More than four of every five Macs sold these days is a notebook. MacBook Air, MacBook, MacBook Pro. Some may refer to them as laptops, but most of the time I see them used on a desktop; school desk, office desk, and even on airplane tray tables– but seldom on a lap.
What does that mean? First, it means the rest of the Mac line are desktop PCs and while some may consider them relics of the past, iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro are tools that do a specific set of jobs in a specific setting (usually where moving the device is unnecessary).
So, are desktop PCs dead or not?
Not dead. Not any time soon. And, thanks to physics, probably not ever. That’s because desktop personal computers– the Mac is included– can be called on to perform tasks not easily handled by smaller, lighter, mobile devices which do not have the same hardware requirements.
In other words, a desktop iMac Pro can be configured to the max for $13,199, while a maxed out MacBook Pro model remains far less powerful– for those who need the horsepower– at about half the price; $6,699.
For many desktop models, it’s simple physics. Hardware power requires space. Screen real estate requires space. Surveys indicate that almost 70-percent of businesses use desktops as their primary PC for employees. Compare that to about 75-percent of employees who use desktop telephones vs. company-issued smartphones.
We might be living in the post-PC era, the mobile-era, but desktops still occupy a huge part of the PC industry. Another issue has to do with product longevity. Again, research and surveys say that smartphones for employees last about two years, notebooks and laptops last about four years, while desktop PCs can last five years and beyond.
What does that say?
The desktop Mac is not dead.
Apple has begun to improve the high end Macs with iMac Pro and MacBook Pro models. We’re still waiting on the modular Mac Pro, and there is word on the rumor streets that Apple is about to upgrade the MacBook Air and MacBook line.
What of the desktop iMac and Mac mini? Both have languished in recent years and are due for a refresh.
Based on Apple’s own numbers, the company generates more than $20-billion in revenue from the Mac. That may not seem like much compared to the iPhone’s dominance in revenue and profits, but Macs are high gross margin products with a higher average selling price than iPhone or iPad. It is likely that desktop Macs make up a disproportionate amount of that revenue, so desktops are valuable to Apple.
We’ll find out how much love Apple thinks relics deserve when the new Macs arrive.