Apple’s biggest challenge isn’t the iPhone, it’s the Mac

“It doesn’t matter if we buy them less often, we’re all going to continue to buy smartphones,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “The congregation of loyal iPhone users will continue to grow, which means Apple’s biggest challenge isn’t mobile – it’s Mac.”

“Apple has a huge opportunity,” Evans writes. “Over a third of all the Windows PCs on the planet are running a version of the Microsoft OS that is about to die a cold and lonely death, Windows 7.”

“Apple sold 18.21 million Macs in its 2018 financial year, generating around $25.484 billion in revenue,” Evans writes. “There are approximately 642 million PCs in use worldwide that use Windows 7, and all of these will need to be upgraded in the next 12 months.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why not get a quality personal computer, that’ll last many years and save you much frustration, an also run all of the world’s software, not just a mere subset?

A lower total cost of ownership, a much more pleasant experience (every hour of every day), quality industrial design, security, privacy, and the ability to run any operating system and skip effortlessly between them. Only Macintosh offers this.

We’d love to see Apple really advertise the Mac again and properly explain “Why Mac” to the great unwashed.

Get a Mac!

SEE ALSO:
SAP: Apple’s Macintosh is key for any modern enterprise – February 4, 2016
IBM: Every Mac we buy is making and saving us money – October 28, 2015
Now we know why IT support hates Macs (hint: Windows PCs = job security) – October 19, 2015
IBM: Corporate Mac users need less IT support than those stuck on Windows – October 18, 2015
Just 5% of Mac users at IBM need help desk support vs. 40% of Windows PC sufferers – October 15, 2015

75 Comments

  1. It’s really unfortunate that Apple has chosen to put all their eggs into the iPhone basket and only pay token service to the Mac. If they want more apps for the iPhone, they need developers, and those developers need Macs. Driving the Mac business will drive the iPhone business.

    1. Why not get a quality personal computer, that’ll last many years and save you much frustration, an also run all of the world’s software, not just a mere subset?

      I have now returned two retina MacBook Airs because of problems with the space-bar making two spaces when pressed once. I have had much frustration with a computer that had barely lasted weeks.

      1. Apple’s biggest challenge is Tim Cook.

        Cook has tried everything he could to kill the Mac but it just won’t die. He wont upgrade it to touch, he won’t even upgrade it on a regular basis. Hell, he won’t even make the iPad a real pro machine.

        All this guy has done is milk Apple, it’s customers, and Wall Street bone dry for 8-years. Everyone Cook has burned steers clear of him. I truly believe that this is the year that everyone wakes up and realizes that all of Apple’s woes are his fault.

    2. “Driving the Mac business will drive the iPhone business.”
      How so? Let’s take an average customer, Grandma Jane. Apple successfully markets to her and she buys an iMac. How does driving her to buy the Mac help the iPhone business? Especially when chances are really good she already owns a phone of some sort anyway?

      If a developer wants in on developing for iOS, though, they have no choice other than Xcode and macOS. So, it’s really iOS business driving Mac sales, not the other way around. They could sell a million macs tomorrow and, unless there’s a developer or two in that mix, you’ve driven the iPhone business by zero. Now you WILL increase demand for Mac software and Mac developers which is NOT a bad thing.

      1. For a great many of us, the Macintosh is the foundation upon which our relationship with Apple is built. Our love of the MacOS fuels our Apple zealotry. Take away the Mac, and suddenly I couldn’t care less about iPhones and iPads and iTunes and iCloud and HomePods and AppleTV. In fact, take away the Mac and all that stuff can go to hell. There are better competitive products and services.

        Take the Mac out of the equation, I not only don’t care about the other product and services, I become truly resentful of the company and its management. I don’t want anything to do with them.

        And I take my new “I hate Apple” attitude on the road. When I go to clients and open my backpack, out pops my Razer Blade computer, Android Phone, Samsung gear watch, and so on.

        I start “selling” other products essentially. When people ask where is my iPhone I get very happy to tell them why I dumped my Apple Products and sold my Apple stock.

        1. Perfectly said TM. Without the foundation of the Mac the attraction to the rest of the Apple ecosystem falls off the radar mighty fast. And yes you become bitter and resentful for them being so blind to what Apple is and has represented to fans of their products. Something easily fixed but ignored instead. Tim Cook is fast dismantling what made Apple great.

        2. For many others, the Apple II is the foundation upon which their relationship was built. For MOST folks today, by a VERY large margin (remember, at this time Apple is indicating there are 100 million active macOS users) the iPhone or some other iOS device is the foundation on which THEIR relationship is built.

