All too often I see other companies hit the streets with new features that are better than what Apple brings to the table. Take the iPhone’s camera. A few years ago it was the best you could get in an iPhone. These days the best smartphone camera does not come from Apple. Why?
Supply, Meet Demand
While it’s true that Apple’s Touch ID worked better than competitor’s fingerprint sensors, and Face ID works better than competitor’s facial recognition, both are minor issues for smartphones where the camera rules supreme.
Whatever happened to Apple’s lead among smartphone cameras? Success.
This week I read about Huawei’s new P30 Pro with the Leica Quad Camera system. Some early reviews put it better than Galaxy S10 which tops iPhone XS Max. Well, it’s four cameras vs. Samsung’s three cameras vs. iPhone XS Max with two.
Why can’t Apple’s iPhone line have the Leica Quad Camera system, too. What’s the problem?
In some cases suppliers simply cannot manufacture the number of components that Apple needs to fill out the iPhone line. TSMC makes the company’s iPhone and iPad CPUs. Samsung makes the company’s OLED displays. Other suppliers manufacture other components, but it takes a large and diverse supplier base to make parts for 220-million iPhones every year.
Huwawei, Samsung, Google, Xiomi, and others– each with their own line of premium smartphones that compete with Apple– do not have the same requirements.
For example, Apple usually sells over 100-million new iPhone models each year. The rest are older models, still sufficiently powerful enough to compete, but they are sold at much lower price points.
How many Huawei P30 Pros with the Leica Quad Camera system will be sold? How many Samsung S10 or S10 Notes will be sold?
Not as many as Apple sells new iPhones.
Apple is a victim of its own success because component suppliers cannot always manufacture the quality and the quantity of components that the iPhone maker requires. Apple’s success– sheer numbers of products sold each year– prevents the company from launching the latest and greatest components that often show up in competitor products.
So, which smartphone has the best camera? Andrew Hoyle did a shootout between Huawei’s P30 Pro and the Galaxy S10. What you’ll see are photos that look remarkably similar, and mostly similar to what you would get from an iPhone XS Max. Near DSLR quality.
Technology is in a constant state of change but Apple’s success in sheer numbers often means the company is late to new features and functions.