Market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli has crunched some numbers to see exactly why Apple’s iPad can do double the legwork with half the hardware specifications of competing tablets.Many of our readers may have figured this one out ahead of the fine people at iSuppli, but we’ll indulge those who aren’t sure about the answer, and that is: Apple designs both the software and the hardware.
And it makes perfect sense, even the less savvy readers will agree.
The advantage of creating both the brains and the brawn, when it comes to electronics, is that you can design them to work hand in hand.
An example is A5 chip, conceived by Apple with iOS (and especially iOS 5) in mind.
Admittedly, it's manufactured by Samsung. However, the Korean chip maker is under strict guidelines when it comes to the silicon powering Apple's iPad 2 right now. Basically, it's as if Apple was assembling it in-house.
“Since Apple controls both the operating system and hardware design of the iPad, it is able to attain design efficiencies that other tablet manufacturers cannot,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS.
“These efficiencies become obvious in areas like the memory and the battery, where Apple maintains advantages in cost, space savings and performance compared with every competitor in the business,” said Lam.
“Apple takes a vertically integrated approach to its products, from the operating system to the user interface, to the hardware design, down to the selection of individual parts used in the device,” Lam noted.
“For example, Apple even uses its own applications processor design in both the iPad and iPad 2. In contrast, Android tablet makers buy those capabilities from the likes of Nvidia, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm. This gives Apple greater control in multiple areas of product development,” said the analyst.
Lam also noted that iOS is the key driver in the tablet’s efficient memory usage, citing the unique way it multi-tasks. By contrast, competitors’ devices do this by the book (much like desktop computers).
Adding insult to injury, Apple is also able to source hardware components months ahead of its competitors - also an observation by iSuppli in one of its recent reports - which further enables the Cupertino giant to be at the very edge of performance.