          Some of them may buy a Mac, but, just by the numbers, the truth is that most of them don’t have a Mac and are likely not interested in macOS. Take the Mac out of the equation, and this vast majority would not be affected.

          I’m not saying your view is incorrect. I have personally helped many folks move their data and work to other systems. But, that was BECAUSE we came to a recognition that, as long as there are more individuals (just taking the money off the table here) that are interested in and excited about iOS, Apple would continue to focus their future efforts there. That has proven out and continues to be true.

          I can’t think of any reason why Apple would put any more than a token amount of focus (specifically to provide for iOS developers and some content producers that use their professional apps) which is why today, if someone asks my opinion of a computer, I first ask what phone they have.

      2. Perhaps it should be “Driving the Mac business will SOLIDIFY the iPhone business”. Smartphones are becoming more of a commodity product with less of a feature gap between iOS and Android with every generation leading to a price/value ratio that is not flattering to future iPhone sales. Having a solid Mac ownership base would help ensure that defections from iOS to Android (or another OS) would be more difficult.

        1. PC’s became a commodity product a long time ago. Other than develop iOS apps and run Apple’s professional applications, what can you do with a Mac that you can’t do with a PC? And, as it has always been, your average PC will ALWAYS sell for less than your average Mac.

          Additionally, every major vendor (Apple, Samsung, Google, etc.) provides tools making it easy to go from one system to another. The only things that would really be sticky are the apps. Having a Mac doesn’t force you to use an iPhone as most phones haven’t required a computer connection for updates in some time.

          1. Mobile phones became a commodity product a long time ago. What can you do with an iPhone that you can’t do with any other mobile phone? And, as it has always been, your average mobile phone will ALWAYS sell for less than your average iPhone.

            Additionally, every major vendor (Apple, Samsung, Google, etc.) provides tools making it easy to go from one system to another. The only things that would really be sticky are the apps. Having an iPhone doesn’t force you to use a Mac as most phones haven’t required a computer connection for updates in some time.

    1. I’m NEVER putting my greasy fingers on any future Mac touch screen display EVER. Especially since a mouse or preferably trackball is still the best way to input cursor movement and selection.

      1. I agree. I don’t want in interface that has a vertical screen for which I have to wave my hands and touch things. If you really need a precise pointer use a tablet interface with a precise puck (pens are almost as good, but high precision pucks are better for some things).

        When they get to a true holographic visual and control interface — that does NOT require those silly headsets — I’ll definitely reconsider, but not before.

  2. Apple just needs to do two things to do what the article suggests:

    1) Announce a commitment to the Mac line including timely updates. Say something like “Apple will update our Macs on a yearly basis with the latest Intel processors and the latest graphics processors.

    2) Make a “corporate Mac mini” with replaceable RAM and SSD. Include in this box space for 2 or 4 M.2 SSDs, 4 slots of RAM, 4 USB ports, an SD slot and 2 thunderbolt. Have it support 2 4k monitors out of the box. Possibly have a second corporate boxe with a slot for a standard graphics card and even maybe 2 slots for a second standard specialized card like one for audio processing. Have an option for MS Office to be pre-installed. As part of this corporate box, have special software to have the first one be a deployment server and then EVERY new Mac on the network can then be easily migrated with configurations, settings, security, software and licenses.

    For extra credit, work it out with both Parallels and Microsoft for “one click” purchase and installation of Win10 for that “one program” that can’t run on a Mac.

    Apple already knows how to do all of the above. I believe if they sold 18 million Macs in ’18, the above strategy would sell 30 million in ’19 and well over 40 million in ’20. There is absolutely no reason why Apple couldn’t be the largest PC vendor by units by a very wide margin. They would make huge profits BUT the PERCENTAGE profit would be lower on the Macs than iPhones and, THAT, my friends, would cause their stock price to initially drop. That’s why they won’t do the above. In the long run, it would add value to Apple. All that is sad. You leave 20 to 40 billion or more on the table in gross sales and that’s better for your stock price. No other company would do such a thing. No other company could.

    1. It is possible that the newer engineers currently at Apple are following the iOS device framework and accustomed to designing computers that have limited configurations. There are benefits to that method primary of which is having to deal with less problems stemming from an ‘unexpected’ mix of memory, graphics, storage, etc. components that could be combined together. However if they are successful in creating such a computer and supporting it well, Apple IMO would have a very bright future for at least the short term.

  3. “Why not get a quality personal computer, that’ll last many years and save you much frustration, an also run all of the world’s software, not just a mere subset?”

