your device or find a kiosk near you to get started!

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SMARTPHONES:
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020