Last week I read an article which pitted various tablets against the iPhone in a sort of battery life shootout. Which tablet won? Take a guess. Apple’s new iPad Air crushed the competition, with some Samsung models coming in dead last on both internet and video use tests.
What does that tell us about Apple?
Basically, battery life is one of those daily user experiences that Apple sweats over. Why? Because users want long battery life. One of my cubicle mates has a new MacBook Air which he uses when out of the office. It gets well over 12-hours on a charge.
With a little consideration for which apps get background processes and cellular usage, my iPhone’s battery lasts two full days (I’m not a gamer, though). Battery life is but one bullet point on a product feature page, but for Apple it’s an important one.
Smartphone and tablet competitors need to differentiate their products from Apple’s iPhone and iPad. How? Usually, it’s a combination of lower price, and a larger, longer list of features.
For example, many smartphones have larger screens. The iPhone does not. So, those smartphones are advertised with a higher pixel density and screen resolution than an iPhone with Retina display. Forget the fact that the naked eye can’t tell the difference between an iPhone’s Retina display at 331ppi (pixels per inch) vs. say, new displays from Japan Display which weighs in at up to 543ppi.
Once a certain pixel density is reached, most smartphone users won’t be able to tell the difference, but all those extra and mostly useless pixels come with a negative side– they suck up battery juice.
It seems that Apple prefers to focus on features which are actually usable, rather than a list of features to make up a comparison chart. Apple knows that if the overall user experience is a good one, the company doesn’t need to play the tit-for-tat feature creep game.
Why doesn’t the iPhone or iPad have a replaceable battery? For most of us, there’s no need. For power users, there are plenty of add-on options. Why doesn’t the iPhone or iPad have an SD card slot or an option to add more memory? I may not be the typical average user, but I haven’t used an SD card for years. It’s just too easy to send files over the air these days. And, because Apple focused on making the iPhone’s camera the best on a smartphone, my Canon DSLR is gathering dust.
In the smartphone and tablet arena, Samsung, Microsoft, and to a certain extent, Google, play the traditional feature comparison game. Instead of creating a better user experience, each manufacturer adds more features to the list while cutting the price tag (to be lower than Apple). That results in products which cost less, yes, but don’t usually last as long, and often give the users a crummy experience, so, in turn, those manufacturers don’t sell as many products in the same category as Apple.
For the most part, Apple doesn’t play that crazy game, knowing that it’s a sure fire way to dig a company into a hole.