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Friday, July 05, 2013, 01:05 pm PT (04:05 pm ET)

New Samsung ad knocks iPhone language limitations, features goats

Samsung is taking the battle to Apple in Iceland, knocking the iPhone for its language limitations in a curious new ad that features balaclavas, goats, and lots of apples.



The ad depicts a man poking away at an actual apple much in the way one would on an iPhone, but obviously disappointed with his results. He hangs his head, frustrated with the device, and a caption appears: Get a phone that understands you.

When the man is next shown, he smilingly swipes away at a Samsung Galaxy S4, surrounded by dozens of identical apples all laying unused on the ground. He then breaks into dance, accompanied by four black-clad dancers in ski masks. A goat looks on, its expression inscrutable. The commercial ends with the smiling man taking a bite from an apple while holding a Galaxy S4 to his ear.

The thrust of the commercial is to point out the iPhone's lack of voice control support for Icelandic. Samsung's GS4, though, supports the language, while Apple's Siri and dictation features do not. Samsung's YouTube description for the ad points out email dictation and as voice-driven text messaging as features Icelandic speakers can control in their native language. In the description, Samsung plays to the Icelandic cultural identity by referring to the language "ylhýra," a reference to the tendency of some in the nation to call the language "ástkæra ylhýra," or "beloved warmth."

The commercial is just the latest in a series of Samsung ads poking at the Cupertino company in one way or another. In Samsung, ahead of the iPhone 5's launch, the South Korean tech giant lampooned iPhone line-sitters, and in February the company winked and nodded at the ongoing legal struggle between the two firms. Early May saw another ad poking at Apple, this one showing the difference in feature set between the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S4.

Samsung actually outspent Apple by $68 million in 2012 phone ads. The $401 million the company spent last year was five times what it spent in 2011.

The two companies compete fiercely around the world for market share and profits in the smartphone segment. Samsung's Galaxy line, along with its other handsets, has remained No. 2 to Apple's iPhone in terms of both sales and profitability. The company's flagship handset, the Galaxy S4, has sold 20 million units since its launch two months ago.