Will the new Samsung Galaxy continue chipping away at Apple's cool?

Samsung’s revealing its new Galaxy S4 phone today in New York. The smartphone is getting a lot of buzz because it’s the first phone set to challenge Apple’s 'cool.'

This is a story about the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, set to be unveiled today -- and you can’t do a story about the contender without mentioning the champ. In 2007, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone he said, “Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along and changes everything.”

The iPhone did change everything and in the U.S. it still smokes its competitors in terms of sales.

Now, fast-forward to 2013 and this Samsung Galaxy commercial set in front of an Apple store. A line of fans are waiting for the new iPhone.

In the commercial, a man standing in line celebrates the fact that “the headphone jack is going to be on the bottom.”

While a woman gets excited about a new feature, “I heard the connector is going to be all digital!”

“What?” somebody asks.

“What does that even mean? Who knows?” she says cheerily.

The commercial illustrates what may be a tipping point away from Apple brand loyalty.

“You see this flip where apple as a brand has gone from, 'oh, that’s the unique think differently brand' to iPhone user being this mindless person in the herd,” said Americus Reed, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Steve Jobs famously said, “customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.” But some Apple fans are wondering if that business model is a little outdated.

“It kind of comes down to old eyes. The more I use my iPhone, I realize I’m squinting," said USC journalism professor Andrew Lih. He has an iPhone, but he’s thinking of making a switch to the Galaxy for the bigger screen.

Apple says it designs its smartphones to fit comfortably in your hand. But Lih says that ignores the way people are using smart phones these days.

He says it’s not so much a phone, but a way to check Twitter, take pics, post to Facebook and if Apple doesn’t get hip to that, Lih and others will start turning to the Samsung Galaxy.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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