Is the advantage just down to the silicon?
Or is the fact that Android started off as a POS and got worse over the years also contributing?
Steve Jobs once said that "innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have" – it's all about how you spend it. Despite spending a far lower proportion of its income on R&D* than Google, Apple's approach is paying off in one area in particular. The huge investment in proprietary, homegrown silicon is giving it …
That iOS is such a piece of out of date crap.
That stupid icon grid system is horrible, you can't assign default apps, you can't freely move files around (for example plug in a flash drive) because of the walled garden apprach.
In the real world most people don't need the speed. CPW were telling me the S8 is "so powerful" but for what exactly?
Tha hardware may be great from a technical standpoint, but it's a bit like putting a Ferrari engine in a Mini Metro.
Modern android pre-compiles the app to a closer-to-native format. The Dalvik / Java thing is basically gone, and it's all JIT and ahead-of-time compilation, with on-the-fly profiling and optimisation.
I would put this down to being more about "we only have one phone with fixed hardware, so you can massively optimise all your apps towards that" versus "anything can run Android, your app has to check for everything, so your optimisations will never be perfect on all devices". There's also an Internet speed factor here, too, Super Mario Run and those other apps do a lot of network activity on startup (try it without data and wifi turned off - it just bugs out) that can slow such tests down. And I'm sure I can find a hundred tests that the iPhone "fails" on just the same.
I guess that by the time the S8 gets to the point that I would bother to touch it, I won't even notice anyway. The iPhone will basically just never come down in price.
To be honest, raw performance isn't what I buy smartphones for, though.
I hate pissing contests over raw numbers when, actually, things like "I'd like to plug headphones in", "can I change the battery", "can I change the SIM", "can I buy an approved charger for a non-ridiculous price", "can I expand the onboard storage", "do I *need* an account to make it work", etc. are much bigger questions for a smartphone to my mind.
Sadly, Samsung et al are following the stupid Apple answers for some of those questions even now. I stuck on the S5 Mini - fast enough (and hence, can't really see why I'd need it significantly faster and I do all kinds on my smartphone), stable enough, cheap enough, sensible enough, accessorisable enough (though USB host would have been nice), small enough and big enough, and lasts long enough.
iOS started off as a cut-down version of MacOS which itself is based on OpenBSD. Your problems with it are you don't like the launcher and there's no external memory card support, so you don't like what they're selling, not that it's out of date.
I wouldn't buy one either.
Hehe, I remember asking a 'first adopter' the same question when he upgraded from his Galaxy II to a III some years ago - what does a phone need all that power for?
What has happened in the mean time is that people use their phones for more intensive tasks. For example, the early days of smartphones, the cameras were no match for a dedicated cameras - now they are good enough for many situations, so the PC is taken out of the workflow. It's all on the phone.
Whilst I'm on record here for being happy enough to slum it with a £45 Huawai (I loved the way it bounced on tarmac!), using a Nexus 5 is a breath of fresh air in comparison (yeah, I know it's a years-old model).
I won't buy a phone that doesn't have removable memory and battery so that rules out Apple products. I also have got very attached to having weather/countdown/world time/calendar widgets on my home screen. I've made a couple of ZooperPro widgets that I have customised to suit me and you can't do that on IOS. Someone at a party a couple of Christmases ago asked if I'd make them the same widget for their phone and I had to let them down gently when I explained that such things don't work on an iPhone.
I won't buy a phone that doesn't have removable memory and battery so that rules out Apple products.
And almost ever other phone manufacturer.
If by "removable" you mean "replaceable," iPhone and iPad batteries can be replaced. Soldering is required, of course, but that's no different from Pixel, Galaxy S7 & 8, and many, many other current devices.
With Android phones, the device will become obsolete and dangerous due to lack of OS and security updates long before the battery gives out.
There is no soldering required. Maybe there was on the first generation or two, but that has not been true for a LONG time. It looks pretty simple (never needed to replace the battery in any of mine) so I think anyone who knows which end of a screwdriver to use could manage it.
You will need a special screwdriver and device to pry open the case, but the batteries I've seen sold on the net include both.
Let's see, maybe it's the fact that the tires are not up to the task, the brakes are certainly not either, and I'd rather not see the result of a Ferrari-engined Metro having skidded into a wall after failing to brake in time.
