The night before the introduction of the Galaxy S4, Apple's Phil Schiller took a number of shots at Samsung and Android in general — and the company has now launched a new promotional campaign defending the iPhone against the competition. As spotted by 9to5Mac, the company launched a new mini-site today, accompanied by an email blast that lays out its intentions right from the headline: "There's iPhone. And then there's everything else." It touts a number of competitive product features, but with no new iPhone hardware immediately on the horizon it appears the company is reacting to the market rather than leading it.
The iPhone has been lapped in pixel density
In discussing screens, it touts the clarity and beauty of the Retina display, stating that "Only iPhone has the Retina display." While technically true, this can be seen as a matter of branding more than anything else. The 326 ppi pixel density of the iPhone 5 has been lapped by Android devices quite a few times lately — most recently by the 441 ppi display of the Galaxy S4 itself. It's true that sheer pixel density isn't the only factor that plays into what Apple considers a "Retina display" — and to be clear, the iPhone 5 screen remains gorgeous — but given the influx of 1080p smartphone displays Apple's claim that "it remains a feature found only on iPhone and other Apple products" seems more technicality than triumph.
The iPhone 5's camera has been a high-water mark in the smartphone market, but its low-light performance has also faced some pressure from devices like the Lumia 920 and the new HTC One. Apple addresses these concerns as well, pointing to the hardware and software integration in the iPhone that makes it "easy for anyone to take impressive photos in various lighting conditions." The page even lists the top three cameras on Flickr — the iPhone 4S, 4, and 5 — as inferred proof of the iPhone's superiority.
"Other mobile platforms have a myriad of fragmented store options."
The page takes its biggest shots, however, at Android itself. Echoing some of Schiller's comments, Apple points out that App Store apps are "all reviewed by Apple to guard against malware" (though as we continue to see, this doesn't keep the occasional unauthorized app from making its way to Apple's servers). "Other mobile platforms have a myriad of fragmented store options, resulting in availability issues, developer frustration, and security risks." The page closes by addressing Apple's customer support prowess — "support from real people" — one area where Apple is still relatively unchallenged.
"Product as hero" takes a defensive turn
Taken together with the recent interviews, it's clear that Apple's iPhone marketing philosophy is shifting. While it hasn't shied away from taking shots at competitors in keynotes, its advertising has traditionally focused on positively promoting the strengths of its own products — the "product as hero" philosophy Schiller has espoused in the past. However, the last week has seen the company go after its competitors more openly than ever, and while the email campaign and new page ostensibly tout the iPhone's strengths, their timing and focus clearly mark them as defensive measures. If Apple follows its yearly upgrade cycle, we won't be seeing a new iPhone until September or October of this year. Whether this new campaign is Apple trying to hold its ground until the eventual product refresh or a sign of something more still remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Cupertino isn't giving up consumer mindshare without a fight.