In a recent editorial, Jean-Louis Gassée. former president of the Apple Products Division (and now a general partner for Allegis Capital), said in a “Monday Note” column (http://macte.ch/ZHgnV) that the “PC market is in its twilight.” I beg to differ, though, to be honest, Gassée doesn’t say the PC is heading for extinction.
Gassée says ARM continues to out-maneuver Intel on the power-efficiency front. He writes that the PC market is in its twilight, “with mobile devices proliferating and stealing growth from the PC.” Gassée thinks that we’ll see ARM processors such as those in iOS devices on entry level Macs and “maybe” on middle-of-the-line Macs.
However, he points out that there’s no roadmap for ARM chips to handle the high-end, for media creation and editing. What about Photoshop, FinalCut, and other applications, including CAD where the Mac is getting back in the game? There’s no roadmap for ARM chips to beat Intel in these and other computationally intensive areas, Gassée points out.
“… will Apple abandon the faster x86 processors at the high end just to avoid the kind of forking that awaits Windows in its own move to ARM?” he writes. “If not, we’ll again see Universal applications (a.k.a. fat binaries–two versions inside the same container), just as we did with the PowerPC to x86 transition. Microsoft is doing it because it must; Apple did it because the PowerPC didn’t have a future.”
The way I see it is that consumer devices such as the iPad will replace products — laptops, netbooks, ebook readers and more — for folks that use them infrequently. For computer intensive tasks, the traditional computer will remain the most viable option. iPads and their ilk will be supplementary products, not replacement products for computers.
Also, let’s look at how the Mac is doing. The Apple computer line has seen 20 consecutive quarters of growth higher than the industry norm. Mac unit sales grew by 28% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2011, even as the PC market contracted by 3%.
Needham’s analyst Charles Wolf said last year that his findings confirm that Mac shipments continue to outpace industry growth. The Macs grew at 49.8%, three times higher than the market’s 15.7 percent. In the period, Mac shipments in (US) government grew 200%, sixteen times faster than the market’s 12.1%, Wolf said.
Doesn’t sound like a product that’s in its twilight to me….
— Dennis Sellers