Apple has good reason to get defensive about its iPhone just before Samsung's release of the Galaxy S IV tonight: It's very likely the S IV will steal away some of its most profitable fan-people and this time, for good. With its Galaxy S phones, Samsung wants to thieve away Apple's marketshare: Rich people. The S III succeeded at doing that for about three months, until the iPhone 5's holiday sales lifted Apple back to the top. The Galaxy S IV will likely spur another surge from the Samsung fanboys who have held off on upgrades until tonight's announcement. The latest leaks (pictured above), real or not, with their "Floating Touch" and "Smart Pause" make this gadget look pretty cool. Cool enough to lure a different set of people: Former and future iPhone owners. Because this time, the iPhone doesn't have the prospect of a brand new 5 to bail it out.
Per rumors, all Apple fans have to look forward to in the coming months is a budget iPhone meant for a different type of a consumer and maybe an incrementally better iPhone 5S. Of course, rumors are never ever to be believed as fact. But, in this instance perception matters more, as iMore's Rene Ritchie explained the other week. "When the impression is that Apple will 'only' release an S-class phone in any given year, consumers might be more interested in seeing what else is out there. They might be interested in seeing something different," he writes. Samsung knows that it has this opportunity, which explains that massive increase in U.S. mobile phone advertising spending. Every chance it gets, it reminds current and potential iPhone owners that Samsung has something similar and just as good as the Apple product.
The cheap iPhone rumor suggests that Apple is preparing for war. The cheap iPhone is Apple's Samsung Galaxy S IV, except it's a much harder battle to win. While Samsung has had this Galaxy S series on the market since 2010, Apple hasn't made much headway in China, for example. Samsung totally dominates the market, with 17.7 percent of the market to Apple's 11 percent. It has an even tinier slice in India, where Samsung has nearly 40 percent. Overcoming that will take more than releasing a more affordable phone. Though, that is part of the problem. As the Wall Street Journal explained, certain regulations and fees have stopped Apple from pushing too hard on the market.
Not to mention what the cheap iPhone will possibly do to Apple's U.S. customer base. Why pay $600 for an iPhone 5S when you can get the iPhone Cheapo for less?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.