Samsung Error Promotes iPhone Instead Of Galaxy On X (2024)

As mistakes go, Samsung's latest was huge, heralding the power of Apple’s iPhone at the expense of its own flagship Galaxy S24 Ultra. So, is this a reason for Galaxy owners to switch...

3/7 update below; article originally published 3/4.

Samsung and Apple are going head-to-head for dominance in the world of premium smartphones. Last week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was dominated by Galaxy AI branding, as Samsung gains ground while Apple lags behind, with its own on-device generative AI not due until the fall.

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But until now, one other feature that has characterized the battle between Samsung and Apple is the relative qualities of their top-end smartphone cameras. As much as anything else, it has been a key advance that users expect when the latest devices are announced each year.

All of which upped the embarrassment for Samsung, when it mistakenly lauded the quality of a viral online video from a Rihanna gig as demonstrating “the power of the Galaxy S24 Ultra,” only to find it was in fact shot on a two-year-old iPhone 13 Pro Max—two generations behind Apple’s latest flagship.

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The video was taken during Rihanna's performance in India, at Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s star-studded pre-wedding gala. A community note quickly followed on X, pointing out that the video was actually recorded on an iPhone—as the person who captured and shared the video had proven, exasperated at the confusion, he publicly shared the metadata to prove he wasn't lying.

This is embarrassing—especially given Samsung’s past sponsorship of Rihanna, but probably not in itself a reason to switch. Even if it suggests Samsung can mistake its own device for a two-year old iPhone, which raises the question as to how much better an iPhone 15 Pro Max would be. But, in reality, the reasons Samsung users might now opt for an iPhone are different.

Whereas cameras were seen as a prime sales message in years gone by, 2024 is set to become the year of AI and only AI. And while that extends to the taking, manipulation and storage of photos, it’s really about generative AI and the ability to port AI chatbots to smartphones.

Samsung’s issue is as much Google as Apple, with the AI clash between Android’s ecosystem and its own playing out. Google is racing ahead with Gemini additions across its services, Samsung is chasing hard with its own Galaxy AI offerings. For users, this risks AI overkill and confusion.

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3/6 update: The iPhone versus Samsung video story has continued to run, with some Samsung proponents refusing to believe that an iPhone could deliver this quality of video, and insisting that the latest Samsung flagship is better than a two-year-old iPhone. That latter point is clearly correct. It’s the fact that a two-year-old iPhone can still surprise that is more notable.

All that said, there are some technical considerations here as well. As pointed out by BGR, the nature of this video clip is “the holy grail of mobile photography. Smartphone vendors have been improving night and low-light photography for years. It’s not just about taking photos at night but also videos, optical zoom, and optical image stabilization.”

And as for those that refuse to believe an iPhone could outdo a Samsung S24, there is something in this being video not a still. “Video has been one of the strengths of the iPhone for years, which top Android vendors have not quite been able to match. Tech has evolved considerably, especially in recent years. This explains why an old iPhone Pro model records such impressive videos and also why Samsung’s marketing team might think the video above was filmed on a Galaxy S24 Ultra.”

As for what happens when the S24 goes head-to-head with Apple’s latest flagship, the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it’s a close call. In Popular Mechanics just published review, the conclusion is that “the Galaxy S24 Ultra has an edge over the iPhone 15 Pro Max in zoom range and camera resolution... However, the iPhone's 12-megapixel camera with a 5x zoom periscope lens takes better photos than Samsung's default ones with the same resolution in low-light scenes.”

And as regards video, “the iPhone 15 Pro Max makes it easy to record stunning 4K video footage at a smooth 60 frames per second. The device's reliable video stabilization will allow even first-time users to record and share content with ease... the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is also a proficient video recording tool that, unlike the iPhone, can capture stunningly sharp 8K clips with four times as many pixels as 4K footage. However, four years after going mainstream on Samsung Galaxy S phones, this resolution is not usable in a practical way.”

The review also lauds Apple’s ProRes HDR, which as “the feature that should make video enthusiasts choose the latest Pro Max iPhone over its Samsung Galaxy rival.”

