Deviceapalooza: Samsung, Apple, Google
by Daniel Newman | October 21, 2021

The Six Five team talks about devices from Samsung, Apple and Google.

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Daniel Newman: So let’s move on to our final topic, Pat. And it’s one of those fun, not specific, one thing, product analysis. It’s like, “Hey, we’ve got a lot coming up.” Like you said, I’m going to be up to my earballs, and we are going to have an earnings-palooza episode that’s going to come up here at the end of the month, and that’s all coming next two weeks. We’re going to see the reality of the supply chain shortage, and everything that’s going on. But another thing that’s going on is announcements. I mean, Apple is actually doing a second event because their first one was so good. Am I being sarcastic? I don’t know. Samsung is doing another Unpacked, because their first one was so good. And then Google has a big announcement around its new Pixel. So Pat, man, take the floor on this one, and just leave me something to talk about.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. Just some overall thoughts. I mean, obviously we don’t know exactly what’s being … Actually, we do for Google. We know exactly what they’re going to be delivering, and it’s not a whole lot of mystery for Apple on their new MacBooks, and you’ve got the new Google Pixel. A big question mark on Samsung.

But first off, these are the vendors’ final time before the big Western holiday shopping season to get out, to put their best foot forward with any new products they’re going to get into the market before things like Halloween, Christmas, Hanukkah, things like that. So it’s super important that they do put their best foot forward.

My overall strategic question is, will it make a difference? So let’s just say Apple brings out a 14-inch and a 16-inch new MacBook Pro with an M1X processor, with bigger and better CPU and GPU. Currently Apple’s sitting around 8% market share. That’s premium market share, so it’s very profitable, and they make a very good business out of it. But overall, is it going to change anything? In my opinion, I say no, unless there’s a major price move on the current M1 MacBooks.

Now, I don’t think they’re going to do that, first of all, because supply chain challenges, they probably couldn’t get the materials if they wanted to. And second of all, I would expect them to wait for the M2 before, let’s say, I create something like a MacBook Pro SE, or sorry, MacBook SE, design it, cheapen the design a little bit, maybe add a little bit of plastic to it, still a premium field, but OPP at $799. That would shake up everything.

So I don’t see Apple, regardless of what they come out with, unless it’s a major price move, them shaking up the PC market with it. I see Apple aficionados maybe jumping on, but I think that the big question that the pros need to ask is, “Does my software actually work on these new M1X MacBook Pros? Do the peripherals that I have out there, the audio and video peripherals actually work?” I give Apple credit for solving a lot of the problems, but there are many problems to go. And if you want to run PC games, they can’t run the most popular games out there. They just won’t run. And I think that’s still going to continue to plague them for a certain set of the audience.

On Google, they have 2% market share, so it’s interesting we’re even talking about them at this point, because Apple and Samsung have so much more market share than Google. But I think we’re talking about this because it’s Google, and I’ll let you talk about their chip strategy as we move forward.

Samsung, to be honest, I have absolutely no idea what they might want to bring out. It looked like some colorful things. Some people are speculating it’s a smart fridge. I have no idea, but I look forward to what they bring out. I’ve been really impressed with Samsung of late on removing objections and lowering the price point for foldable phones, which I do believe is the future, and I do think companies like Apple will eventually get there. They’re just not ready yet for the market.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. Absolutely, Pat. I love a good week of launches and new devices. It’s always a whole lot of fun. I’m also very interested. Apple I feel like is kind of setting up itself in the market for some disappointment this quarter. We’ll see if I’m right, but it’s just kind of my inflection point. The next set of announcements, the next wave of announcements for the company, look, Apple knows it’s a PR machine. Every time it does this, every time it makes an event, it gets butts in the stores, and it sells stuff. And right now, the company’s under pressure to continue to hit numbers, hit targets, and of course, selling new product across its lineups, because it’s having some problems, like every company is, with supply. So if it could sell more across the entire portfolio, the better it does.

