Yesterday, in “Whither Apple Or Wither Apple?” I wrote about Apple’s efforts to steal market share from Android. Today I focus on Apple’s efforts to up-sell their iPhone and iPad customers to the Mac.
At WWDC 2014, Apple introduced the concept of continuity — a slew of new features for OS X that are designed to make using your iPhone, iPad and Mac one truly seamless experience. The message was clear — if you want to get the most out of your iPhone or iPad — buy a Mac. Here’s just a few of the continuity features that Apple introduced:
— Unified look and feel
— SMS messages on the Mac
— Phone calls on the Mac
— AirDrop will work between iOS and OS X devices
— Mail drop will work between iOS and OS X devices
— Family: you can now share purchased music, movies and apps with up to 6 people — so long as there’s one credit card linking the iTunes accounts
Handoff is my favorite of all the continuity features and it exemplifies what Apple is trying to accomplish. With handoff, you have the ability to pick up your work right where you left off — whether that be on an iPhone, an iPad or a Mac. For example, you can start an email on your phone, realize that it’s going to be complex, and seamlessly move to your Mac and pick up your writing right where you left. Or, conversely, you can start an email on your Mac, suddenly be called out of your home or office, and pick it up and finish it on your iPhone or iPad.
One Step Back, Two Steps Forward
Three years ago, Apple held a back-to-the-Mac event. In it, they introduced a slew of iOS features for the Mac. Some of these features worked well, but others missed their mark. What Apple was going for was comfort — they wanted their iPhone customers to feel at home when using the Mac. However, some of iOS-type features — like launchpad and single-window mode — just felt awkward and out of place on the Mac.
With “continuity”, I think Apple has hit the sweet spot of iOS and OS X integration. It has little to do with making the iPhone work like the Mac or the Mac work like the iPhone. Instead, it has to do making the work you’re doing on the iPhone transition seamlessly to and from the Mac.
Apple constantly touts the fact that 98% of Fortune 500 companies use iOS. But Apple wants more — much, much more. In order to make that happen, Apple introduced new features at WWDC 2014 that were developed specifically for Enterprise, including “new security features, enhanced Mail and Calendar, and better device management. Equally meaningful are app extensions, which will not only make power users happy, but also better enable corporations to create and meaningfully use proprietary line-of-business applications.” ((Ben Thompson)) Further, there’s integration with Box and OneDrive as storage options. Even Mark Up can be used as a way of adding on-line signatures to Enterprise documents.
All this begs the question: Why bother? Isn’t the PC a shrinking market and isn’t the Mac a tiny niche within that shrinking market? Why throw all these resources at a 30 year old device – virtually a tech dinosaur — that’s headed for extinction anyway?
Another thing Steve taught us all was not to focus on the past. Be future focused. If you’ve done something great or terrible in the past, forget it and go on and create the next thing. ~ Tim Cook
Isn’t Apple violating its own principles? Shouldn’t they be burying the Mac instead of praising it? Shouldn’t they cut loose the anchor that is the Mac and sail unhindered into their mobile future?
The Mac is dead. Long live the iPhone! Long live the iPad!
Whoa! Hold your horses there, Bucko. Not only isn’t the Mac dead, it’s about to make a big time comeback.
The Mac is still alive and well. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)
It is rather incredible to think about a 30-year-old product being a growth story, but it absolutely is the case. ~ Ben Thompson
Even before WWDC 2014, the Mac was going strong and growing stronger:
- Mac sales have exceeded PC growth and gained overall marketshare in 30 of the last 31 quarters.
- The 4.1 million Macs sold last quarter were a March quarter record for the company. If Gartner and IDC were accurate in their estimates of personal computers shipped worldwide, Macs accounted for between 5.3% and 5.6% of the total.
- Apple’s average Mac selling price was steady at $1300.
- The ASP, or average selling price, of the Mac line actually increased 2% quarter-over-quarter, climbing from $1,322 to $1,344.
In other words, PCs are getting cheaper and consumers are buying less of them and Macs are getting more expensive and consumers are buying more of them. In what world does that make sense?
The Mac Is The Grand Piano Of PCs
Smartphones and tablets have replaced PCs as the primary computer for most normals. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for the PC. As the PC (and the Mac) becomes a specialized tool used mostly by specialists, those self-same specialists will want to use the very best tools available.
To steal an analogy from Ben Thompson, there was a time when the grand piano was the only piano available. Then the upright piano — which wasn’t nearly as good, but which was cheaper, smaller and easier to move — took its place. However, there were still those – mostly concert pianists – who needed a grand piano. Were they going to go cheap when they purchased said grand piano? Hell no! This is their livelihood you’re talking about. They’re going to get the best piano they can afford.
The same rule holds true for computing. For example, at WWDC — and at the Microsoft Surface event that preceded the WWDC — almost all the reporters had notebooks, not tablets, and almost all of the notebooks were high-end MacBooks, not cheap PC knockoffs. Concert pianists need concert pianos because their livelihood depends upon the quality of their tool. Reporters need high-end computers because their livelihoods depends upon the quality of their tool. Are reporters going to go cheap when they purchase their computer? Hell no! This is their livelihood you’re talking about. They’re going to get the best computer they can afford.
Anytime anyone NEEDS a grand piano, they’re going to want to spend enough money to get the best. And anytime anyone NEEDS a PC, they’re going to want to spend enough money to get the best. The Mac is the grand piano of PCs. And any specialist who needs a PC is going to want to buy a Mac.
Only about 20% of the worldwide market for computers is premium. This is bad news for the iPhone which is rapidly approaching saturation. But this is incredibly GOOD news for the Mac, which is nowhere near saturation.
And the Mac’s share of the Enterprise? Fuggedaboudit. The upside is virtually unlimited.
iPhones and iPads already dominate upscale and Enterprise usage. Apple’s new continuity tools send those users a clear message:
If you already own an iPhone or an iPad and you need to own a PC, then the Mac is the only PC for you.