The whole widget: Apple’s real advantage from owning the hardware and software

“The biggest benefit of owning the hardware and OS-level software isn’t performance,” Zentech writes for Seeking Alpha. “It is true that optimizing the two to seamlessly fit together performs more with less, but competitors can simply load their phones up with more advanced hardware to counter this.”

MacDailyNews Take: You know, like they did when Apple’s iPhone and iPad went 64-bit. (smirk)

We won’t even get into the fact that jamming overkill processors into pretend iPhones causes Android phones to require more battery (thicker, heavier) or shackle the user with poor battery life. The advantage of owning the whole widget cannot be countered by throwing “more advanced hardware” at the issue. Overkilling on processors comes with battery life or weight/thickness costs. As does stupidly trying out-spec Apple on displays when nobody is complaining about Apple’s Retina displays. So-called competitors cannot match Apple because only Apple can offer OSes tailored to custom hardware and vice versa.

“Rather, the greatest advantage that Apple gets from being able to own the software and hardware is that it greatly strengthens the company’s ability to set the technological/design standards that it deems best,” Zentech writes. “This is a critical form of soft power for Apple, which lets the company make the best products it can, while also making sure that other third-party devices and services will support its products.”

Zentech writes, “After all, Apple was the one to officially establish how a GUI would work, with Microsoft copying it soon afterwards.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Soon.” As in: 8+ years later.

More recently speaking, there’s the USB C standard that Apple is likely to have created and is pushing for with its latest Macbook. You can see that other companies are already starting to adjust to using the USB C,” Zentech writes. “However, the absolute best example of Apple’s standards-setting power at work would be with the smartphone. All popular smartphones today have the same basic look of the original iPhone… Apple’s ability to influence and create standards will be the key to reducing its exposure to the iPhone and provide a major upside catalyst, by allowing it to take control of new markets. Two of the biggest markets I see Apple taking advantage of in the near-to-mid term future are the Internet of Things (IoT) market and the Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) market.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple leads. The rest follow at a great distance. As usual.

Cellphones before and after Apple’s iPhone:
cellphones before and after Apple iPhone

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]


  1. I have just seen an Engadget article for the 23.8-inch Zen AiO (Z240IC). It is nothing more than a design copy of the iMac – like so many other manufacturers.

    However, it can’t be sold with Moc OS. SJ stopped selling the OS to other hardware manufacturers and thereby set the key stone for the revival of the whole business – both hardware and software. That advantage has been worth countless billions.

      1. and the sculptured rear casing,
        the line up of ports,
        the stand pivot
        the stand shape – when viewed from the front..

        …it’s all just a lazy exercise in design copy that should evade a lawsuit but offer a look-a-like for your desktop.

  2. The big advantage in owning the whole widget is that Apple can change the whole widget. Everybody else has to wait for everybody else to make a change. You can’t make a major change to hardware without somebody else changing the software and the services have to fit the platform and somebody else is doing that. And somebody has to establish what direction to go before anybody starts doing anything. Apple can change direction quickly because they don’t have to wait for anybody else to make a change. Apple could only lose the lead in technology if they start screwing up on a regular basis.

  3. This is certainly an advantage against all the others though the same parameter can be a disadvantage.

    Audiophiles who shop around for a sound system often buy the components that have a reputation for excellence. The best/most preferred speakers from company A, the receiver from company B. Buying an integrated unit can happen when all the components are the best/most preferred or budgetary or other restrictions required an incorporated unit.

    It is the quality of the interface between hardware and software is a real advantage for Apple, it’s just taken a long time for people to realize that.

  4. When you own the whole shebang you can build 64-bit hardware around your self-designed 64-bit SoC, rewrite your ENTIRE OS and ALL your included software in 64-bit code to support all that ON THE DAY OF RELEASE. I won’t even get into the benefits of Apple owning the computer and OS and other peripherals designed to work with this phone.

    Apple also runs the only App Store of any consequence, and at this point they require all software submitted to be 64-bit compatible. In a few months they’ll be releasing their third generation 64-bit phone, and what’s happening in the fragmented Android world?

    Google is hacking away at a 64 bit OS, a few phone manufacturers are releasing half baked 64 bit hardware (actually well baked due to heat problems) but only in their flagship phones. Since Android mostly appeals to cheapskates those flagship phones will only be a drop in the sales bucket.

    The vast majority of Android phones will be using cheap 32-bit hardware so there will be very little incentive for developers to write 64-bit software. If the vast majority of software is 32-bit, where is the incentive to build more expensive 64-bit hardware?

    It’s a vicious circle, like an accretion disk circling a black hole of cheap. I call it the BOGO Event Horizon and it will take Android many years to climb up out of that gravity well to have the majority of hardware and software capable of 64-bit operation. Schadenfreude prevents me from feeling sorry for them.

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