tim-cook-spec-wars

You’re probably familiar with the ongoing spec wars in the tech space. Is a 13-megapixel camera better than a 5-megapixel shooter? What about a quad-core processor versus a dual-core chip? It all depends on the internals, the sensors and the inner workings of every part. Still, we’re flooded daily with seemingly more powerful specs day-in and day-out in the smartphone and tablet market.

Apple thinks it’s a problem, and said that the spec wars are actually an ongoing battle for companies to out-market one another. It is, on the surface, a sad effort to convince consumers that one product is better than another simply because the graphics chip, the processor, the screen or the camera have “bigger numbers” than another product. Sadly, it works.

“In the PC industry over the years, the way that companies competed were in two things: specs and price,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a Goldman Sachs presentation on Tuesday. “People would say, ‘I’ve got the largest drive,’ or ‘I’ve got the most megapixels.’ The truth is that customers want a great experience and quality—they want that ‘a-ha’ moment. These [numbers] are things that technology companies invent because they can’t have a great experience, so they talk about the specs of something. The customer experience is always broader than that which can be defined by a simple number.”

We agree with Tim Cook’s statement. Still, playing devil’s advocate, Apple does the same thing. It sells a “Retina display” that’s really just a high resolution screen. It’s not necessarily playing the same numbers game, but it’s certainly interested in trying to convince consumers that its products are better because it offers “Retina” or some other branded component or technology that isn’t always much different from its competitors.

We don’t think the spec wars are ending anytime soon. Samsung will likely introduce an Exynos Octa processor in its Galaxy S IV, and we’ll need to wait for benchmarks to see how that stands up against dual-core competition in Qualcomm’s new chips. Plus, we have a feeling 1080p displays are here to stay, and that newer technology will continue to push bragging rights in that space.