Apple’s new iPhone 5s might be the fastest-selling handset in smartphone history, but is it really a big step forward for Apple? According to market research firm ABI Research, the answer is no. In fact, ABI thinks that both of Apple’s new iPhones are outclassed, out-innovated and out-engineered by Motorola’s latest offering, the Moto X. The Moto X doesn’t seem to have huge sales numbers to back up all that innovation according to carrier sources, but ABI makes a compelling argument that Google’s Motorola really is a diamond in the rough.
“The iPhone 5c simply sports a new housing material in a variety of colors. The 5s keeps the original housing but adds finger print ID, a sensor hub, and a dual-core 64b processor: all of which have all been seen before,” ABI Research said in a recent note. “Finger print ID was first introduced in handsets by Motorola a few years back on the ATRIX HD 4G; sensor hubs have been populating most of the new smartphones throughout all of 2013 (STm being one of the popular ones); and the 64b processor is just Apple’s way of providing more processing power. Other suppliers have elected to add cores (4 and even 8 cores are available) to accomplish the same result. Either more bits or more cores add significant performance but the trade-off is always current drain. The A7 processor drew 1100mA during fixed point operations and 520mA during floating point operations. The iPhone 5 drew 485mA and 320mA for the same test.”
By comparison, ABI says the Moto X represents a huge step forward in power management, providing huge benefits to battery life despite touting a number of innovative new features.
“Features like always-on voice commands typically would draw too much current to be practical, but the Moto X accomplishes the task with 4.5mA allowing the phone to maintain over 200hrs of standby time,” ABI Research’s VP of engineering Jim Mielke said “The display is a bigger surprise though—the Moto X display draws 68mA at low output levels and only 92mA at high output levels, making it a new standard for high output level current drain.”
According to ABI, Apple’s iPhone 5s draws 2.5 times more power than the Moto X even though its display has 20% fewer pixels.
“The combination of solid engineering, creative features, and timely introduction of those features was Apple’s trademark but it has faded in this category over the last two years,” ABI concludes. “Q3 2013 marks the start of another potential company that has put together that rare combination of traits that bring user friendly, innovative, practical products to market.”