Apple Inc. (AAPL), Samsung Fight Heats Up

technology-etfZacks: The smartphone market got a lot more competitive for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as rival Samsung unveiled its latest smartphone Galaxy S4.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a bigger screen than iPhone (5-inch display versus 4-inch display) and with a screen resolution of 441 pixels/inch, Galaxy S4 scores over iPhone 5’s 326 pixels/inch.

The Galaxy S4 is 69mm wide, 7.9mm thick and weighs 130 grams and has a plastic body. However, iPhone is lighter with 112 grams and is smaller and slimmer (58.6 mm width and 7.6 thick) and comes with anodized aluminum covering. The Galaxy S4 runs on Google’s (GOOG) latest Andriod 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

Now coming to the processor part, the Galaxy S4 has two versions with 1.6GHz Exynos octa core and Qualcomm quad core 1.9GHz, which are supposed to be faster than Apple’s A6 Duo core 1.3GHz available in iPhone 5. Moreover, the latest version of the Galaxy series features 2GB RAM for better processing speed compared to iPhone’s 1GB RAM.

The camera, both front and back-end camera, of the Galaxy S4 has been enhanced. The smartphone has a software-based camera feature, which facilitates the working of both cameras at the same time. Moreover, the phone records audio clips with still photos. All this is done by a 13 megapixel (“MP”) back-end camera and 2 MP front end camera. Apple’s iPhone 5 has 8 MP back-end and 1.2 MP front-end camera.

The battery capacity of the Galaxy S4 (2600 mAh) appears to be higher that iPhone 5 (1400 mAh). However, there was no confirmation from Samsung that it would lead to longer battery life. The higher resolution, bigger screen size and other features could be a factor for the higher-capacity battery.

The basic storage capabilities and wireless connectively options are similar to iPhone 5. Both are available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models and both support 4G LTE and HSPA+. But it is noteworthy that the Galaxy S4 has an expandable memory of up to 64GB through a microSD card.

Comparatively, it seems that the Galaxy S4 has scored over Apple’s iPhone 5 in most smartphone features and we believe that the pricing would also be made competitive. Moreover, the Galaxy S4 looks more promising than the recently released high-end smartphones from Nokia’s (NOK) Lumia 920, Sony’s Xperia Z and Research In Motion’s (BBRY) BlackBerry Z10.

In 2012, Samsung emerged as the leader in the smartphone market with 30.3% market share compared to Apple’s 19.1%. It is noteworthy that Samsung’s market share had risen 129.1% from the comparable previous year in contrast to a 46.9% increase in Apple’s market share during the same period of time.

We believe that significant share gains by Apple will prove to be difficult given the stiff competition from Samsung in terms of both the level of innovation and pricing of products. We also believe that Apple’s ability to innovate and grow in developing nations, where the market is more cost-sensitive, will determine the company’s fortunes in the future.

Currently, Apple has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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Related ETF: Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEARCA:XLK)

Top 10 Holdings (63.11% of Total Assets)
Company Symbol % Assets
Apple Inc. AAPL 14.31
International Business Machines IBM 7.35
Google Inc. GOOG 7.35
Microsoft Corporation MSFT 7.26
AT&T Inc. T 7.03
Verizon Communications Inc. Com VZ 4.60
Oracle Corporation ORCL 4.46
QUALCOMM Incorporated QCOM 3.88
Cisco Systems, Inc. CSCO 3.82
Intel Corporation INTC 3.05

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