What has happened to personal computers– whether desktops, all-in-ones, or even notebooks– is a confluence of cheap Chromebooks at the low end of the product spectrum, and Apple maintaining the premium end where most of the profits lie. In between is a veritable doldrums of sort which threatens the prosperity and survival of PCs. Apple can fix that.
The Better Mousetrap
If necessity is the mother of invention, then build it and they will come is the entrepreneur’s vision of the future. The PC industry has struggled to make profits for many years, and the mobile revolution threatens to create a different kind of change among traditional PCs. Higher prices for same old same old.
Enter Apple and the future of the personal computer. To date, Apple has been the design leader for PCs; the leading mindshare for aluminum clad notebooks, and all-in-one desktops. Apple’s marketshare has grown faster than PC marketshare for years, but recently even Apple’s once flagship device has fallen on hard times against the mobile device revolution. PC shipments have been falling steadily and so has the Mac.
What has not happened to turn that trend around is the better mousetrap. Other than Retina displays, thinner and lighter notebooks, what has changed for PCs or Macs in the past five years?
Ripe For Revolution
After half a decade Apple finally decided to incorporate Siri on the Mac in macOS Sierra, but Siri doesn’t do much different than what Siri does on iPhone and iPad, and– to be frank about the shortcomings– that’s just not enough in Siri to set Mac sales on fire, and it doesn’t appear there is any new technology on the horizon to help.
Apple has been the leader of technology revolutions for a few decades; Apple II, Mac, iPod, iTunes Music Store, iPhone and App Store, iPad, and even Watch have helped the company maintain both a leading presence the world’s most valuable and profitable company.
What have you done lately, Apple? It’s time for a revolution and the Mac would seem to be a good place to start. Here’s a problem. There just isn’t much that’s new under the visible sun. Even Intel’s CPUs have slowed down and it’s difficult to see the performance difference from a new MacBook with an Intel M Inside vs. an aging MacBook Air with an i7 inside.
It’s not as if Apple’s iconic Mac lineup is getting plenty of competition from the iPad, either. Even iPad sales have diminished the past few years, although it’s arguable that an iPad can do most of what we once did with our Macs, it still doesn’t do much heavy lifting, doesn’t run Windows or Linux, and just isn’t as powerful as macOS Sierra.
What Can Apple Do?
My fear is, well, for lack of a better word, nothing. If ever there was a technology plateau that has been reached, it’s electricity, batteries, and the Mac. Apple can add some icing to the old cake, though. A touchscreen for specific functions in macOS Sierra. A larger and more capable trackpad. A built-in Touch ID finger print scanner. An iris scanner from the built-in iSight camera. Improved security to the point of hubris and taunts to hackers and malware.
The reality is this. There’s just not much more technology out there than can take Apple’s Mac into the future with a revolution as it did with iPhone, iPad, and Watch, and certainly– at least until Siri actually works– nothing new is awaiting under the noonday sun. Apple needs to start another revolution. It’s been awhile.
I’m thinking MacPad with an ARM-based A-series Fusion-like non-Intel Inside CPU.