Next 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.
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.
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.
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?