You might note I’m a a bit of a geek and a boffin. So it’s to be expected that I have had a number of computers over the years. However my workhorse for the last four years is a MacBook Pro, and I expect to get at least another couple of years out of it before I need to replace it.
So why does this matter?
If you look at the my previous life cycle for a computer it goes:
1 month - love
6 months- live with
1 year - troubles
18 months - try upgrading components
2 years- buy another
I’ve always had at least two computers on the go (I am the person people come to when they need a “spare” while something is being mended), in the past this was an ultra-portable and a desktop tower.
Looking at what I have owned since I arrived in the UK let’s run through the list, and we’ll get a feel why Mac sales are down.
2005 - Arrived with Elderly Toshiba Portege 3440 - light, slow, workable. Light is important.
- Shipping arrived with desktop tower. Rebuilt as “ultra quiet” with upgraded box, fans and cpu.
- purchased Panasonic Toughbook T4 - light, fast and to die for battery life.
2006 - upgraded drives on tower, added more RAM.
2007 - Tower becomes thing holding TV up, purchased 17” Dell laptop (A MISTAKE) for photo and video editing.
- Toughbook RAM and Hard Drive upgraded.
2008 - Hate Dell with a passion. Toughbook remains main computer but editing photos on an 10” so so screen is so not fun. Upgraded Toughbook to Ubunutu.
- Buy second battery for Toughbook.
2009 - Saved pennies bough MacBook Pro 15 ” with the best RAM and hard drive I could afford.
- Dell passed to partner to use in their flat. Dell dies repeatedly, so upgrade to Ubunutu. Dell dies a long slow death of power failures.
2010 - Toughbook used mostly by my partner when they visited.
- Purchased an el cheapo laptop for £50 for my partner to use in their flat.
- Toughbook taken to NZ as main computer while we travel.
- Replace power pack for Toughbook.
2011 - Purchased an iPad 2 for using as a portable computer (the 15” computer is portable for a limited version of portable- especially when you don’t walk very well).
- el cheapo laptop dies after a good 9 months of school work. Give partner the Toughbook to use.
2012 - upgrade RAM and Harddrive on Macbook Pro. Install Bootcamp so I can play Skyrim.
- Partner buys an Ultrabook.
- Toughbook rebuilt as spare for friends/visitors.
2013 - replace MacBook battery.
So the Toughbook has also survived- mostly because it has an aluminium case and Panasonic built it to last, but it’s not used for much more than web surfing and a little light document editing- the screen is not up to much.
Where the Macbook Pro is used for everything- and it still goes strong. It runs Windows 7 as fast as the Ultrabook.
Why does this matter? If I’d bought a PC replacement for the Dell that died, I would have already been on replacement number two by now, and looking for the third.
So rather than the two to three year replacement cycle, my Mac has a five to six year replacement cycle.
I expect to replace my iPad before I replace my MacBook.
Mac’s have sold really well in the past, and we are now in the time span where you’d expect those IT replacement cycles to kick in. However in creating a solid well built, well crafted, upgradable workhorse (that looks fine) Apple have extended the replacement cycles, and removed the “just use it for browsing and movies” from their Mac customer list.
I expect Mac sales to continue to slide, and a Mac will remain as the go to machines for the creative world. They’ll stay relevant and desirable, and as long as they stay profitable, Apple are likely to keep them around.
Macs will continue to run slightly against the trend in laptop sales, as other laptop manufacturers will struggle more to stay afloat.
This sounds so late 1990’s, where only the design team at the University had a Mac tower, and PC’s were slowly replacing the MacPlus machines everyone had used for years.