How Do You Like Your Phone, Sir?

On: September 9, 2013
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About Ihab Khiri
As a B.Sc. graduate in International Communication and Media at Erasmus University in Rotterdam I believe I am concerned with a very important and omnipresent development in current society. Studying media means studying everyday life. My current interests are the use of Media for the development and social relations. As a current student at the Master of Media I aim to develop my knowledge with regard to community management and increase different skills that will create a base for future investigation.


Technology is factually making our lives easier and more efficient, even though this notion comes with the critique that we get more lazy and rely too much on something we know too little about. Smartphones carry much more tools than we actually use and a more efficient and effective usage of these tools could support us in getting healthier lifestyles and more disciplined minds. E.g. Business Insider discusses some of those useful apps that are supposed to make your life easier.

Speaking about ‘apple’ the first thing that comes up your mind is most likely a reference to the Apple brand, which is a result of an inordinate length of time of marketing and brand identity building. Apple has always been enjoying a very stable and unbeatable reputation on the market. Especially in Europe, Apple was not a product for the mainstream; there were only a few that could afford and even less that were able to work with an Apple product. Several sources such as Yahoo, the BBC and Business Insider report about Samsung beating Apple with their quarterly revenue income.  Economically speaking Apple’s IPhone is defeated, but why? And what would be possible causes that mankind is massively purchasing smartphones, while they are generally perceived as a luxurious good. (You can even do online tests to see if you really need one!?)

Samsung’s success could be explained with different elements. Their devices are cheaper and Apple enjoyed some bad coverage in the months before release, which is a direct attack on their highly set aims (Apple is known for its “high quality” assembly). This is therefore the point; Apple has always been a brand that targets a niche and seems to care more about its brand reputation than actually defeating its competitors, something shown very clear in their 2007 campaign “Buy a Mac’’.

Buy a Mac (Apple advertising 2007)

Basically stating that people have bought more Samsung than Apple smartphone associates with the increasing purchasers of smartphones, more people are having a smartphone. From a sociocultural perspective there has been a transformation in the way we use and see smartphones. Technology got embedded within our daily activities and we often forget how dependent we are with our smartphones. Current generations fall asleep with devices in their hands and wake up to its alarm sound. This means that we start to need our smartphone, rather than it just being a fancy gadget to show off to your classmates. Not possessing a smartphone would probably mean a delayed communication and especially a social life that is completely different organized in terms of network. And Samsung tapped into this.

I consider myself to be a regular consumer with somewhat a higher interest in media technologies. Also as loyal Apple client, owning a Mac Book, I-phone and I-pad I have gotten more curious with regard to Samsung’s recent developments. With the existing idea and actually how much importance we started to give our smartphones, Samsung is better able to tap into this cultural idea of smartphones as personal assistance, branding it as a “life companion” Especially now Apple products are not solely for a particular class – Apple users were to be classified according to appearance and were to feel special, but that has changed since more people can afford advanced technology.

“Hello I am a Mac” we could hear in the Apple ad in 2007 but Samsung comes in 2013with “Some smartphones are smarter than others” in 2013. Samsung’s recent advertising campaigns are getting pretty targeted on Apple’s brand reputation. They criticize the long cues (As Apple’s product releases are known for) and portray the I-phone as something that belongs to the older generation.

Samsung S4 Graduation Party 

It seems like Samsung and Apple are in a combat at the moment. I am pretty sure there is more to come from other companies tapping into this market. I am not stating that life without a smartphone is impossible, however a lot slower and less efficient. It is like going back to washing clothes by hand again, very old-fashioned. It is delightful to see this public debate between manufacturers, because it allows us consumers to be more critical but also shows that in Western society, the smartphone has become the standard and is not that innovative anymore. To all Luddites out there, just give it a try there is still enough technology coming to resist! 


Park, Yangil and Chen, Jengchung. “Acceptance and adoptation of the innovative use of smartphone”, industrial Management & Data Systems, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2007. paper

Caroll, Aaron and Heiser, Gernot. “An analysis of Power Consumption in a Smartphone” New South Wales: NICTA and University of New South Wales, 2010. paper.


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