    If it were also user upgradable and serviceable, so as to not be prematurely obsoleted, you would be correct.
    Instead we get a vanity product and pay a vanity tax.

    I’ve had literally dozens of computers the past 15 years or so. Hands down, the worst value is my hexacore trashcan, exceeded only by my $2300 2009 MBP.

      1. It was bad value on day #1! It’s the drugs preventing your understanding.

        I had the 2008, which I loved, gave it to my daughter, bought the 2009. Brought it home, opened it, saw that Expresscard was missing and that it wasn’t upgraded to USB3.

        Went to return it immediately and they wanted a 15% restocking fee in order to issue credit towards the 17” which still had it.

        I was stuck with usb2 in the usb3 era with no means to add it.

        I fully stand by my words. No computer EVER left me so “wanting”.

        1. I understand how no usb3 would bother you. I have a really nice ACER laptop i7 ect, nice keyboard, good screen, but it’s just SD not SDHC. It drives me nuts.

          I now use an iMac and a corporate laptop. That acer is 6 years old and “good enough” for me so I can use it in the future but I probably won’t. I’ll probably replace it with a Mac laptop.

          The lesson taught me something important: check EVERYTHING about a new machine, don’t buy ANYTHING without your eyes wide open. I’m now concerned and don’t really understand the relationship between Thunderbolt, USB 3.1, Display port, HDMI’s different versions, and various copy protection schemes and the right connectors. I going to rake the “geniuses” down at the Apple store through the coals before I buy my next Mac. When you’re contemplating running 2 or more 4k monitors and/or a combination of 2k,4k,5k and, maybe in the future, 8k monitors exactly what the ports on a computer will do isn’t so straight forward.

          1. Yes, it was a difficult lesson. Even more infuriating was that they were waiting for Intel to include it on the chipset, when Toshiba and NEC chips were prevalent. What a $20 part on a $2300 computer?

            It taught me, as you say, to never assume.

        2. “No computer EVER left me so “wanting”.”

          The word ME is what should be in all caps. No computer ever delivered ME so much value as my 2009 MBP. No computer ever left YOU so wanting. You seem intelligent. I’m sure you understand that not everyone has the same needs or wants.

            1. “We are in agreement then that it was a piece of crap for me.”

              Yes. To summarize, you now understand and agree that people have different wants and needs and we both agree the 2009 MBP was a great value for me and a piece of crap for you.

              It also follows then that one of us is better at researching and finding products that fit their needs best as well as understanding our own needs in the first place.

            2. I do know my needs very well. Actually my need and desire encompass your needs too. That it works for you (USB2) is indicative of your lower level desires.

              So then we can look at this competitively as well. Apple’s 2009 15” MBP at $2300 was feature poor for it’s era and price. These are objective points. My position doesn’t hurt you in any way.

              Of course, you are free to worship a rock, I won’t stop you.

            3. “Actually my need and desire encompass your needs too. That it works for you (USB2) is indicative of your lower level desires.”

              Your needs don’t encompass mine… actually. Your arrogance prevents you from realizing that… of course.

              Listen to yourself, saying I have “lower level” needs instead of understanding my needs are just different.

              Look, if you bought a product which didn’t meet your needs that’s your fault and nobody else’s. Buying a product that didn’t meet your needs (which is what you did unless you’re lying about buying a 2009 MBP) demonstrates beyond a doubt that you didn’t understand what you needed… actually.

              To look at this competitively the total cost of ownership for the useful life I got from my 2009 MBP was far cheaper than any other machine I could have purchased at the time. Keeping in mind any other machine had to also meet the same needs I had. I got the best deal in existence at the time. You did not. I succeeded. You failed. That’s the way it goes sometimes especially when you don’t know what you need… actually.

            4. USB2 is a much lower spec than USB3. Fact. Not arrogance, not opinion. I made the mistake of having Wintel, and prior year’s Mac expectations. It doesn’t change that the machine was a piece of crap. It did less than it would if it were properly spec’ed for the price. You “succeeded” because you had much lower level expectations, and the machine longevity should have been the same anyway.

              Pick up your apologist points at the door. Pay an extra 20% for membership.

            5. “USB2 is a much lower spec than USB3.”

              Irrelevant. I didn’t need USB3 and I knew that.

              “I made the mistake”

              Yes you made a mistake and purchased a product that didn’t meet your needs. That’s your fault and nobody else’s.

              “the machine was a piece of crap. It did less than it would if it were properly spec’ed for the price.”

              Sorry, you’ve already admitted the 2009 MBP was a great value for me. It follows that the 2009 MBP cannot objectively be a piece of crap. It was only a piece of crap for you because you made a mistake and purchased a product that didn’t meet your needs. You should have bought something that met your needs but you made a mistake.

