The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 goes on sale today. It is the new king of the hill. But in a few weeks, the Next Big Thing will likely be dwarfed by the Next Next Big Thing.
The rumors say that the alleged iPhone X Plus will have a 6.5-inch display that's even bigger than the Note 9. It will also likely have one of the fastest processors and GPU in the mobile world, if not the fastest.
The same rumors claim that it will have Apple Pencil support, effectively turning it into a head-to-head contender for the glass-and-aluminum phablet throne. So will potential Note buyers hold their horses until the middle of September announcement? And, if the rumors are confirmed, will they jump ship if the rumors are confirmed?
Apple seems confident that they may do so. According to the company's Q3 2018 earnings report, iPhone revenue is up 20 percent year over year at a time when Samsung's S9 sales are slower than expected.
An August PC Magazine survey of 2,500 U.S. consumers supports this trend, but only in part. The poll data seems to indicate that there is a slightly higher stream of users going from Android to iOS. Of the 29 percent who switched smartphone operating systems, 18 percent went from Android to iOS. 11 percent went in the other direction.
According to the poll, the biggest factor for Android switchers was a “better user experience” in iOS with 47 percent followed by 25 percent citing “better features” like camera performance or overall hardware design as the reason for jumping ship. 30 percent of Apple switchers alleged better experience on Android, with a close 29 percent citing better price. So the key here will be the user experience and the better features in the new Apple phablet.
Avi Greengart, Consumer Devices Research Director at Global Data, believes that, while Apple events always generate enormous hype, Samsung will likely survive the wave.
“Based on Apple’s sales and industry influence, the hype [about new iPhone products] is often justified,” Greengart told Tom’s Guide via email. “However, this is hardly the first year that Apple has launched phones in the fall after Samsung introduced a Note, and yet Samsung survived.”
Greengart believes that the “Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 has long been its most differentiated smartphone due to the size and S Pen, and if Apple launches a supersized iPhone with Pencil support, there would inevitably be some defectors.”
He believes, however, that the bulk of iPhone X Plus sales “will come from iOS users upgrading--and from Android users in general.” But he admits that any prediction at this point will be hard to make “without seeing how Pencil support is implemented into mobile use cases--assuming that this particular rumor pans out at all.”
Stephen Baker, vice president and technology industry advisor at market research company NPD Group, told us over email that “unless the iPhone is announced with a pen, the launch will have a negligible impact to the sales volumes of the Note 9 regardless of their screen size.”
Baker believes that “there is much less consumer comparison across brands and OS than industry people think in general and even less between such a specialized and premium product as the Note 9.”
For the first time, if the rumors are confirmed, there will be a worthy contender to the phablet throne, and that’s going to be very hard to ignore for potential Galaxy Note 9 users.