Why is Apple the only one capable of making iPhone-class devices?

Why only Apple can make an iPhone-class device

I've said numerous times over the last year or so that only Apple could have made the iPhone 5 (from which both the current iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are derived). That's earned me my fair share of raised eyebrows and heckles, largely because I've never taken the time to explain what I mean by that. Here's the explanation: No other company on earth right now could, nor likely would if they could, make a device that packs as much technology into as relatively small a frame, at such high a quality, as Apple did with the iPhone 5. And that statement can be true whether you think positioning themselves to be able to make an iPhone 5 was brilliant, or stupid. Here's why:

  • How many other manufacturers are capable of spinning their own, custom silicone like the Apple A6 and Apple A7? Most just throw whatever Qualcomm's making into their phones. Yet the A6 and A7 let Apple tune power and performance explicitly for iOS 7, create the image signal processor (ISP) that lets the iSight camera outshoot rivals with much better optics, and provide the secure enclave for Touch ID.

  • How many other manufacturers are capable of shrinking down a camera to fit into the ludicrously thin chassis of the iPhone 5 series? Some add unsightly camera bulges, others ship crappy cameras. Yet Apple shaved off a significant amount of the z-index from the iSight camera and actually managed to improve on the quality of images it produced.

  • How many other manufacturers are capable of producing displays as advanced as the in-cell Retina? Some go OLED and even PenTile to save battery life and improve yield rates at the expense of image and color fidelity. Apple fused the touch layer with the screen to create a single component that not only kept the quality possible from LED backlit LCD with in-plane switching (IPS) but reduced glare and improved overall fidelity.

  • How many other manufacturers are capable of producing aluminium unibody chassises? Or more pointedly, of producing the machines that manufacture aluminium unibody chassises to the level of precision, at the level of volume, required to perfectly match hundreds of millions of units? Apple is using cameras to best match RF windows into frames, and diamonds to polish chamfers.

  • How many other manufacturers are capable of engineering 10 hours of battery life on a phone that small? Other manufacturers can't make the "mini" versions of their phones anywhere nearly as small as the iPhone 5 platform, never mind their flagship phones. Yet Apple, who - until next year - believes small, one-handed phones are of primary importance, who can't hide giant batteries beneath big displays, who won't switch to OLED but will stick to a single radio process, who won't include "sleep time" in their "full day battery" estimates, gets 10 hours out of their tiny package.

Those are just the most obvious example of how strongly held beliefs, combined with the willingness to invest early and do hard things, positioned Apple to be able to make the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s. Those phones are the result of a lot of very complicated moving pieces put into motion over a long period of time. Those phones are non-trivial.

It's brought Apple problems, of course. Antennagate. The chipping and scratching on the slate anodization. It took a generation to fix those and other things.

And other companies do great things as well. Nokia's build quality is amazing. But they don't make their own chips. Samsung's processors are impressive. But their build quality still tends towards the creaky. HTC's panels and speakers are fantastic. But they don't make their own operating system. They each have priorities and areas of excellence. But none of then, so far, have seen the value in doing all of the pieces Apple's done, including design from the chipset on up, manufacturing from the machinery on down, and experience from the atoms to the bits. Maybe that's changing. Maybe Google buying Motorola and Microsoft buying Nokia are signs that's changing.

Integration alone isn't the same, however. Palm was integrated. BlackBerry is integrated. Both floundered. Samsung isn't, and they're doing incredibly well, at least in market share if not in overall product quality (TouchWiz is painful).

Maybe that makes everyone else smarter than Apple, better able to see what they really need to own and what they can farm out, what they need to engineer and what they can work around, what should involve effort and what shouldn't. But as it stands today, no one, not Samsung, not Nokia, not HTC, not Motorola, not BlackBerry, not anyone else in the world could have manufactured an iPhone-class device. None of them invested in as much, early enough, to have all the elements in-house and able to execute at scale, and profitably so. That last one is the kicker. Apple's doing all of the above, and still making tons of money doing it, in an industry where almost no one else is making any.

Maybe that doesn't matter. If you think the iPhone is small or otherwise sucks, it obviously doesn't matter to you. If you like the iPhone, however, you're probably pretty happy Apple went to all the trouble to make it.

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Apple's current flagship iPhone with a 4-inch in-cell display, LTE 4G, and BT 4.0 LE. New features include:

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September, 2013

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Why is Apple the only one capable of making iPhone-class devices?


Couldn't agree more!

Other manufacturers are perfectly capable of all of the above and simply choose not to, its a choice that's all. Why has everything got to be a competition.

I get the feeling they only read the title and felt it necessary to comment. And if an article is enough to dissuade one from using what one likes to use, then the situation is grave.

I don't even understand the point of this piece. Until I can have a simple thing like a blank home screen without a grid of icons or position an icon where I want on a page (an icon in the four corners only) it's an inferior product. And before you call me a fandroid I do use an android phone but I use the shit out of my ipad and I used an iPhone in the past.

I wouldn't call you a "fandroid", although that's a new one on me and it's funny.
I choose to not berate people for their choice of phone because it's a fucking phone. I drive a Toyota but I don't give grief to people driving Hondas or Buicks.
I use an iPhone, I work for Windows Phone and I'm not going to give grief to anyone who prefers another platform. The thing people forget is these are phones, not religions, and even then this zealotry is uncalled for.
If you like something different that doesn't make you wrong and it doesn't make me right. It makes us different and I like it that way.
Personally I hope none of these companies ever go away and never stop trying to build something equally wonderful and different. When Microsoft was the only player Windows sucked. I don't want our devices to end up in that stale cycle ever.

I don't know. I read all the mobile nations sites, well except for crackberry, and I don't see the other sites posting these kind of circle jerk editorials.

Why? I don't like Apple as a company, but I love their products. This article eloquently describes what Apple can do and others can't.

