Apple Enters ‘Post-Steve Jobs Era’ as Samsung’s Design Excels

Samsung's CEO Says the Company Is in a 'Dismal State' Credit: CNET
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With its aesthetically pleasing devices like the Galaxy S8 duo, Apple is “in danger of being left behind” by companies like Samsung, according to Hugh Dubberly, a former Apple creative director who notes that Cupertino has entered the “post-Steve Jobs era” of design and innovation.

“It’s not so much that Samsung has gotten better,” but rather “Apple has fundamentally changed,” Dubberly said while adding “The pipeline Steve [Jobs] started is over.” Dubberly — who during his tenure at Apple in the late 1980s and early 1990s founded the Computer Graphics department at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California — has years of experience working with both Apple and Samsung, having previously served on Samsung’s global design advisory board.

His sentiments echo those of analysts cited in a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, who contended that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 flagship will need to include at least one exclusive new feature in order for the handset to truly outshine Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 offerings. Specifically, the WSJ report centered around whether or not Apple will embed its Touch ID sensor underneath the device’s edge-to-edge display, calling it a “crucial decision,” since the iPhone 8’s design in itself “won’t be enough to outdo Samsung.”

“The Samsung Galaxy S8 is nudging the bar higher as Apple seeks to impress with its 10th anniversary iPhone this fall,” analysts cited by WSJ said, while adding “For Apple to outdo Samsung on design, it would need a new distinguishing feature, like a fingerprint sensor beneath the display rather than a physical home button.”

Dubberly argues that the design lead Apple once held over Samsung has ended due to the Galaxy S8 and S8+. With its thinner, lighter, and slimmed-down frame that sheds almost all traces of bezel, analysts say that many tech-industry insiders would agree that the Galaxy S8’s sleek design has bested Apple’s — even if for the very first time.

According to Charles L. Mauro, president of MauroNewMedia, (a product-design research firm that’s previously done consulting for Apple and Samsung), what a smartphone looks like now accounts for “about half” of the consumer’s purchase decision. Mauro argues that while previous peer-reviewed studies reveal that consumers didn’t care as much about a device’s aesthetic design, so much as they cared about its features and value, more recent data suggests that customers actually care about how their smartphone looks more than previously thought — particularly as a device’s technological specifications, for the most part, have “reached something of a plateau.”

Of course, at this point, the fate of Touch ID on the iPhone 8 remains a wild-card, as Apple could ultimately go one of multiple routes in implementing the technology. Considering that glass-embedded fingerprint-scanners are already out there, we find it hard to believe that Apple would skimp out on it. Only time will tell though, especially since recent reports suggest we’ll be waiting much longer than previously thought for the high-end iPhone 8.

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