A car is not just a chassis where you drop an engine in. Cars are designed in every aspect to conform to the performance they are supposed to give. That is why you don't have any small cars with 8 or 6-cylinder engines either. They're not made for that kind of power and it would be dangerous to try.
I seem to recall a Vauxhall Nova (beloved of many a Max Power reader) having a rather larger engine dropped in it without any major tweaks to structural integrity or the brakes. Apparently its chassis was a bit wonky after some use of the new setup.
Car power is measured in PS, or BHP, not x cylinder. The number of cylinders does not correlate to the power. You can get 4 cylinder engines that produce way more power than a v8.
Small cars can have as much power as you want, the issues is normally the fact that many small cars are FWD and you get excessive wheelspin as the weight is thrown backwards and excessive torque-steer as the driving wheels are also the steering wheels. Put 4wd on them and they're sound.
"... you get excessive wheelspin as the weight is thrown backwards and excessive torque-steer as the driving wheels are also the steering wheels."
Torque steer is a function of the axle shaft and suspension geometry. If the axle shafts are equal length and equal stiffness and the suspension matches left to right then there is no torque steer. The problem is that it is difficult to do since the engine side shaft tends to necessarily be longer than the transmission side shaft since there isn't typically room to center the differential and mirror all the suspension geometry.
To be completely pedantic the weight isn't "thrown backward" as it's a combination of inertia and reaction torque that loads up the rear wheels. Again, technically solvable to a large degree but given the confines of space and cost means they use traction control (read brakes) to limit wheelspin.
"The problem is that it is difficult to do since the engine side shaft tends to necessarily be longer than the transmission side shaft since there isn't typically room to center the differential and mirror all the suspension geometry"
Peugeot, in the GTI and diesel 205s, used to fit an outrigger bearing on the side opposite the diff, precisely for this reason. Pedantically, I don't think it's the length of the drive shafts that matters per se, it's that the CV joints exhibit a self-straightening effect under load which is proportional to the angle that they're at, so you need to mirror left and right to get the angles the same. Bumps or corner roll, of course, throw that alignment out as one wheel deflects, so the steering loads or kicks.
"That is why you don't have any small cars with 8 or 6-cylinder engines either. "
Completely OT but a former colleague had a small Mazda with a tiny 1.8l V6. It and many of the traditional US V8s produced no more power than you can get these days in a four-cylinder supermini.
The number of cylinders tells you nothing about the power output and these days, the capacity doesn't tell you much either when some engines are churning out 170BHP/litre and the top of the range new Smart produces about 4 times the BHP of the original Mini from about the same engine capacity.
Same with phone technology; number of cores is pretty meaningless when they can vary so greatly in performance.
Years ago I pulled up at the Handy Cross roundabout and a rusty shit brown Mk1 Fiesta drew up alongside me. It had prismatic Turbo stickers in the rear window. I remember thinking Oh yeah, then the lights changed and this thing shot off into the distance with all 4 wheels spinning and leaving me in the dust.
It's nothing to do with silicon. iOS is a ancient platform that under the covers has very basic capabilities, no background services, very limited multitasking essentially a toy OS. Android has all the needs of a full grown up OS.
If you want performance, write C and compile to NDK, if you want quick development, use SDK and Java syntax which compiles to device targeted, near native execute speed davlik.
This comparison is mostly clickbait nonsense.
> no background services, very limited multitasking
Either you're trolling, or incredibly stupid, or most likely both.
iOS has had both from day one, just not implemented in the same (memory & battery hungry) way as Android. As a most basic example, how would you be able to take a phone call whilst using any other app, if there were no background services or just limited multitasking?
Apple has implemented much better multitasking management than Android, which is why on iOS there's no need to constantly keep shutting down background apps (although many clueless people still think the iOS app switcher is a task manager and do just that thinking it helps).
Ok, I will help you out, no background services for 3rd party apps, and no proper multitasking either.
It's why I can send pictures from my Sony DSLR direct to my android phone, but on iOS I need to launch the app, only the OS can run services, not installed apps.
Plenty of other similar restrictions too, no real filesystem, no way of sending files direct via Bluetooth, NFC is locked to Apple pay etc etc etc. The list of efst you can't do on iOS is huge... That's why it's a toy os.
