Competing with Apple’s iPhone specs is more difficult than it seems

“It’s a common fallacy, convenient to Apple, to think that the iPhone maker doesn’t care about specs,” Vlad Savov writes for The Verge. “It’s not because specs don’t matter, but because the same spec means different things in the iOS and Android ecosystems.”

“At IFA 2016, I watched Huawei advertise its new Nova phones by noting they have almost double the iPhone 6S’ 1,715mAh battery capacity. This is the typical asymmetry between an iPhone and its nearest Android rivals. To compete with the iPhone’s battery life — the effect of the spec — Android manufacturers have to build consistently larger batteries to offset inefficiencies. Granted, many of them have larger screens than the 4.7-inch 6S, but even the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus only has a 2,750mAh battery in an Android world where the baseline expectation is now 3,000mAh,” Savov writes. “Consider all the implications inherent in this basic inequality of power efficiency. Batteries are dense, heavy things that require space, so to design an Android smartphone that lasts as long as an iPhone and yet is as thin and light actually requires you to not just match Apple’s engineering, but to outdo it. You have to run just to keep up with Apple at walking pace. Your bigger battery also takes longer to recharge, so you should probably develop a quick-charging solution, too.”

“An iPhone can feel super smooth and responsive with half the RAM of an Android device. RAM consumes power, so having less of it is another factor contributing to the iPhone’s efficiency lead,” Savov writes. “The latest iPhones have Apple’s fastest and best processing chips, creating a much more enticing platform for game development. It’s no accident that Nintendo’s first smartphone game is coming to the iPhone first. A developer can invest more heavily (and reliably) in an iOS game, knowing that the hardware platform is better defined and the user base is more willing to spend on apps and games. These are just some of the advantages of a company being able to develop its own operating system, custom chips, and hardware design in parallel.”

Tons more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote just last week:

Yet again, Apple’s superior vertical integration trumps all comers. If it’s not an iPhone, it’s a cobbeled-together contraption of inferior off-the-shelf components with an lowest common denominator, one-size-fits-all, fragmented and insecure OS.

• Apple’s control of the whole widget (hardware+operating system] guarantees as seamless an experience as possible for Mac users. Those using Windows have no such guarantee. Over time, no matter how little you value your time, the Apple Mac is less expensive than Windows, even if it did cost a little more upfront. The more you value your time, the quicker the Mac saves you money versus Windows. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is perhaps the most overlooked idea by the vast majority of PC buyers. It’s as close to all-important an idea as you can get when it comes to purchasing decisions, yet it somehow goes completely ignored by most people! The exact same idea holds true for iPod+iTunes vs. also-ran digital music player trying to interact with somebody else’s struggling online music outfit. Control of the whole widget always was, and still is, one of Apple’s main advantages. — MacDailyNews, April 30, 2006

• Vertical integration simply gives the user a superior experience, just look at the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and very soon, iPad, for proof. — MacDailyNews, March 26, 2010

• The Apple wannabes and those who settle for knockoffs are coming to a sad realization. There’s only one master of vertical integration in technology: Apple. And they have a nearly 40-year head start.MacDailyNews Take, June 7, 2014

• The more vertical integration, the better! So-called competitors will only fall further and further behind. — MacDailyNews, December 19, 2015

Apple’s A10 CPU is a beast; iPhone 7 Plus benchmark appears online – September 6, 2016
The death of Google’s ‘Project Ara’ underscores Apple’s iPhone advantage – September 2, 2016
Apple’s executive changes hint at an even greater level of vertical integration to come – December 19, 2015
Microsoft finally realizes that Steve Jobs was right all along – October 30, 2015
Samsung will never overcome Apple’s advantage in mobile device profitability – July 30, 2015
Why Google and Microsoft couldn’t emulate the Apple mobile device model – July 9, 2015
J.P. Morgan analyst prefers ‘vertically integrated’ approach like Apple’s in smartphone market – March 26, 2010
Apple’s vertically integrated Mac could make interim Wintel model look like a detour – April 25, 2008
Apple has proven that vertical integration works better – October 24, 2006
Apple was right all along: vertical market quality trumps horizontal market woes – April 30, 2006


  1. One of the very reason’s I am a fan of Apple is that they make both the Hardware and Software to work together seamlessly…
    This cannot be said of simply everyone else….Case closed…;-)

  2. Sometimes I think Apple fans compare themselves to the competition MORE than the other way a round. I think most android people don’t THINK about Apple all that much. It interesting that Apple fans talk about the 45 Samsung batteries and RECALL! But NOT the THOUSANDS of people ,who have had to repair their 6’s due to the bending that break the internal board related to the home button and gray screen issue. NOt to mention Apple refiuses to deal with it and ONCE AGAIN has to be threatened with a class action lawsuit, similar to the screen issues with MBP’s last year.

    PS I own no Samsung products and currently 5 Apple phones,pads, etc

    1. I disagree. There’ always a meme for each iPhone welcoming iPhone users to “a few years ago,” despite the iPhone either already having those features or only including them when they’re mature.

      For instance, Android had NFC years before iPhone did. And nobody used it except for a few basement-dwelling nerds and their friends. Apple got bank industry support and now we have NFC and Apple Pay. I’m ok with that.

      Apple got the security model right in 2012. Android got that in 2015, so I suppose we could make a meme about that.

    2. Apple is not perfect and neither are its devices. But, overall, people have high opinions of Apple product quality and customer service. In my experience, those opinions are justified.

      You list some specific issues with Apple products. I would be interested in a similar list for Samsung.

    3. Spend a minute or two on Imgur. I’ve never seen such vitriolic hate about Apple as happens whenever a post disparaging an Apple product rears its ugly head. I’ve developed quite a distaste for android users because of this.

  3. Did you just compare all of the injuries and property damage that Samsung has inflicted to the inconvenience of having to get a replacement phone/computer because of Apple’s design flaws?

    I believe that MDN has covered the does cover these issues when Apple screws the pooch. This issue with people getting seriously injured or loosing a car or a house is way worse, period. MDN is simply reflecting the news coverage.

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