One of the added benefits of living in New York is access to new products. No matter what it is, or where it’s from, someone somewhere in New York has whatever new product just rolled off the factory floor.
Except the Tesla Model 3. I suspect we’ll get a glimpse of one before they see it driving down the streets of Peoria. But I digress. Mac users, meet the HP Spectre, the new Windows PC which does everything a Mac does but better. Except for one niggling little issue that separates Apple and the Mac from everything with Windows inside.
Thin And Loud
It’s been nearly a decade since Apple launched the then thin and light MacBook Air, a diminutive yet powerful device which caught the fancy of notebook lovers on both sides of the divide. Since then the trend has been decidedly thinner, lighter, faster, and the new MacBook is Apple’s thinnest, lightest, and fastest almost little notebook ever.
Apple can get away with pricing its notebooks higher than most competitors, because Apple. Apple is premium. Apple is an aspirational brand. Apple is Apple. But the crown for thinner, lighter, faster notebooks doesn’t belong to Apple.
HP wants to go upscale with the Spectre and perhaps take a little of the premium end of the notebook segment away from Apple.
Menacing look, no?
HP Spectre is billed as the thinnest powerful notebook you can buy. 13-inch Ultra HD display. Aluminum and carbon fiber. 2.45 pounds and 10.33mm thin. i5 or i7 CPU. Gorilla Glass. USB-C. Wi-Fi. 8GB RAM. Bang & Olufsen audio.
How much? $1,199 to start.
All those glorified specifications put the HP Spectre somewhere between the new MacBook and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
There’s good news and bad news about that
The good news for Mac lovers is that HP only runs Windows 10. No OS X. Battery life is less than a MacBook Pro. The bad news for Mac lovers is that the HP Spectre is more MacBook Pro class than MacBook class; thinner, lighter, powerful, less expensive, more storage, more USB-C ports, cool and menacing look.
An HP executive described the new Spectre as “sexy.”
He’s right. But there’s just one issue here. It runs Windows. So does my MacBook Pro. It also runs Linux and various flavors of Unix. So does the HP. My Mac runs OS X. If the HP ran OS X I’d be interested, but that’s not exactly how life works.
Here’s what has happened. Apple owns the premium end of the product spectrum. Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch own the profits in PCs, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches because they’re premium brands, and, thanks to the differentiation of OS X and iOS, Apple’s products remain sufficiently different than competing Windows and Android devices have trouble competing for the premium end of the product spectrum.
You can’t get a cheaper Mac at Best Buy. You can get a cheaper Windows PC notebook and a cheaper Android smartphone or tablet. They all run Windows or Android OS, so the competitive race isn’t toward the premium end of the spectrum, it’s toward the bottom. HP’s new Spectre is a nice piece of kit, but it’s hampered by Windows being synonymous with cheap and inexpensive. Just like Samsung’s problem with Android.