Oh god, no background services for 3rd party apps on iOS?
Oh no, we've got it wrong, our navigation and traffic disruption app doesn't work in the background. It can't be processing all that location information and providing traffic updates and sending them to the user.
It must be the magic IOS fairies that are doing that and not all the fucking code we wrote to do background processing that isn't happening.
If you're going to slag off IOS, there's plenty enough to slag off, just choose something you fucking know something about, zits, wanking or checking the Littlewoods underwear section in their catalogue.
Yet Android still can't manage low latency audio, and you'd expect a full grown up OS to be able to do that.
The iPhone's functionality may be restricted or cut back, but the fundamentals underneath are sound. Multitasking was limited for apps for a reason, that reason being battery life.
"So why is the battery usage significantly worse in these tests?"
Pushing the bits around faster mean you use more energy to do that, and hopefully not cast it off as heat energy. A mobile device should be able to throttle the CPU, and other services, based on usage/need. Similarly, in a "drag race" you spend a ton of fuel for a very short trip. It's spending all available resources to get maximum power. The wheels from your Mustang shooting out across the highway like a slug from a .45, true performance, this is Black Sunshine!
Sorry, was channeling Rob Zombie there, you get the idea though.
>>It's nothing to do with silicon. iOS is a ancient platform...<<
Really? iOS is based on one of the best and most secure Unixes. Linux trades security for performance. Darwin and Mach are more secure - yet as the benchmark shows wins in performance as well.
Writing in C? Another tradeoff of security, correctness, and development speed for performance. And yet C will most likely lose in performance as well.
For security reasons both C and Linux should be avoided. That would be a sophisticated system.
Linux is good for servers where they are tightly controlled for security - but for end-user devices, no. In end-user environments the built-in security of the OS must be instead added on top of Linux. That is a poor approach to security.
Security is now the biggest issue in town - sophisticated systems like iOS - address security from the base up, not as an afterthought.
The more I read your comments that >>very limited multitasking essentially a toy OS<< the more I think you are wrong and your post is nonsense.
>" iOS is a ancient platform that under the covers has very basic capabilities, no background services, very limited multitasking essentially a toy OS"
Completely inaccurate of course. Apple implements a far more intelligent multi-tasking architecture than Android.
On Android any app could for example continuously poll a data source every few seconds or minutes in case a value changes thus using up battery, CPU clock cycles and network bandwidth.
What Apple did instead was to implement a comprehensive Push/notifications architecture that developers can use that only pushes the updated data to the app when that value changes, thus eliminating all of the wasteful behaviour that is otherwise required. This is just one example of how much more intelligent Apple’s multi-tasking architecture is than the simple multi-tasking implementation of Android.
iOS intelligently allows a huge range of app processes to multi-task in the background including tracking GPS locations, downloading files, playing music, checking for new content, refreshing data, receiving push notifications, continuously tracking accelerometer, barometer and digital compass motion data with the Motion chip, voice calls and VOIP, SMS and messaging, communication with external and Bluetooth accessories etc all in the background while other apps are in the foreground.
Much better than the wildwest of rogue programs and widgets draining batteries and sapping CPU cycles on Android.
A sensible and informed comment about IOS on The Register. Whats the world coming to?
I might disagree with "Apple implements a far more intelligent multi-tasking architecture than Android." as well as whether it is a comprehensive push architecture. IOS 10 has got better, but we could argue that over a pint.
Tha hardware may be great from a technical standpoint, but it's a bit like putting a Ferrari engine in a Mini Metro.
BS. I've seen the results of putting a Porsche engine into a old VW bug. One of the guys who did it selected a rather large Porsche engine, and that meant that he had to delete the engine hatch cover. He also had to replace the exhaust system, and the transmission; he got them from the same scrapped Porsche he'd got the engine from. When he was done he painted the VW to match Herbie the Love Bug and had the fastest VW in captivity. When last I saw him, at least five years after he first hacked the VW, he was still driving it (and still attracting traffic tickets from traffic cops with no sense of humour). He also had a Ford Taurus with a monster V-8 engine, and a Lada 1100 with a 2-litre Cortina engine and transmission. Let's just say that he liked to go fast.
I'm sceptical till I see genuine independent third party testing, including power consumption for similar size and resolution screen.
