I yesterday wrote about TechCrunch’s article that referred to Samsung out-innovating Apple. To be fair to author Peter Relan, his piece was largely balanced and generally non-mad. CNN, on the other hand, has gone all out into Crazy Zone territory, with Steve Kovach’s How Samsung is out-innovating Apple. He first sets the scene:

Competitors have built upon the foundation Apple laid in mobile and are now leapfrogging it with [a] bunch of useful features you can’t find on iPhones and iPads. The evidence is everywhere, but it’s most apparent in products made by Apple’s biggest mobile rival, Samsung.

He then equates innovation with what I yesterday referred to as Samsung’s “out-flinging-stuff-at-walls-and-seeing-what-sticks-ing Apple”:

[You] can’t ignore the fact that the company has innovated a lot by creating popular new product categories that Apple is wary to try.

Well, you certainly can’t when people writing for CNN keep banging on about it. Kovach mentions the Galaxy Note, which people criticised, and then which subsequently sold quite well. Then there’s the Galaxy Note II, with an even bigger screen and that sold five million units. This, according to Kovach showed how Samsung

created a new category of smartphone that people didn’t even know they wanted, much like Apple did when it released the first iPhone.

Yes, exactly like the iPhone. Because without the iPhone, Samsung would quite obviously have created a slightly larger iPhone-like device. That much is certain.

Samsung isn’t afraid to tout its cool factor either. Since the first commercial debuted in late 2011, you’ve probably seen those “Next Big Thing” ads that make fun of starry-eyed Apple fans waiting in line for the next iPhone.

While hoping one day people will also queue up like that to buy one of its devices.

On the software side of things, Samsung is taking advantage of its mobile devices’ processing power to layer premium features on top of Android, such as the ability to run two apps at once in a split screen or separate window.

Sounds great. Let’s hope there’s not a downside to that!

There is a downside to the split-screen thing, however.


Developers have to tweak their apps to work in split-screen mode on the Note 10.1. There are only about 20 apps right now that can do it.


Samsung isn’t alone, of course. Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system is built for touchscreen devices like tablets, too, and it offers a lot of advantages over iOS.

Fewer touchscreen-optimised apps, for a start, meaning you don’t waste any time actually using the device like a tablet and immediately wish you’d bought a proper laptop instead.

Microsoft even has its own line of Surface tablets that blur the line between PC and laptop thanks to a clever snap-on keyboard cover.

Of the type that’s completely absent from the iPad ecosystem.

Based on all this evidence…


… Apple feels behind. Take a look at its newest fourth-generation iPad. It has a killer processor and other great hardware features, but the operating system doesn’t take advantage of any of that. The home screen is still just a grid of static icons that launch apps.

Because, as everyone knows, an operating system and the hardware it runs on is only judged by its app launcher, not everything else it can do.

Apple also isn’t nearly as versatile at adding new software features to its devices. Apple usually makes users wait a year or more for a new version of iOS, and even then some older devices can’t access all the latest and greatest features.

Because Android has such a good reputation compared to Apple in updating device operating systems. Still, the original Galaxy Note is now getting an OTA update to run Jelly Bean, which came out in, uh, July 2012. That clearly keeps products alive in the same way Apple’s same-day across-the-board iOS updates don’t. IN YOUR FACE, CUPERTINO!

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steve Kovach.

“We paid for this? Shit. Yeah, I know you warned me. Anything we can do to disassociate us from this garbage in as obvious a way as possible? An ‘opinions expressed’ line? Sounds great.”