Will The iPhone 5S Refresh Apple’s Bite?

As rival Samsung leaps to the fore, will Apple manage to regain its top spot, asks Aarti Nagraj.

A recent report confirming that Samsung has beaten Apple to become the world’s most profitable phonemaker did not come as a surprise. The South Korean phone manufacturer overtook the US tech giant last year to become the biggest smartphone maker in the world and now boasts 30 per cent of the global marketshare compared to Apple’s 13 per cent.

Samsung’s growing popularity is everywhere to see. A case in point is our current Gulf Business website poll, which asks readers which smartphone they own: the Korean brand is clearly hailed as the winner (with over 50 per cent of the votes).

While Apple still has its loyal fans, how has Samsung managed to eat into its rival’s prominence?

Some of the reasons are obvious. Its Android operating system has done exceedingly well thanks to its numerous apps, and Samsung’s wide price range has ensured that it caters to every consumer. Its flagship Galaxy range – comprising the S2, S3 and S4 – combines great design with novel features.

This week, Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Group, raised another relevant point to me.

He said that Samsung’s move to create an entire eco-system of phones around the Galaxy S4 – the S4 Mini, S4 Google Edition, S4 Zoom and the waterproof S4 Active – with all the models released in quick succession, has really helped the phonemaker to create a niche for itself in the market.

Meanwhile, over 10 months since the launch of the iPhone 5, the wait is still on for Apple’s souped-up iPhone 5S. The new model is only expected to be released in September this year.

Rumours of the iPhone 5S and its possible innovative features have been doing the rounds for a while now, but with Apple’s famous shrouded secrecy, nothing is certain until the California-based firm chooses to unveil the next generation of its flagship phone.

Reports also suggest that Apple will be launching a new cheaper iPhone, possibly with plastic casing, to reach out to a wider base of consumers.

A quick straw poll of my iPhone-owning friends shows they all still swear by Apple and vouch for its market-leading touches. But with the official numbers dwindling, will the iPhone 5S manage to re-establish the Steve Jobs-founded firm as the favourite?

Full figures for the year – and the hotly anticipated iPhone 5S – remain to be seen.