I like their products too, it's just articles like this make me want to not even be part of the Apple community. Is it really necessary to have an entire article dedicated to what Apple does and others don't? Like mentioned below by other people Apple doesn't manufacture everything either.

A7 processor: Manufactured by Samsung
Entire Phone: Manufactured in China
Screens: Manufactured by LG/Sharp

The main thing Apple has that I feel can't be touched right now is the App store and quality of apps in the store. Google Play is catching up as far as quantity but the iOS counterpart almost always looks better and has more features.

There's pros and cons for every device and OS. I enjoy articles that are unbiased and will state the pros of the supported OS (like iMore and iOS) but then state also it's downfalls stating there needs to be some improvements here and there.

It's ludicrious to think the HTC One body is nowhere near a iPhone 5 or 5S. Some would argue it's just as great in build quality and looks. Sure you may not enjoy the Android experience that comes with it but don't say Apple is the only one capable of great design.

There is a huge difference in manufactured and actually creating the displays, processors, and the phone. Apple designs all these excellent parts and Samsung, LG, and Foxconn simply take those instructions and parts and make the phones. Not only that, but apple has people like Tim Cook and Jony Ive that are innovating on the parts that make these devices. I think Rene is just writing an article to show what he means when no one can make an iPhone 5/5C/5s like device in the market and I agree with him. You bring up an excellent point in the HTC one and I agree it is in at least the same ball field as apple in design but do you really believe that phone would exist if apple hadn't created the iPhone 5 first? I know you can't because it borrows many if not most of the design ideas of the iPhone 5 and other apple products. Clearly these companies can innovate when they want to, but no one does it like apple does and can still make money on it. It's simply to buy up some snapdragon chips and throw them In your phone, but it is incredibly hard to actually license the ISA ARM architecture and then hand clock a chip that is capable of Great battery life and industry leading speed. I don't know if you have bothered to read the anandtech reviews of the iPhone 5 (last year) and iPhone 5s this year, but that little A7 you claim Is simply created by Samsung is destroying the competition In every benchmark and is doing it at a 1.3Ghz clock (compared to 2.0-2.7 on snapdragon and even the new mobile intel chip) and is doing it with 1/3 the ram as well (1gb in iPhones and up to 3 in the note and others) not to mention the whole thing that arstechnica exposed where Samsung and others are maxing out there chips while cheating on any benchmarking app. So I ask just how more advanced is this A7 if it is still beating the 800 when the OEMs are cheating by maxing out all four cores at 2.7ghz? You can't dance around that no matter how much you try. Apple is clearly on the cutting edge and doing things that other android OEMs are not even thinking of yet including hand clocking their chips, the blazing ARM v8 architecture (wasn't believed anyone would have a chip on this for mobile phones for another year or two), and 64bit. The 64 bit thing is more thinking ahead and will give Apple a huge advantage later and no one can deny that. Now it is still allowing for 10-15% more than the swift core in the A6. Then you have to show they rewrote the entire OS built with a gaming engine in tact and in full 64 bit support with backwards 32bit capable. Once we start seeing apps built to take advantage of this apple will be even further ahead of the competition then they already are. I haven't even taken the time talking about the camera. It's simple to shrink the mega pixels allowing for more to put on a spec sheet, but all that does is decrease it's sensitivity to light. What apple has done since the iPhone 4 with cameras has started this entire indistry desire for taking better pictures on their phones. Now apple is adding great security tech like the finger print scanner. I could simply go on for a long time. I'm sorry but no one is close to apple and them thinking ahead instead of just thinking about a spec sheet now will continue that trend and further apple ahead of its competition. If these other OEMs can make better phones or like you said as good if not better than apple then why don't they. Why does the retina display at a little over 300ppi look better than 460ppi displays found in HD displays? It's called quality over quantity. The competition still hasn't caught up to the retina display with it's in cell display. You can't be so blind to not choose to see the innovation going on. In fact by your comments it already seems you have switched to android and choose to not listen to fact or simply haven't bothered reading into what exactly apple is doing while everyone else is simply content on creating devices with maxed out spec sheets and an OS and apps not created to take advantage of them.

I've posted somewhere further down that I own a iPhone & a Nexus 7 so no I haven't switched to Android.

The thing I'm pointing out is not that Apple isn't innovating just what's the point of this article. Of course they designed the hardware but it was manufactured by other companies. The article makes it sound like Apple designs, manufactures and does so much that no one else can.

I personally think it's ridiculous that Samsung and others do boost their speeds when a benchmark app is running other than Nexus devices which don't do that.

As far as the display I can honestly say that my wife's HTC One screen is very good and really the only thing my iPhone beats it at is the brightness.

Engineered should be the world Rene used. Manufacturing something someone gives you instructions to do isn't a big deal. No brain required, just a map. Though, Apple does have to give them guidelines in how to do it in-mass numbers. In the end, it's not manufacturing, but the Apple Engineering thats amazing.

Nah. Manufacturing requires capital, and, yes, a significant amount of expertise. Were it the simple paint-by-numbers exercise you suggest, Apple would have broken free of Samsung in favor of other highly capitalized manufacturers years ago.

Sent from the iMore App

Thank you so much for posting this! Its nice to know that there are others out there who realize these facts and understand that it is because of such demanding attention to detail that makes the iPhone a notch above the rest.

So what exactly is iPhone-class? Is that something you just made up? Not trying to troll, just curious. I have never heard that term before. How is that different than "HTC One Class" which arguably is constructed just as well? I agree no one but Apple could have made the iPhone5S, but you could say that about any company. Smartphones take a lot of fine tuning, no one company is going to do it exactly the same.

That is your opinion and that is cool. Obviously that is how Rene feels as well.
Let me ask you this:
Why when all the competition was going towards bigger screens did Apple suddenly bump up the size of theirs to 4 inches? Seems like a standard everyone else set and Apple followed up with.

