If you’re the betting type, you might want to put some money on the next iPhone beating up on Samsung in the latest battle in the war for smartphone supremacy.
We still haven’t (officially) seen the Galaxy S8 or the yet-to-be-christened iPhone 8, but one of the most trusted leakers in the rumor mill is already confident enough to name Apple the favorite.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s latest investor note, spotted by 9to5Mac, is bullish on the sales prospects of the next iPhone compared to the Galaxy S8, calling the predicted OLED iPhone a “bigger draw for consumers” than last year’s iPhone 7. But he doesn’t just think Apple will fare better than Samsung one-on-one — he also predicts consumers won’t be as excited about the S8 on the whole because it’s missing “sufficiently attractive selling points” to make it worth their while.
Kuo’s note mostly focuses on what should be coming with the Galaxy S8. His projections run in line with just about everything we’ve heard about the flagship device: he writes there will be two sizes of the device, which will have rounded edge-to-edge buttonless displays, iris scanners and a range bright new color options.
But Kuo doesn’t believe those features will be flashy enough to tempt customers looking for the top phone in the market, so he thinks Apple will ultimately steal the spotlight. He predicts Samsung will actually ship fewer S8 units than it did for the S7 — which was boosted by its position as the only premium offering in the Samsung line after the fiery demise of the Galaxy Note7 — as a result of the decreased demand.
Notably, Kuo made a similar prediction last year about the prospects of the iPhone 7. He said then he didn’t see “many attractive selling points for the iPhone 7,” and predicted Apple would be the only top-five smartphone brand to experience a decline in shipments year-over-year from 2015 to 2016. After Note7 phones started catching fire around the world, he changed his tune a bit, but he still expected lower sales than the iPhone 6S the year before.
In one respect, he wasn’t wrong. While the iPhone 7 was received with largely positive reviews, it was widely acknowledged to be a boring update in the iPhone line. But that boring phone wound up driving Apple’s record-breaking end of 2016, selling the most units in any fiscal quarter of the iPhone’s history.
The Note7 might have affected the market in favor of the iPhone 7 more than we know. But just because Kuo was wrong last year doesn’t mean he’ll misfire again. His predictions about the S8 are backed up by the intense focus on the next iPhone, with its projected addition of an OLED display and a host of innovative new features. Speculation has led to a surge in Apple stock prices months before the device will even be announced.
We do know the S8 will have at least one edge over the iPhone: It will have a headphone jack, contrary to early rumors. If a 3.5 mm connection is all you dream of in your phone, the Galaxy S8 is the obvious choice.