I’ve been loyal to the iPhone ever since it was introduced in 2007. But each Android phone that has come out in the last year has caused me to sway more and more away from Apple’s trusty device.
If you want to get a new smartphone but have been teetering between the Android and the iPhone, the decision is going to be much tougher this year.
Even though myriad manufacturers put out Android phones, including Sony, HTC, Motorola and LG, there’s really only one model that most fans are looking forward to this year — the new Samsung Galaxy S IV.
Its earlier version, the Galaxy S III, so far is the biggest-selling Android phone on the market and definitely the most loved, for its sleek styling and large screen.
The Galaxy S IV’s features, specifications and release date still have not been announced, but the rumor mill has been grinding furiously the last month with information about the new model. speculation also is rampant about the next model of the iPhone, which probably isn’t going to be released until at least the summer.
Here’s a breakdown of what I know about each phone in hopes it will help potential buyers better gauge which one might be best for them:
Samsung Galaxy S IV
There’s a reason the earlier model of this popular Android phone was embraced by Android lovers everywhere. It’s sleek, fast and smooth, and the screen is big, bright and colorful. It’s also incredibly thin for a smartphone and fits well in the pocket. The only downside I experienced was horrendous battery life, largely because it was so thin it couldn’t house a bigger battery.
The latest speculation says the next iteration is coming out as early as April, but probably in foreign countries first and not in the U.S. until May or June. And if you thought the S III’s gorgeous 4.8-inch screen was easy on the eyes, the new phone’s screen will be even bigger — up to 5 inches. That’s 25 percent bigger than the iPhone 5’s screen.
It also might have a higher resolution than before, meaning the pixel density will be improved, resulting in crisper, more detailed images on the screen.
Also expect the phone to be faster. It might be able to support an eight-core CPU over the S III’s four-core processor. So, not only will the apps run faster but users should be able to multitask more with little to no slowdown.
The rear camera could go up to 13 megapixels, which would result in higher-resolution pictures. But this is where Android phones have lagged behind the iPhone. Apple’s smartphone has always sported a better camera that takes clearer pictures.
Finally, the S IV probably will run on the current version of the Android operating system called “Jelly Bean.” So don’t expect new software features on the S IV when it first comes out.
Apple has been operating on a well-known schedule with the release of its phone: Every other year, there is a major upgrade — the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5. The intervening year generally brings a minor upgrade with only slight improvements — the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S and, now, the iPhone 5S.
Speculation is scant at this point because the next version’s release isn’t expected until June or July and possibly as late as September (the iPhone 5 was released last September).
Don’t expect a lot of upgrades with the 5S if Apple’s release history remains consistent. There will be a speed increase in the processor and maybe some unknown upgrade to Siri, the phone’s voice-activated assistant. It might get a 13-megapixel camera system (versus 8 megapixels). But the phone’s form factor, size and screen size probably will be the same, much to the chagrin of those waiting for Apple to make a phone with a bigger screen.
The biggest question regarding Apple’s new phone is in the software. The company has been criticized for the minimal upgrades in the iOS software that runs the phone. The current version is iOS 6.1, but iOS 7 could be introduced this summer at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and come installed on the iPhone 5S.
This is a crucial year for Apple. The company of late, particularly since the death of iconic CEO Steve Jobs in 2011, has been criticized for its lack of innovation in the iPhone. But in the last year, major changes have been made. The former head of the iOS division, Scott Forstall, was let go, and software design has since been taken over by Apple golden boy Jonathan Ive, the same man who has been praised for the phone’s hardware design.
The new operating system has got to include some amazing features if Apple is to stay ahead of the pack. No one is willing to speculate yet what those features will be, but they better be good. Otherwise, the Samsung Galaxy S IV might be the next phone many iPhone devotees, including me, will buy this year.
If you have a tech question for Vince, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll try to answer it for his column in The Salt Lake Tribune or on its website. For an archive of past columns, go to www.sltrib.com/topics/ohmytech.