Specs no longer matter?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by thedon1, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. thedon1 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    Ok, so there's been a lot of discussion about the ipad specs and the how the xoom is more powerful specs wise.

    I think i read in the Engadget review(can't remeber for sure) that specs are not really important anymore, it's more about the expereince.

    With the ipad, most of the reviews say the experience was very pleasent with the first ipad, nothing was so slow that you felt it needed an upgrade specs wise, but the increase does provide more possibilites for devs.

    Do you feel that there is less emphasis on tech being an arms race of ghz and GB and why so?
  2. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    If anything this forum has proven that tech specs always matter 'to some'.

    Some will quite happily tolerate a 'rougher' overall experience, in order to maintain the position of superiority in regards to specifications.
  3. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Specs have never been the be-all-end-all of a quality product. Anyone who buys from a spec sheet is a poor consumer. There are plenty of older 7mp P&S cameras that take better pictures than newer 16mp models. There are scads of cheap 200 watt stereos that sound muddled next to a high end 100 watt model. I'd rather have a an '06 I6 BMW 330i over a '06 V8 Mustang GT.

    Yes, it's about quality and user experience. It's always been about those things.
  4. SteveAbootman macrumors 6502a


    May 12, 2008
    Specs matter only in determining the longevity of devices. Would you rather have an iPhone3G or iPhone4? Both run iOS so the user experience would be roughly the same; save for the performance of the device which would be drastically better in 4.

    But, if you're comparing tech that was released at the same time, and in direct competition, then specs matter little as they are likely to be so close it really doesn't matter (aside from speed test benchmarking tests tech blogs will run). It's all about the user experience. Give me iOS any day of the week and twice on Sunday!
  5. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    specs are a means to an end; the end is still the user experience. Sure, having better specs does help that user experience, but the most powerful computer in the world running windows 95 is still going to be a lousy experience. on the other hand, even the best OS in the world is going to provide a lousy experience if you try to run it on something with miserably low specs or hardware that breaks down.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Specs are helpful in determining how a given computer or device fits a need.

    The funny thing is, while apple markets itself away from specs, isn't that what they did in the iPad2. I mean the media event focused a lot of attention on the dual core cpu and the 9x GPU. They didn't sound like a company marketing the experience but the hardware superiority.

    Apple focuses on or markets the hardware when its to their advantage. When competitors have better specs, they claim its all about the user experience.
  7. camelsnot macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2011
    the bottom line is higher specs means developers can do a lot more. Along with the new hardware, the OS needs to fully support it along with a robust SDK behind it to build to. Faster proc, more ram, better GPU all mean you have a hardware platform ready to crunch numbers. Future ipads can be so much more if Apple commits to revolutionizing their tablet and making it more than a standard media consumption device that can handle some work-related apps. Down the road I can see it effectively replacing laptops for almost every task, provided there is a dock/keyboard with standard I/O ports, and iOS turns more into an OSX w/a touch overlay.

    For instance: Taking it on set for an indy film. Writing notes, showing previz examples, slates. After wrapping for that day, taking the footage (on TB drives) back to your hotel and putting it in a real docking station, scrubbing through and creating a rough cut of the day's shots and sending that back to the studio. Or, grabbing the footage, loading up PFTrack to track the shot, put in some stand-in geometry and show the director the next morning.

    On the flip side, normal Joe Blows like Chupa Chupa who only use it to surf the same 4 websites or play Angry Birds all day won't see any benefit.

    This thing could be a portable studio for creatives. The point is to think outside the "app box" at what the ipad can achieve. That's part of the user experience, and it's about getting back to what Apple was heavily invested for years, video and audio. That's was long before some 06 rusted automobiles were even thought of.
  8. JulianL macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2010
    London, UK
    Yes, but also just because someone asks about specs here doesn't necessarily mean that they're obsessed with them and judge the device entirely (or even partially) on the basis of the specs. I know you didn't say that but I thought I'd use your post as an excuse to point it out since I get a bit fed up with some of the slap-downs when people ask about the specs. Yes, some of the questioners are annoying and (imo) dumb, but others are highly technical people that are just interested to see what raw materials Apple used to deliver whatever level of user experience a particular device exhibits.

