samsung Galaxy Note 8 with book

Several reports have come out in the last few days claiming that the highly anticipated Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 8 will be launched on 12 September. As many of you might know now that 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone, the market has been buzzing about the landmark anniversary edition iPhone expected this year. The rumour mills have been churning out leaks, renders and estimates since the start of this year, but we now finally have a concrete date. Of course, a lot has changed since January, and the iPhone 8 has a lot of competition to contend with now. The most obvious candidate here is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which was recently unveiled as well.

The competition in the market is reaching a boiling point now. Let us have a look at Apple’s chances at beating Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KRX:005930), and what is needed to make the iPhone 8 a resounding success.

Samsung And The Note 8 Out To Spoil Apple’s Party

At the start of 2017, things were looking very good indeed for Apple. The iPhone 8 was expected to be a thumping success already. There was tremendous hype couple with nostalgia surrounding the anniversary version of the iconic smartphone. This was a potent combination, leading many analysts to predict a sales “super-cycle” leading to record breaking sales. To top it all off, Apple primary rival Samsung was struggling. They were still reeling from the Note 7 disaster and had lost their top spot to Apple.

Things have changed a lot since then. Samsung has managed to stage an extraordinary comeback. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ were both hailed as revolutionary devices, with their bezel-less curved AMOLED displays catching everybody’s eyes. The consumer and critical response to these phones was immediate and positive. Now, the success of the S8 and S8+ has been vindicated by sales numbers as well. Samsung’s mobile chief DJ Koh revealed that Galaxy S8/S8+ sales were 15% higher than S7 sales last year. One report claimed that sales had crossed the 20 million mark sometime in July, with Samsung shipping nearly 278,800 units per day!

Now, the launch of the Galaxy Note 8 is likely to bring even more troubles for Apple. The Note 8 refines the few shortcomings the Galaxy S8 had and looks to be Samsung’s best phone ever. There is also a lot of pent-up demand among users for the Note 8 after the Note 7 was discontinued. As a result, Samsung expects it to be the most successful Note device ever. Reports suggest that Samsung now hope to sell over 11 million units of the Note 8.

Is iPhone 8 The Note Killer?

The success of the Galaxy S8, and now the launch of the Note 8 presents a huge problem for Apple. Apple’s expectation for success this year is predicated on legions of iPhone users upgrading from older models. Therefore, Apple must prevent them from being lured by the competition. In order to this, Apple needs to have an ace up their sleeve; a killer feature or design that can take on Samsung’s offering. The issue here is that the leaks so far do not look promising. The iPhone 8 is expected to have brand new features like an OLED edge-to-edge infinity display. This is something the Note 8 already offers, with a curved edge design to boot. The iPhone 8 will also have wireless charging, dual cameras and possibly a glass body, all of which the Note 8 already offers. On top of that, the Note offers additional features like the S Pen which the iPhone does not.

So what can Apple do to distinguish itself from the Note 8? Some reports hinted towards a screen embedded Touch ID sensor. However, that is looking unlikely due to technological, as well as supply chain issues. Another highly touted feature was Apple’s own brand of wireless charging, one that would allow charging at a distance. Unfortunately, the technology for that is not quite there yet, and we may not see it in the iPhone 8.

It is looking more and more like Apple may not have a killer hardware feature on the iPhone 8 to beat the Note 8. This means that they would have to rely on software, which is still a big draw for many iPhone users. The new iOS 11 is expected to bring plenty of new features and improvements. This includes the highly anticipated Apple Augmented Reality platform. However, the question remains – will that be enough?

With the launch date set for 12 September, there isn’t much time for Apple to make any big changes. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will start shipping on 15 September. Of course, Apple will also have to contend with the Google Pixel 2 as well when it launches later this year. Looking at things as they are, there’s a very real chance that the 10th anniversary iPhone might not be the overwhelming success many have expected it to be.