Not exactly. In order to accommodate the new LTE radios, the iPhone 5 necessarily had to be longer. Apple simply adjusted the screen size .5 inches to keep things proportionate. It was a design choice born of necessity. If they were caving to consumer or tech geek pressure, the phone would have been a good bit larger overall.

Sounds like an excuse to me. As a company shouldn't you cave into "consumer pressure". Seems more profitable to me. Not that profit is an issue at all with Apple.

If Apple wanted LTE radios in a smaller form iPhone, Apple would have put LTE radios in a smaller form iPhone. They would find a way.

So, the necessity of larger batteries to compensate for LTE drain and a strong desire to maintain design integrity are excuses?

An excuse to make the phone larger... yes. It doesn't matter how you look at it, the competition got larger and Apple followed up, that is fact. The reasons behind it don't really make a difference because the common consumer isn't going to know the difference.

Well, I guess you have it in your head that Apple cowtows to tech geek demands for bathroom-tile sized phones. Never mind that they only very incrementally increased the size and you've been presented with sound, logical reasons for them doing so. Say, do you remember reading about any of those 9,000,000 customers that bought iPhones the other weekend carrying torches and/or pitchforks, hollering, "Make a bigger phone!"? No? I don't either.

Wow way to put words in my mouth. Not what I was saying at all.

Clearly claiming Apple followed the curve rather than making it this time around is way to earth shattering for your blatant love for all things Apple.

I don't think a bump of .5 inches is small when the screen was only 3.5 to start. I wouldn't consider that incremental at all.

Sometimes Rene's articles alone make me want to print it, and to give it to every co-workers i have who keep telling me everyday that i paid too much for my 5S... They don't realise how much human will and engineering are packed into this little things..

Just switch back, but leave my iPhone alone !

I get this in my work place a lot. And I will never understand why. My coworkers are constantly talking about their iPhones and how they are better than my phone unprovoked. The dude I sit right across from is always blabbing on about how great his iPhone5 is without me even asking. I don't get it.

Ha... wouldn't expect anything less from this side of the fence.

"As good of a phone." is subjective. What suits your needs is what is good for you.

I never say "my phone is the best" ! I was saying that the android guys does... You have a prick iPhone owner as a co-worker, i've got a prick android owner as a co-worker... that's it. nothing to do with our phones

I love iPhones/iOS/Apple as much as the next person....but honestly I REALLY hate when Rene writes these Apple fanboy style articles. They really serve no apparent purpose other than filling iPhone/Apple fanboys with pride....but honestly is that really needed?

I just want to come to an Apple / iOS blog that just tells it like it is, that don't feel any need for this sort of Apple love fest....its just not needed....at least I don't need it.

I dare say a lot of people are gonna get upset with me and tell me to go somewhere else and that's ok. I just think the site would be even better with these types of articles.

This year's i Phone was released and has been reviewed so they need something to talk about for the next 11 months. This is part of that something.

Excellent article and expansion on your thoughts. I think Apple's competitors have gotten the memo that optimization and having a clear, distinct vision is important. Custom fabricating your own chips is the missing leap that Apple has made but others haven't.

We've seen signs of companies making progress with Motorola custom chipset for the Moto X and a couple other examples. I'm sure we'll see more of this going forward in the next year.

None of the components is manufactured by Apple, even the iPhone itself is not "manufactured" by Apple. And most of the components are not designed by Apple, Apple just buy them from other suppliers.

Apple designs only the whole device, like DELL assembles various parts into a notebook.

The product is great, but it is not that much big deal.

this is true, even the A7 processor is designed by Apple yes but manufactured by Samsung since Apple does not have the resources or even machinery to make it themselves.

The whole HTC doesn't make their own OS is kind of a mute point as well. The whole point of Android is it is open and can be used by many manufacturers. If iOS was the same then you'd see a HTC phone with iOS on it.

Exactly how I felt when the comparison was made to HTC not having made their own OS. Android is open, HTC made Sense, that is their contribution.

Wrong. Apple designs the processor and the hardware. The manufacturers just do what Apple tells them to. Troll somewhere else Fandroid.

I never said they don't design it I said manufacture it. Nowhere near a fanboy of anything. I have a iPhone, a Nexus 7 and a windows 8 laptop.

Who cares who manufactures it? Manufacturers only do what designers tell them to. BMW doesn't manufacture all their parts either.

See, this is the kind of person right here that I hate apple fanboys for. Anyone, like this "zurkman" is the kind fan who when someone says anything that doesn't praise our lord and savior apple inc. screams " Hersey!!!" And starts throwing word like fandroid at you. It's disappointing, what Apple fans have come to.

Why is this "Justin Carey" on here trollin Apple forums? Don't he realize the site says iMore. Maybe he should go back to Fandroid.com.

Read my bio, I believe if I'm correct it says I have both a apple iPad and android phone. I like apple just as much as the next comment. All I'm saying is that maybe you should just live with what you have and be happy with it.

I'm very happy with my choice. You're the one trollin for pro Apple comments on an Apple forum. If you're happy giving all your personal info to Google so they can sell adds on it, that's your choice.

And that is a choice android users make. And no, I'm the one in a pro apple comments section who is proving a objective view as someone who owns a gs4 and a iPad 4.

And your objective view is to denigrate anyone who says something positive about Apple?
Quit trollin dude. There's lots of Fandroid sites for you to show your "objective views".

My objective view is to say what is the truth with no biased. Also, you should know I enjoy the iOS ecosystem better. I use android because I get some free stuff from my cousin who works at Google. I'm just trying to tell you that you need to bring down your fanharding.

