Apple and Samsung are really the sh*t right now, at least from a sales and a popularity standpoint, across the planet. The two companies have had enormous success in the past couple of years with their flagship line-ups, and are already preparing to launch the next big thing. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is going to be a new milestone for the company, just as much as the iPhone 7 might be a turning point for Apple. Rumors about these two phones revolve around the idea that the companies want to change their strategies and have demonstrated this tendency with their last flagship line-ups. Samsung has the Galaxy S6 flagship family while Apple launched the iPhone 6S line-up of devices, both with features and properties that aim to improve upon company perception through launch strategy and user satisfaction through more features.
The Galaxy S7 release date is supposedly closer than the iPhone 7 release date, rumors stating that Samsung will launch the handset in at least two different variants sometime in January or February. The consensus right now is that the first hands-on Galaxy S7 experience will take place at CES 2016 in January, seeing as rumors of the South Korean company giving up on the Unpacked dedicated event strategy have started puring in. Apple is also in the midst of change, launching a very different product in March 2016: the iPhone 6C. The iPhone 7 release date will most likely fall within Fall 2016, which is still in line with Apple’s launch strategy for their flagship products.
Since Samsung and Apple are two of the biggest tech companies on the smartphone market right now, competition between the two is fierce – and evident. The Galaxy S6 was accused by fans of copying Apple, although those accusations were largely ignored by the community who praised Samsung for its new design approach. Although they removed features Samsung fans were fond of, like removable batteries and expandable storage, overall reception of the Galaxy S6 family of flagships was rather positive. The same could be said about Apple, who has increased their prices when they launched the iPhone 6S family and despite the handset being more of an incremental upgrade to their line-up, its popularity is huge and sales of both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are reaching record numbers, if we are to listen to analysts. So what’s going to happen with the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7?
It’s hard to say, since both the iPhone 7 release date and Galaxy S7 release date are unconfirmed and neither of the companies has spoken out about their plans in the smartphone department. There are thousands of rumors and speculations going around, talking about iPhone 7 features, design elements and price and about Galaxy S7 software and hardware. While fans of Samsung are mostly talking about the hardware that the Galaxy S7 will feature, most iPhone fans seem to be focused on extra features and novelty properties that are supposedly going to be part of the iPhone 7 design. There are rumors about the iPhone 7 design incorporating an airbag-type of shielding system that will give the handset flotation properties, waterproof properties and of course, protection from accidental drops. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is going to focus around improving performance and giving users the options they want, Samsung hinting at the presence of both Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 CPU and its in-house Exynos 8890 SoC.
The Galaxy S7 launch should come with multiple variants of the handset. The most recent rumors state that instead of launching a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge in January at CES 2016 and a Galaxy S7 Plus and Galaxy Note 6 later in the year, Samsung will take a different approach. Apparently, in an attempt to maximize profits and be more cost-effective, the company will only launch two types of smartphones in the Galaxy S7 family: the base model in two variants, based on region and processor and another Galaxy S7 Plus, with a larger screen, the S Pen that is representative of the Note line-up and the sloping edge display representative of the Edge line-up of devices. Although it’s a bit much to comprehend, it’s possible. Samsung has been previously cautioned about releasing too many expensive flagship models, so it might be the time for the company to focus on what they’re good at, and that’s creating productivity devices in the Note line-up and powerful compact devices in the S line-up. The two might end up mashed together, and many fans expressed that they would like the idea.
The iPhone 7 will also be launched in two distinct varieties, following the new agenda the Cupertino giant set with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be of different sizes, but their features are expected to be the same. Aside from a larger screen on the iPhone 7 Plus, its hardware, software and features should be the same as the compact model with the smaller display up front. Although there exists a possibility of a third iPhone 7, one focused on gaming and virtual reality, that’s a rumor best saved for next year. If Apple is getting into the whole virtual reality world, launching a dedicated iPhone 7 for it would be a logical step from the company’s viewpoint – they’d make a buttload of money.
