Apple and Samsung operate on completely different paradigms. Apple makes one (or a few) products and convinces everyone that is exactly what they need. Samsung on the other hand tries to listen to customers and offer what they ask for (not necessarily what they want). One possibility is that eventually people will get tired of being "convinced" by Apple and will move on onto more freely exercising their choices. On the other hand, having less choice sometimes makes life simpler... Just my two cents!
Another big difference is the user interface. The iphone has pretty much the same UI it came out with in Circa 2007 with the single button which is clunky compared to the slick android phones with their multiple cap-sense buttons. I had to move from an HTC evo to an iPhone and was really missed its UI. In fact the webos interface from palm was generations ahead with its swipe and gesture interface. Too bad it did not survive.
Hope the iphone5 makes the UI easier to use.
Samsung is definitely the first to understand that there is no boundaries for user interests and it paid off really well for them. No wonder apple would definitely try to bring out more varieties in future.
As a regular user of Asian public transportation (which is wonderful, btw), I can tell you why I wouldn't want a note.
It is too big for one hand.
As often as not, while on the train, I am standing, which means one hand is tethered to a hanging strap. I need a phone that is small enough to use with my right hand only. It could be bigger than my iphone, but not a lot bigger. The note is definitely too big.
A range of sizes for a range of needs (and hand sizes) is what Apple needs to offer.
We are making those 5" 3G unlocked phone GPS tablet (uPlay PhonePad 5") similar to Samsung Galaxy Note, here is what we learned: The 5" all-in-one device (3G Phone, GPS, tablet, point-n-shoot camera, skype video phone, bluetooth, you name it) serves a niche market - it is for people who only want to carry ONE mobile device, and use it for everything. We used to make 7" phone tablet, but it can only slip into coat pocket, not pockets on your jeans, but the 5" one does the trick. The 5" form factor allows you to carry it as a phone, and use it as hand-held GPS, camera, and tablet. We have lots of customers who are sales guys, they really love the device - they said they don't have to carry their laptop any more. If you are curious how it looks, check it out here:
I notice your heading, 'Samsung sets the trend" but I don't see any data showing Samsung selling more of those phones, or any data at all, - are they really selling more phones or do you just want them to?
I think you hit on a very important reason for larger screens (up to a point). One of the reasons I don't own a smartphone is that I can't read ANYTHING on the darn screen.
My uncorrected distance vision is 20/15 but since I am over 50, my presbyopia (old people being slightly farsighted for you young folks) means I have to carry around a set of reading glasses. So there I am fumbling with my phone AND reading glasses, NOT going to happen.
As the current generation ages past 40, they'll find out smartphones were not made with them in mind.
No one has mentioned another consumer group interested in larger phones - the older generation. My wife really needs the smooth operation of an iPhone (we dumped our Droid 2) but needs to find glasses to see the screen while her arthritis nearly prohibits her from typing on 3 mm2 keys.
Having the utility of the device is more important than how or where to carry it. Those problems seem to work themselves out with a little time.
That's the idea, and with smartphones growing steadily more powerful, it's becoming practical.
I don't see larger systems going away entirely - there will be higher end tasks requiring more processor power, memory, and storage than a pocket device is likely to have, if only because the power requirements of that capacity will make use in a battery powered device problematic.
Though I *can* see such a device connecting to things like compute servers and graphics servers when plugged into a docking station, with higher end tasks handed off to devices better equipped to perform them.
That will require another generation of software, though, as the concept is approximately that of the AT&T Plan 9 OS that was a research followup to Unix. In Plan 9, the user's workstation was the center of the universe, and everything mounted off of it. The user didn't need to know or care where a specific resource was. They could simply access it and use it. This would be roughly the same. "What's that, you want to rebuild the Linux kernel from source? Well, you don't do that *on* your phone. You start the build from the phone, but the process happens elsewhere, and the phone gets status updates in the background while you do other things."
(There is an effort to produce a Linux flavor you *can* build on a suitable phone.)