Apple’s iMac Retina 5K: Powerful proof of the personal computer renaissance

“How long can PC makers survive by selling cut-rate devices?” Farhad Manjoo writes for The New York Times. “Enter Apple and the new iMac it unveiled in the fall, an expensive desktop with a beautiful, high-resolution screen. If Chromebooks are cars, the new iMac is the world’s best truck. It’s a device optimized for professionals, not casual users, and it blazes a path forward for the once-beleaguered PC industry.”

“Playing the high end has proved lucrative for Apple. In the third quarter of 2014, by the research firm IDC’s estimates, Apple became the fifth-largest PC seller in the world. Though its market share is dwarfed by the Windows PC giants Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer, Apple is predicted to rake in about half of the PC industry’s profits. ‘They’re doing remarkably well, and I think they’ll continue to go up,’ said Tom Mainelli, who studies the PC market for IDC,” Manjoo writes. “Mr. Mainelli argued that the ubiquity of smartphones had increased the appeal of Macs. Because people are shifting more of their computing to mobile devices, they’re waiting longer to replace their PCs. The longer ownership period helps people justify buying Apple’s high-end machines. ‘Consumers are saying, ‘Well, if I’m going to hold on to this thing for five years, I should buy a good one,’’ Mr. Mainelli said. ‘Apple has really benefited from that.'”

“As the low end of the PC business is swallowed by cheap devices, the only people left in the market for traditional PCs will be professionals,” Manjoo writes. “Apple’s recent success shows that professionals still love PCs, and they’ll even pay large sums for them.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Apple is predicted to rake in about half of the PC industry’s profits.”

Who won the PC wars? That’s right, Apple did.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Scott M.” for the heads up.]

10 Comments

  1. Theory:
    I think the 5K controller in the iMac was originally designed and manufactured for use in the long rumored Apple Television. I think that since Apple has had to shelve the television plan because of content issues, they decided to make use of this astounding controller they’d already developed in an iMac.

    I mean, seriously, Apple doesn’t have a hi-rez display for their flagship Mac Pro, yet they decide to equip an iMac with this stunning 5K display? I don’t believe that controller was originally designed with the iMac in mind. They had it and someone decided, “hey, since we can’t move on tv’s, let’s throw this puppy into an iMac and see what happens.”

    1. Possibly. I am sure that Apple’s R&D department is working on all kinds of things. But I have never given the Apple TV rumors (the actual TV rumors, not the existing add-on box) much stock.

      It is no great surprise that Apple is extending its desktop lineup to UHD and beyond. Apple released the new MacPro last year capable of driving multiple 4K displays, and Apple likes to push the bleeding edge of technology from time to time. But I expected 4K to appear first on Apple Cinema Displays in support of the Mac Pro. I did not anticipate a leap to 5K, much less for it to appear on the iMac first.

      In my opinion, the current Retina 5K iMac is a stopgap to bridge another three to six months until the next generation iMac with Broadwell processors is released. This 5K display move reinforces Apple’s reputation as a cutting edge consumer electronics company and also serves as a test for consumer interest in premium desktop computing.

      TVs, even cutting edge ultra high resolution sets with curved screens and OLED technology will rapidly become a consumer commodity. Apple needs products with staying power, and preferably with more rapid refresh cycles and links to other revenue streams. Until Apple figures out a way to work with TV content providers and distributors, I do not see the company branching into Apple-branded televisions.

      1. I don’t think Apple really intended to build a 5K machine, all they did was exactly what they did with the MacBook Pro and quadruple all the pixels. I think it was just serendipity that had it work out to 5K.

        Televisions are getting too gimmicky and won’t have a shelf life long enough to warrant the kind of prices Apple would need to charge to make a profit in that market. I’m pretty sure that Apple’s future in the television market will be limited to the set top box.

  2. Same as smart phones profit share trumps market share every time. PC manufacturers will soon have the same problem Shamdung has not being able to spend as much on R&D and falling behind on desirable technology like 5K.

    Every time I go into Costco and see the cheaptards POS lineup of plastic PCrap (that looks to fall apart right in front of you) I think “there but for the Grace of Apple go I.”

  3. With Apple it’s one step forward one step back. The 5K iMac is a nice machine but nontrivial to disassemble just to replace a hard drive.

    The new Mac minis have soldered in RAM and are limited to dual core processors. Ideally they should be similar in power to the MacBook Pro line, which aside from the lack of a discrete graphics processor, they were.

    Apple gave the iMac a nice boost but gave the Mac Mini a lobotomy. There’s some really good stuff going on at Apple, unfortunately there is also a lot of bad going on too.

    1. I bet you hate that cars have fuel injectors instead of carburetors and just can’t stand how hard it is to remove an automatic transmission. The days of tinkering on your computer are ending. You buy what you need, use it for 3 – 7 years and get another one. Buy a Dell and you can do all kinds of nifty “work” on them. If my hard drive fails I take it to the Apple store and have them replace it per my Apple Care agreement. I don’t want to open cases and mess with that crap anymore.

      1. I would agree with you if not for the exorbitant prices Apple charges for RAM and storage. It’s also depressing to see a 2 year old top-of-the-line Mac mini seriously outperform the current top-of-the-line Mac mini. Is that progress? Some of the stuff I see Apple doing has me seriously worried.

    2. I cannot explain Apple’s approach to the Mac mini. It has always seemed to me that Apple has struggled with the design conflict inherent in a low-cost, headless Mac – producing a quality Mac mini while maintaining a reasonable profit margin in the absence of value-added features such as a display must be difficult. And I am not fond of Apple’s moves towards non-upgradable hardware such as soldered CPUs and memory and difficult to open chassis. But Macs offer more performance and features for better prices than ever before. Given that, I have a difficult time complaining about Apple’s Mac design choices.

  4. There’s only one PC that will come close to being as phenomenal as the 27″ Retina iMac – a 21.5″ 4K Retina iMac. I saw the 27″ model in person and as great as it is, it’s still too big for my taste. Knock on wood Apple releases the smaller model.

  5. Apple is winning. It has not won.

    “Won” means the other side has surrendered. Lenovo and some other PC manufacturers have not surrendered. They have retreated.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.