Apple iPad has 'design advantages' over rivals says iSuppli

Because it's got half as much RAM
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Supply chain analysts IHS iSuppli said Apple is able to gain an iPad price advantage over rivals due to 'design efficiencies' which are unavailable to fresh challengers.

iSuppli submitted the iPad and eight rival tablets to a 'tear down' , disassembling the devices and making an inventory of the components. The firm concluded that Apple was able to reduce costs on the basis that the firm controlled both the operating system and the underlying hardware.

"These efficiencies become obvious in areas like the memory and the battery, where Apple maintains advantages in cost, space savings and performance compared with every competitor in the business," iSuppli analyst Wayne Lam said in a release.

iSuppli cited one area as the lesser amount of RAM fitted to the iPad, 512MB versus 1GB in many Google Android models.

"The iPad’s efficient memory usage stems from the fundamental difference in the architecture of the operating system," Lam said.

"Apple’s iOS handles multitasking differently than other tablet operating systems, allowing it to reduce the amount of memory required to support the microprocessor."

Half the RAM meant a $14 reduction in the BOM, or bill of materials, making it harder for rivals to compete on price. Yet RAM was the only actual example of the design efficiencies that iSuppli provided.

The firm drew attention to the array of competing products in Android devices such as CPU and graphics from Qualcomm and Nvidia, but didn't specify what effect that would have.

Even more puzzling, iSuppli produced a table which set out the component costs of a range of tablets, the Wi-Fi iPad calculated to be $268. The closest device, the Asus Eee Pad, cost $285 to build according to iSuppli.

ISuppli said the extra 512MB of RAM would cost an extra $14 but the $17 premium on the Asus buys a larger 10.1 inch screen, dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset, both forward and rear facing cameras GPS and a Gyro.

So we're not sure their own data even supports what their conclusions. iSuppli ended on safer ground with the stunning revelation that tablets have been moving towards multi-core processors.

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