    - Julian
  9. thedon1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    Some great points.

    Specs do matter for sure, but do you think it's a by product of a differnt market/ product?

    If you are deciding between 2 pc's which will both run Windows 7, you look at processor speed, RAM etc more closely because your Windows 7 is going to be the same on both, but run better or worse depending on spec.

    When comparing 2 tablets, e.g the Xoom and the ipad, they layer that you use is not equal on both, so it's not really fair to compare the specs so directly.

    It's very similar to the DS and the PSP, both are quite different in their user experience but contend in the same market. When making a purchasing decision between the 2, how much RAM one has compared to the other is rarely a contributing factor.
  10. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Specs obviously matter, but they represent only part of the equation in making a successful product.

    There was a story earlier this week that illustrated the leading role software optimization has played in improving computing performance.

    So, yes - you need a fast processor. But overall its more important to have software that is well written.

    The problem, of course, is its difficult to tell (in advance) how well a company's software actually is. Tech bloggers and web sites have all sorts of different benchmark tests (Geekbench, Sunspider, etc.) that attempt to measure performance. But such tests are, at best, a surrogate endpoint. Manufacturers have become wily about benchmarking tests, and often will optimize their software precisely to score well on widely used tests.
  11. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    Yea. Xoom is more powerful and comes at a whopping 799 dollars.

    Pay 50 dollars more and you can get apple's refurbished MBA 11.6 inch for 1.4 dual core processor, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD with much better graphic card.

    499 isn't equal to 799.

    If apple started of iPad with 799 dollars as a base price (only model in this case) like xoom did, then we can compare appl to appl.
  12. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    If I'm deciding between 2 similar PCs it's going to come down to brand, reliability, and build quality.

    Whatever fantastic specs the Xoom may have the lack of content (esp compared to the iPad) + it's higher price + required 2 year contract kills the deal immediately. It has zero more practical utility than an iPad even if the sum of its parts look better on paper.[/quote]

    I have both the DS and 1st gen PSP as the price of entry was small. But after I bought my first PSP games I never bought another. Again, another case of where specs were great but user experience was mediocre compared to the less elegant DS. In the years prior to iPhone games the DS was my "go to" gadget for airplane amusement. My PSP sits in a closet, still with the original firmware.
  13. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    Only for a few people. If quality was the concern you make it out to be, then the American army would have used AK-47s in Vietnam instead of M16s and you guys over there would be driving European cars instead of American brands. But obviously, quality, which is the enemy of "cheap", is not in that huge demand.

    More people care about the most bang for the buck, but the huge majority usually just cares for the price as long as the product is "good enough".
  14. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Reading many posts here over a long time has taught me one thing:

    Specs do matter when Apple has better ones.

    Specs don't matter and it's all about the "User Experience" when others have better ones.

    Simple. :D
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yep, that's what I noticed as well. When its to their advantage they tout how great their hardware is. When its not, they highlight how they don't focus on specs but the user experience.
  16. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Cute. U.S. anything buying AK47s to fight the communist N. Vietnamese. Also when you are talking about bureaucratic institutions buying decisions criteria is vastly different from how consumers do it.

    But as for cars, last I checked Asian made cars overtook U.S. ones here a long time ago b/c of quality issues w/ U.S. cars. It's why GM and Chrysler went belly up -- or did you not notice that a few years ago? Back in the 80s the Honda was the gold standard. A $8K Honda killed a $8K Chevy or Ford.

    I love BMWs to death, but lets be honest, VWs and Audis were junk in the 80s and 90s. I'm still not impressed with them myself but a lot of that has to do w/ me being a BMW fanboy. Also for a long time Jaguars were notorious for being in the shop more than being in the owner's garage. Peugeot were PewJunks. FIATs were Fiascos. Renaults were OhNos. SAABs were SAAB Stories. So get off the idea that Euro cars by default were or are superior to U.S. ones. As with everything it's model by model. Quality does count.
  17. Jcoz macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2008
    No I really dont think so.