Who does Apple use as a foundry? They bought in an ARM licence chip design company, but I think don't have fab.
If this really is so much better, yet again it shows that large companies mostly "innovate" by buying in an already successful company with the R&D team.
TSMC and Samsung have historically made their SOC's. More recently, it has been almost 100% TSMC.
As for the comments about IOS being out of date etc. That is your opinion. I would counter that by saying that most Hipster Fanboi's don't care. As long as it is easy to use they are fine.
Sure Android can be made more configurable. But be honest here, how many ordinary Android users care? How many do what you want?
I see it like the Linux desktop. Infinitely configurable but how many users do much if anything.
"I would counter that by saying that most Hipster Fanboi's don't care. As long as it is easy to use they are fine."
No. As long as the Apple logo is always visible on their i-thingy they are fine. They would be happily buy a block of wood from Apple so long as that block had the Apple logo on it.
The majority of companies that use an ARM processor take an off-the-shelf ARM design, combine it with components from ARM or 3rd parties to form their SoC and hand the results to a fab company (TSMC, Samsung etc) to build. A small number of companies (Apple, Qualcomm and nVidia for example) have Architecture licences, which allows them to come up with their own CPU designs that execute ARM code. The resulting designs can be faster and/or more power efficient than the stock ARM cores.
The silicon design company (PA RISC IIRC) was bought many years ago, well before the first of their internal ARM designs. The designers may be pre Apple, but their work has all been done on Apple's time.
As Steve Todd says, Apple have an architecture licence, so they can design their own silicon that runs ARM stuff. And they do it very well indeed, their memory controllers are strikingly good (or was a couple of years ago), and they can make a huge difference. IIRC they are best in class with very good latency figures.
I am an Android user who won't touch Apple product with a barge pole, but does appreciate good silicon design.
It's not a single thing, but the test does a bunch of things a typical user might - and those things typically don't require multiple cores to perform. And in any single-core comparison, Apple's chips are just ridiculously faster than any Android CPUs - we're talking like twice as fast, if I remember the benchmarks correctly. I think even an iPhone 6s beat today's latest Android cpus. The speed of the storage is probably also a factor, but I haven't read much about the difference between Apple & Android in that regard. I suspect (and so did the tester on another one of these "real world" tests where Apple won easily) that the memory management in iPhone is just much better or, perhaps, apps in Android land are just much more bloated in size, making it more time consuming to move them in/out of memory.
Apple is in this moment the best builder of an mobile computer appliance if you want it or not.
Sadly no comparison about this mobile pc's with ARM against mobile pc's with X86 cpu's ...
should be really interesting to see how close booth worlds are at this point...
How do you define a Monopoly?
Aren't there a gazillion more Android devices sold that iThingies?
In many markets, Android has around 80% of the market and can be by a good number of measures be defined as a monpoly.
Please enlighten us as to why you think Apple is a monpoly. I'm sure it will be an education to the Fanbois who are in constant denial of this fact.
I don't think I've ever bought a phone because of its performance benchmark. And, even though Apple's silicon has traditionally outperformed the competition in key areas such as the GPU, it's wisely steered clear of comparisons along those lines. Apple's value proposition to customers is a beautiful product with all the nasty technology hidden away and seamless integration in the Apple world*. As Andrew himself has repeatedly pointed out: it's not about the hardware but about the platform.
What Android offers is choice. I personally won't buy a phone that doesn't have an OLED screen. Others find the idea of replaceable batteries or cheap memory expansion via SD cards, or a different browser or mail client. Google and Android manufacturers spent years playing catch up with Apple in both the hardware and OS but overtook them a couple of years ago. Since then Apple has started to copy the upstarts with larger screens and things like notifications but where's support for multiple windows?
The comparison of R&D spending between Apple and Google is disingenuous. Google has its fingers a great deal more pies and is actively looking for new markets. When did Apple last launch a genuinely new product? Of course, as long as it sells I-Phones at current volumes and margins, it doesn't really need to do much.
* This may or may not be the case for users. Certainly isn't for me.
Pray tell us what contract that is just so that we can avoid it like the plague.
My deal is £11/month 600mins, 600texts and 1Gb data.
I wouldn't pay anyone $150 a month for a phone service.
Oh, and an iDevice comes with a charger and mine cost £250 at an auction.