When it comes to what these flagships will look like, it’s really anybody’s guess. There are thousands of Galaxy S7 concept and iPhone 7 concept renders that fans created based off of rumors and speculations, as well as expectations and wishlists, but they are hardly proof of concept that might come out of the manufacturing lines. Apple is most likely going to keep its general design language, but analysts as well as a number of Apple patents that the company filed hint at the fact that the iPhone 7 design will once again “suffer” an overhaul. Apparently, the iPhone 7 size will be most impacted, as the company is still chasing the now deemed absurd ideal of the thinnest phone on the market. Despite fans of the company emphasizing that they would rather have a longer battery life and a more durable body than a 5 mm smartphone, Apple is convinced that thinness is what people want. I don’t agree, but most rumors are at a consensus that the iPhone 7 will be the thinnest phone on the market when it is launched.
Adopting new and more durable materials for the iPhone 7 engineering process, Apple is supposedly going to use a higher-end type of aluminum, even stronger than the one they used in the iPhone 6S. The metal unibody and thick top and bottom bezels are most likely staying, leaving room for TouchID up front. Although there are tons of rumors out there talking about how Apple is not going to include TouchID in the home button but implement it in the display, the technology to do that is at an early stage and it’s most likely not fitting for a flagship smartphone. On the other hand, an advanced version of 3D Touch is pretty much a sure thing, seeing as fans and even Android users are rather impressed with how useful and easy to use the feature has become on the iPhone 6S and the new MacBook as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of the most anticipated smartphones of 2016 and yet we know very little about what Samsung is working on. With recent news about the company shifting its focus towards improving its OLED business, the Galaxy S7 display will most likely feature a massive upgrade. Various industry insiders and people familiar with the matter have told us to expect at least one variant of the Galaxy S7 to feature a 4K resolution display. Most likely, the Galaxy S7 Plus display will come with the high-res display, seeing as it’ going to most likely be a 5.7-inch display up front. The base model’s display is expected to stay in the compact realm of things, the Galaxy S7 display most likely measuring 5.2-inches. The smaller model will most likely keep the QuadHD resolution we’ve seen on the Galaxy S6, due to the fact that it would be more cost-effective and much more useful and power-saving than a 4K display of that size.
Apple is also expected to bump up resolution on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, although fans of the company seem to be quite content with Retina resolution and I agree. Rather than putting a QuadHD or 4K panel on such a small device, the investment could be directed towards battery technology research and implementation, an area that is in desperate need of some innovation. Ppi pixel density is something our eyes can rarely observe and it has been noticed by scientists as well as by users that they can’t really tell the difference between resolutions if they are above 330 ppi. Naturally, higher resolution panels will look and feel much more premium, but their practical value is close to zero on a smartphone and most tech enthusiasts seem to agree. Unless using these devices for VR and heavy media consumption, there are few advantages of 4K or QuadHD resolution, especially considering their higher cost that adds to the handset price.
When it comes to hardware, both the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 are expected to don the latest on the market. Apple’s iPhone 7 hardware will most likely include a new chipset (that Samsung won’t be making), the Apple A10. The Galaxy S7 hardware, as mentioned above, will be different depending on region. U.S. and European units of the Galaxy S7 will most likely use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 CPU and implement its new Sense ID fingerprint technology, while the Asian models of the handset will sport Samsung’s in-house Exynos 8890 mobile processor. Quick Charge 3.0 and wireless charging are a given on the new handset, and we expect an even faster storage standard to be implement in the Galaxy S7. The Apple iPhone 7 might also finally adopt fast charging and wireless charging, although there’s no evidence nor recent patents that point towards this being true, unfortunately. Wireless charging and faster charging are things iPhone users have been asking for for the better part of this past year, and Apple might be better off implementing these instead of focusing on the nothing but gimmicky feature to slim down the phone to being practically invisible from the side.
