After using and reviewing a collection of tablets the team at GottaBeMobile could have easily told you that Apple has an edge, but now you don’t have to take just our word for it.
Numerous tablet teardowns by iSuppli have revealed iPad design advantages, that stem from the notorious tight-fisted control Apple exerts over the design of the iPad’s hardware and software.
iSuppli tore down the following tablets to figure out how Apple is able to get an edge in memory, battery size, cost and design. The tablet teardowns revealed some interesting information about how Apple is able to keep beating the competition on style, performance and price.
iSuppli compared the following tablets;
- iPad WiFi + 3G
- Samsung Galaxy Tab
- Motorola Xoom
- Apple iPad 2 WiFi + 3G
- RIM Blackberry PlayBook
- Asus Eee Pad Transformer
- HP TouchPad
Flip your iPad over and look at the bottom of the tablet. You’ll see Apple’s standard, “Designed in California, Made in China,” tagline. At face value this doesn’t mean much, but when you look at how this mentality compares to the competition you can quickly see how Apple has been able to sell over 100,000 iPads a day in the last quarter.
Instead of farming out the design of the iPad to vendors, Apple keeps it close to the vest. This has allowed Apple to deliver such a thin tablet, specifically when it comes to the battery.
iOS vs. Android
Another way Apple is able to beat the competition is be controlling the operating system. Because Apple is able to control the operating system, they need less RAM in the System. iSuppli states that this saves Apple around $14 per iPad in up front costs, which is part of how Apple beats competitors on price.
On the other side of the fence, many competing tablets rely on Google to deliver the Android tablet OS. Because they are not able to marry the hardware and the software in the same fashion, we see higher prices, thicker devices and occasionally performance issues.
Apple Setting Sizes and Prices
By introducing the iPad with a 9.7″ display and a $499 price, Apple has dictated the size and cost of consumer tablets. While other tablets have tried to venture away with larger and smaller screens, iSuppli notes that the 9.7″ to 10.1″ size is the most prevalent.
In an unusual turn of events, Apple is also dictating the price of tablets in the consumer space. Consumers may want a cheaper tablet, but without the efficiencies Apple enjoys, it is hard to build a quality tablet cheap enough to beat Apple on price.
What the Competition Needs
Google needs to step it up in the tablet space by taking ownership of a greater part of the OS. Honeycomb continues to have issues, and it is difficult to see how Google will fix the platform without taking greater control of the space. Google doesn’t need to build its own tablet, but it can help Android tablet manufacturers design and price their tablets.
The rest of the competition needs to stop trying to sell beta level hardware. The Playbook and the TouchPad could have used a few more months in the labs to get things right.
It will be interesting to see what the competition does with the lessons they have learned this year. No doubt they are already hard at work on tablets to show off at CES 2012 and throughout next year, but will they be able to overcome the issues plaguing non iPad tablets? Or will it be another year of the iPad?
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