Manufactured no, but designed yes. Apple creates the tech it uses. It is very rare when it doesn't, but like all OEMs they do have to buy parts like the LTE Broadcom chips and the such but you saying apple doesn't design it's iPhones and the A7 and display in them is ludicrous. Who do you think does? Foxconn and Samsung? Come on your comment is silly my friend. I see this all the time. If Samsung can make chips like the A7 why don't they? Because they didn't create the A7 they took apples instructions and parts and simply used the machines apple created to make a better assembly line and put it together nothing more. If they could do it they would, but they can't.

Engineered should be the world Rene used. Manufacturing something someone gives you instructions to do isn't a big deal. Though, Apple does have to give them guidelines in how to do it in-mass numbers. In the end, it's not manufacturing, but the Apple Engineering thats amazing.

An excellent article, Rene. It reminds me of something I read about the HTC One somewhere. HTC is trying to make Apple class hardware but fails to realize that those who truly appreciate high quality hardware tend to have the same expectations and demands from the software as well so they go for Apple.

Those who care for a premium experience go to Apple. Those who don't mind that are perfectly happy with Android.

The companies that are really into software should make their own hardware. Companies that are really into hardware should make their own processors. Right now everybody can buy a chip from Qualcom, a camera from Sony, put it in a slab with a generic battery, add Android and some custom wallpapers and they call it innovation. What we get are compromised devices. Milions of people seem happy with them but those who want more, sooner or later arrive at the Apple Store's door.

This is a half-assed comment, excuse my language.

But to imply that a "premium" experience can ONLY be had from Apple is ridiculous. To me, the iPhone just doesn't cut it. I love my Nexus, and no other Android phone cuts it for me past that (except maybe the Moto X, haven't had hands on time). But then on the other side of the fence...I despise current Windows PCs, I despise any tablet that is not an iPad. But then hopping back, the iPod is the biggest joke of a MP3 player (not I said MP3 player, not portable entertainment device) that I have ever seen.

I have a "premium" experience with every product I choose to use. My Nexus 4 affords me a premium experience in a phone. My iPad affords me a premium experience in a tablet. When I had my Asus laptop, it honestly provided a premium experience...I just preferred the MacBook Pro body over the Asus carbon body.

Saying that nobody provides a premium experience based off of a small sample (which it is a small sample seeing as there's close to 1 billion Android devices) is ridiculous. That's like saying that Apple doesn't provide premium experiences since iOS 7 has basically turned my iPad into a buggy mess.

And *you're* calling Metro's comment half-assed?
What was the point of your comment again?
Executive summary please.

Perhaps I missed the point too then? You basically ranted on your own choices but gave no reason why Metro1088 was wrong. I know it's difficult & passions are aflame but cohesive thoughts do matter here.

*deep sigh* To break it down for the comprehension impaired.

1.) State where there is a "fact" that Apple is the ONLY company that delivers a premium experience. As that's what he stated to be fact. Not opinion.

2.) My choices is actually a counter argument to the opinion that "People who don't care about premium experience" runs to Android...seeing as Nexus 4, to someone, presents a premium experience.

3.) I return to you your own comment. "I know passions are aflame," but that doesn't justify biased comments such as no other company on earth providing premium experiences because you want to be a elite, Apple only user.

1. I'll simply point to all the consumer satisfaction studies from independent sources that can verify Apple is leaps & bounds ahead of any competitor. That's factual enough to not be considered opinion since this world we live in is based on opinion polls as news/fact.

2. You like the Nexus 4. Good for you. If that's what you call premium then so be it. That doesn't make the other comments wrong in their opinion.

3. Elitism has nothing to do with it. I would suggest you have a need to have your choices validated if you feel the need to point out somebody else's perceived elitism.

1.) You have yet to point out how they are the ONLY company providing a premium experience. If BMW gets higher marks than Mercedes...is Mercedes no longer providing a premium experience?

2.) Still missing the point that a "premium" product is literally defined by superior quality. Superior quality is fully subjective to each user. Therefore a premium product would inherently be defined by what the user deems premium. I, and many other consumers, feel our non Apple devices are premium. Therefore, again, Apple being the ONLY company that gives a premium experience is opinion. Not fact.

3.) Quite the contrary. Unlike some of the pretentious folks on this blog, I actually like tech. Not a brand. To try and demean another brand (which is what the OP is doing) is quite sad. But eh, oh well.

As I'll keep stating, I've yet to see factual statements on Apple being the ONLY premium experience on the planet when it comes to phones. All I see is fervent Apple users giving biased accounts and using small samples on why nobody else gives it, when yet their user base perceives it as such...

Since we are talking tech companies here & not cars, just show me where any other tech company gets the high scoring marks like Apple does in all the surveys. I'll wait while you Google it.

Your other two points are your opinion as well. Superior quality is quite easily measured & demonstrated in industry. Apple is factually ahead of others in this whether your opinion supports otherwise or not.

Doesn't matter if you feel that previous comments were demeaning. If you say it doesn't affect you then why the anger? Your race to point out someone else's bias, which we all have by the way, & then displaying your own isn't helping your cause. Your labeling others on here as pretentious merely shows you yourself to just as bad.

Oh, and just in case you still can't follow, here's 3 easy bullets that states it in the original comment:

• But to imply that a "premium" experience can ONLY be had from Apple is ridiculous.

• I have a "premium" experience with every product I choose to use.

Then my entire last paragraph doubled down on the point...

• Saying that nobody provides a premium experience based off of a small sample (which it is a small sample seeing as there's close to 1 billion Android devices) is ridiculous. That's like saying that Apple doesn't provide premium experiences since iOS 7 has basically turned my iPad into a buggy mess.

"Saying that nobody provides a premium experience based off of a small sample (which it is a small sample seeing as there's close to 1 billion Android devices) is ridiculous. That's like saying that Apple doesn't provide premium experiences since iOS 7 has basically turned my iPad into a buggy mess."