    In %'s, how much of that keynote was spent on those specs? It was the first thing mentioned and moved on very quickly.
  18. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    While there definitely is less emphasis on specs (and rightfully so), I find it extremely hypocritical whenever I see that point used in an argument because it's just a smokescreen for the truth.

    Apple (and it's sycophants in the media/message boards) completely adore mentioning specs... when it works in their favor. When it comes to retina display resolution, the speed of thunderbolt or the amount of cores in an A5 chip then that info is common knowledge because it's discussed and bragged about openly. But when someone asks about the memory or camera specs in the iPad then suddenly "oh, specs dont matter. you're dumb for even caring". So we're stuck with useless marketing info like 9x faster graphics or HD Camera and then told in the same contradicting breath that "Its about the experience" as if knowing the truth is some movie ruining spoiler.

    I do feel specs matter less nowadays since a smooth OS definitely is better than a powerful beta. But its silly to use it as an argument when you know very well that when Apple leads in a specific category that you know exactly how many Megasomethings ahead they are over the competition.
  19. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    It is the experience of using a product that matters, not the spec. But spec can positively or negatively affect the experience of using a product. Really this has always been the case, but with computers, the spec has a far closer correlation wth experience than it does with tablets.
  20. JRoDDz macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2009
    Specs don't mean diddly squat if you don't have the right software to run it.
  21. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I'd say there were definitely things in the ipad1 which needed some specs love, internet browsing for one. Specs will always be important, there is a reason Steve Jobs was touting the A5 processor and the graphics chip. He would have touted the 512mb memory as well, but he knew he was behind the industry on that one (I'm not saying it matters, I'm saying he knows it's a negative from a marketing perspective).

    I don't think the specs race has slowed down one bit, but it's just shifted over to different terms. Just like CPU's aren't about clock speed anymore but more about cores, for example. There is ALWAYS something that needs to be marketed, that's why specs in some form or another will always exist.
  22. CosmoPilot macrumors 65816


    Nov 8, 2010
    South Carolina
    I can see your point, but Apple never went into detail on the A5, nor did they go into detail on the GPU. They only mentioned the new processor and 9X better graphics as a reference point for consumers to make a decision.

    I've seen several threads in recent days trying to figure out the specs of the A5, because Apple doesn't go into specifics. Again, I think you're misunderstanding Apple's intent when they do talk about hardware changes. They do so, to give the world an idea how it is "improved" over previous models.

    Imagine a keynote speech where Jobs says, "new iPad 2...it's definitely better, sales begin on 11 March...questions?"
  23. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I don't get your point though. Apple still increased the specs on the ipad2, they still announced those increased specs as a marketing vehicle.
  24. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    I would LOVE it. I dont hate journalists, but I do hate how lazy they've become. They're so obsessed with webhits and clever comments that they forget that their job is to ask the hard hitting questions, not applaud when the color white is introduced as a magical new option. So when they go home after a meeting with a powerful dictator, an irresponsible car manufacturer or an Apple event then the only info they have is the stuff they are told but no original thoughts of their own.

    If a presentation went "new iPad 2...it's definitely better, sales begin on 11 March...questions?" and a journalist was given a blank slate then a journalist would be forced to work in a compelling question and the public would have a lot more useful info rather than corporate slides turned into article headlines.
  25. MrWillie macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2010
    Starlite Starbrite Trailer Court
    How is Xoom more powerful ? Because it has a gig of ram ? That's it ? Is it the fact that it uses an OS that a 14 year old can hack ? I see this Xoom statement over and over, but no one backs up the claim. Well I am calling you out, what is it ?

    But they didn't. They knew what need to be done to sell in excess of 15 million units. Too bad for Samsung, Motorola, and others that they haven't figured this out yet. Maybe they need to make some personnel changes in their companies ? Fact, I can buy an Apple product (after 5pm) for $499 - $829 and they will all perform the same, have the same OS, same screen, .... The only difference is storage and 3G. Sorry that none of the Android companies can figure that one out.

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