SPECULATION/OPINION: Will the Mac ever be #1?

apple_gray.jpgNext week we have a “Townhall Meeting”. It’s Mac focused. We’re going to be getting something new. I don’t know what exactly, and this article is not a speculative piece on what that might be, but when discussing the possibilities with a friend yesterday, the conversation shifted a bit, and it got me thinking about the future of Apple computers.

Recently, Apple has had tremendous growth in the computer market. Many attribute this to the halo effect from other products like the iPod and iPhone. The switch to Intel chips is also often mentioned, but I’m not sure the significance of that move on the part of Apple has ever been fully realized. Ever since the release of Bootcamp, Parallels and VM Ware’s Fusion, the entire game has been changed…and it now favors the Mac over all other computers.

Take the fanboy thoughts and wishes out of it for a minute (both pro and con), and let’s look at this from as objective a view as possible.

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OS X has great software. Not just Apple created software. There are hundreds if not thousands of great applications created exclusively for the Mac.

Windows has great software. Not just Microsoft created software. There are hundreds if not thousands of great applications created exclusively for Windows.

Why should I have to choose one of these platforms?

The Intel based Macs are the only legal solution in existence that allow me the benefit of full access to libraries of software. They are the first computers to ever do this, and I think it is the #1 driving factor in the increase of Mac sales.

Since the option of running Windows on Macs became available, I have had more friends and family members ask me for details about switching than ever before.

Another factor that is a pro for OS X is that people don’t want to deal with viruses and spyware. Regardless of your position on whether the Macs are “bulletproof” or not in this regard, you cannot deny the fact that, current, there is not one single virus out in the wild for the Mac. People love the idea of not having to waist time and energy messing with anti-spyware and anti-virus software.

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When you consider the benefits of using a Mac over a PC running Windows there is a very strong argument that the Mac is the better choice.

So, my question is, do you think Macs will ever become the #1 selling computer in the United States? In the World?

I think they can…but there are two things standing in the way.

1) Cost – We all know that Macs a more expensive than PCs. Recently, that gap has been closing. If you match specs with a Dell or Gateway computer, I think you’re generally going to find they are within a $100 or so of one another…but Apple has to release an updated Mac Mini, or another entry level Mac of some kind to truly make headway with taking that #2 and eventually #1 spot in Computer sales.

Now, I’m not saying we need an eMachines version of a Mac, but a lower cost system will help bring in more users that simply cannot afford the more expensive iMac products. We have the Mac Mini, but it is in desperate need of an update, and it needs to be powerful enough to stand toe-to-toe with its big brothers.

2) Marketing - Don’t get me wrong, Apple has some of the best commercials in the world. They’re great…but the current Apple ad campaign never mentions price, and also fails to mention that the Intel Macs are the best of both worlds.

People want the security blanket of Windows on their computers. I have seen time and time again where that blanket fades after using OS X for a short time, but if they are going to choose a Mac over a PC, the average user needs to know they can still have access to that obscure Windows program they love.

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I think if Apple refocused in these two key areas to attract more switchers, they could take that #1 spot in the US over the next 2 years. Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying the OS X install base is going to be greater than the Windows install base. I’m talking about hardware sales.

There will still be many more companies selling PCs than there will be companies selling Macs, but I genuinely believe that Apple could become the #1 computer seller in the US if they would only make a few small adjustments.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. I think the time is over where Computer owners buy a Computer and had fun to tinker getting everything working. Geeks are getting older and they want a simple machine where they can work with after they power on the box. Like a tv – thats it. Apple is much more closer to this “out of the box and use it” behavior then any other Computer with Windows installed. So I think Apple is on a great way and we will see more sales on Macs in the future. I worked over 15 years on Windows machines and I switched to a Mac 6 month ago – and I ask myself : why did it took me 15 years to switch. Everybody out there who wants to “use” a computer – do the switch!

  2. Yea they could, I think the Intel switch was the cause of the recent market share rise instead of a halo from the iPod. At least that was the final piece that made me switch. Although I don’t use Windows anymore it was a concern for me when switching. I think it has potential concerning its already one of the best selling computers according to amazon. But I doubt within the next 2 years.

  3. They defiantly could take over the computer market the thing is if they do then there will be more people trying to get virus’ on the Mac platform. You mentioned about the price. Well i think of it like buying 2 computers you can buy one that runs windows and one that runs OS 10 at the same time. Learning to use OS 10 for me was much easier than anything i could ever do on windows! Once people look at it like a serious machine maybe we will see a rise. I also agree that we will see a rise if Apple starts marketing there computers in a different light although i do love the commercials. Hopefully we will see a rise for your sake and mine Michael as more people may become Apple fan-boys and want to subscribe to our pod-casts etc.

  4. Yep, I only switched because I knew I could fall back on Windows if I didn’t like OS X. Turns out, nearly a year later, that I still haven’t installed Windows on my Mac and that I’ve now sold my Windows machine…

    :P

  5. I bought a MacBook Pro last June and immediately installed Boot Camp. I figured I’d be switching back and forth from OS X to Windows for a while and that the transition to a full OS X lifestyle would be a slow one. As it turned out, I was able to find a Mac-alternative for every piece of software I used in the Windows world pretty fast. I’m not much into gaming, so the only thing that I found myself booting into Windows for was pulling TV shows over from my Tivo so I could burn them to DVD. (What a pain in the butt it was too, not a quick or easy process on a PC.) Once Toast 8 was released, it brought Tivo support to the Mac. (Better, faster Tivo support I might add.) I found that I no longer had a need to use Windows. I removed the 20 Gig partition that was dedicated to Boot Camp and installed XP within Parallels just in case I ever need access to a PC application; and the installation only takes up about 2 Gigs of drive space.

    The Mac is already #1, there’s just a few million PC users out there that haven’t figured it out yet.

  6. The Wizard says:

    Now you are talking michael. This may be the best article you have ever written. You have such a great insight into the mac world. I hope apple listens to your advice. A $500 laptop would be a great start. Keep up the good work michael.

  7. being #1 in the world would be an achievement, however, right now Apple is #1 with me and my wife and my brother and my other brother and my other brother and my sister and my daughter and my other daughter and my son and my son’s wife and my granddaughter and with our 70 employees….

    ….so thank you Apple for all you are and all you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. No way. Jobs has said publicly that they are happy with having a small porcentage of the market. They will grow, of course, but i don’t think we will never see a 30% marketshare of Macs, sorry.

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