Most of those devices, the vast majority of which, are cheap throwaways. So I'll save you the need compare what is 'Premium' & what is junk. That isn't opinion by the way or can you name a single Android phone that rivals the overall build quality of an iPhone software & hardware? Samsung isn't even close neither is HTC. And China doesn't even have official Android on the overwhelming majority of the phones sold there that are claimed so that 1 billion is suspect & has yet to be authenticated by any credible source.

As for your iPad well sorry you're having problems. You seem to be in the minority as well. Put that award winning Apple service to the test & you can be assured they'll rectify your problems. That is also a premium experience not available on virtually any Android device.

I explained all that in the count above on what denotes "premium" so no need to rehash.

As far as being in the "minority"...seeing as this has been addressed by Apple themselves on the issues that are ripe within iOS 7 (which is common for new software) I see no "minority" present.

And I'm an Apple employee. I'm very aware of the services that we offer. Still doesn't change any single fact that Apple is not the ONLY company providing a premium experience. You can go on about how YOU feel other company devices aren't up to par (some people prefer plastic over metal. I'm not one of them, but I don't deny the fact that these people are here) but at the end of the day, the user base determines what is premium or not. And seeing as there's quite a few consumers who keep buying these devices...I would put my money down that they feel their device is premium.

"And I'm an Apple employee. I'm very aware of the services that we offer."

Your internet credentials are complete. I think we've said enough to each other. Both of our opinions are well known at this point.

They surely are. By stating "internet credentials" as if I was looking for some type of recognition. You mentioned Apple services, I simply informed you that I'm well aware of them since I get paid to sell it.

Yet all in all, you keep going to these scores done by, what? A small sample. So yeah, you're really going in circles here.

There is no anger, because I remarkably do not have to have a brand or "industry standard" tell me what a premium device is. Nor am I pretentious enough to believe that only one company in the entire world provides it. And that company pays my bills...so yeah.

Exactly. "Just like an iPhone" isn't good enough. Especially when the hardware and OS are made by different companies. There will never be a great fit.

And even "integrated" companies like Palm and BlackBerry need to constantly innovate to survive. We've seen what happens when innovation stops and cost-cutting takes over. Layoffs, hostile acquisition, put up on the shelf somewhere to gather dust.

We'll see, you forgot something: Apple is on the same playing field as everyone else. Apple put in a fingerprint sensor? Htc put in boom sound speakers. See, to a one sided thinker like you , you see android as stagnating, boring, uncreative. But see, android doesn't need to upgrade its software a whole lot, because it's had what Apple just got for YEARS!!! And I think that everyone in this forum would agree, that people are more content once they are on android. Apple is for people who want the smartphone experience, but can't handle having to not download every app that offers to throw Starbucks gift cards at you by the box, because the truth is iPhone users really can't handle a real computer.

"How many other manufacturers are capable of spinning their own, custom silicone [sic]"

I hate autocorrect.

Well put Rene. Every time I pick up my iPhone 5 I still get that feeling that this is the best iPhone ever made. Every other model I could pick out at least 1 thing that was annoying or could be improved. Not on my iPhone 5. Everything about it is perfect. I love the small size. The radio performance is great. GPS locks on without fail instantly with every app I use. The battery is more than enough for me to last to bed time. I'm completely sold on iOS 7, there is only forward and upwards to go.

I completely agree. No other company could have made this device. I'm not a Mac user or really even an Apple fan. I'm an iPhone fan because it really is the best mobile device out there.

Wow. I like apple products as much as any person who has apple products, but please don't for one second think they are anything special above the competition considered that a lot of the internals are designed and manufactured by other companies.

For example, other phone manufactures make phones that have bulging camera optics simply due to the fact that they innovate and push the boundaries of what can be put into phones. Some of the Nokia phones have cameras that rival DSLR cameras in quality. Of course you have to give up some aesthetics to make this happen. The silver lining of this innovation is that engineers will continue to work hard to bring those amazing specs into a small form factor. This is why Apple usually plays catch up in terms of overall specs and features when compared to other current phones. Hell, how long did it take Apple to include LTE radios in their phones, while other phones had it for years. Even when they decided to incorporate LTE, they did it in a manner which doesn't allow one to use the web while on a phone call, just so they don't add a little bulk to the phone. Whether that is important is of a subjective nature that everyone must answer for themselves. Features like NFC, studio quality recording mics like in certain Lumia phones, OLED screens and other countless features will probably be a very long time before being incorporated into an iPhone.

I love my iPhone, especially now that it is almost identical to how WebOS handled multitasking, but please don't do the rest of us and yourself a disservice by expressing that Apple already includes everything in their phones and there is no room for improvements when there are other phones with better cameras, better mics, better speakers, better this and better that. No, we should be telling Apple to push boundaries instead of chasing them.

The current rumors that Apple may introduce iPhones with bigger screens finally shows that Apple is starting to listen to what people want. YOU may not want a bigger screen, but someone else might. Apple needs to design products that covers a wide spectrum of what people want. I would love to have a phone that is 4.3-4.7" while my brother would love a smaller form that is the size of the palm pixi or palm pre. Everyone has different needs and that is what makes this world beautiful and scary at the same time.

We should be looking at the positives of other high end phones and asking Apple to build those positives into their products, not focusing on the negatives and express that Apple does that better. We shouldn't look at those weakness and claim Apple does it better, but rather we should look at their strengths and push Apple to meet those challenges.

Recall that this way of thinking is what propelled Apple to where it is today. They built something challenging that other companies are killing themselves to compete with. This is why we have such amazing devices today and that will only continue to get better. Seeing the positives rather than the negative is what increases competition and innovation.

Take care my friends from across this globe!

I think what Renee is saying is no one manages every piece of the puzzle like apple does. Look at google buying Motorola or ms buying Nokia, they had to look outward to complete the puzzle and it remains to be seen if they can be integrated as well as apple is. That's not say that the more open nature is bad though, only that it's ultimately up to is the consumer to pick which one we prefer. We've come a long way from the windows super monopoly and that's the greatest revolution moble has afforded us the consumer.

