We once called the internet ‘the information superhighway.’ The reality is this. The internet has become the ‘misinformation superhighway’ because what flows across the interwebs isn’t always an accurate reflection of reality. Yet, in an odd way, and despite the viral nature of the web, there is an element– a microscope– which allows rapid focus when something goes wrong.
Last year Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 7, widely heralded as the company’s flagship smartphone and perhaps the best that money could buy. Samsung has always had an issue with quality control, and amid a desire to push the envelope where Apple cannot reach, quality suffered. Again. A batch of exploding and flammable Note 7 batteries caused a massive recall and damaged Samsung’s flagging reputation quality. When your product makes the late nigh talk show comedy circuit, you’ve been doing it wrong.
This year Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, again heralded as the best smartphones money can buy. And, again, both models suffering from quality issues; first, screen discolorations. Then, phones that rebooted every so many minutes. Third, the auto-rotate stopped working. Later, screen burn-in was highlighted as a new issue. Those were followed by a variety of software glitches, including Wi-Fi connectivity, Android Auto, push notification delays, and others.
Today’s smartphones are complex devices, and every new model brings with it new issues, but Samsung seems to push the envelope more than Apple, and often that extra effort to become a premium device maker results in a steady stream of issues which are captured by the public microscope.
Apple has similar issues with new iPhones, but has a few options which Samsung does not. One of the most important is the Apple Store. No company I know has better customer service and support than Apple and a complete swap out of a problematic new device is common, whether it be iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch, or accessories. I bought a silicon case for my iPhone 7 Plus because I wanted a case with a slightly tacky feel. The one I bought– Apple branded– was too smooth and slick. Apple swapped it out without hesitation.
Such customer oriented responses are common with Apple, but the public microscope can turn and view other issues with ease. Remember the bending problems with iPhone 6 Plus? Remember the antenna issues with the original iPhone 4 model?
Both Apple and Samsung sell hundreds of millions of smartphones each year, so any problem can be magnified and become public almost overnight. That may help explain why Apple remains somewhat conservative regarding implementation of certain components. OLED screens, for example, have advantages over the LCD displays in the iPhone, yet Apple remains conservative; even to the point where a testing agency called the iPhone’s screen ‘indistinguishable from perfect.’
Today’s devices are amazingly capable and complex. What I want from a new iPhone is a device that works well from day one and has the fewest number of glitches and issues. With each new device, Samsung seems to have more of those than Apple.