Table of Contents
This article is in response to a meme that was posted in ‘This is an IT support group,’ a popular group on Facebook, and its associated comments and replies. Here’s the original meme:
This argument is often made as ‘Apple vs Android’, ‘iPhone vs Android’, or even ‘Apple vs Samsung’, so I wanted to clear a few things up. Apple manufactures consumer computer hardware. They have a line of desktop and laptop PCs, and they have several tablets and phones to choose from. To maintain tight control over their products, Apple also provides each platform with an Operating System. For desktops and laptops, Apple provides Mac OS. For phones and tablets, Apple provides iOS.
That’s the end of the line for iOS. There is no version of iOS that a consumer or a business can purchase to install on their own device. No amount of money in the world is going to see Apple license its operating system to a competitor.
On the other end of the spectrum you have Google. Google is predominately a software company and is well known for, ya know, the internet. They develop and maintain a totally free to use operating system. Android can be freely downloaded by anyone to tinker with, or by any company wishing to create a phone. As it turns out, its pretty easy to build a phone if you have the right equipment. Making a compelling operating system that people are willing to switch to is a completely separate challenge.
Because of this fact, you are able to go to your closest grocery store and get a $10 to $50 dollar android phone. Sure, your user experience on that device will range from frustrating to abysmal, but think about it:
You can walk into a grocery store and spend less than $50 on a device that has at least 4 processors, 2GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, Cellular Data, 2 cameras, a compass, speakers, and more. Not to mention it includes a display that provides a clearer image than a $3000 TV did 20 years ago. All powered by an included, rechargeable battery. Its an internet browser, a TV camera, a music player, and well, a phone, among many more things. Hell, I think I paid more for an actual guitar tuner a few years ago than what it costs today to buy a phone and use an app.
Android and only android provides this level of accessibility. This fact, of course, is the root of the assumption that Android is for ‘poor people’. No, Android is for everyone, even poor people. There are expensive Android phones. In fact, some of them cost more than iPhones do.
There is something fishy about this chart
Notice that it doesn’t show how much RAM each device has? You may think, ‘Well, all you have to do is look up each device.’ And yes, that works for all items on this list except the top 2. The 2 modes of the Snapdragon 865 that are referenced at the top of the chart shows only the name of the chip, rather than the device that is housing it. This is more than likely because the chip was benchmarked on a Snapdragon 865 development board. Development boards aren’t subjected to the constraints that all the below devices operate in.
Development boards have large heatsinks and generally come with more RAM than you will find available on actual products. Because of this, clock speeds on a development board won’t have to throttle in the same way that ones that are installed in actual phones, do.
So, what does the chart show, exactly?
All that chart shows me is that it takes Qualcomm 8 cores to do a little better than what Apple can do with 6. Pound for pound, core for core, watt for watt, Apple’s platform is superior.
This is understandable, considering the fact that Apple licensed the ARM instruction set and built a custom ARM CPU, where Qualcomm and other ARM CPU vendors use an off the shelf mix of ARM Cortex reference CPUs.
I have to admit, I do agree with the statement somewhat. It is definitely hard to get humans to change their habits and what they are comfortable with. This meme, however, implies that the iPhone is superior to Android, and the only reason people don’t switch is because they are stubborn.
The truth is much more complicated than that. There are factors to consider such as cost, capability, and availability. Some other things to consider are performance, battery life, and ease of use.
Build Quality – Winner: iPhone
As someone who has taken apart many types of phones over the last decade, I can tell you that bar-none, Apple has the best build quality. It’s much more difficult to get into an iPhone than it is your run-of-the-mill Android device.
Do you ever notice that it’s hard to find screws on an Apple device? If they are obvious, like in a Macbook Pro, they are really nice looking and there are only a few of them that are visible. This is because Apple takes great care in how a device looks. They want their devices to look a certain way, but they also want them to have a high build quality. That means using screws in place of clips, so, sometimes they have to put those screws in some out-of-the-way places.
Hardware Performance – Winner: iPhone
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm has, in the past, licensed the ARM instruction set and made a killer CPU, but lately, they have been using off-the-shelf designs provided by ARM. In the case of the Snapdragon 865 which, make no mistake is an excellent chip, Qualcomm chose to use 4 ‘Kryo 585 Silver‘ cores operating at 1.8 GHz, 3 ‘Kryo 585 Gold‘ cores at 2.42 GHz, and a single ‘Kryo 585 Gold‘ core clocked at 2.84 GHz.
Even though real-word tasks don’t scale this way, benchmarks surely do. So, that means the Snapdragon 865 has an accumulative 17.3 billion cycles of CPU power at its disposal every second.
Apple’s A13 Bionic
Apple, who designs their chips from scratch, didn’t need to pile on that many cores to achieve an acceptable level of performance. So, Apple chose a 6 core design for the A13 Bionic.
It has 2 ‘Lightning’ cores running at 2.66 GHz, and 4 ‘Thunder cores’ clocked at 1.82 GHz. This core and clock speed layout provides a total of 14.28 billion cycles of CPU power per second.
Benchmark points per core
The Snapdragon 865 takes 8 cores to get a score of 557,378. That comes out to 69,672 points per core. The A13 Bionic has 6 cores and is able to get a score of 498,296. That provides a score of 83,049 points per core. This puts Apple’s chip in a core-for-core lead of 19.2%.
Benchmark points per clock cycle
The Snapdragon 865 takes 17.3 billion cycles of CPU power to get a score of 557,378. That comes out to 31,038 clock cycles per point. The A13 Bionic has 14.28 billion cycles of CPU power per second and is able to get a score of 498,296. That’s 28,658 clock cycles per point. This means it takes Apple’s chip 7.69% fewer clock cycles for each benchmark point.
How apps run
iOS apps are written in Objective-C and run directly on the CPU. Android apps, on the other hand, are written in Java. Android uses a JIT (Just in Time) compiler to translate Java into machine language. This translation process impacts performance and it’s simply something that iOS apps don’t have to do to run.
This article is currently being written. Check back later for updates!