Seeing as both Google and Nokia is predominantly a software company, whereas Apple has always been software/hardware company (but mostly hardware)...that's really not a great comparison.

My point was they are moving into hardware to be more like apple (controlling the entire design process) and it remains to be seen if they will succeed as apple has. Also Nokia is a hardware company.... That's why ms bought that division.

I meant Microsoft, haha. My mistake.

But I get what you're saying. To be honest, no company will ever emulate the Apple success. I just don't see it happening. Its a combination of retail presence, customer loyalty, and many other things that make Apple such a powerhouse. This isn't something that Google can emulate and Microsoft has failed to emulate in comparison.

I think Microsoft has some good ideas but tends to botch the execution of those ideas. The Xbox 360 is one example of a recent success in the consumer market but I still believe that had more to do with sony trying something crazy innovative with the ps3 that was great engineering but didn't make sense: a warning to all those who think innovation alone can drive success. Sometimes iterating on a known idea (like using x86 on ps4) or a slightly better S model isn't such a bad idea. But that's apple, they know when to innovate and when to pull back before jumping off the edge. Come to think of it I don't know of another company that can constantly wow consumers but also maintain that balance in innovation. Google I think has a lot of potential.

And I TOTALLY agree. It's even seen on the closing of the gap with the game systems and the next gen preorders currently.

But yeah, I'm not an iPhone user, simply because Android has feature I like better, but I appreciate that the iPhone is one great ass phone. Apple can only be imitated, never duplicated. Goggles potential is definitely there (I actually do not recognize any android device but the Nexus line), I just with they'd go full out with Motorola instead of tiptoeing. The Moto X features on a Google produced Xexus, I'd be in love.

Yea if I went android nexus or Motorola would be the way to go. The Motorola deal is complex because one corporate culture absorbed another. The only time I remember apple doing that is with Next and well that was a different situation lol. It's going to take time to integrate them into the googleverse. I also oddly like chromebooks, there are times I wish I could mount an external drive on an iPad lol.

I've been SOOO tempted by a Chromebook, its not funny. But I think ima stick to my plan of grabbing a Mac Mini and just hooking it to the ole TV. And continue using the iPad for my portable needs.

I have that Mac mini set up, the only problem is if I go on vacation I can't use the iPad to backup my DSLR raw files, hence the interest in a cheap chromebook. Though I have a horrible but it gets the job done Ubuntu netbook for now. I'll likely just save the money till I need a new mac. Also keep in mind apple displays are better then at least the tv I have (07 sony) not to mention the refresh rate....

Just buy a Camera Connection kit. Jailbreak your iPad and use iFile. Now you can use any USB-Storage device. Like an external USB-Drive or any size of SD-card.

The only piece Apple really has that none of the others have is the OS part which gives them some advantages in battery life as they do not have their hands as tied their other wise everything else is off the shelf tech.

All the others guess what have access and do mess with all the other parts. Samsung makes and designs their own chips.

While I love my iPhone as much as the next person, I will also say that I own an Android phone also. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. The biggest strengths of the iPhone are build quality, ease of use, and support as a whole. However when I get the itch to ROM, add custom kernals and just tinker with a phone I will always grab my Android phone.

This doesn't make one better than the other, however this article is simply on build quality and attention to detail. Which nobody does as well as Apple IMO. The HTC One is very close though, and I am a huge fan of the Moto X. In fact I will definitely be buying a Moto X off craigslist in a few months because I think that phone looks awesome.

Am pretty sure they use someone else's display, they use Sony Camera's, and pretty much everything they do is outsourced so apple isn't as special as this article is trying to make out.. this article makes it sound like apple makes every part of there phone which is just not true.. retina display is just a rebranded screen developed by someone else, same goes for the isight camera. Sometimes you read articles here and you think yeah this guy Is impartial but then you read things like this lol

I like reading this site for Apple news and reviews of devices, but articles like this make me not want to come here as often to read.

I get that you love Apple and that they are the all-holy mighty, but damn you eat, crap and sleep Apple and it just seems wrong. Try to have some objectivity in this post. Like how Samsung makes the A7 chip, so Apple does not solely make them or design them for that matter. Or that the retina display is also not made in-house at Apple. Pretty much nothing is solely made anywhere nowadays.

Now, I have a 5. I love it, however, I sometimes miss my Maxx because of several reasons, which I won't go into. Needless to say, I really hate these op-ed pieces. But I guess they feed into the majority of the viewers on here.

Yeah, the Apple elitist cult that's been cultured. Funniest thing is that it costs Apple only 199 to make the 5S, the cheaper Google Nexus 4 has a higher manufacture tag of 250

I'm not a fan of Apple products. I especially don't like the iPhone. I use them all the time at work (different gens). I don't like the interface and I don't like the feel of the phone in my hand. I think it is clunky and awkward to hold. My personal preference is Android for many reasons and I like Samsung hardware for no particular reason. However - I agree with most of Rene's opinions in his editorial. Apple really is setting the bar in a lot of ways and I hope they continue to do so.

I may not like IOS and the iPhone but we've made it our standard mobile platform for our organization because of many of the reasons that Rene listed. It works, it's tuned, it's accessible, reliable, secure, consistent quality and has industry wide support for applications and device management. There is nothing better right now for mass adoption. I've tried the new Blackberry phones and they are good but not close to what Apple is providing for the business sector.

Ironic since the iPhone is a "consumer" device. I think it's a terrible consumer device but great for business. Obviously millions love it as a consumer device. More power to them. Choice is awesome. Apple is awesome - even if I think they suck.

re: "None of them invested in as much, early enough, to have all the elements in-house and able to execute at scale, and profitably so. That last one is the kicker."

