This could be good news for the Mac: as the global economy nears recovery, so will the personal computer (PC) market with global shipments forecast to reach 265.4 million units in 2024, up 2.0% from the prior year according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker

While vendors focused on clearing inventory in 2023, IDC expects 2024 to be an expansion year with the introduction of AI [artificial intelligence] PCs, which will ultimately drive the market forward to 292.2 million units in 2028 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4% over the 2024–2028 forecast period.

Growth is expected to slowly ramp up over the year along with the availability of AI PCs, which will coincide with the beginning of a commercial refresh cycle in 2025. 

“Commercial buyers, both enterprise and educational, are on the cusp of a refresh cycle that begins later this year and reaches its peak in 2025,” says Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers. “Many of these buyers are expected to be among the first in terms of AI PC adoption. The presence of on-device AI capabilities is not likely to lead to an increase in the PC installed base, but it will certainly lead to a growth in average selling prices.”

Though commercial PCs will represent the majority of shipments, consumer purchases are also expected to return albeit at a slower pace. 

“Several factors will come together to prop up consumer PC growth in the ensuing years,” says Linn Huang, research vice president for Devices and Displays. “Economic recovery should help loosen the wallet just as many PCs bought in the early days of the pandemic come due for replacement. Gamers and creators alike will also have much to look forward to in the coming AI era.”

Most of Apple’s interest in AI has revolved around iOS 18. However, the company’s press release for the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air (pictured) calls the notebook the “world’s best consumer laptop for AI.” 

From the press release: With the transition to Apple silicon, every Mac is a great platform for AI. M3 includes a faster and more efficient 16-core Neural Engine, along with accelerators in the CPU and GPU to boost on-device machine learning, making MacBook Air the world’s best consumer laptop for AI. Leveraging this incredible AI performance, macOS delivers intelligent features that enhance productivity and creativity, so users can enable powerful camera features, real-time speech to text, translation, text predictions, visual understanding, accessibility features, and much more.

With a broad ecosystem of apps that deliver advanced AI features, users can do everything from checking their homework with AI Math Assistance in Goodnotes 6, to automatically enhancing photos in Pixelmator Pro, to removing background noise from a video using CapCut. Combined with the unified memory architecture of Apple silicon, MacBook Air can also run optimized AI models, including large language models (LLMs) and diffusion models for image generation locally with great performance. In addition to on-device performance, MacBook Air supports cloud-based solutions, enabling users to run powerful productivity and creative apps that tap into the power of AI, such as Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, Canva, and Adobe Firefly.

It’s likely that the 2024 MacBook Air is just the first Mac that Apple will push as AI-ready.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today