It's well known within the investment community (well, anybody who follows technology, really) that Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been truly amazing for Apple's top and bottom lines. However, what I find truly fascinating about this success is how little a role "tech specs" seem to have played in driving the company's monstrous financial results.
The iPhone 6 doesn't look that impressive on paperAs fellow Fool Leo Sun pointed out in a recent article, the hardware specifications of top Android flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9 simply "look" better than what Apple is offering with the iPhone 6.
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Now, one could rightfully argue that this isn't a fair comparison -- the iPhone 6 launched in September 2014, but the Galaxy S6 will be available in April 2015 and the One M9 at the end of March 2015. However, I'd argue that even the prior generation Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 flagships (which preceded the iPhone 6) matched or even exceeded what Apple brought out with the iPhone 6.
To illustrate, here's a table of key specifications for the three devices:
Now, I'd argue that the Apple A8 chip is significantly superior to the Snapdragon 801 in the S5/M8, but the fundamental point is that in terms of raw hardware specifications, the iPhone 6 is by no means a monster.
And yet, despite this, Apple was able to sell enough of these devices in a quarter, at premium prices, to generate more profit than either Samsung's mobile division or the entirety of HTC's results in a full year.
It's hard to argue with results.
Tech specs don't tell the whole storyThe only real winners of participating in the "spec wars" are the component vendors. Apple could stick more memory into its phones, the latest Wi-Fi and cellular chips, and higher pixel density displays if it wanted to. However this would increase Apple's costs and, subsequently, reduce its margins.
For components where Apple needs the best, it will include the best -- its applications processors illustrate that point clearly. Where it doesn't necessarily need the latest components, it'll use more mature -- and cheaper -- solutions. For example, the iPhone 6 has a 1x1 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip, while many other Android flagships use higher performance, and more expensive, 2x2 802.11ac solutions.
The point is that because Apple differentiates on things such as its brand, the quality and user-friendliness of its software, and more, it can sell users cheaper-to-build devices that deliver premium value for premium prices.
I will say upfront that, as somebody who closely follows the semiconductor industry, I do find top-notch specifications attractive. Despite this, though, I've been an iPhone user since 2013 and I expect to continue to be for the foreseeable future. I simply prefer iOS, the software ecosystem, Apple's retail presence, and all of the other intangibles that comes with owning an iPhone.
As long as Apple can keep making each iPhone generation significantly better and/or more useful than the last, and as long as it keeps delivering user experiences that are a cut above the rest, then it should continue to be a very successful company.
The article The Most Amazing Thing About the Apple Inc. iPhone 6 originally appeared on Fool.com.
Ashraf Eassa has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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