Does anyone need to argue that Apple is shifting to Services? Or, pivoting toward Wearables? Nope. The truth is out there. Apple is a hardware company. Most of us who have been Apple customers for anything North of a decade know Apple kit tends to last longer and cause fewer headaches than typical Windows or Android riffraff.
As an Apple executive put it, ‘Hardware is hard.’ Indeed. I found a perfect example of why Apple focuses so much on perfecting hardware and keeping hardware so well differentiated among competitors.
Let me start with iPhone 11 Pro and go backward.
Andrei Frumusanu ran the typical benchmark tests on iPhone 11 Pro with its crazy fast A13 Bionic CPU inside.
Apple’s performance improvement claims for this year have been a little more conservative, with the company promising a 20% performance increase or a 40% decrease in power at the same performance as the A12. Last year’s jump was a rather large one, and we don’t expect Apple (or any vendor for that matter) to repeat it any time soon, especially as we saw both major microarchitectural changes as well as the adoption of the new 7nm manufacturing node at the same time.
That’s nerd talk for very fast. Nothing new, right? Move along. Nothing to see here.
Except there is something to see. Apple’s hardware is so good, so fast, that the company can sell old iPhone models at a notable discount and still deliver an iPhone experience better than comparable Android smartphones priced in the mid-range.
Apple has three years of iPhones available for sale.
The new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Plus, there is last year’s iPhone XR with the A12 Bionic chip, and from the year before, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with the A11 Bionic chip.
Old hardware means lower prices. iPhone XR is priced from $599 and iPhone 8 starts at $449. Those prices and the hardware compete well against many Android models in a similar price range, with similar specifications.
Apple manages to upgrade iOS each year so new devices can run the latest version for five or six years, which means even older models get a refreshed iOS version for years afterward– something not managed well by Google’s Android OS.
What that means is simple.
Apple’s hardware is so good that even older iPhone models can be used for many years, and come with substantial discounts over brand new models, yet still run the same new versions of iOS.
If you love the nitty-gritty of benchmarks, AnandTech’s detailed benchmarks are a geek’s delight. If you just want to know how iPhone 11’s cameras fare against Google’s best, check out Tom Warren’s review with sample photos.