With Silicon Macs, Apple leaves the PC industry behind

Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Especially when the trees are the form of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices. With Apple Silicon Macs - Mr. Schiller, how about a shorter name? - some pundits are fretting about the platform's future. I'm not. Here's why.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

It's a given that Apple wants to increase Mac sales. Clearly, having whizbang performance with Apple Silicon will be a big help in getting customers who have never used a Mac to take a close look. But that's just the beginning.

Whither the Mac?

Given that most of those customers will be either iPhone and/or iPad users, it makes marketing sense to give the Mac a coat of iPad goodness. If Apple can convert just 2% of their iOS/iPadOS customers to the Mac, they will raise Mac sales by at least 50% a year. That will assure the future of the Mac for years to come.

More importantly, Apple sees an opportunity to bring the energy and diversity of the iOS ecosystem to the Mac. The 2 million iOS apps will energize the Mac software market with new customers and new applications.

Changing the economics of desktop software

One of the biggest opportunities for iOS software on a Mac/Apple Silicon platform is that it will dramatically reduce the cost of ownership for the Mac.

Instead of spending $300 for a copy of Final Cut Pro, a creator could spend $20 for a copy of LumaTouch, and use their iPad as an all-in-one production studio. Likewise with just about any creative app.

Catching fire with the next generation

One of the knocks against the Mac among creatives is that between the trash can Mac Pro fiasco, and the uncertain path of Apple's creative apps and Adobe's less than stellar support, the Mac has been left hanging for creative pros.

Now, Luma Fusion or Final Cut Pro are not about to displace Avid and Adobe in the feature film editing suite. But they don't need to. They just have to win among the up and comers, not the established players.

It is a variant on the education play that Apple has forfeited to Google and Chromebooks over the last decade. Imagine as a student buying an iPad and keyboard for $400 and another $100 for software that will run on much more powerful Mac systems if their dreams catch fire.

The take

A-series Macs will be the halo products for the entire iOS ecosystem. But they'll still be general purpose workstations, not oversized iPads, with all the flexibility that implies. Plus a much wider selection of software.

Yet the future of the Mac is not the big story. Like a rocket reaching escape velocity, Apple has left the PC industry far behind. They are not selling a product, but a platform whose key benefits - privacy, ease of use, quality, and breadth - transcends any single product - or anything on offer from other vendors.

The breadth of the platform - from wrist tops to desk side beasts, integrating health and home, with supporting services - is what Apple is gearing up to sell in a big way. Is anyone else even close?

Comments welcome. Who do you think is Apple's nearest competitor?

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