Apple is an existential threat to the PC

Discussion in 'PC Industry' started by MfA, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. rcf

    rcf
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    I was referring to what happened to Linus Tech Tips (broken screen), but you are talking about what happened to Snazzy Labs (crappy VESA mount adapter).
    These are the videos regarding Linus:






    "It happens" is not an acceptable excuse when we're talking about $5000+ computers that some people regard as "workstations", particularly when some of their components are made of ultra-cheap materials and customer support is so atrocious as it was in both cases.
    Just compare the iMac Pro (or the trashcan Mac Pro) against the HP Z workstations. Compare their designs, construction, materials, airflow, expandability, repairability, reliability, customer support, prices, etc.
    Apple's "Pro" hardware and customer support are a joke when compared to HP's.

    And here's Snazzy Labs's follow-up video about the VESA mount adapter problem. He seems to be less understanding than you.

     
  2. DSoup

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    It happens even if you're talking about a $60,000 car or $2,000,000 house. Customer service fuckups happen. If this is not the norm in your world, please list all of your utility and service suppliers so I can switch to them and enjoy this customer service utopia you expect so absolutely.
     
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  3. Entropy

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    And that youtuber has no reason at all to attract attention..... (*cough*)

    Apple is currently a hugely successful company for several reasons, some of which rub people the wrong way. I’ve been using macs since 1985 when the tune was ”real men don’t use mice”. They have always been different enough to attract attention and detractors in a way for instance Dell never has. And for poeple in the media business controversy sells. If there is none, make some!
     
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  4. rcf

    rcf
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    If you watch all the videos more carefully you'll see that Apple launched the iMac Pro without a proper support network in place, as Apple's own employees had no training, certification or even access to support documentation for the iMac Pro.
    Without the attention he would still own the same computer that was damaged by Apple's repair center.
    And in his last video he quotes the tweet from an employee of a game studio where 60% of the iMac Pros got damaged in the same way, due to the crappy VESA adapter.
     
    #104 rcf, Aug 9, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  5. Pressure

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    Anecdotal evidence is just that. It's a shame he managed to break his own $5,000 computer. I can't come up with excuses as to why Apple didn't just fix it in the first place, even when he offered to pay for it.

    Could we perhaps split the discussion up in two threads? Although the iMac Pro does have the T2 coprocessor it still poses no existential threat to the PC as we know it, working VESA mount or not.
     
  6. Malo

    Malo YakTribe.games
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    Did you watch the videos? He explains why Apple weren't fixing it, irrespective of wanting to pay for it.
     
  7. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Yes, they screwed up. At this point I've been an Apple customer for around 15 years, starting with the 2nd generation iPod. Apple have had plenty of screw-ups over the years. iTools, the Mac G4 Cube, .Mac, MobileMe, the original overheating MacBook Air, the iPhone 4 antenna, FinalCut X, Maps, the butterfly keyboard in their 2016 - Early 2018 laptops - and I'm sure plenty more I've long since forgotten.
     
  8. rcf

    rcf
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    Well, this thread is about Apple being an existential threat to the PC.
    Apple's main product is the iPhone, which is not a threat to laptops and desktops (and neither is the iPad).

    Apple's best laptops are glued up machines that require dongles for even the most basic things, and cheap/wrong dongles can fry the machine.

    Apple's best desktops are the trashcan Mac Pro and the iMac Pro, both being good examples of form over function. The trashcan has been unreliable and has seen no updates since 2013 (Ivy Bridge CPUs), while the iMac Pro was launched without Apple's support staff knowing anything about it. Both machines are expensive and hard to expand, requiring external enclosures and cables. They are also hard to repair, being often replaced instead of repaired. But Apple only stocks the base configurations, so if you paid more for a better machine you're actually going to wait longer for the replacement.

    Apple fanboys can be found nowadays complaining about Apple's current laptop and desktop situation.
    Apple's loyal core of professional Macintosh users, who have been using Macintoshes since forever for DTP, audio and video, the ones that helped keep Apple alive during the 90s, they have either already moved to Windows PCs or are just waiting to see the "modular Mac Pro" in 2019/20 before finally giving up if it fails to deliver.

    So no, I don't think Apple is an existential threat to the PC.
     
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  9. Entropy

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    And straight off the bat, you demonstrate exactly why Apple has been and is an existential threat to the PC.
    Before Apple, feature phones were, well, nifty phones. Today smartphones are the dominant computing platform with a billion sold annually. Meanwhile PCs have been in a slow decline, maintaining sales to schools/institutions/administrations and corporations but dropping overall and to consumers in particular. It has lost its position as the dominant computing technology driver.

    Tablets sell at a respectable annual clip, meanwhile the castrated Windows netbooks are nowhere to be seen. Those tablet sales eat directly into laptop sales.

    And early on Apple recognised that PC computing was largely a solved problem for the overwhelming majority of users. They were always into the human interface, both in terms of software and hardware, but that got reinforced during Jobs' second run as CEO, and they started paying a lot of attention to the precision of the trackpads, the quality of enclosure machining, tactile response, display quality and so on. And in doing so they have been instrumental in pushing the remaining consumer oriented PC devices in similar directions.
    The specmanship PC (this many megahertz with this much RAM and this large disk) is in the overall scheme of things a dying breed. To some extent Apple has driven this along, to some extent it is inherent in the stagnation of the industry in terms of technology and innovation both.

