Essence of integrating hardware and software

Mobile computing is not about being good enough overall, it’s about being good enough per watt of power consumption. Integrated HW/SW from Apple will likely retain a performance edge — they will be constantly optimizing multi-core chips for performance per watt and tweaking software like they have on iOS7. Who knows if Apple will be 6 months ahead or 18 months ahead at any given time, but it’s a good bet they will be in this range. Low power needs will drive convergence in design.
— Steve Cheney

The essence of integrating hardware and software was pioneered by Steve Jobs' Apple and more an more companies are realizing the importance of this and following suit. Be it Microsoft building its own Surface tablets or Google its own smartphones. It is no mystery how advantageous it is to have tight control over both these aspects of a product. Of course there are downsides, in not being 'open' and 'free'. But with products like iOS 7 and the new mobile Macbook Air (Haswell), the battery life that Apple is able to squeeze out is a tremendous achievement. Other companies have to beef up the phone size to house a bigger battery to match Apple products' battery life. Here are some examples:

  • iPhone 5 has almost a whole day of battery life (a year old model now) and that too is going to improve with iOS 7 with a 1440 mAh battery inside it. The new Motorola Droid Maxx for example has a whooping 3500 mAh battery to yield battery life of '48 hours' (more like 1.5 days in reality).
  • Though Haswell processors are supposed to improve battery lives on laptops (mainly the ultra-portables), none of the Windows 8 ultra-portable laptops (with Haswell processors) come near the Apple Macbook Air in battery life, in fact most of them have half the battery life (8 hrs 53 mins for Sony Vaio Pro) of the Air (more than 14 hrs) and need an external battery pack to match the Air.