My, how the world has changed since 2007 when Apple introduced the first generation iPhone. Forget the Mac vs. Windows PCs wars.
Now it’s a war between fingertips and mouse clicks. A war between laptop or desktop computers and handheld devices. Even in the age of handheld devices the Mac’s sales are at record levels. Guess what? Apple’s iPad is selling just as fast.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Apple announced that they’ve sold 3-million iPads in barely 80 days. Apple sells around 3-million Macs in 90 days, so sales are already comparable.
Already Apple sells more iPhones and iPods than Macs.
But that’s not a fair comparison since each device has a different use. Many customers have one or more of each. The trend, however, should be obvious, even if the Mac is not yet an endangered species.
Is it wrong to worry that the Mac is becoming a dinosaur; a relic of the original personal computing generation, soon to be replaced by diminutive and comfortably easy-to-use handheld devices?
50 Days Hath My Test
My main Mac for a number of years has been a number of trusty MacBook Pro models, each sleeker, faster, and more capable than the last. From the advent of the iPhone 3G and now 3GS, my Mac usage has dropped in favor of the iPhone’s unique mobile nature.
If I divide up my computing day, easily half of what I do can be done by the iPhone vs. my Mac notebook. That alone should tell us of future trends. There’s email, web browsing, iCal and Address Book, and a host of iPhone utilities which easily replace similar functional apps on my Mac.
For now, the iPhone cannot replace or replicate other Mac functions. There’s no Microsoft Office on the iPhone. No iLife. Yet. No Adobe Creative Suite 5, nor any of a dozen other apps which require the horsepower presented in a Mac.
My first iPad is the 3G model which is more of a companion to my iPhone than my Mac notebook is to the iPhone. When I’m out and about—whether attending meetings or presentations or traveling anywhere where I’ll be gone for a whole day—the iPad and iPhone combo covers nearly any computing requirement.
In effect, in less than 50 days, the iPad has become a replacement Mac for mobile situations. To a certain extent, the iPad is also a replacement for my Mac notebook at home. Instead of sitting at the desk or propping the MacBook Pro on my lap (and warming my thigh with electronic love), I’ve increasingly gravitated to using the iPad instead.
That means my Mac notebook is now a desktop and it competes for usage with our larger, more powerful iMac for desktop attention. If I’m sitting at my desk, the iMac wins. If I’m sitting anywhere else, the iPad wins. I just use the iPad more for almost any task except the aforementioned Office (and other apps without iPad equivalents).
What Of The iPad vs. Mac Future?
The Mac isn’t going away any time soon, of course. There are many tasks that require the computing power of a Mac and apps that just won’t translate well to a handheld device.
How long will it be before we begin to see the effects of iPhone and iPad erosion? Erosion?
Yes, that point where the Mac’s sales begin to slide because the iPad has become more popular.
For now, iPad owners still need a Mac or PC to connect to their new handheld device. The average selling price of an iPad might be $600. That’s the same as an iPhone, while the Mac’s average selling price is easily double that. Conclusion? The Mac remains an important revenue and profit leg on Apple’s increasingly diversified product chair. For now.
No matter how you look at it—the trend is clear. My iPhone, with a few hundred apps, replaces my Mac for many functions (though, again, the iPhone requires a Mac or PC). The iPad continues that trend of functional replacement. Apple, of course, wants us to buy all three devices and use them however it makes us happy.
I’m comfortable using all three devices. The handheld devices are spokes to the Mac’s hub. Will it be that way in five years?