With Piper Jaffray warning that sales of PCs have climbed since Vista shipped, Apple stands to lose ground in its fight to gain market share from PC manufacturers if it doesn’t upgrade its range of computers in the next couple of months.
It’s not that I’m saying that Apple’s current line up isn’t good enough, the Intel processors have done wonders - even the PC press are singing Apple’s praises; recommending MacBooks and the like over PC alternatives. However, the market is evolving and if Apple doesn’t make a move soon then someone else is going to steal Apple’s ‘Think Different’ reputation.
Just the other day I met with HP to look at its new Touchsmart PCs. The Touchsmart PC is HP’s attempt to gain hold of the declining market for desktop PCs. It’s not primarily a desktop PC, however, it’s also an all-in-one digital entertainment centre and users navigate through their multimedia content via a touchscreen. This is the kind of concept that I’d have expected Apple to come up with, but all’s quiet on the Apple front right now.
HP’s also applied this touch screen concept to a 12-inch sub-laptop. Like the Touchsmart PC the Entertainment Notebook doubles up as an entertainment device, this time the touchscreen swivels round so that you can watch a movie without the keyboard sticking out in front of it. Apple’s the company that spotted the movement towards the PC as an entertainment centre all those years ago, but right now Apple is falling behind while others reinvent the PC.
This is the negative aspect of the Intel transition. Last year Apple was so busy fitting up the Mac with Intel chips that it wasn’t able to think outside of the existing boxes. As much as I love Apple’s MacBook Pro, for example, the design is practically the same as the Titanium PowerBook launched back in 2001. Back then it was groundbreaking. It’s still arguably the most stylish laptop around, but it’s heavy and thicker than some laptops on the market. Where is Apple’s replacement for the 12-inch PowerBook?
It surprises me that with ‘I’m a Mac’ advertisements airing on both sides of the Atlantic, Apple has no new Macs to entice people with. It seems that the ads are creating the demand, but we’ve heard from resellers who are struggling to sell Macs because people are waiting for new models they are convinced will be launched soon. However, in the worst-case scenario Apple might not launch anything until mid June - its self-set deadline for launching Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
Let’s hope not. Apple’s next financial results are due mid April and if the company fails to release anything before that date its stock is bound to fall in the face of results that fail to live up to high expectations.