So it’s drumming up more interest, drumming up more revenue, turning over more devices. Of course, I don’t know all that device turnover, how that goes with that whole ESG story I just told, Pat, but you know, they’ve got some way they take these devices apart, they use some machines, and they recycle everything they can, right? I mean, that’s what’s happening. But not as efficient as it could be.

You know, Samsung, Pat, like you, I go to the events. I follow it. Their devices are absolutely off the chains good. That’s probably one of the biggest things that surprises me, you know? And I’m still, I use a Samsung 5g device, and I also use an iPhone. I’m actually still on a 12. I haven’t upgraded yet because I can’t figure out what I’m getting. But having used both, I could say the Samsung is actually superior in almost every way, from the quality of the screen, to watching videos, to the sound. The cameras are always seemingly a generation ahead, but it’s not Apple. So that’s their downside. If a Samsung phone had an Apple logo on it, people would love it. But I do still like iOS. I wish I liked Android a little bit more, but I do think every generation of Android continues to get a little bit better, and I do think they will continue to put pressure on Apple, especially on the global stage.

Pat, Google, I don’t know why we’re talking about them. I really don’t. Are they even relevant? Do we talk about PC companies that have 1% of the market? Are we going to start doing like, Acer? I think Acer has more. Are we going to start having segments on Acer? I think they have more than 1%, and we never talk about them.

Patrick Moorhead: I mean, we don’t even talk about Moto. That’s number three in the United States, that’s owned by Lenovo.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. And they’re actually doing really good sort of identifying white spaces, and meaningfully applying pressure, and getting some growth. But it’s Google. It is Google. And so the thing about what is going on with the Pixel that’s really interesting is the Tensor SoC. Right now, there’s been a lot of speculation. Nothing’s been formally announced, but it looks like Google partnered up with Samsung on their Exynos 2100, which is going to be what they’re going to call their Tensor SoC.

And what’s most interesting about that is all of the flagship devices that are on Android are on the 888 Plus Snapdragon system. This one came out, and for whatever reason, Google went their own route, decided to run, Pat, and please, you can debate me on this if you feel I’m wrong, but from what I can tell, is significantly inferior to the 888, and they’re going to put this out as their flagship device. I cannot for the life of me figure out how a company that can’t get even 2% of the market share is going to come out with this kind of theoretical Tensor SoC and run it on an inferior system, which in this case is the Exynos, and try to compete. I don’t get it, Pat. I mean, you would think that if you really wanted to compete, you would build it on the system that every flagship device running Android is using. And by the way they’re not you using the 888, but Apple still uses quite a bit the Qualcomm 2. So what do you think is going on there?

Patrick Moorhead: So I think Google has a little bit of Apple envy, but I think maybe what it’s missing is that Apple’s been doing this for a decade. AWS has been doing this for a decade, and they have … All I can think of is this is a preview on a step to doing their own silicon, that by the way, would take R&D probably the size of AMD to truly pull it off. The latest G2 I have about Apple’s headcount is it’s around the same headcount as AMD. So if you want to try to duplicate that, that’s a big investment. Because my expectation is that the 888 Plus beats the 2100 in every single metric that’s out there. So I’m waiting, at a minimum, I would have liked to have seen some more customizations from them, because it’s a pretty poor start.

I mean, even Samsung realized on their foldables that, where they used to split up between their own Exynos, and they had a tremendous amount of backlash where the Exynos, 20% less performance than Qualcomm. And then Samsung ended up going all Qualcomm across those in the end. The other big question I have is millimeter wave and Samsung on the digital modem portion. I have never seen a Samsung millimeter wave phone anywhere even tested in the US. I mean, Samsung’s a very capable company. Not only do they have the modem, they do some RF work, but they also have the infrastructure as well, and is growing. So a lot of things just don’t make sense to me here, Daniel, and I do appreciate you bringing that up as a topic, because I think it will be an important topic going into next week.

About the Author

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio