Tech giant Apple posted record-breaking numbers in Q1 2012, selling 15.4 million iPads, 15.4 million iPods, 37 million iPhones, and 5.2 million Macintosh computers for total sales of $46.33 billion. While scoring records for its other lines, the iPod number was down over 20% from Q1 2011. Through the next two quarters the Mac and iPhone figures dipped, too. In Q3 2012, sales were at 17 million iPads, 6.8 million iPods, 26 million iPhones, and 4 million Macs .
Apple now sells about four times as many iPads as Macs each quarter. In fact, with the proliferation of iPad rental units and booming sales worldwide, the Cupertino firm sold more iOS devices in 2011 than it has sold Macintosh models, ever. Clearly, iOS is now Apple’s “money” platform, and the company is working to adapt the Mac OS to the iOS look, feel, and “vision.”
This has prompted speculation that future Macs will operate on a “converged” OS. This is unlikely. Despite declining Mac sales, the computer will be with us for at least another decade, though some say not much longer. As long as there are iMacs, of course, CRE will have iMac rentals, as well as this blog to keep you in the know.
Mac to the future
If we imagine the kind of computer that people will be using 10 or 15 years from now, it would doubtless be more of an iPad than a Mac. A simple, low-cost, touch-based tablet seems a good guess, although it wouldn’t replace a notebook or desktop PC rental for everyone. Video pros, engineers, audio recordists, graphic artists, and others will always need as much power as possible, plus graphics accelerators, large monitors, special plug-in cards, and so forth.
The market for high-end, premium computers has always been a niche, and will remain one. Apple definitely wants to continue as the go-to brand for creatives and geeks, and it will. The Mac isn’t going anywhere. Will it last another 30 years? Who knows? All indications suggest that it should be around for at least another 10, and probably 20 years. Expect Apple to anchor both of its platforms with iCloud, so that people can use any Apple device, with either OS, in a more synchronized, unified, seamless manner.
We shall see…
And yet, as long as its notebook and desktop models rely on trackpads and mice, not touchscreens, with different considerations for battery life, processing power, and application support, Apple will maintain two significantly different operating systems. Going forward, the iOS calls for continued simplicity and ease, while the Mac OS, currently at version 10.8, Mountain Lion, calls for more sophistication and power.
For now, a formal combination of the two into a hybrid OS doesn’t appear to be Apple’s plan. Bridging them together? That’s the ticket. As always, we’ll keep you posted!