The Mac still has plenty of room for growth -- and new features
Still think that there's no room for growth or innovation on the Mac? Well, to the naysayers I must point out that there's plenty of room for both.
In 2005, market research firm IDC pegged Apple's share of the U.S. PC market at 4 %. In the first quarter of 2010, that number had grown to 6.4%. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates that for every half-percentage point of market share growth Apple boosts its sales by about US$3 billion.
And unit sales of the Mac have grown even more impressively than market share. In fiscal 2004, Apple sold 3.29 million Macs. It sold 3.36 million in the first quarter of 2010 alone.
What of new features? I've repeatedly argued for Blu-ray support, a built-in TV tuner on at least some Macs and -- also on some Macs -- touch screen support. Arik Hesseldahl, in his column for "Bloomberg BusinessWeek" (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2010/tc20100621_626268...), also has some great ideas.
"Future Macs may boast such features as embedded projectors that turn any nearby wall into a display for Keynote decks or the latest movie downloaded from iTunes," he writes. "Apple has yet to adapt the innovative touch technology found on the iPhone and iPad to the Mac; multitouch technologies have been used in the touch pad on the MacBook Pro and in the Magic Mouse, but not on any Mac displays."
He points out that another Apple patent filing suggests that touch controls for certain functions will be brought to the surface of the MacBook's aluminum body, with virtual buttons that disappear from view until they're needed. "A recent application describes a Mac that can sense when its user is in close proximity and wake from a sleep state without requiring a wiggle of a mouse or the pounding of the space bar," he writes. "This might be especially useful for controlling power consumption."
So there's lots of surprises left in the ol' Mac platform yet, it seems. From both sales and new feature points of view.
-- Dennis Sellers