Yes, the Mac is still here but the winds are changing. Mac sales are down. Windows PC sales are up. Where Apple has failed to innovate the Mac, PC manufacturers have upped their hardware game with better specifications and lower price tags. Here’s another one.
PC Or Mac Killer?
These days there are three basic personal computer lines on the market. The traditional Windows PC. The typical Mac. And the new Chromebooks. Macs occupy the premium end of the traditional PC space, but competition has intensified from Dell, HP, and Microsoft; particularly the latter with a line of PCs more broad and deep than the Mac.
The other end of the scale is the Chromebook, made of mostly inexpensive touchscreen notebooks in a wide variety of configurations, residing in the past at the low end of the product spectrum. That has changed. Google’s new Pixel Slate starts at $599 but goes to more than $1,700 with higher specifications. HP has a similar Chromebook which also starts at $599 and is deemed, as they all are, a MacBook Killer.
HP’s new x360 starts at about twice the price of a typical Chromebook, and half the price of an entry-level MacBook at $1,299. And, to be fair, what you can do with a Mac far exceeds what can be done with any Chromebook at any price. Macs run all the most popular applications from Adobe and Microsoft, plus Windows and Linux. Chromebooks are doing well if they run Android smartphone apps.
The new HP Chromebook comes with expectations met. A 14-inch 1080p HD touchscreen display, thin bezels, lightweight design, a USB-C and USB-A port, a microSD port, headphone jack, and all day battery life. If you don’t need all the heavy lifting of a MacBook or even a Microsoft Surface notebook, a Chromebook can be attractive.
Please notice that differentiation is a key component of product marketing, and most of these so-called Mac killers have a few differentiating points in common. First, price. Only the high end premium Microsoft Surface Book 2 has comparable MacBook Pro-like hardware– but at a similar price tag. Second, features not found on the Mac, including the touchscreen and a detachable keyboard.
There was a time when I would mock such competition because Mac sales were growing while Windows PC sales were not. Chromebooks were a cheap antidote to those with no budget for power. Both Chromebook and PC makers have upped their hardware game while Apple has not. Mac sales are down. Touchscreen notebook tablet hybrid sales are up.
I’m not worried about Apple killing the Mac or the Mac market drying up, but does it not seem strange that Apple no longer leads the PC industry with the best hardware?