Saturday 17 October 2015

Should Apple ChipGate be a thing?

Before we talk about ChipGate, we need to speak about BendGate. It gives us a little bit of perspective on how these “gates” work.

BendGate was a viral response against iPhone 6 models bending. It often felt like a huge tidal wave of angst, as many users around the internet were lead to believe that iPhone 6 models could bend just from being in their pocket. Some users even explained that Apple had purposely introduced bending into their model, giving the phone a remarkably versatile and revolutionary chassis.

The negative responses were mainly due to several viral videos that lead people to believe that their phones were bendable just by putting a small amount of pressure on them. These claims were later refuted when Apple gave out a BendGate statement explaining that only 6 of their phones in 6 days of sales had bent.

So now that ChipGate is swinging around the corner, is it another viral marketing campaign to ruin Apple’s image? Or is it a legitimate concern that users should keep in mind when purchasing a new iPhone 6s?

ChipGate is the result of Apple manufacturing their new A9 processors through two manufacturers. One is Samsung, and one is TSMC. The TSMC-made processor is 16nm, and the Samsung-made chip is 14 nm. The TSMC is slightly bigger, which has led many people to believe, and thus test, that its performance is slightly better.

Most of these benchmark tests show that the TSMC chip gives a slight increase in battery life compared to the Samsung chip. Some users are even claiming that when these tests are run on Geekbench, there’s a 20% difference in battery life.

Like the BendGate situation, Apple has stepped in once again to write off the issue. Their explanation is that “Certain manufactured lab tests that run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state," Apple said. "It's a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3 percent of each other.”

When BendGate was a thing, people often talked about how previous iPhone models were also prone to bending--but it wasn’t a huge deal. In this case, previous iPhone models also had split manufacturers for things like Ram, but whether because people didn’t notice, or take issue with it, it didn’t escalate into a “gate”. It can be unsettling to feel like you got an inferior iPhone. But is a 2% battery difference that big of a deal?

If you’ve stuck with iPhones in the past, and like their operating system and performance, I would continue that same path. Every phone, computer, and device is prone to small intricacies of error and misperformance. While their stocks continue to rise to a frightening level--remember, Apple isn’t that much different than some of it’s competitors. Even if some people think they are.

They have good products, good vision, but it’s still a tech company, and that means there will be some bumps along the way.