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3/7 update: This viral story has clearly ignited the Samsung Galaxy versus iPhone camera debate, with the two companies dominating the premium handset market. But while that choice gets lost in a wider iOS versus Android decision, a new review suggests Samsung now has some competition closer to home when it comes to flagship camera features and functionality.

Yes, Samsung beats Google Pixel when it comes to cameras, but a new Android Central review suggests that “Samsung may be the king of Ultra phones in the west, but the company has the likes of Xiaomi to contend with in China and other parts of the world. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra was launched globally in February 2024, just a month after Samsung's premium flagship, and the phone is giving the Galaxy S24 Ultra some major competition, especially in the camera department.”

US Samsung users won’t be switching to a Chinese device anytime soon—if ever, but China’s OEMs are on a roll, having just displaced Apple to lead the Chinese domestic market and—bar Apple—bossing the rest of the top-10. Not only that, but Huawei in particular is back, after the huge hit it took from US sanctions under Trump’s White House. China has specialized in more device for less money, and given the price of Samsung’s S24 flagship, this is prime territory for an assault.

Android Central concludes that while “both the Xiaomi 14 Ultra and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra are two of the best Android phones you can buy in 2024,” and that “both are very camera-focused phones,” they have their material differences. “Samsung puts all its eggs in the 200MP basket, while Xiaomi spreads the love across all of its cameras.”

Interestingly, while China’s OEM’s generally specialize in more for less, the Xiaomi flagship is the actually more expensive choice here. Just. “Overall, the 14 Ultra offers better specs, from higher max RAM to faster charging... [but] you'll pay much more for it, even at its lowest spec... You honestly cant go wrong with either phone, but if you can spend the extra money and live in a place where it's being sold, you might wanna grab the Xiaomi 14 Ultra.”

This isn’t the only area where China is seeking to out-spec its competition. Xiaomi—which inherited Huawei’s mantle for global expansion on the back of that more for less focus, is also touting a much more fully featured satellite communications option for its new flagship, outdoing both Apple and the new Google satellite option that has just been revealed through some early screenshots.”

With the latest Xiaomi, Samsung has genuine premium device competition within Android, and that situation will become more intense as Huawei gets back into its stride—albeit a switch to Huawei means a change in OS, not the case with Xiaomi’s global phones.

Meanwhile, judging by the continued X debate and comments bandying around over this story, the iPhone versus Samsung passion isn’t going to diminish anytime soon. In the world of smartphones, these two brands command more somewhat blind loyalty than any others, with the wall-to-wall ecosystems to match. You’re either iPhone or Samsung—until you switch, of course.

What makes this debate interesting is that it comes just as smartphones enter a new era of AI. I have said before, the key differentiator between Samsung and iPhone will not be the quality of their video zoom functions, nor the megapixel size of their imagery, nor the power of their lowlight shots. It will be the capacity for on-device generative AI, and both companies know this.

At MWC, Samsung pushed Galaxy AI with the message that is has been designed with privacy in mind. That means on-device processing, of course, and safeguarding user data. We know that Apple will likely make that the centerpiece of whatever it launches with iOS 18. We also know that Google will struggle to do the same—it’s not set up that way.

The Chinese OEMs are not constrained in this way—I don’t imagine many consumers opting for a Chinese brand, paying the same attention to data security and privacy as those selecting an iPhone—in particular— and maybe a Samsung just behind that. No doubt some subsequent comments will tell me I’m wrong, but this is one debate I welcome.

As for Rihanna and that video, the next time a viral video confuses X as to which device was behind the shot, there will be more to pick from than just Samsung or iPhone.

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Putting camera specs to one side, there’s also a security message buried in here as well.

I have warned before about the dangers of metadata and the need to delete that data when photos and videos are shared. Clearly, social media platforms do this anyway—as seen with this story. But if you send media yourself, the metadata can be sent as well. And that can unmask your device—as Samsung knows, as well as your exact location and the time at which you were at that location. Many cheating spouses have made that mistake.

And so, take a lesson from Samsung’s books—and keep that metadata in mind when you share media online, or make rash judgments as to where a photo or video was taken and when. I have approached Samsung, to see if they have any comments on this story.

Samsung Error Promotes iPhone Instead Of Galaxy On X (2024)

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