But even all of that isn't enough. You can't "execute at scale" unless there's demand to drive scale. And there won't be demand without a high quality product. But even a high quality product won't instantly sell in huge volumes. HTC One is a fine device, but when's the last time you actually saw a consumer using one in the field? I never have.

All of that, the component supply, assembly line efficiency, superior engineering, etc. are just enablers. Mindshare, the all-important intangible ingredient, is a huge factor driving demand and thus sales. Apple has world-beating mindshare. It's the real "kicker."

Such a fanboy, Nokia and other Android Phone have specs that have certain things that are much advanced than what your shiny iPhone. not trying to bash apple products coz I know they are high quality and no one can deny that, but you can't just write stupid articles like this man, aren't you aware of the other great cell phones in the world other than iPhones? Jeez.

"Why is Apple the only one capable of making iPhone-class devices?"

So many qiestion out there.

Why is Nokia the only one capable of making Lumia 1020-class devices? Or the 520, which provides everything one needs in a smartphone smoother than iOS for one thenth of the price of an iPhone? (Or why can no-one else offer locations services that work?)

I have an iPhone 5. It is just another phone. It is pretty. But it has a poor camera for anything but bright day light shots. Even a low-end Nokia beats it in dark. Yet is main flaw is its iOS7 software platform.

Not such a premium experience, I say. But then, I am not a blind Apple worshipper like Rene.

How convenient to point out Nokia's build quality but leave out their cameras, which are the best. Articles like this make you hate Apple instead of loving it.

"make a device that packs as much technology into as relatively small a frame, at such high a quality, as Apple did with the iPhone 5" is opinion. I would say they're low quality, as you can't: http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/136835-apple-responds-to-iphone-5...

The GooPhone i5 looks pretty similar, so others can pack that stuff into a same sized package.

The iPhone is missing NFC, USB OTG, any measurable hardware, and still doesn't have an open ecosystem. All the 5S adds is a fingerprint reader really. Yes, it adds the A7, but until I can see independent specs, there is no way to say "faster" objectively. You can say it *feels* faster, but it is Apples and Oranges. The issue with "speed" could be Android or the A7 could be that much faster. You can't say objectively until you know the specs, not benchmarks, of the A7.

Yes it adds 64 bit, but I don't really see the point of making a thing about it. It's an under the hood thing, and may add to the feel of an app, but only if the developer uses it. Also "It took computers years to go 64 bit, we're going to get phones to 64 bit in a day" is marketing bs because it's easy to do that when you have all the hardware and software and everything under lock and key. If Microsoft was like that years back, it would've been much easier to get Windows to 64.

Lastly, on TouchWiz. I *never* use it. I install a third party launcher first thing. I've never had lag with ActionLauncher nor Nova Launcher.

You've made up a term "iphone-class" then never even defined it. Not only did you not define the term that i the premise of this opinion but there is no consensus that your definition is correct. The term has zero meaning. Plenty of companies make $200 phones. Same class to me. Plenty of companies make smartphones in general. Same class to me. Plenty of companies make keyboardless phones. Same class to me. The term "iphone-class" has zero meaning.

Folks you need to grow some thicker skin here. Rene is entitled to his opinions just as you are to yours. Rene also happens to be the fairest, IMO, editor here at any Mobile Nations site as he often cites the good things other companies do. Re-read the article & you'll find he gave praise to other vendors where it was due. But look at the whole picture & a little good effort quickly falls apart.

Frankly there is much to agree with here whether those of you crying foul want to admit it or not. Apple's hardware is second to none. In particular if viewed as an entire device portfolio. Nobody comes close & that's a fact. Other things add up to the overall experience being of high quality. Like customer support after the sale, product updates, ecosystem support, etc. Again the competition isn't up to snuff.

Also remember that you are on an Apple centric blog & naturally the writers here are going to cater stories & articles to that reader.

Might I suggest a different destination for the majority of commenters here that have major issues with what Rene wrote. Here I'll supply the link just to make it easy;


Call rene one of the fairest editors is a far stretch. He is not the most bias but at the same token he is one of the most bias. Articles like this do not help the case.

Take android central for example. You will not see that site taking pop shots at iOS, window mobile or other OS much at all. The only time I have really seen them attack Apple harshly was when they brought in the notifications which more or less was a straight copy of Android and it was not the coping part that they went after APple on. It was about the shear hypocrisy about it from Apple. It was not about the coping part but the fact that Apple and its army of fans attacks anything that is even a minor copy and then Apple turns around and blatantly copies.

Other than that I saw them attack the iPhone 5c but not about it being crap but the fact that Apple failed to take the advantage it had and push the boundaries to really drive innovation at the low end.

Oh and on big release they will do giveaways and things like.

Other than that no real talk of the other OS. On the flip side you have Rene who has posted in less than 24 hours 2 very Bais articles that to everything include bash others. It is the classic Apple worship articles.

Looking back, the only time I've had to justify why I bought the current phone I own (OG Galaxy Note), is when an IPhone user makes some snarky remark about "Why don't you just carry a TV in your pocket?!", before they talk about Android's lack of apps (untrue), horrible ecosystem (also untrue), or anything else they can think of to make themselves feel better.

All my Android using friends ask about is actually useful information like camera quality or battery life. I try to stay active and at least read about every ecosystem, but articles like this are what make me glad I ditched Apple's products.

