There once was a time, way back to yesteryear, when Apple was the Mac, and the Mac was Apple. Thankfully, those days are gone and many of us have multiple Apple products from Mac to iPhone to iPad to Watch and a few accessories here and there, that we use and love.
To this day I remember Steve Jobs introducing the highly anticipated iPad. Back in those days the Macs had smaller screens, the iPhone had a smaller screen, so the iPad fit comfortably in between the two and the world’s best tablet sold like hotcakes. For a few years. Then something happened.
Screen Real Estate
New products that want to compete against current products and industry leaders must do something different. Better features at the same price, or same features at a lower price. In the case of smartphone makers who wanted to compete against Apple’s iconic iPhone, one direction was the screen size. Phablets were born, became a thing, and even Apple joined the large screen real estate parade with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.
Since then, tablets as a category that fit well between smartphone and notebook began to wane, and sales– like PCs themselves– continue to fall. Why? First, the average person or average Apple customer cannot afford to manage and maintain so many devices. Second, money is an object, and so is convenience, so today we see many people who have a single device as their primary 21st century gadget.
If you could have only one Apple product, what would it be?
That’s a trick questions because, well, it depends. And how it depends varies person to person, but still, what would it be? For me, for now, the Mac is home. Period. I get more done, get it done faster, and can work on some rather complex projects with time honored applications that just can’t do the job on iPhone or iPad. Yet. Besides, the one aspect of an iPhone that is not easily replicated in the Mac is a phone, and those are everywhere and inexpensive.
For me, it’s the Mac that tops the iPhone because I can always get a different phone, but there’s nothing that truly replaces the Mac. That could change if Apple would do what HP has already done.
HP’s Elite X3 is a Windows 10 smartphone. The screen is almost 6-inches, making it notably larger than an iPhone, but it comes with a device called the Desk Dock which also comes with extra connectors. Add a cable and the Desk Dock puts whatever is on the smartphone’s screen onto a desktop display.
Add a Bluetooth keyboard to the mix, and the smartphone becomes something of a desktop notebook that can be tucked into your pocket for the ultimate mobile experience that doubles down as a desktop back at home or in the office.
The idea of a single device that goes everywhere, gets all day battery life, and doubles up as a desktop or notebook device is compelling.
Apple could do this but there are issues. The iPhone’s screen resolution would need to match the display. Wireless would be better than a cable attached to a dock. That means the iPhone could use the screen of any nearby and appropriately equipped Mac.
Again, that’s a compelling idea, but we have to remember that Apple makes money selling hardware, and an iPhone with such capability could also mean fewer Macs would be sold, fewer iPads would be sold, and, well, you get the idea, right?
Apple’s products are sufficiently ingrained into my life that moving to an HP Elite x3 running Windows 10 isn’t an idea whose time has come to my household, and it points out how Apple is not always about the user experience. Macs since the turn of the century have had multi-user capability which could be setup inside an iPad with ease. But that would mean fewer iPads would be sold.
If Apple– or a clever third party– could find a way to get what’s on my iPhone’s screen onto a desktop display in full resolution and beyond, then it would be difficult to justify a Mac or an iPad.