Samsung’s hand shown, will Apple come through with the next iPhone?

We may still be a good five months away from Apple’s expected iPhone 5/Next iPhone announcement, but Samsung has already shown its hand with the Galaxy S III.

Building on the already hugely popular Galaxy S II handset, the third generation of the Galaxy S line will feature some interesting software additions alongside a reasonable speed bump and rather large screen. All in, it’s an impressive-looking update for a company that has already shown that it is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with Apple when it comes to kicking out huge sales numbers and satisfied customers.

But shy of taking the Roman numeral approach to naming conventions and calling the next iPhone the iPhone V, what will Apple do to take the fight to Samsung now that the Koreans have firmly placed their stake in the ground? What must Apple do in order to compete with a handset that has seen almost as much excitement and expectation as any Apple product? The truth is that it might not actually need to…

A quick look at the Galaxy S III’s specifications show that Samsung means business. A quad-core 1.4GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 720p Super AMOLED screen are not to be sniffed at, and at 4.8-inches big that screen promises to be rather imposing, especially beside an iPhone 4S. Android fans will love it, and that’s obviously what Samsung was aiming for.

Throw in some software additions such as a Siri-like digital assistant called S-Voice, and things appear to be coming together for Samsung. But is it competition for the next iPhone?

I would wager that no, it is not. At least, not entirely.

The GS3’s – that’s what I’ll call it for now – specifications are truly impressive, and as far as the Android spec-race goes, this is sure to be right up there with the best of them for a while yet. The thing is, that’s never really been Apple’s style, and as an extension of that, it’s not really the style of Apple’s customers, either.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the next iPhone does not feature a quad-core CPU, or that Apple decides to stick with the tried and tested 3.5-inch screen rather than twist and opt for something much more gargantuan. What happens then?

Will iPhone owners, or more importantly, prospective iPhone owners decide to jump ship and instead stump up the cash for a GS3? Some might, no doubt, but some may come the other way, too.

See, many iPhone owners simply won’t notice those specs, and the less tech-savvy won’t be interested in that Super AMOLED display. They’ll note that it’s bigger, yes, but is it too big? I know it would be for me, though I do have the hands of a large three-year-old.

What I am trying to get at, after almost five-hundred words of gibberish, is that whilst the GS3 is undoubtedly an interesting piece of kit, it’s probably not going to steal iPhone buyers from Apple, and that is surely what Samsung needs to do. If not, then Samsung will be left to scrap it out with the likes of HTC and Motorola to try and get as many existing Android owners to choose one cookie-cutter handset over another.

In that battle, nobody wins.

Except Apple.