My question is somewhat rhetorical in nature, but perhaps more serious than a first read might indicate. Every Mac, iPhone, and iPad comes with a variety of complex components; some off the shelf, some custom designed and manufactured.
Historically, Apple’s products reign in the premium segment of each product category, but those products do not always have the best components or the highest specifications versus competitors. So, why doesn’t Apple make the very best of every component in each product?
Exception, Meet Rule
Every commonality in technology is full of exceptions and when it comes to Apple there’s no difference. At times, Apple’s products sport the best component you can get anywhere on the market. At other times, the company is woefully behind any number of competitors. Here are some examples.
Remember the iMac? A few years ago Apple launched the iMac with Retina 5k display, leapfrogging most of the desktop competition. Apple did the same with Mac notebooks years earlier. Today, every Mac with a screen has a Retina display except low-end or entry-level devices, including the 21.5-inch iMac and the MacBook Air line.
By comparison, look at the iPhone. Yes, all models have a Retina display, but the resolution and color and clarity sometimes pale in significance to competitors like Samsung, Huawei, HTC and others. Apple’s iPhone screens still look good but they’re no longer the best by any definition. The same holds true for the iPhone’s camera. Yes, the photos and videos are great, especially considering they’re in a smartphone in your pocket, but comparisons to photos on Samsung’s latest make the iPhone’s photos look anemic; especially on a screen with lesser resolution and anemic specifications.
Other examples abound. Whatever happened to the Mac Pro? Sure, it’s cool looking and a marvel of design and engineering but performance makes the device look positively senior citizen when compared to professional level PCs with greater performance and capability for much less money.
The List Goes On
Wait. There’s more. Apple sells a 27-inc Thunderbolt display for $1,000 that doesn’t even match the design esthetic of today’s iMacs, isn’t even a Retina display, yet it’s priced hundreds more than screens with far greater resolution and specifications. Why does Apple sit on the Thunderbolt display? Clearly it’s yesterday’s (or, last week’s) technology.
Wireless charging has been around on smartphones for a couple of years and the best Apple can do is the charging base for Watch. AMOLED displays are all the rage but Apple sticks with lesser quality LCDs. Despite Apple’s highly touted A9 and A9X CPUs at the heart of iPhones and iPads, multi-core offerings from Samsung, Huawei, LG, and others often perform better in benchmarks.
Technologists already know that the latest Android OS versions come with more functionality and capability than iOS 9, but Apple charges a solid premium for its products. Apple’s products do not always contain the latest, most advanced, or even the best components. Since we’re paying a premium for Apple’s devices, this question comes to mind.
Why? Or, put another way, ‘Why doesn’t Apple provide the best components in every product?‘