What can the integration of hardware + software + ML + custom components achieve for a company? Experience gains for devices or services powered by this integration will provide the answer, either immediately or over a longer-term.
In recent news
– Apple launching M1 Pro and M1 Max. It’s “loaded with advanced custom technologies that help push pro workflows to the next level”. Some tech includes on-device machine learning, integrated controllers for better I/O, custom image signal processor for computational video and pictures, better security.
– Google launched the Tensor chip. It promises to keep pace with the latest advancements in machine learning (ML). It’s an attempt to move from an ‘a one-size-fits-all piece of hardware into a device that’s intelligent enough to respect and accommodate the different ways we use our phones’. It will power speech recognition, computational photography, security and much more.
Both talked about experiences that are not as effective in other technology choices.
The M1Pro and M1Max have custom components for the ProRes video. The iPhone gives you the option of recording and editing videos on a device in this format. The new laptops now offer hardware support with these processors. It should certainly speed up workflows for professionals working in this space. All edits, whether on Final Cut, Davinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere that use ProRes perform better because of the support for Metal API etc. So these chips are going to bump up the speed even further. The ecosystem is internal. Suppose these devices are custom made with creators in mind. In that case, there may be other devices on the horizon that are going to be more focused on other professional workflows and the combination of hardware, software and other custom components make for a big performance boost.
Google, with its Tensor chip, is focused on a similar path for their mobile phones. They have the android platform, plus machine learning and cloud infrastructure. The machine learning on the chip allows them to create unique computational photography experiences. So whether you are taking photos or videos, there is a level of computational ability that the company felt was not possible in earlier off the shelf devices.
Since these launches, I have been reading reviews and insights on these devices, but I was most curious about the response of the other technology companies who provide off-the-shelf components for computing and mobile devices. It is not as if other desktops or mobile computing options are not able to give that performance. Intel and Qualcomm supply to a large ecosystem of vendors. Compatibility with different combinations of hardware and versions results in them being accepted across multiple devices. For example, Intel recently introduced the Alderlake processors which are supposed to have comparable if not better performance.
Finally, the performance choices are power and compute choice, whether the customer will prefer these new devices or multiple devices. Another point to add is extended support where the company with the integrated experience has a better chance to offer a unique service experience as well
There is much to think about on integrated experiences.