Well what the Android devices are trending towards is many cores, but not all identical - some low powered and some high powered.
A phone is largely idle but it can never shut down entirely so you only need a bit of near constant computing power keeping everything running.
The low powered cores can handle that just fine.
And when you start using it actively then the high powered cores kick in seamlessly to take over.
The iPhone misses out on that advantage because whenever it needs to do something like ping a mobile phone tower it needs to power up a high powered core.