Maybe Samsung's ads painting the iPhone 5 as so 2010, or the smartphone choice for Baby Boomers, are starting to have an effect.
Or, maybe Apple's successful lawsuit against Samsung alleging patent infringement was something of a Pyrrhic victory. After all, if the iPhone and Samsung devices are so similar, why not switch to a Galaxy S III rather than get in line for a phone with a smaller screen and the long-term evolution data speed that has been available for almost two years?
(Samsung, for its part, is now claiming that the iPhone 5 infringes on its own patents, deepening the message that the phones are in the same league and cut from the same cloth.)
Business Is Booming
In any case, Samsung's flagship device shows signs of holding its own against the world's single most popular smartphone, according to figures from Boston-based mobile app analytics company Localytics.
As we reported in early September, sales of the Galaxy S III saw a bump in the immediate aftermath of the verdict in U.S. District Court in Northern California, as Judge Lucy Koh weighed Apple's request to ban some Samsung phones. There was an immediate spike in S III sales, according to Global Equities Research analyst Trip Choudhry, based on surveys of key stores. A possible reason was concern that the S III would be banned.
Based on a comparison of the number of new Samsung Galaxy S III handsets that accessed apps created by Localytics from July 31 to Oct. 1, the firm deduced that the weekly growth rate in number of Samsung Galaxy S III units doubled from 8 percent to 16 percent in the week that the verdict was announced, from Sept. 21 to Sept. 27. The numbers then rose sharply once again from zero growth in the week before the iPhone to 15 percent Sept. 11-17, leveling off to 9 percent in the week ending Oct. 1.
Localytics attributes the change to publicity about the similarity of the devices.
"The deluge of post-litigation press coverage both drove general attention to Samsung and suggested that Samsung devices were similar enough to iPhones to be an option for many consumers," wrote Daniel Ruby in the company's blog.
He added that the much-anticipated iPhone 5 launch was followed by even more news coverage comparing the two phones. "That combined with the slowdown in new Galaxy S3 growth seen leading up to Apple's announcement (week-over-week new devices were the same as the previous week, resulting in 0 percent growth) suggest that many consumers were waiting to hear about the new iPhone before making a decision."
Ruby said the cumulative growth suggests that even with slow weeks, Samsung is still adding new phones to the market at an impressive rate.
But Kirk Parsons, a wireless analyst for JD Power and Associates, said the long-term implications of the patent battle on sales would likely be negligible.
"Unless either one of their devices is barred from being sold in the U.S. market, there won't be any real impact based on the lawsuit," Parsons told us.