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iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 – Phones of the future

iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 – Camera

Reading the specs of the cameras of the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4, we’re reminded of the “keeping up appearances” tactics of the megapixel war of 2009. Did you know we had 12-megapixel phones as early as 2009?

Both the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 will have 13-megapixel cameras with LED flashes. Leaked components that are reportedly from the iPhone 5S suggest the phone may have a wider aperture and improved sensor. This is likely, as increasing megapixel count alone won’t have enough of a positive effect on image quality to satisfy imaging experts.

It’s plausible that both phones will use the same sensor – the latest 13-megapixel BSI unit from Sony. This is in-line with imaging parity of last year. Did you know that the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4S used the same Sony sensor? The iPhone 5 also features a Sony sensor, albeit a tweaked one.

Identical, or at least similar, sensors to the one we expect to see in the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 can be found in the Sony Xperia Z, which was unveiled at CES 2013 in January.

Innovation points:
iPhone 5S – 0
Samsung Galaxy S4 – 0

Points 2

iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 – Software

As you might have realised by now, the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 make iterative hardware changes on the solid foundations of their respective series. They’re not earth-shatteringly innovative, hardware-wise.

But will either really push the boat out in its software?

Samsung is naturally limited, as it has to work with the base of Android. All its own innovations have to take place within the TouchWiz skin that sits on top of Android.

We know of two new features that the next version may offer – Eye Pause and Eye Scroll. These are a natural progression on from the SmartStay feature introduced alongside the Samsung Galaxy S3. Smart Stay uses the user-facing camera to tell when you’re reading something, stopping the screen from dimming while you are.

Eye Pause will automatically pause a video if you look away from the screen, and Eye Scroll will, you guessed it, scroll down a document automatically as you read it. We wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung brought these two under the “Smart” banner, as Smart Pause and Smart Scroll. They’re gimmicks, but they’re better than nothing.

Any more dynamic changes are likely to come from Google as part of the Android base. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will launch with the current Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, but will be given an upgrade to Android Key Lime Pie in time.

Apple has more control over the iPhone 5S’s software, and the next-generation iPhone is likely to see the launch of iOS 7. As ever, Apple is not going to let us know what is in store until the software launches. This is likely to happen in June at WWDC, where most of Apple’s geekier announcements are made.

Apple posted a job listing looking for software engineers to work on the “new API/framework” that will appear in iOS 7, so we do at least know that something special is brewing. Let us know what you want to see in iOS 7 in the comments.

Innovation points:
iPhone 5S – 1
Samsung Galaxy S4 – 0.5

Points 1

The Curve Ball – Samsung Galaxy S4 S-Pen?

There’s one possible curve ball, a rumoured feature of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that may not pan out. The phone may feature the digitiser S-Pen seen in the Note series.

A digitiser layer lets a screen sense varying levels of pressure rather than just basic points of contact. This would turn the Samsung Galaxy S4 into a neat little sketchpad.

Although not hugely innovative by itself, the incorporation of a digitiser into one of the most high-profile mobile devices of the year could dramatically increase the awareness and take-up of digitiser tech. That’s pretty interesting, in our book.

Innovation points:
iPhone 5S – 0
Samsung Galaxy S4 – Bonus 1

iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 – Are they Innovative?

Total points:
iPhone 5S – 2
Samsung Galaxy S4 – 2.5
The iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 will not fail to make a huge impact at launch. Each has the rapt attention of millions of fans. However, this time around the phones are likely to offer mostly iterative changes, aside from the adoption of IGZO screens in the iPhone 5S and the possible use of an S-Pen in the Samsung Galaxy S4.

But when on the road to success, would you veer off into the outback? Or do you think a lack of dynamism will trip up Apple and Samsung soon enough?


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