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On eve of Galaxy S4 launch, Apple exec dumps on Android

Apple doesn’t engage in much public discussion involving anything besides its own products, or maybe its retail stores. So it’s extremely interesting — and rare — that Apple(s AAPL) SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller went on the record the night before the most anticipated Samsung phone launch to date, the Galaxy S4, to go negative on Android.(s GOOG)

In a brief interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Schiller ticked off reasons why he thinks iOS is better than Android: it’s not fragmented (“Android users are often running old operating systems”), the hardware and software for Android phones are made by separate companies, and the devices aren’t high quality (“Android is often given a free replacement for a feature phone”).

These are not new complaints; especially for those used to interacting with Apple, these talking points will seem familiar. And Apple’s not above slamming the competition in advertisements: witness the successful multiyear run of its Mac vs. PC ads.

Schiller did share a nugget we haven’t previously heard before — that “four times as many iPhone users switched from Android than to Android during the fourth quarter.” The number is supposedly from Apple’s own internal research. Obviously it should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s also true that Apple sold 48 million iPhones in the fourth quarter and the device was the best-selling smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2012 in the U.S.

Whether Apple initiated the interview or the WSJ did, the rarity of a high-level Apple executive commenting on a rival’s looming product launch — something normally assumed to be beneath the company — will come off as somewhat defensive. But it could be yet another subtle signal that under CEO Tim Cook, the company is becoming a bit more open to traditional notions of competitive public relations.

19 Responses to “On eve of Galaxy S4 launch, Apple exec dumps on Android”

  1. Nicholas Paredes

    I don’t think that the switching number should be taken with a grain of salt. First, iPhones are the top selling devices for a reason, and while I see interest in the new Samsung devices amongst my designer/developer acquaintances, the trend towards Apple devices is gaining strength with most of the people I know who bought Android devices last year. Secondly, traffic and usage is difficult to discount. I see it in the metrics. Android is simply far behind iOS in traffic and sales.

    Another grain of salt. Numbers can be pesky beasts.

    • Nicholas Paredes

      Unless of course Apple decides to go pro, and include Wacom technology, but they would never do something like that! ;)

      I wonder what people are going to say when iOS merges with OS X.

      • Samsung already have Wacom technology in their phones, so if Apple now copies them it is still not enough reason. I also need the bigger screen, that is one of the main reasons I chose the Note, love the screen. Apple would need a faster processor, more memory and a removable battery. Problem with Apple phones (in my opinion) is the metal chassy, I prefer plastic as it makes for better signal quality, signals just travel better through plastic than through metal.
        Never worked on OS X, so I won’t know what I’ll be missing if iOS and OS X merges, in my opinion though the day of the desktop operating system is numbered, and soon we will all use “Chrome” like devices.

  2. Robert Robinson

    Few quotes from this article I should point out that all andoid users would agree is, “but it’s also true that Apple sold 48 million iPhones in the fourth quarter and the device was the best-selling smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2012 in the U.S.” It was the only big phone people were looking at during the fourth quarter, and most oblivious teens go for the iphone cause it’s “cool.” Another quote is, “Android users are often running old operating systems.” They’ve been using the same OS since 2007, just made it look a little different as the time goes by. Android has had a new look each time around, such as 2.3.7 was completely different from the update to 3.0, then 4.0, followed by 4.1 and now 4.2. Thirdly, the Android doesn’t need to be rooted (jailbroken) to install apps not in the store or play videos that are not Iphone compatible. Even looking at stores, you could see on headsets “Iphone compatible, Works with Ipad” and every android user knows it would work with their device. Fourthly I could easily point out the “lack” of innovation from apple. They have not truly created something new other than the OS, even thunderbolt was made by Intel, not directly from Apple. I could also write my own article on all the faults, but in truth it would be the same from everyone else has said.

    In other news, can’t wait to watch CNET to watch the showcase of the S4 tomorrow :)

    • Nicholas Paredes

      Looking forward to the S4, because I find it odd that people are so vested in this horse race. But, I’ll tell you that from the numbers perspective, it will be a long time before I or anybody I know develops Android first.

      The devices and sales are one thing, and the usage is another. The US is possibly the most mature smartphone market, and the trends are not with Android. The sales are going to be fantastic, and for that we should give the Google ecosystem credit.

      Will you be as pro Android when Samsung goes Tizen? Does Siri in VWs escape your notice? Apple is oddly conservative in delivering innovations, but they focus on usage rather than novelty.

  3. androidlove

    C’mon pick up an iPhone 5 and pick up a Galaxy S3vabd you’ll see that ios is dull. Can’t even get maps right…stick with android. Apple charge for everything and there’s no customization at all!! Can’t wait for Galaxy S4

  4. Kadaver

    Well, I find ios to be lame. That’s why I switched over. Apple really needs to do something with ios to make it look fresh and more interesting. Because as it is now, it looks like something you’d see in a baby’s playpen.

  5. gregorylent

    no kid cares about the os .. that’s just for tech writers and old adults ..

    it’s form, the form factor alone, that appeals to all the game playing wechatting, video watching people of the world.