Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was once the undisputed king of the premium PC market. Macs helped set the high-end gadget maker as the gold standard in the eyes of PC users everwhere. This perception is quickly changing, though, as strong rivals in the market work tirelessly at upping the performance and appeal of their hardware. Chief among these players is Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its Surface lineup. A report by Business Insider cites the Windows maker as the new king of the PC realm. Better yet, the company is already set to topple Apple from its throne in the premium computer market, too.
Taking a look at the Surface range, the Microsoft devices are quickly gaining recognition for their innovative approach to everyday electronics. Surface products are a renewed take on what personal and business gadgets should essentially offer. Whether buyers are in search of the ideal personal, creative or business PC, they needn’t look any further than the Surface Book, Surface Pro and Surface Studio to find a gadget that is capable of tasks beyond the capacity of conventional hardware.
Apple Inc.’s marketing senior VP, Phil Schiller, recently shared that the company’s Mac user base is edging close to 100 million. To add contrast, ZDNet reports around 400 million active Windows 10 users globally. That report was published in September last year, a month before the launch of the alluring Surface Book i7 and Surface Studio. It also excludes the some hundred thousand PC users who still use machines running Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and earlier.
On the other hand, the figure shared by Apple’s Schiller accounts for the Mac user base in its entirety. Some of these still runner earlier versions of macOS, too. Around 80 percent of Apple’s PC sales are MacBooks. Schiller admits that the overwhelming bulk of Apple computer shipments consist of the MacBook, MacBook Air and Macbook Pro. Apple has put a lot into beefing up its line-up of premium laptops. This appears to be paying off, too, as Apple reports a 20 percent year-on-year rise MacBook sales for Q1. No doubt the revamped MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro with Touch Pad, released inin October, played a huge role in that boost.
Not to downplay Apple’s status in the PC space, of course. The company is still a formidable giant in every consumer tech market. The Mac business on its own could secure a place on the Fortune 100. Phil Schiller claims that the Mac lineup has pulled in nearly $25 billion in revenues.
But Microsoft has no intention to let Apple run away with the PC market either, dwindling as it is. The American software major’s Windows-based devices are booming, too, as Windows now brings PC users into the new age of computing. The leading propellers of Microsoft hardware right now are the Window 10 platform and Surface range. The latter is quickly raking in the premium tech market with its innovative form factors. It bridges distances between ordinary device to offer new conveniences and better efficiency. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by high-end PC users either.
Microsoft plays nicely into demand
There is a growing hunger for considerate, game-changing and relevant PCs. The Surface range works perfectly at filling that space with its 2-in-1 designs. Meanwhile, Apple is yet to venture into the realm of hybrid devices. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) believes its competitors will be kicking themselves for not getting into this growing gadget market sooner.
“Three years ago, the 2-in1 as a form factor was questioned,” Satya Nadella tells the Australian Financial Review. The CEO recalled the backlash and caution the firm got from both MSFT rivals and aides “Does anybody need one? And now guess what? Even our competition has decided that it’s not a refrigerator and a toaster but it’s actually a 2-in-1.”
The popular Surface line-up was met with ridicule and skepticism when it first landed on the market. Hybrid gadgets were mostly considered to be a waste of time back then. What many didn’t understand was how Microsoft effectively used the same innovative approach that Apple used to put the iPad, and subsequently tablets, on the map. But Apple has no handset device that can take on the tasks of a desktop PCs like the Surface Pros, or a laptop that can offer its display as a tablet like Surface Books.
There is also the Surface Studio, an all-in-one PC that is currently the rave of the high-end PC scene. It continues with the ideals which have pushed the Surface range to the fore. It is a powerful, Windows-based and ultra-premium machine with a 27-inch touchscreen display that supports the Surface Pen and new Surface Dial. The display can even be leveled flat and used as a digital drafting desk. The gadget outperforms and outclasses its competitors in many ways.
Microsoft set to bury Apple
The iPhone maker has had the creative PC market in the palm of its hand for years now. However, failure to innovate has many of its fans looking elsewhere for relevant products. The Studio is said to be one of the products that has could the market’s attention.
“Either they are brewing something up, or maybe it’s time for someone like Microsoft to start coming in and take some of their market.” That comment came from Nick Cronan. He stands as the founding partner of Branch Creative. “[Apple is] long overdue to blow us away,” he said.
However, anyone expecting the Surface Studio to simply fly off the shelves should probably think again. After all, it is directed at anyone capable of forking out $3,000 for its beauty. But Microsoft has the PC market secured with more than just premium products. While many people would have to pay around $1,000 for a moderately powerful PC that is capable of effortlessly running 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality tools, the Windows 10 platform makes gadgets a lot more inclusive and capable than their rivals.
Apple has much to do before it can close Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) off from getting away with the PC space. The company admits that new Mac desktops are in store for 2017 and 2018. Whether these upgrades will be enough to redirect market attention back to Apple Inc. Is yet to be seen.