Samsung and Apple have long been fighting for supremacy in the smartphone and tablet markets. The advent of the former's Galaxy S2 smartphone gave the Cupertino-based Apple Inc. the stiffest competition its products have faced in a long time. Nevertheless, the iPhone 4S stood the clear winner, breaking a few smartphone sales records along the way.
The rivals' flagship smartphones have each ushered in new eras of mobile technology and each, in its own way, has set industry benchmarks. The endless battle over patents notwithstanding, the stage seems set for a grand showdown - Apple's iPhone 5 (provisionally titled) and the Samsung Galaxy S3 - both expected to release in the fall of this year.
Moving on from smartphones, the South Korean giant could also use the allure of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) to launch the Galaxy S3. Apple, meanwhile, could opt to introduce its next major software upgrade - iOS 6 - along with the release of their next-generation tablet (rumoured to be on 7 March) - iPad 3.
In other words, Apple could look to the release of the iOS 6, if it happens now, as a test-run for the software, to iron out glitches and bugs, before unleashing the full programme with the iPhone 5; incidentally, the new expected release date for their smartphone has been pushed to September-October.
In an earlier IBTimes UK report, we speculated the iPhone could debut at Apple's World Wide Developers' Conference (WWDC), to be held in June. However, a second IBTimes UK report looked to have evidence to the contrary... which suggested Apple could opt out of the annual upgrade cycle by releasing their new smartphone this fall. A report from Japanese blog Macotakara seems to support the idea of a fall 2012 release.
Meanwhile, there are also tons of rumours about the Samsung Galaxy S2's successor, reported to be ready for unveiling in April, according to reports from ZDNet Korea on Friday. The Koreans are expected to launch the device during the 2012 Olympics in London.
The phone was expected to be seen during the recently concluded Mobile World Congress... an eventuality that failed to materialise.
Until we have further concrete news about either smartphone, check out these round-up of rumours for the Apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3...
Design and Display
Contrary to earlier reports that the iPhone 5 would adopt a teardrop design, the next-gen smartphone is expected to take its usual symmetrical shape, with an aluminum rear panel reinforced by glossy plastic or rubberized bezel. The smartphone is expected to be thinner, longer and wider than its predecessor, paving the way for a lager screen.
The Galaxy S3 is also expected to be slimmer than the S2, which measures just 8.5mm in thickness.
In addition, according to the latest rumours, the Galaxy S3 will sport a 4.6-inch HD display with a 1280x720 pixels Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touch-screen at 319ppi pixel density. In comparison, the iPhone 5 is expected to feature a smaller 3.7 to 4-inch Quantum Dot LED curved glass edge-to-edge display. Further rumours also hint at a high resolution (1280x720) HD screen at a pixel density of 367ppi on Apple's next-gen smartphone.
The Galaxy S3 is expected to have a powerful 1.8GHz quad-core Exynos 4212/Exyos 5250 processor with 2GB RAM. In contrast, the next-gen iPhone is likely to port a slower 1.2-to-1.5 GHz quad-core A6 chip, besides adding 1GB or more of RAM to complement its processing capabilities.
The Samsung Galaxy S2's successor should come with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system when it debuts. On the other hand, the iPhone 5 is likely to ship with the upgraded version of Apple's current operating system.
The latest reports suggest the Galaxy S3 will come with two memory capacities - 16GB and 32GB - with microSD expansion support up to 32GB. The iPhone 5 is expected to feature in the above two configurations plus the 64GB model. However, it will not support external microSD expansion slots, which is something of an Apple tradition.
The iPhone 5 is expected to feature a much improved camera, compared to the iPhone 4S; rumours suggest an enhanced 8 megapixel unit. On the other hand, the Galaxy S3 could come with a superior 12 megapixel (4,000x3,000) camera, besides features like autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection and image stabilization features. Both the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 are expected to feature a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chats.
4G LTE and NFC
Both the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 are likely to feature 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) support besides that for Near Field Communications (NFC). Qualcomm is reportedly developing a new thinner LTE chip, based on the fifth-generation Gobi chips, called the Gobi V5.
If there is any truth to these rumours, the iPhone 5 is expected to deliver better battery life than the iPhone 4S' Li-Po 1420 mAh, which provides up to 8 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 14 hours on 2G (GSM). The Galaxy S3, however, is expected to flaunt a powerful 2250mAh battery, which might be the best yet.