Apple seems to be becoming less and less a computer company and more and more a something else company.
Obviously they are having success with their iPhones and their App Store is raking in the cash. Apple Watch sales are through the roof. And while iPods may be nearing the end of their life cycle iTunes is still going strong and I can only assume that the new Apple Music streaming service will be a success too.
They keep trying to get into the TV and streaming video business and one day, perhaps they will carve out a niche in that space. IoT is also in their sites and we’ll just have to wait and see how well they do there.
With all these successes it’s no wonder Apple has grown into a mega-giant corporation. But it seems like you hear almost nothing about iMacs these days and iPad sales keep slipping quarter to quarter. Apparently the big bucks are not coming from their line of PCs.
So will there come a day when Apple abandons PCs altogether?
You could make a strong case that one of the main reasons Apple has had so much success selling iPhones and Apple Watches and music is that it has built a very loyal customer base centered around their Macintosh line of PCs and laptops.
You could also contend that Apple’s ‘walled garden’ ecosystem encourages people to stay within the garden since everything should work well together if it comes with Apple’s stamp of approval. And wandering outside those walls to use other manufacturer’s products could be difficult.
But you could also say that Apple has built its empire based on producing a wide range of well designed products that work the way they are supposed to. So if you want a computer or a phone or a smart watch or whatever you can be relatively certain that an Apple version will be a good one.
But I wonder how much of Apple’s future success will depend upon keeping their PC roots alive. Would their empire slowly begin to unravel if one day they stopped making iMacs, iPads and MacBooks?
People have been saying that desktop computers are a dying breed, slowly being displaced by more and more powerful laptops. So dropping the iMacs might not be a disaster. And research firms are finding that more and more people are relying on smart phones to do the things they want or need to do. So perhaps there will come a day when MacBooks and iPads will disappear too. Obviously these shifts apply to all PC manufacturers not just Apple.
I like desktops but I don’t use one anymore. And I like having a big screen and a full-size keyboard on my laptop but as more applications, storage and processing tasks are becoming cloud-based the keyboard and the big display are the only things missing from a smartphone. So connect a smartphone to a big screen and a keyboard and you don’t need a laptop anymore.
I think it is inevitable that Apple (and many other companies) will eventually stop making desktops and laptops. At that point we will have officially entered the distributed computing world that many companies have been pushing for decades. You won’t need applications, a powerful processor or local storage since it will all be cloud based and that will mean all you need is a device that can connect to the Internet and perhaps some peripherals.
I’m not much of an Apple fan but I will give a sigh of regret when they stop making PCs altogether and have become a watch/phone/music/home appliance/streaming media company.