Skip to main content

Those iPhone Specs Don’t Look So Good In Context

iphone7plus7

Writing on The Verge today Vlad Savov postulates that competing with the iPhone specs is proving to be a difficult challenge for Android OEMs. That’s only really true when taken out of context.

For example Savov points out that Android OEMs ave to fit bigger and bigger batteries to their phones. He is right in that this is indeed a trend, that has also resulted in Android phones almost unviersally having a better battery life than the iPhone.

Let’s take a sanity check here. Despite having less memory, smaller and lower resolution screens than its peers the iPhone manages to be a disaster where battery life is concerned.

And yes, there’s no question that the iPhone is a slick operator. With Apple having full control of the software and hardware, plus the ability to optimize for a limited number of devices, you’d expect that to be the case. However at least a part of that advantage is down to the way that Apple limits the iPhone. Lower resolution screens mean fewer pixels to push around, aggressive application freezing techniques mean less background processing. It’s a matter of choice… a better way of working or a slicker experience.

In a direct head to head Apple doesn’t come out ahead either. Take the Xperia Compact range. With a similar screen spec and resolution, the Xperia trounces the Apple in battery life, performance and device size. And it has done with each release. Perhaps because Sony is the only Android OEM still producing compact devices with high end specs this get missed – especially in US-centric commentary like The Verge’s, a region where Sony has been weak.

That slick performance doesn’t last long either. Each year when Apple releases a new version of iOS there’s a standard process of iPhone owners performing a global victory dance to emphasise the rapid update advanatage of the iPhone, followed by tears on their pillows as the reduction in performance starts to bite.

Whether that’s by design, Apple driving new sales through performance management, or a side effect of optimising iOS for new hardware, it means an older iPhone generally no longer outperforms an older Android phone.

Savov’s article is an interesting read and makes some valid points, but the basic premise is wrong. Android OEMs push the envelope in specs because that is their lever to competing against the iPhone’s advantages – real and perceived. Apple trails in specs not because it can get better performance from lesser hardware but because by using less memory, smaller screens and lower resolutions, it keeps its profit margins high.

The iPhone 6, with its ‘copycat’ big screens and record sales amply demonstrates that truth.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.