Think about the enormity of Apple’s supply chain. Each year Apple sells about 240-million iPhones, around 45-million iPads, and more than 20-million Macs. That means Apple buys a very large number of components from third party suppliers– the supply chain– to go into each of those devices. That also means Apple has a big supply chain problem.
Have you ever wondered why Apple slow walks new technology? It’s somewhat like The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon when he did his slow jam the news with President Obama. Slow. As in not fast. Apple seems to be much the same when it comes to upgrading iPhone, iPad, and Mac with newer components.
For example, many Windows PC makers had Intel’s newest CPUs long before Apple updated Macs with similar hardware. Here’s another example. Many smaller competitors have had OLED displays and now have micro-bezel displays on their iPhones.
Where is Apple? Slow walking the supply chain. Why? Because few manufacturers can product the number of parts that Apple needs to keep iPhone up to date with the latest trends in the industry. Apple will get there, but it’s something of a slow walk; almost as if Apple isn’t even in a hurry.
Wait a minute. Doesn’t Samsung have the latest OLED and micro-bezel displays this year in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8?
Yes. And that’s the point. Samsung makes those displays but Apple will sell more iPhones in the next 12 months than Samsung will sell Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 models. And Samsung makes the displays Apple will use in the next year.
Apple’s scale– it sells more than 200-million iPhones each year– means some newer components will have to wait a year or two until manufacturers can ramp up production. In the meantime, such newer technology– OLED displays, micro-bezel displays, and other components– is available for lesser manufacturers.
Yes, Apple’s supply chain problem is exactly the kind of problem competitors would love to have, even though they get first crack and newer components. Does this quandary hurt Apple? Probably so, but certainly not much, since Apple and Samsung own almost every penny made in the smartphone segment.
Apple does manage to get a good supply of its own A-Series CPUs by farming the production to multiple sources (as it does with many other device components) and while it may seem as if Apple is into the slow walk routine with newer, more modern parts, behind the scenes the company struggles to keep up because it sells in massive volumes that smaller competitors cannot match.
It’s hard being on top.
That brings me to Samsung which makes most of its own components in the premium Galaxy models but is hobbled by anemic Android software and sometimes its own crummy software. Brian X. Chen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8:
Some of the biometrics, including the ability to unlock your phone by scanning your face or irises, are so poorly executed that they feel like marketing gimmicks as opposed to actual security features.
Translation: they don’t work very well.
This may be a good reason why Apple seems to slow walk hardware which requires software to function.
The iris scanner shines infrared light in your eyes to identify you and unlock the phone. That sounds futuristic, but when you set up the feature, it is laden with disclaimers from Samsung. The caveats include: Iris scanning might not work well if you are wearing glasses or contact lenses; it might not work in direct sunlight; it might not work if there is dirt on the sensor.
Siri may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the competition isn’t much better. You would think Samsung would prefer functions that work to bullet points disguised as lies and disclaimers that make the function mostly worthless.
When you set up the face scanner, Samsung displays another disclaimer, including a warning that your phone could be unlocked by “someone or something” that looks like you. (Hopefully you don’t have a doppelgänger in the primate kingdom.) In addition, face recognition is less secure than using a passcode. So why would you even use it?
Apple may have slow walked such face recognition but I’m willing to bet it works better than anything Samsung has on the market.