              “You “succeeded” because you had much lower level expectations”

              Sorry, no. I had different expectations not lower expectations. It is your arrogance that leads you to keep saying my needs are lower than yours.

              You seem to love facts so the facts are:

              The 2009 MBP was a great value for me. You already agreed to this.
              The 2009 MBP total cost of ownership was lower than anything else I could have purchased at the time to meet my needs at the time.

              I feel bad that you made a mistake but once again that’s your own fault. Stop trying to blame others for your mistake.

            6. I see, you seem to think I speak for you. Are you in the habit of letting others speak for you? If so, you’re even more pathetic than your arguments. When I say me, it means applecynic, not you which means none sense argument. A super sized glass can hold a regula drink. That’s you. But rest assured, you paid for super sized.

            7. “But rest assured, you paid for super sized.”

              Not true at all, for me. I got the best deal available for my needs. No other machine could have met my needs at a cheaper price point. For my situation I paid for super cheap.

              “I blamed Apple for a BS product”

              So sorry, you already agreed the 2009 MBP was a great value for me. It follows that the 2009 MBP can’t be a BS product objectively. It was a BS product for you but that is because you bought a product that didn’t meet your needs. You made a mistake.

              When you admit certain things to be true there are consequences. You have admitted that the 2009 MBP was a great value for me and you have admitted you made a mistake when you purchased the 2009 MBP. It follows from both those admissions that the 2009 MBP cannot objectively be a bad value, a BS product, or an overpriced product. It can be all those things for you, just not objectively.

              Did you not understand what your admissions meant? I guess not. Oh well. I can understand why you’re so angry all the time. Bye.

    1. You trolls, hateboys and whinylittlebitches want to claim “constructive criticism”. You need to go look up what that means. Or, let me give you a summary…

      Constructive criticism:
      1. Name the behavior, specifically and concretely. No innuendo. No name-calling.
      2. Describe how that is hurting the shared project, specifically and concretely. No innuendo. No name-calling.
      3. Describe the desired change, specifically and concretely.
      4. Describe the reason for the request… how #3 will enhance the shared project.

      1. I’m not claiming to be constructive, I’m being vindictive.

        I gave you the answer to #1. That’s all I owe you. It’s up to Apple to fix their problem or not.

            1. The point I’m making is you do a lot of pretending here and on other sites. Pretending you aren’t just an Apple hater when in fact that’s all you are and all you’ll ever be. Looking forward to outing you next time you pretend.

      2. “You trolls, hateboys and whinylittlebitches want to claim “constructive criticism”.

        Constructive criticism is posted daily on MDN. Are you too stupid or totally clueless to notice, Apple Apologist?…

  4. I am not entirely sure the traditional mac lower total cost of ownership is true for the private PC market, while it possibly still holds true for businesses despite the recent price hikes of virtually all Macs sold.

    The biggest problem is that the Mac configurations leave a large number of potential customers with no options because they only can get “canned” configs unable to be expanded or specialized to be suitable to special interest groups, gamers and 3D developers included.

    The lack of server configurations also leaves out a big chunk of the market.

  5. As long as apple keep on building Macs with less materials, less ports, less options, less upgradable for even much more money…. I don’t see myself buying a new one anytime soon.

  6. Apple’s biggest fail? Current advertising and marketing. They are relying on their image.. and old reputation for a new generation to absorb. But it’s WAY too little. The days of bus stops with dancing silhouettes, and funny, meaningful tv spots that really tout advantages are no longer seen. Style over substance at this point. Not good.

  7. I have an older Mac Mini which I love. I bought it because I was so impressed with my iPhone and my iPad. I plan to buy another Mac, but this 2012 beauty is still running strong.

    Seems to me Apple is investing heavily in the Mac, but have been held back by Intel’s comedy of errors. And they face a bizarre problem with people like the poster Eric who bitch that Apple has left the Mac in the past, but also complain about Apple’s forward-looking effort to reduce and modernize computer ports. This is really a complaint that Apple is advancing the Mac platform too quickly.

    The truth is that MacOS is much closer to maturity than iOS. It’s further along the curve. Large investment in time and money produces mostly incremental improvements. And while I agree that Apple should continue to invest in Mac, I believe all the recent signs are that they are doing so.

    The Macs on offer now aren’t perfect. They’re quite expensive. But the truth is I’d rather use a 5-year old Mac than the latest and greatest Windows machine. When I hear complaints about Apple abandoning the Mac and about the mass-rush toward iOS around the world, it reminds me of my ailing grandmother complaining about how cars have ruined the fun kids used to have walking two miles to school in the snow.

    and you guys long for the good ole days, when you yourself were younger and the master of the great new thing.

