The Apple vs. Samsung fight touches down in New Zealand with feisty comparative print ad

Samsung has been giving Apple uppercuts for a few years now with its The Next Best Thing is Already here campaign, and it has taken the attacks up a notch after the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with a series of ads calling bollocks on the ‘innovation’ of its main mobile competitor (it doesn’t seem to have made too much difference, as Apple’s sales were still off the charts, although glitches with the operating system and bendy phones may have hindered that). And now the local arm of the Korean electronics behemoth is getting in on the act, running a print ad in some of the weekend papers showing a list of features from the soon-to-be-released Galaxy Note 4 that Apple should be taking note of for its next release. 

Comparative advertising is fairly rare these days, perhaps because brands don’t want to be perceived as being negative or due to the potential for legal action from competitors (something Apple and Samsung are no strangers to, as this great piece in Vanity Fair shows). But Samsung has been doing it for a while, poking fun at not just Apple, but also at all those irrational souls who worship it, and it has brazenly called out Apple by using its name in the print ad, which was created by Colenso BBDO. 

As it says bluntly: “Dear Apple, here’s a headstart for the iPhone 7.” 

And down below: “The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be in stores mid October. Or alternatively you could wait another year.” 

Despite Steve Jobs’ antipathy towards big screens, Apple went ahead and launched the 14cm iPhone 6 Plus anyway (and then had to deal with #bendgate, although Apple says just nine people complained). And Samsung responded with a series of ads showing some disappointed Apple staff. It followed those up with another feisty spot that talked about the initial negative response to its big, “more productive, more innovative, more fun” Galaxy Note and the ensuing scramble from other manufacturers to follow suit. 

Interestingly, the ad uses the term phablet, something Apple tried to avoid. But, as language guru Ben Zimmer writes in the Wall St Journal, “as phones have expanded, so has the word’s usage”. 

Apple is not alone among mobile device makers in spurning the word phablet, and with good reason. While the term has gained acceptance among techie types over the past few years, it has from the very beginning been accompanied by an air of derision. These supersize devices can seem rather ridiculous to use, and the “phablet” epithet conveys that ridiculousness.

The playful blending of “phone” and “tablet” into “phablet” apparently occurred to several observers independently. On Twitter, the earliest documented use of “phablet” came in September 2009, when software engineer Sloan Bowman used it to refer to the Nokia N900, a device that combined the functionality of a smartphone and a hand-held computer—though by today’s standards, it is a bit too small to be considered a phablet.

“Phablet” apparently did not appear in a tech publication until June 1, 2010, when Ian Scales wrote about the 5-inch Dell Streak for TelecomTV: “Is it a phone? Is it a tablet? No, it’s a phablet.” Mr. Scales did not come up with the term himself, however. A few days earlier, he had been introduced to the term by Dan Warren, director of technology for GSMA, a U.K.-based consortium of mobile operators.

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