The rumour mill analysed: How are the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 stacking up?

The next two major launches of 2012 in the smartphone world will, most likely, mimic the two largest of 2011. Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy S3 in the coming months while Apple is expected to release the iPhone 5. Both will be flagship devices and anticipation is high. With no specifications confirmed we are relying on the rumour mill for an idea of what each device will be like. Based on that, how are they comparing?

The latest reports suggest the Samsung Galaxy S3 will come with a Super AMOLED HD plus display. The screen could be as large as 4.6 inches, which would make it the largest on the market but still bigger than the iPhone 4S. With an AMOLED screen the pixel density could be 319ppi, reports claim, meaning it would rival the latest iPhone in terms of the sharpness and clarity of what you see on the screen.

AMOLED screens are particularly popular as they provide better power consumption as well as reacting quickly to commands and allowing a lighter and thinner screen. Samsung is one of the most widely respected producers of AMPOLED screens so it would make sense for the S3 to house one.

If Apple follows the same pattern as it has with previous iPhones then the new handset is likely to have a redesign. There was new casing between the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 5. It is possible that Apple could opt for the larger screen made popular by Samsung. It seems unlikely Apple would go for a 4.6inch screen but the rumours suggest the iPhone 5 will be larger than the iPhone 4S, in terms of screen if nothing else.

Processor wise, it is expected that the S3 will have a quad-core processor. The rumour mill says it will be a 1.5 GHz Samsung Exynos quad-core processor. This would make it a quick device, rivalling the recently launched HTC One X. It would make apps like the camera – which is rumoured to be improved from the S2’s 8 megapixel offer – run much quicker and be more responsive.

The iPhone 4S benefited from the A5 chip first seen in the iPad2. It is likely the iPhone 5 will benefit from the next generation of processor, the A6. With other quad-core handsets on the market amongst its key competitors it is unlikely the iPhone 5 will have anything other than a quad core processor.

There are no price tags for the S3 but if Samsung follows the same pattern as the S2 then it is likely to launch at around the equivalent of £500 and then drop over the ensuing months. Samsung’s last major device launched was the galaxy nexus which was £520 sim-free.

The S3 is expected to launch in the second or third quarter of 2012. Samsung has already said the device will get its own individual launch, emphasising its status as a flagship device. It could be on the shelves in the UK by July. The launch pattern of the iPhone 4S is likely to be followed by Apple for the iPhone 5. This involved a launch in October maximising the run up to Christmas and Black Friday. That the iPhone 4S had a record sales figures for Apple it was a successful launch strategy that will appear again.

Improved cameras will be a feature on both devices. Samsung has been working on a 16 megapixel mobile sensor, which could make an appearance on the S3. Apple made a jump to the 8 megapixel on the iPhone 4S from the 5 megapixels on the iPhone 4. It is likely the specification will increase again.

It is likely that these two handsets, much like their predecessors, will be going head to head at Christmas 2012. The rumour mill is not the most reliable source of information yet it looks as though both of these devices will have similar specifications and there will be a whisper’s breathe between them.