Haven't pulled the curtains yet but has Apple changed something here?
There is such a thing as the Apple iPhone experience. It is a mix of iOS with the design of a device and how it feels and behaves, a touch of new features, and the engagement and itunes and apps and all. It's unclear to me to what extent each exact component of the mixture translates into that experience. I'm not much interested with UI in this post. Traditionally I don't think raw power is what defines the Apple experience per se, even more so this time over in a way, although it always seems pretty much top notch make and performance. Is it the best experience on a mobile device? Maybe. But what does it add to someone's experience that it is deemed the best by others? Meh whatever.
But something did change this time over with the iPhone and its performance upgrade 5S. So much so maybe that it's time to ask again what is the future of (mobile) computing considering the latest milestones. A desktop? A server? Maybe it will take some time to sink in, but Apple just :
- Achieved mobile desktop class performance on ARM in a phone form factor. Sure it's not the latest generation but it's "laptop class" - how long before they reach the same level of performance as current performance desktops?
- Achieved basically some desktop level of graphics performance with the GPU in the said phone.
- Implemented enterprise class computing with a 64 bit architecture - quite some time before the competition.
How this contributes to the classic iPhone experience is incremental at best for now as many have stated - but Apple made sure as always its customers would find the performance upgrade they've been used to. So they deliver but it seems trivial somewhat. What's not is that Apple has really built a proprietary ARM SoC that is Intel level silicon, and put it on arguably the best phone around, on their platform and ecosystem. And... no that's it. Gold, Space Grey etc.
So I'd really like to know if they're up to something more because it seems like lots of processing power for a phone alone. Of course future-proofing and being pals with Intel etc. but really? From the technical analysis I read, they've just spent who knows how much money combing transistors on their silicon. Then you look at the device tear-down and there's so much care put into the device. They may have put together all the business and engineering processes which could systematically yield leadership with the mobile hardware integration at this point. It's not user facing innovation, it's applied engineering/business R&D. When the scales really tilt over from desktop to mobile in terms of performance, with a strong brand at the helm, may something happen I wonder. What's next can't just be a watch - I would personally find it so underwhelming. Is all what they've done with the hardware really about servicing some casual apps and layers of animations? Competitors will bring hardware upgrades too but the question is how they integrate it really and what will Apple do during that window of time they have now. Only sell iPhones?
In other news Google seems to be "forking" Android with Chrome OS and Microsoft is... digesting a five course meal. They all seem to be acting on something we don't know and they're all stuck with two oses to maintain with no one making any real move towards one or the other. But didn't something change behind the scenes? What's going to happen if/when Apple's ARM reaches Intel's desktop if Microsoft can't up the ante as Google goes airborne with its new OS while Samsung brings Android to oil tankers and french door refrigerators all over the world? The end of the world through an ice age? Something? Is there something insightful to be said about this beyond numbers and figures?