The hordes of Apple fans claiming that Samsung simply copies everything the iPhone maker does are likely to increase in the coming months with a report Monday suggesting the South Korean company's 2016 flagship smartphone -- the Galaxy S7 -- will come with a pressure-sensitive screen similar to the 3D Touch feature introduced on the iPhone 6S earlier this year.
The Wall Street Journal report, citing people familiar with Samsung's plans, said that while the overall design of the Galaxy S7 would not depart dramatically from the Galaxy S6, there will be a number of major new features, including the pressure-sensitive screen, which will allow you to launch different actions depending on how hard you are pressing on the screen.
While Apple introduced the feature on its latest iPhones, it was Chinese manufacturer Huawei who first introduced the feature -- called Force Touch -- on a premium edition of its Mate S smartphone in September.
Just like this year, Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy S7 alongside a premium Edge variant with a curved screen. The new phones are set to be unveiled in Barcelona on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress, which takes place in the last week of February 2016. According to the WSJ report, the phones will go on sale in the U.S. within weeks of their unveiling in a bid to capitalize on excitement around the product launch. This year, the Galaxy S6 didn't go on sale until six weeks after the initial unveiling.
Alongside the pressure-sensitive screen, Samsung is said to be considering the introduction of a retina scanner for improved security, though this may be available only in certain variants of the new smartphone. While the overall design will be very much in line with this year's model, one significant change will see the protruding camera enclosure removed to lie flush with the rest of the rear cover.
In addition to making the camera enclosure sleeker, Samsung is set to improve the low-light performance of the sensor in the Galaxy S7 as it seeks to match the excellent camera performance of this year's model.
Samsung is also planning to reintroduce a microSD card slot in the regular version of the Galaxy S7, a feature that was dropped from the Galaxy S6, to the chagrin of many. Additionally, the Galaxy S7 will follow the trend of including the next-generation USB-C port for faster data transfer and battery charging.
While Samsung has said nothing officially about the new smartphones, leaked images of what's suspected to be the chassis of the Galaxy S7 leaked on Chinese social media site Weibo over the weekend. While the poster doesn't explicitly name the Galaxy S7, the images do correspond quite closely with last year's Galaxy S6.
Samsung has seen its share of the smarpthone market slide significantly in recent years amid increased competition at the mid to lower end of the market. At the premium end of the market where its Galaxy S range sits, Samsung has struggled to compete with Apple, with last year's Galaxy S5 failing to meet sales expectations while this year the company was unable to meet demand for the curved Galaxy S6 Edge.
Samsung has recently had a management reshuffle with longtime mobile chief J.K. Shin replaced by D.J. Koh, who will be pinning hopes of a turnaround on the success of the Galaxy S7 in 2016.