    1. I also run a maxed out 2012 quad core mac mini which I bought just after the (disasterous) 2014 mac mini refresh. It’s still lightning fast and I’ll definitely be purchasing a new mac mini due to the latest update. The new mac mini will join the other 5 mac minis that are still running, doing different tasks all around the house. A new, well designed mac pro would go a long way to solidifying mac desktop options.

  8. Apple should never have dumped the cheese-grater Mac Pro. It had one of the finest internal computer designs I’d ever come across as it was an entirely modular design and had plenty of internal space for airflow and additional hardware. I suppose the only drawback was that it was heavy but it was really built to last a lifetime. I think Apple replacing the cheese-grater Mac Pro with that nasty trash-can Mac Pro was an extremely poor choice. I sincerely hope Apple goes back to an updated version of the cheese-grater Mac Pro.

    It really makes me disgusted with Apple when I see how gaming Windows PCs are designed with such a wide variety of options in terms of internal hardware. Why can’t Apple even design a decent motherboard that can accept various CPUs and GPUs via standard PCIe slots? It doesn’t make any sense to me how a company with so much money doesn’t seem to keep up with current computer hardware trends.

    I like Apple products and will continue to buy them, but it’s rather frustrating how Apple is always trying to make desktops that are easily thermal-throttled because they’re so tightly packed with hardware. Give a little extra space for adequate airflow and use some high-end programmable fans. Is that so hard for Apple to understand? Don’t offer a high-end processor if it’s going to thermal-throttle within minutes of use. That’s just a waste of money. What sort of competent computer hardware engineer designs crap like that?

    1. I have to agree I have a 2006 and 2010 Mac Pro and they are the best Macs I have ever owned. The 2010 was bought when the trash can came out cause I knew I would never move to something so un-upgradeable. Jesus, just the hard drives alone I would have to buy an external enclosure and not being able to upgrade my graphics card. Big fat NOPE. I really hope they release something similar to the cheese grater cause I’m not buying anything that can’t be upgraded. It seriously is ludicrous the effort they have put into making Macs closed boxes. I really hope this new Mac Pro will be something similar to the cheese grater cause even though my 2010 is maxed out with RAM, SSDs, and a fat graphics card the processors are starting to show their age.

      1. I agree but don’t count on it with the Tim Cook Apple that regularly bites it’s nose to spite it’s face. They seem to be going out of their way to annoy pros who could care less about tiny compact boxes and value upgrability above all else. They have a bunch of pros showing them how they use Macs and it sounds promising but wanna bet Apple will still insist they know best and come out with the Mac Pro Homer 2?

    2. It is possible that over the years MacOS has been designed to be as ‘close to the metal’ as possible and resulted in limiting HW configurations to reduce performance variations between similar models in adjacent or same years. Changing MacOS ‘back’ as it were to one where there is a thicker virtualization layer that would improve support for a more varied combination of HW may degrade the tight performance variances Apple has enjoyed to date as well as re-introduce the problems with the higher configuration combinations the Windows world ‘enjoys’.

      1. I think you’re on the right track, but giving a bit too much credit. It’s about simplifying supply chain. Nothing more.

        Why else do you think they were selling us on the idea of Unibody, at the expense of serviceability and upgradability.

  9. If only Apple would listen….

    MacDailyNews is correct, Apple needs to have a running series of ads promoting the benefits of the Mac.

    Apple also needs to lower their SSD and Memory prices which are way out of line.

    Apple has many advantages, but will the populace see the advantages when they are asked to pay $3,400 for a MacBook Pro when a Dell XPS 15 is $2,2200? Or a Mac Mini at $2,200 vs a Intel Nuc for $1,000?

    1. “Apple also needs to lower their SSD and Memory prices which are way out of line.”

      I doubt they would. The memory market is a typical commodity market, and Apple is one of the largest buyers of all sorts of memories (and storages) and can buy them at the rock bottom price. Memory, storage, and battery (now selling the battery case too) are Apple’s cash cow and in terms of the percentage of the profit, it is probably the highest than selling the products themselves that use these commodities. Well, at least that’s what the present management views the matter.

    2. Apple needs to use standard M.2 SSD connectors and standard DDR4 SDRAM connectors, and let us upgrade in the future.

      Apple can give the high margins on these items and make up the lost revenue in higher volume sales.

      Apple is blinded by the smaller form factor fashion trend.

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