The only area of growth among personal computers these days falls into two basic camps. First, the Mac. Apple’s once flagship product continues to outpace the PC industry to set record sales with a mostly notebook line.
Second, on the Windows side of the market fence are the hybrid models made up of Windows notebooks with touchscreens. Sales of such notebook-cum-tablet hybrids are on the upswing and it’s easy to see how Microsoft’s strategy works well against Mac notebooks which don’t compete feature-to-feature. Here’s a look at two MacBook killers to love; if they ran macOS High Sierra.
High End, Low End
It takes little effort to find the latest Windows notebook tablet hybrids and they cover every portion of the PC notebook landscape; expensive to dirt cheap. Samsung’s new Notebook 9 starts at a penny short of $1,200, so it’s priced like an entry-level MacBook or MacBook Pro, but it bristles with hardware that is priced much higher at Apple, Inc.
I’ll be damned if that doesn’t look like the aging MacBook Air that Apple stills sells as if it is new. It’s not. The Notebook 9 comes with an 8th generation Intel Core i7 inside (1), a 15-inch HD display, 256GB of SSD storage (2), 8GB RAM, 12 hours of battery life (3), a bunch of USB ports and an HDMI port (4), and more. A 13-inch model is available as is a touchscreen model called the Pen. Yes, it’s Windows 10 inside with Microsoft Office ready to roll.
At the other end of the scale are a new breed of Chromebooks that work with Microsoft Office 365 from the Google Play Store. Yes, Android apps run on Chromebooks these days so you get the best of two loser platforms on one device, but this Office is the real deal Office 365 (5).
That means customers can buy an inexpensive Chromebook that runs Office. Google wins. Microsoft wins. Some hardware manufacturer in China wins. Win. Win. Win. What about Apple? So far, Apple’s Mac line remains a winner, too, what with record sales and profits, but most of that comes from the middle of the line– Mac notebooks. Apple has addressed the high-end problem with the new iMac Pro starting at about $5,000, and with the promise of a modular Mac Pro perhaps next year.
What about the entry-level Mac line? What of Apple’s answer to the growing notebook-tablet hybrid market?
That the world of personal computers is moving toward and away from the Mac at the same time is an interesting paradox.
It’s as if the MacBook Air has been busy crossbreeding with competitors.
You can get one of those little puppies for less than $400. It comes with an HD display, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD storage, and what you would expect from a 5-year old MacBook Air, at about the same price. Samsung’s new Chromebook Pro starts at about $500, runs Google Play Store apps, has a touchscreen, but is powered more like an entry-level MacBook with an Intel m3 CPU.
Apple does not have an answer for such devices. The Mac mini is years old and touts a 4th generation Intel Inside while competitors push 8th generation chips. With most Macs being sold these days as notebooks, and with renewed interest on the premium end of the line with the iMac Pro, Apple still looks precarious. The Mac notebook line is aging in design and capability, and the low end is years old already.
After years of neglect Apple has addressed the premium end of personal computers. Now the company needs to shore up the entry-level and revamp or upgrade the mid-range models– Mac notebooks and desktops.
Face ID on every new Mac in 2018 would be a good place to start.