Any device with a USB 1,2 or 3 output can be used to charge an iDevice so don't let your pure hatred of Apple get in the way of your ranting.
I don't understand what putting an ever-faster CPU into a phone actually achieves?
I don't go to bed hugging my phone, it's not that important to me in the scheme of things. It's a 2 year old LG company phone, that has the traditional set of apps, that all load in a reasonable amount of time.
Infact there's no instance where my phone feels slow.
Also, the comparison between Apple and Google R&D and advertising spend, is that specifically just for Mobiles? Or are they comparing the overall cost, even though Google has wider technology interests?
This test video doesn't prove that Apple's hardware alone is faster than the Android phones. If you wanted a fair side-by-side measure that then you need to run Android on the iPhone too. All this proves is that iOS is highly optimized for the hardware, which is far easier for Apple to do when they have tight control over all the hardware elements. As for hardware costs, again it is a bit of a unfair comparison when all you are going by is retail pricing. The exact margins are a closely guarded secret for Apple, but I'd suggest that they are far more likely to take a hit on each iPhone sale as long as it keeps people locked into their AppStore ecosystem and they proprietary accessories (ie. Lightning connector cables/dongles).
These days, speed isn't the only metric people use. In fact, as phones get faster, speed as a metric for phone sales becomes even less important. What does count are things like battery life (and all Android models in the test outperform the iPhone by significant margins there), features (like dual cameras, expandable storage, quick charge, etc), standardized connectors (headphone jacks, USB-micro or USB-C) and more software choice.
"Regardless of just how wonderful any iDevice is, I would crawl over broken glass..."
Similarly, you own a device which is an exact copy of an iPhone, down to the home buttony, shiny curved corners, silly icon-only interface and a USB charger. The only difference is that your kit is slow and cheap, and not cheap in a good way, cheap in a "we've had worse meat than this dear, during the war" kind of UK cheap. You know where "well, I guess it's just good enough" when it isn't. It's because you can't afford the good kit. Simple as that. I only get the good stuff because I see security updates regularly on it. I used to use a Samesong Android S4, but it never ever got more than one OS update. Just bullshit updates from the spies pretending to be my mobile carrier here in the US; AT&T. So, go get a good job, and perhaps you can afford a quality device once in your life, treat yourself. You sound angry about a device you don't have to own. It's just that everyone else does, and perhaps you had to purchase one for a gift. You should come clean, friend. So, that is your best bet for security and performance, an iPhone, as of today. The only crap thing is that I should be able to run macOS on it as well. That is a fucking crime.
If the article claimed that the CPU was the only reason iPhone wipes the floor with Android phones, you'd have a point - but the test simply measured how well the iPhone overall fared in some representative user activities relative to Android devices. It's a perfectly fair comparison.
Who cares how easy it is for Apple to integrate iOS and its hardware. The only thing that counts for customers is the result - and those are clear in the test.
When you say that "speed isn't the only metric people use", you're conflating two types of speed: CPU speed - and for this you are absolutely correct (except, that Apple users didn't care that much for this metric in the first place - only Android fanbois liked to talk about # of cores and multi-core benchmarks) - and speed of the overall system - and for this you're absolutely wrong! Of course people care how long it takes them to open apps, scroll through content, download stuff, etc.
The things you're claiming "count" are, of course, the things that are important to you. You have no proof at all that they're that important to others! Except for the battery, I couldn't give a rats a$$ about any of the other factors you care about. And I've never had an instant in which my iPhone didn't last a full day, so to some extent I don't even give a hoot about battery life.
Actually the article does make the point that CPU was the only reason the test was so different... unless of course you didn't actually read the article. Just the title alone spells it out: "Apple's zippy silicon leaves Android rivals choking on dust".
I'll happily maintain my position that speed isn't the only metric people use when buying a phone (regardless of whether it is CPU or UI speed). You say I have no proof that people value other factors matter, but similarly you have absolutely no proof that UI speed is the only factor for everyone.
It is nice that you seem to appreciate speed as your only valued metric, but I like my Android phone that has a fast enough UI for everyday usage, real multitasking (and Fast App Switching is NOT multitasking), expandable storage, a real headphone jack (with Quad DACs driving it) and a battery that will last more than a single day (and my phone even has a removable battery). Yes, many of the features I mentioned are things I look for, but I know I am not alone. It is clear from market share alone (Android 85+%, iPhone ~12%) that many people do want more from their phones than what Apple offer (whether that is a cheaper phone, a phone with more features or a phone that isn't locked to a Apple's walled garden).
