Apple sits in an interesting position regarding new technology. Every year we see PC vendors and smartphone makers introduce new products with seemingly important new features that you won’t find in a new iPhone.
Samsung and other smartphone makers had OLED displays long before Apple’s iPhones. Windows PCs had fingerprint sensors before the Mac. On one side of the argument, Apple seems to be behind competitors almost all the time.
Motorola has a new mid-ranger smartphone called One Hyper and it comes with a 64MP backside camera and a 32MP selfie camera. A pop-up camera on the top. Even the battery seems generous at 38 hours from a full charge and another generous 128GB of storage.
In other words, more advanced hardware than most recent iPhones but at half the price. Samsung and other makers also toss in newer advancements at lower prices.
The problem is two-fold.
First, new technology often means rough technology that doesn’t work well. Look around. It has taken years for smartphone makers and PC makers to get fingerprint readers and facial recognition to work right, while Apple’s has been chugging along as the mainstream feature to follow.
Second, few of those manufacturers that push out so-called advanced features need to ship as many smartphones as Apple which prefers to polish and hone new technology to match expected quality, and needs to be able to manufacture premium devices in the hundreds of millions.
Not even Samsun makes and sells as many premium Galaxy models smartphones as Apple does iPhones.
As an example, the iPhone 11 Pro camera is 12MP, but thanks to Apple’s innovative computational photography efforts, it generates better photos and videos than cameras with 64MP or 108MP.
Likewise, you will find many Windows 10 PCs at half the price of a Mac, but not with fully comparable features. Add iPad and Mac sales, and Apple is the world’s largest PC vendor, and that means it will ship some hardware components in very large numbers relative to a smaller competitor that ships new and advanced features in very small quantities.
Maybe that’s the burden of being an industry leader. Competitors can ship new technology sooner, but not in quantity, while Apple needs to wait until manufacturing can catch up to volume requirements.
It doesn’t matter.
Apple, whether iPhone, Mac, iPad, Watch, or wireless earbuds, tends to be late delivering new technology which then becomes the industry standard design.