Apple iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3: Clash Of The Smartphone Titans In The Offing

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By Kukil Bora | March 30, 2012 12:02 AM EST

Two upcoming smartphones that have created enormous buzz in the tech world are Apple's next generation iPhone, presumably called the iPhone 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S3. Given that both devices are expected to be highly feature-rich, they are rightly considered the their manufacturers' best weapons in the so-called smartphone battlefield.

Currently, the two rivals Apple and Samsung are in the fight for the top spot in the smartphone industry with iPhone 4S and Galaxy S2 being most in demand in markets across the world. Fans of both devices are definitely keeping a close watch on the improvements in both phones, while manufacturers too are striving to bring phenomenal new features in their upcoming handsets to keep the interest of consumers high.

With rumors about the upcoming flagship smartphones of both Apple and Samsung spreading like wildfire, it would be interesting to see how the two super phones stack up against each other. Here's a comparison between Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3, based on the highly anticipated features of both devices.

The Form Factor and Display

According to some earlier reports, the iPhone 5 was likely to adopt a teardrop design. But recent reports suggest that the new iPhone is expected to be symmetrical in shape, with an aluminum rear panel reinforced by glossy plastic or rubberized bezel. On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy S3 has been speculated to be thinner than Galaxy S2. Given that Galaxy S2 is just 8.5 mm thick, Galaxy S3 will definitely have the wow factor if it does turn out to be thinner than its predecessor.

Considering that the new iPad has Retina Display with a groundbreaking 2048 x 1536 resolution, the next iPhone is also expected to feature something higher in terms of its display. While some recent reports suggest that the phone will sport a gigantic 4.6-inch screen, new reports surfaced last week saying that Apple had planned to stick to the current 3.5-inch screen size. Some other sources also said that the device will sport Quantum Dot LED curved glass edge-to-edge display with 1280 x 720 resolutions (367ppi). There are reports that suggest that the new iPhone will have an edge-to-edge display, making the smartphone even more appealing for Apple fans.

In case of the Galaxy S3, the smartphone is expected to feature a 4.8 inch, full HD 1080P resolution display with 16:9 aspect ratio. Many reports even said that Samsung might launch the device as its first phone with a 3D screen.

Processor Improvement and OS Enhancement

Many manufacturers have reportedly started working with NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad core CPU-powered gadgets. With the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, Asus has already materialized what it claims to be the world's first device with a quad core processor.

Similarly, Samsung is also highly rumored to improve its processor in the Galaxy S3 in a big way. The rumors so far have suggested that a quad-core, Exynos 4212/ Exyos 5250, 2 GHz/ 1.8 GHz processor with 2GB RAM would power the Galaxy S3. The phone is also expected to get major speed boosts on graphics and incorporate some battery-friendly power-saving features with its latest device.

A recent Korea Times report cited an anonymous Samsung executive who said that in order to lower dependence on US chipmaker Qualcomm, the company will use its single-chip solutions for its next smartphone, Galaxy S3. "The Exynos chip is currently built using a 45-nanometer process but the new Exynos chip will be made with 32-nanometer technology, giving better performance quality without using as much power," the report said.

According to earlier reports, Samsung was mulling over using Qualcomm's MSM8960, a system-on-chip that combines LTE and application processor into one, instead of Samsung's hardware, or some blending of Samsung-Qualcomm parts.

When it comes to Apple iPhone 5, the phone is predicted to slot in a faster 1.2-to-1.5 GHz quad-core A6 chip with probably 1GB or more of RAM.

Apple released iOS 5.1, an incremental update to iOS 5 on March 7. According to it, the current iPhone 4S and the new iPad will run the latest iOS update. Since every new Apple device comes with an upgraded version of the company's mobile operating system, speculations are rife that an update to iOS 6.0 is possible by the time of the iPhone 5 release later this year.

Samsung's device, on the other hand, is likely to be available in the market with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google's latest mobile operating system. Rumors also said that Galaxy S3's TouchWiz would be an upgraded one and would include Samsung hubs for music, reading, games and apps.

Camera and Memory

Apple's next-generation iPhone is highly rumored to feature a much-improved camera compared to the one present in the iPhone 4S. Some speak about an 8 megapixel or even 10 megapixel camera and the possibility of taking pictures in the panorama mode. Rumors also suggest that the iPhone 5 will have a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting.

Rumors about the camera feature in Samsung Galaxy S3 have gone too far, saying that it may feature a 12 megapixel 4000x3000 pixels camera along with features like autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection and image stabilization features. The phone is also expected to sport a 2 megapixel secondary camera.

With 2GB RAM, the next Samsung smartphone is likely to have internal storage options of 16/32GB. The device is also expected to support microSD card up to 64GB. On the other hand, the iPhone 5 is rumored to have 16/32/64 GB with external microSD card support.

4G LTE and NFC

Last week, a report in DigiTimes cited unnamed sources within the Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer, who claimed that the next generation iPhone will "very likely" contain an embedded 4G LTE radio. Given that the new iPad came with 4G LTE support, the probability of LTE technology being incorporated in Apple's next iPhone cannot be ignored right away. Similarly, Samsung Galaxy S3 is also expected to incorporate LTE support.

Many reports said that the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology would be featured in the upcoming Apple phone. According to Insane Planet, the NFC technology on the iPhone 5 "is becoming a huge possibility." The report cited a Patently Apple post regarding an Apple patent application about "iWallet" and NFC, and said that Apple had "granted a patent for iWallet to payments via NFC and diagrams passed from Apple to the Patent & Trademark Office in the US shows an iPhone which may possibly be the iPhone 5."

"The idea of the iWallet is to let individuals buy things by merely using their iPhone 5 or any other device of Apple. This means that the user does not need to bring a credit card to a store with NFC support," the report added.

The Galaxy S3 is also rumored to come with NFC technology. Some reports tend to be more specific by saying that the smartphone will feature Bluetooth version 4.0, assisted GPS with GLONASS, Wi-Fi with DLNA and hotspot functionality are also on the cards.

Battery Life

If rumors are to be believed, the iPhone 5 will have a better battery life than the Li-Po 1420 mAh battery in the iPhone 4S that gives up to 8 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 14 hours on 2G (GSM). On the other hand, the Galaxy S3 is expected to feature a 2250mAh battery.

According to some earlier reports, Apple was expected to launch the iPhone 5 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June this year. The reports suggested that the June launch of the next iPhone would bring an end to an eight-month-long life span of the current iPhone 4S.

There are other reports suggesting that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 in the second half of 2012. It might abandon mid-year launches and consider a 12-month iPhone upgrade cycle starting in the fall. "According to Asian reliable source, next iPhone will be released in September or October, and this cycle seems to be kept for years," a recent report in Japanese blog Macotakara said.

In case of the Galaxy S3, it was expected to launch at this year's Mobile World Congress that took place in February. But the handset remained a no show.

A recent report by ZDNet Korea said that the device would be released in April and it would hit stores in July, in a bid to coincide with Samsung's sponsorship of the London Olympic Games.

However, a latest report by Android Spin has pushed the release date from April to June. This was the same site that reported on March 13 that Galaxy S3 was in production and would be released next month or, at the latest, in May. So it's better to take it with a pinch of salt.

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