"but I'd suggest that they are far more likely to take a hit on each iPhone sale as long as it keeps people locked into their AppStore ecosystem and they proprietary accessories (ie. Lightning connector cables/dongles)."
Even with the opaque reporting, this statement is provably untrue. Apple is a HW manufacturer that happens to hve services, software, music and so on. Make no mistake, they sell HW at a profit
Not necessarily. When the first iPhones and iPads came out, they were sold at a loss. Whether it was AT&T's loss or Apple's, nobody can be sure. It is the same issue with game consoles.
When the PS3 first came out, it cost ~$894, if I remember correctly. It's models retailed for $600 and $500. They take a loss because they will make it back in software and peripherals. It's the same with high end smartphones. Naturally, things get cheaper and so the first party profits off the hardware. But the majority of their revenue comes from services and products for the platform.
And that is logical since the majority of computer users now use their phones (or a tablet) to do all the stuff they used to have to need a PC for.
Personally, I prefer watching YouTube or general surfing on a platform that has at least a 19" screen and a keyboard/mouse combo, along with a comfy chair to enjoy the experience in - but apparently I'm a rabid old curmudgeon. And I'm perfectly fine with that.
@ Pascal Monett
"Personally, I prefer watching YouTube or general surfing on a platform that has at least a 19" screen and a keyboard/mouse combo, along with a comfy chair to enjoy the experience in - but apparently I'm a rabid old curmudgeon. And I'm perfectly fine with that."
Well said that man.
Oh, and my choice of either speakers or headphones, as the situation warrants.
Android is the Windows of the mobile market.
Yes, I said it. And it's an accurate comparison:
Runs on all kinds of hardware / must run on all kinds of hardware
Compatibility between versions, drivers and applications can be very complex
OS developer doesn't have a big stake on the hardware side of things
HW vendors customize it (even more with Android than Windows, but think of all the bloatware/utilities on a new Windows machine)
Anyone can write an application for it and distribute it
Yeah. Mine is the flame-retardant one because of the usual reaction to this statement.
No, they do it to get you to come out of the woodwork and proclaim that they are trying to be cool, so you look cool for pointing that out, Mr Cool. Wow, you're so cool, and now I am too, since I just cooled you out! Just like when Judge Clarence Thomas pointed out to an unsuspecting coworker underling that he did indeed have rats living in his giant, wintery, pube bush. :P It's a fact. Be cool, bro. And enjoy iOS 10.3.1 the KING of the mobile OSes, me old son! Hail to the king, baby! And other cool phrases!
Hey, everybody, just consider the fact that you are cooler than us two "geniuses" just because you are not participating in this childish tit-for-tat about how much a mobile computing device or another does this or that. Have you hugged your cat today? Think about it. Won't you? Thank you. [seriously, I'm going to start inserting faked adverts into my posts if everybody does not start cooling the frig out!]
This post brought to you by a leading, maximum horse-strength, laxative and chocolate substitute.
I'll add a few facts to the discussion.
There are hundreds of ARM core licensees and only a handful of architectural licensees.
It's a difficult life as a regular architecture licensee. ARM comes out with an early spec that has the inevitable pre-implementation gaps and flaws. ('Triple fault with an instruction crossing a page boundary referencing a misaligned word in privileged memory should do what on an ECC retry?) ARM has a tendency to redefine the spec to match their implementation experience, making an already-designed chip incompatible.
Apple doesn't have this problem. By owning the platform, hardware, OS and application interface, they can accept their own bugs and unique work-arounds. All the while leveraging the difficult work of architecture design, compilers and toolchains done by the community and the rest of the industry.
My Samsung Galaxy S7 might let me put 2 apps side by side, but the feature has practically let me down every blue moon I've had a real need to use it.
Example: I needed to type in a long string of digits from an SMS msg into a parking app that didn't allow anything to be pasted in from the clipboard. I put the 2 apps side by side, but everytime I activated the input box, the SMS view would disappear off screen.
Luckily I found a pen in the glove box and ended up scribbling the code onto a napkin to transfer into the parking app.
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