For many Apple haters and even more reasonable Android fans, the rallying cry for the last couple of years has been that Android is the better platform because you can get a larger display.
To be sure, there are many other reasons why one might prefer Android, but for those who want a larger screen, Apple's refusal (so far) to release a larger screen iPhone—let's call it an iPhablet for fun—has been the one objective reason to say that Apple lags behind Android OEMs.
iPhone aficionados can say they don't need or want a larger screen on their smartphone (that describes me, by the way), or that Apple's quality and ecosystem are more important than screen size, but the fact remains that the one thing Samsung and HTC offer that Apple does not is a larger screen.
In the world of tech partisan pissing contests, it's this one inarguable fact that I've seen trumpeted near and far. It has been offered as proof that Android is better and proof that Apple can't innovate by many folks with questionable skills in critical thinking. My question is what will those partisans rely on when Apple finally addresses this segment of the market later this year?
I imagine at first we'll hear that Apple is copying Samsung once again, and that this is proof Apple no longer innovates. Don't get me started on how utterly insane such claims are—I've addressed them many times in the past, but you can count on hearing just that echoing throughout the tech blogosphere.
Never mind that the lack of an iPhablet is proof today to some people that Apple can't innovate, when Apple releases an iPhablet later this year, it will be heralded by many of those same folks as proof that Apple's days of innovating are behind it.
After that knee-jerk reaction, though, what talking point will partisans turn to? Samsung's Galaxy S line has entered an era of meh. The Galaxy S4 and S5 are both fine devices, but neither has sold all that well and both got reviews that were far from glowing. The Note 3 has its fans, but devices that big are little more than niche products.
Update/Edit: Samsung claimed that the Galaxy S5 sold better than the S4 during their respective opening weekends, but the company provided no specific figures, and that's even pretending that Samsung's figures should ever be taken at face value.
Be that as it may, the S4 supposedly sold 10 million units in its first month of availability, or a little more than Apple sells in the opening weekend of an iPhone launch. Of course, we then learned Samsung overstated S4 sales numbers, so what does "S5 sold better than S4" even mean? Probably not all that much.
The real point I was attempting to make is no one is excited about Samsung's Galaxy S product line. As Steven Kovach wrote for Business Insider, "The [S5] doesn't offer enough to make it worth upgrading last year's model or switching from iPhone."
Samsung has tried to claim a mantle of software relevance by introducing a number of features that no one cares about, but the reality is that the only thing Samsung has done that people do care about is the large screen form factor.
What happens when Apple erases that gap? Apple CEO Tim Cook has been telling us in Cook Code™ for at least a year that will release a larger screen iPhone when it can do so without making any compromises. Based on a combination of logic, reason, and leaks coming out of Apple's supply chain, I am personally convinced we'll see Apple deliver on that promise this fall.
I am sure the device will sell well, and I am also sure there will still be Apple haters. What I am not sure about is how those Apple haters will express their bizarre conviction that the one company that has consistently disrupted markets is the one company that doesn't innovate.