While much of the attention today surrounding highly engineered and optimized systems centers on big, powerful machines used in data warehousing and OLTP, Apple CEO Steve Jobs reminded the world in yesterday's earnings call that Apple's iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs have always embodied that model: "And this results in an incredible product at a great price."And for competitors who don't take the optimized route of engineering hardware and software to work together very specifically and to wring out every available bit of performance, Jobs believes there's only one outcome: those competitors will end up with products that "offer less for more."
That, Jobs said, is a sure-fire prescription for absolute failure.
During the earnings call with analysts yesterday, here's how Jobs described Apple's application of the optimized-system approach, per the transcript on seekingalpha.com:
"The iPad incorporates everything we have learned about building high-value products from iPhones, iPods and Macs," Jobs said. "We create our own A4 chip, our own software, our own battery chemistry, our own enclosure, our own everything. And this results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof of this will be in the pricing of our competitor's products which will likely offer less for more.
"These are among the reasons we think the current crop of seven-inch tablets are going to be DOA, Dead on Arrival. Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small and increase the size next year, thereby abandoning both customers and developers who jumped on the seven-inch bandwagon with an orphan product. Sounds like lots of fun ahead."
Later in the call, Jobs came back to this theme and said that Apple has learned that in order for it to deliver products of the caliber it demands, the company has had to become "a very high-volume consumer-electronics manufacturer."
Jobs said, "We've developed a lot of our own components where others have to buy them on the market with middlemen, getting their cut of things. I think we're systems architects and know how to build systems in a very efficient way. So I think this is a product we've been training for, for the last decade."