Due to a lack of compelling new features, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 won’t be as popular as the company’s 2016 Galaxy S7 lineup. What’s more, Kuo believes that Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8 will achieve far more momentum in the marketplace once released later this year. Now this isn’t to say that the S8 will be a boring release, but rather that the leap from the S7 to the S8 will pale in comparison to the leap we’ll see from Apple’s iPhone this year.
Kuo writes that Galaxy S8 shipments for the year will likely fall in the 40-45 million unit range, decidedly lower than the 52 million Galaxy S7 units that shipped last year. Of course, there are some qualifications to keep in mind, namely that the S7 launched 6 weeks earlier than the rumored April 21 launch date of the S8. Additionally, Samsung’s Note 7 disaster likely steered many consumers towards the S7, a benefit that the S8 hopefully won’t enjoy this year.
Nonetheless, it’s hard to disagree with Kuo’s assessment of the 2017 smartphone landscape. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will undoubtedly sport some nice new features, but it’s not as if it will represent an unprecedented step up in quality and performance. Apple’s rumored iPhone 8, in stark contrast, will arguably represent the biggest leap forward in iPhone technology we’ve seen in years, if not ever. Even though many of the features Apple will introduce on the iPhone 8 won’t be new to the smartphone marketplace, they’ll be new to existing iPhone users which is all that really matters.
Said to feature an advanced and edgeless OLED display, Apple’s iPhone 8 will finally usher in a brand new design to a form factor that has more or less remained stagnant since 2014. Further, it’s widely believed that the iPhone 8 will deliver improvements in battery life, system performance, Siri functionality and even a brand new wireless charging capability. Again, none of the above features embody new or groundbreaking advances in smartphone design, but the step up from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 8 — which may very well be called the iPhone Edition — will be as stark a break from the past as we’ve seen Apple make yet.
So while Android proponents might rightfully point out that features like an edgeless display, wireless charging and stellar battery life are already familiar to Android users, that will do nothing to stifle what will likely be the largest iPhone refresh cycle we’ve ever seen. Additionally, it’s worth highlighting that the Galaxy S8 may not even reach feature parity with last year’s iPhone insofar as the S8 will not feature the dual camera scheme that enables the iPhone 7 Plus’ popular Portrait Mode.
Taken all together, Kuo opines: that “we are conservative on demand for Galaxy S8, and believe its contribution to the supply chain will be limited. Instead we recommend focusing on the sales outlook and supply chain momentum of Apple’s (US) OLED iPhone model.”