Here is the absolute bottom line, and it applies to every single one of you: If you love your phone, be it an Android or Windows phone, made by Smasung or HTC or absolutely anybody in the game, you owe it to Apple. It absolutely wouldn't be anywhere near the device it is without Apple's influence, and no amount of kicking, screaming or arguing will change that. Customization isn't the "be all and end all" for phones, and blindly resenting something based on its well-earned popularity comes off as a bit bratty. I feel like half of the Android users out there don't even particularly like Android, they just hate Apple and have no other real team to play for. Focus more on why your Android phone is so great, and less on why Apple's is so bad. You sound just like the ads all their competitors use. It's not all about inches and megapixels either. This is like the tech equivalent of insecure jocks. Everything Rene said was 100% factual and eloquently-put. Now you try to write something supporting your opinion with the same substance and sentiment. I bet you won't be able to, partially because the facts don't exist, and partially because your convictions are emptier than you realize. Remember, nobody was born into an Apple-loving family and blindly decided to follow suit. They actually earned this love and appreciation the hard way. You can call that a "bias" if you want to, but it certainly doesn't mean that a person's positive opinion about one of their products is skewed, especially when it is backed up by such an abundance of those things we like to call "facts".

Let me just say something, as someone who just bought an HTC One last week (after trying to find a 5s every single day since Sept 20th and failing, even almost a month after launch), the difference in build is night and day.

Right out of the box, the HTC had problems. The screen is slightly raised near the top left, so when you try to swipe down for notifications, your finger catches on the raised gap between the screen and the top speaker. The screen is slightly recessed near the bottom right, so there is some light bleed at the edge whenever the home button is lit up. A quick Google search found HUNDREDS of other HTC One users with the same problems. Many of them went through the hassle of exchanging their units several times, each one possessing similar defects.

I heard so many great things about the HTC One, about how the "build quality" rivaled that of the iPhone. Maybe we need to come up with another term for this, because while the phone is designed quite beautifully (as good or better than iPhone in my opinion) it's built like it was put together by a 5-year-old. I'm not saying all iPhones are perfect - I know lots of people with the 4/4S that had defective home buttons after prolonged use, and three people in my office with the iPhone 5 had to switch them out in the past week alone for stuck/defective home buttons. The difference is that these issues presented after long term use, and not out of the box like the HTC issues, and of course the fact that if your iPhone is defective, you can walk into an Apple store and walk out with a swapped phone in 15 minutes. There are no HTC stores and trying to deal with a carrier store on a return/exchange is like living in the 7th circle of hell.

I can promise you no one ever picked up a brand new iPhone and said "hey, the factory put the screen on unevenly! It's popping up in all sorts of weird places!" That's the Apple difference.

I can promise you no one put ANY other god damn phone in there pocket, look it out, and and said " wow, the back looks like it went through a blender." That's the HTC difference

Wow what a fanboy!!! I like my iphone but many critics are saying the android phones are surpassing apple. The motox is blowing the reviewers away. So slow your roll player!!!

There are many truths to this article, Apple has been synonymous with setting the bar for build quality with their products and bringing premium design to their line. But this isnt 2007 when there was nothing else on the market like the iPhone. The iPhone 5 was a solid release, an impressive upgrade from the iPhone 4S but the iPhone 5S and 5C releases have felt very sub par with the standards Apple set for their own products. I dont care how many people waited for weeks outside Apple stores to get the 5S. I have an iPhone 5 but my driver phone is a Nexus 4. And I can easily say that I prefer my Nexus 4 but that is solely due to personal preference. I like being able to actually have a home screen and not just a cluster of apps. iOS 7 has been anything but perfect, it is still running like its beta form with all the bugs being reported and the updates from Apple that have been coming in, last known bug up to TODAY was the blue screen, taking your iPhone back to windows PC days when your desk top would get that wretched blue screen.

I love technology but honestly reviews like this make me hate Apple and Apple products because of the elitist mindset consumers were brainwashed into. There are MANY companies doing what the iPhone is capable of and doing it better. Have you seen the Sony Xperia Z1 packing a 20 MP camera and the avant garde design? Or maybe the Moto X thats just been getting amazing reviews from average consumers and Tech junkies alike? Or how about the Lumia 1020 and that CAMERA that's giving Leica cameras a run for their money?

The build quality of the HTC One features the unibody design being hailed here, and there is HTC Sence which is their personal take on android. Is this guy implying that iOS 7 is perfect? I wouldn't even get into the bit about who really manufactures and designs Apple products and how they acquire their patents.. To imply that the iPhone is simply ahead of the competition in all areas is highly opinionated and not the kind of pretentious fanboy banter I want to read when searching for new tech news since I AM in fact invested in the Apple ecosystem as well as Google.

The iPhone 5S is being manufactured for 199 while it costs 250 to make my CHEAPER Nexus 4. Just FYI.

CaP'd from else where, where we were laughing at this horrible article:

-Samsung manufactures the A7 which is based on ARM core designs and Imagination Technologies GPUs.
-Apple's camera is built by Sony
-Apple's screens are build by Samsung and Sharp.
-Chassis is a cost saver issue but others have them.

The A7 is not based on ARM core designs. That's a lie. It's a custom Apple design implementing the ARMv8 instruction set.
The camera isn't built by Sony. That's another lie. The sensor is made by Sony. The camera assembly is put together by yet another company. It's designed by Apple. The two-tone flash hasn't been on any device, not even a camera.
You don't know who builds the screens. There are rumors about Sharp and Japan Display, not Samsung.
Chassis is a cost saver issue? What does that even mean?

Your argument is weak or non-existing if it's only about the supplier of certain parts.

Apple makes great products,but i use z10 and nexus 4,i think rene has taken it too much hyped ,i also have iPhone ,there are many thinks which apple should learn from Android window phones and bb.The reality is no one os absolute Nokia ,BB and evry company had their best times and when they thought they were best ,the doom came.
Apple should be humble to be a leader for many years ahead to come ,and we at imore.and rene has to be on the same line .
i think

You forget that there is some thing called a patent and apple don't play when it comes to that!!
Simple you talk about design and form well there you go no game so other companies cant do it because of the ramifications.

High quality? Technology? You are obviously completely brain dead. Apple doesn't lead they follow as far as the iPhone goes. Anyone who would buy should be shot. I have an old phone from @2006 that is far superior to anything any iPhone that had hit the market yet.