Erick Schonfeld relays an interesting tidbit about the tremendous engineering resources Apple is devoting towards its mobile products. While everything sure looks easy when Phil Schiller is introducing the iPhone 4S, or Jobs the iPhone 4, the reality is that countless engineering hours are poured into seemingly simple things, such as giving the iPhone 4S the ability to take photos quickly.
Schonfeld recounts a conversation he had with a Silicon Valley CEO who knew Jobs personally and relays why Apple is uniquely positioned to attack the post PC era with tenacity.
We got to talking about why Apple is so well-positioned in the post-PC era, and this executive zeroed in on something you don’t hear too often. “Steve Jobs told me he has 1,000 engineers working on chips,” he said. “Getting low power and smaller is the key to everything.”
Indeed, whereas battery life is seemingly a feature other smartphone manufacturers conveniently choose to ignore (any one ever used the HTC Evo?), Apple quietly devotes a lot of resources to ensure that their innovative products don’t have to be re-charged every 4 hours.
Is it any surprise that the iPhone 4S, undoubtedly Apple’s most powerful smartphone to date, also comes with the best battery life on an iPhone that Apple has ever released?
Not only are Apple’s processors extremely power efficient, but Apple is also removing the hard drives from its products and replacing them with flash memory chips. It’s not just iPhones and iPads, the MacBook Air’s storage is also flash. All of Apple’s products are moving in this direction. When you combine these two fundamental changes at the silicon level, “form factor no longer becomes an issue,” explained the Silicon Valley CEO.
And sure, chip design may not be sexy, and it sure as hell won’t warrant the cover of Time Magazine. But it’s a fundamental feature of mobile devices that Apple seems to get in ways that most other companies can’t. And it’s just like Jobs, who could see the Forrest for the trees, to be especially proud of having 1,000 engineers working on chips.
Some CEOs brag about their earnings. Steve Jobs boasted about engineers.