At the beginning of the month, I wrote about how excited I am about Apple's future thanks to that glorious WWDC 2014 keynote. 12 days later, I'm still excited, but I'm already growing impatient. Why? Because Apple's biggest rivals – most recently Samsung – have been releasing new products that are so good I'm struggling to stick up for the Apple devices I use and love (it used to be so easy).

Let's take Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S range, for example. Arguably Apple's biggest rival, Samsung's tablets have never quite lived up to the iPad - until now. There are two new Samsung tablets about to hit the shops: the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (an iPad Air rival) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (an iPad mini rival). 

When you compare Samsung Galaxy Tab S range with the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, you'll see that Samsung's latest tablet offerings have a lot going for them. They have better displays than their Apple counterparts, they're lighter and thinner, they have better cameras and more RAM, more connectivity features and additional features such as a fingerprint sensor.

Samsung is so confident about these tablets that they've been positioned to compete directly with Apple's iPads with very similar price tags. In fact, in the UK, the Galaxy Tab S range is actually more expensive than the iPad.

There are a lot of things I don't like about the Galaxy Tab S range, including the design (I'm not a fan of the plastic dimpled back) and the fact that it runs Android (I love iOS and the benefits it offers me as a Mac user).  But aside from that, Samsung has managed to trump Apple in just about every other way.

And Samsung's not the only one. Take the LG G3, for example (above). Its Quad HD display is breath-taking, its overall design is rather nice and many of its specs (RAM, camera, connectivity and storage options and more) are more impressive than the iPhone 5s's. Other notable devices include the HTC One M8 smartphone and Sony's Xperia Z2 Tablet.

See also: Six rival smartphone features we'd like to see in iPhone 6

I expect that we've still got three months to go until the next Apple event, which will probably be used to show off the iPhone 6 and perhaps an accompanying iWatch. A month later, we're likely to see an iPad event with a new 10in and 7in tablet unveiling as the star of the show. 

But in the meantime, prospective smartphone and tablet buyers have got several options such as those mentioned in this article that can offer them more for their money.

Apple has been the clear front-runner for several years, but now its competitors are catching right up, and if Apple doesn't get a move on and pick up the pace, it won't be long before its left trailing behind. Apple's reputation as the leader of the pack is in jeopardy, and I really hope its not about to become a follower instead.

I'm sure that Apple is going to launch some incredible products this year, and its WWDC 2014 software announcements left me confident that the company is heading in the right direction. But if we have to wait another year after the iPhone 6 and new iPads arrive for the next smartphone and tablet offering from Apple, I can't help but think that I'll be writing a similar article this time next year.

Either Apple needs to launch an iPhone and iPad that is so good it takes rivals more than 12 months to match it, or it needs to release new products more often to keep the competition at bay.

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