Storage and memory-wise, we don’t expect the Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 7 to innovate too much. Samsung already implemented a faster storage standard memory in the Galaxy S6 and we expect the same to be present in the Galaxy S7. When it comes to storage variants, the company will most likely launch at least two models, one with 64 GB on-board storage and another with 128 GB. Since we’re mostly moving to the cloud when it comes to storing our stuff, I find it unlikely for larger storage variations to make an appearance at the dedicated Galaxy S7 launch event at CES 2016. Apple might do it, though, just so it can stand out from the crowd. That will no doubt once again raise the iPhone 7 price, a trend that has become evident with Apple over the past few releases. Samsung has also done the same, so we don’t expect the Galaxy S7 price to be anywhere near “affordable”. If we’re to speculate, the iPhone 7 price will most likely start at $650 for the base model and go up to as much as $1200 for the iPhone 7 Plus maxed out configuration. We expect the same to happen with the Galaxy S7 price, so I’m not even considering buying them. However, those who find use and pleasure in them will most likely find the price fitting.
When it comes to software, there’s little to speculate. The Galaxy S7 will be running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with TouchWiz on board and the iPhone 7 will be running the new iOS 10. Although there have been rumors about the Galaxy S7 being launched in a variant running Samsung’s own mobile operating system, Tizen, it’s unlikely for the company to take that risk – no Gapps and no Google ecosystem. Tizen has been improving and it’s getting better and better, and while Samsung did say that we should expect a high-profile smartphone to be launched with Tizen on board, that might not be the case for the Galaxy S7 – at least not the U.S. and European versions. For all we know, regional Galaxy S7 units could be launched with the OS on board, since many in emerging countries using lower-end handsets running Tizen seem to be praise the software. Nonetheless, we don’t expect Samsung to move away from Android anytime soon.
Samsung has had great success with its sensor tech, creating some of the best smartphone cameras on the market with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5. The Galaxy S7 camera is not really talked about right now, but sources familiar with the matter tell us to expect innovation and even a dual-camera setup for the purpose of filming 360 videos and such. With a larger sensor measuring around 21 MP, optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, the Galaxy S7 rear camera is most likely going to be the best on the smartphone market. Up front, we expect the Galaxy S7 to not only sport a wide-angle 8 MP camera or an even larger one, but we expect the company to add a small flash to it for selfie-takers’ convenience. Good lighting for selfies is important, you know.
The iPhone 7 camera is also supposed to innovate, rumors claiming that Apple will be implementing a technology similar to HTC’s Ultrapixel model, endowing the iPhone 7 with two different sensor on the rear with which users can adjust depth of field and do it even after post-processing. Apparently, we’re most likely going to see a 16 MP iSight camera on the rear, with optical image stabilization on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Up front, the FaceTime camera is expected to be bumped up to 8 MP and there are rumors about Apple going down the front-facing flash road as well. We’ll have to wait to hear more about this, since information is scarce in the field.
Apple has been improving battery life for their smartphones and the iPhone 7 battery life is expected to be a huge improvement over the iPhone 6S battery life. Although the slim smartphone and big battery contradict themselves, that’s what we’re hearing from our sources and those are the rumors most prevalent in the online community. With a new battery tech in tow, Apple might just increase the average iPhone 7 battery life to about 2 or even 3 days, with regular usage patterns. That’s not very innovative, but it is progress and we would definitely appreciate the move. The Galaxy S7 battery life is also expected to be stellar, seeing as Samsung has also made significant improvements in their tech. The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note 5 are two of the most long-lasting handsets when it comes to battery life, and we expect the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Plus to be no different. What would you choose between a slim construction and a long-lasting battery? A slim construction would be possible with compromise for the iPhone 7, but if the battery is the compromise, the company should at least offer power saving tools, fast charging and wireless charging. It’s 2016 for goodness sake! Apple is the most popular tech company in the world, yet they are still behind with their technology.
We’re curious to see the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but we have a feeling that Samsung might be aiming for the throne and getting pretty close to it, if Apple doesn’t make some improvements to catch up with the vast competition they have to face. Hopefully, both these flagships will offer premium experiences that are worth the high prices they will be going for, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the new launches would end up being less tan what we’re expecting right now. Only time will tell. In the meantime, which 2016 flagship are you most excited about?