    The PC is a dinosaur. In some respects a pretty damn nice dinosaur, but lets be honest here.

    (One aspect that Apple is driving now is cord-cutting. I'm not a fan of that, I always liked having lots of connectivity options. But they will continue to push wireless technologies across their line up (and I anticipate that they will adopt 802.11ay really quickly for a number of uses). Once the entire eco system of peripheral options have moved in that direction it may even be a good thing, but it will be painful in the interim, and I will whine about it!:-D)
     
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  10. rcf

    rcf
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    If you think iPhones are a threat to PCs then they are also a threat to Apple's own laptops and desktops. You say that industry is stagnant (and it is), but such technology stagnation also affects phones and tablets.
    But in my opinion smartphones and tablets are just very successful new form-factors that will co-exist with laptops and desktops, as there always will be a lot of people who need more performance than what a phone can deliver, and there are situations where a laptop is much more practical than a tablet (and vice-versa).
    Btw, castrated netbooks are nowhere to be seen precisely because they are castrated garbage, but shitty tablets also don't sell.
     
  11. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    All mobile devices like phones and non-Intel tablets represent a 'threat' to computers. There are is a significant number of people who need to do things that traditionally required a computer. First a traditional PC connected to a monitor, then a laptop because it's a compact form factor and now many people can do those things on any mobile phone. Many people who needed a traditional computer can now do fine with their phone's web browser or an app and are far less likely to buy a desktop/laptop again unless their needs change to someting a mobile device cannot fulfil.

    If you remain in doubt you should have a read of Intel's last four annual financial statements which been talking about transition (to a focus on data centres) for a few years. The following two paragraphs are Intel's CEO, Brian Krzanich, in the opening of their 2017 financial report. - emphasis mine.

    I'm not going to heavily quote from this report but if you want to know what Intel think then you ought to give it a skim. Despite this statement and expectation of only declining PC profits, in 2017 PC profits had an unexpected 3% rise but Intel don't specify the reason. That 3% simply have been the Apple MacBook/Pro/iMac CPU update last year but it wouldn't be in Intel's interest to state this given all the rumours about Apple looking to their fourth CPU architecture for Mac. Apple currently represent around 5% of Intel's revenue but they skip lots of annual iterative CPU updates, particularly in laptops, but I that 2017 reporting period they updated pretty much everything except the MacMini and Mac Pro.

    Blip aside, Intel believe PC-centric profits will only go down year over year but while Intel have a growing market supplying CPUs to the data centres that serve everybody's devices, that's fine. The whole 10nm fab issue is almost inconsequential given how unimportant this is to server customers.

    Apple's best selling Macs are laptops and in terms of desktops the Mac Pro and iMac Pro are less than 1% of regular iMac sales. People who want to upgrade their laptops are no longer Apple's target market and this seems to be working out for them. I've owned plenty of Macs where you could upgrade the RAM and HDD through a slot in the bottom but over the years the HDD became increasingly more difficult to get too and the RAM is right on the board. If you want upgradability or repairability, you might want to cross Apple of that list. Just look down the iFixit laptop repairability list and see Mac computers ratings plummet with each new iteration.

    Speaking for myself, this is fine. I don't buy $1,500+ computers on a whim - with Apple laptops I know I need to get as much RAM and SSD space as I'll ever need and currently the 27" iMac (on my third) has upgradable RAM and I could replace the HDD if wanted too. My free time is limited and precious so where in my 20s I'd take stuff apart and fix it, now I'd rather just drop it off for somebody else to fix and I'll use another machine, which is an option for me. Assuming I could even have fixed the 2013 iMac when Apple could not, if I had pulled off that miracle, I would not currently be sitting in front of a replacement higher-tier 2017 5K iMac. That failure worked out well for me. :yep2:

    Nope, me neither! :nope:

    Yes they are. But if somebody is going to eat your market, it's better that it's you rather than the competition.

    Intel strongly disagree with you. For you (and for me come to that) a phone or tablet is not a adequate substitute for many the tasks I need to do. However, we're in a minority. For people who consume content and rarely produce it (including writing anything), a light touchscreen mobile device you can use anywhere is actually better.
     
    #111 DSoup, Aug 11, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
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  12. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    12" MacBook owner here for two years and I carry a USB-C-to-A adaptor with it everywhere and I've needed it twice. When I bought my 13" MacBook Air I also bought the USB SuperDrive (DVD drive). I have literally never used the bloody thing. :nope: Sometimes I think Apple know my needs better than I do but like you, I will absolutely complain about stuff I don't have and don't need :runaway:

    On a seriously note, I know lack of ports is a problem for some. :yep2:
     
  13. MfA

    MfA
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    A tablet with a keyboard will never be anything but a top heavy unusable piece of shit. That's not going to kill laptops and desktops.

    Desktops and laptops are high margin products. Server revenue is nice, but especially once AMD/ARM competition starts putting the squeeze on the server products the much higher appetite for performance and room for margins in consumer products will still be relevant to Intel. We're willing to pay a large multiple for a small single threaded performance advantage, datacenters less so. Losing Apple will hurt them, as it will hurt AMD to lose them for GPUs.

    The PC will be left with Chromebooks for the just werks niche and Google isn't interested in pushing the high end.
     
  14. Entropy

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    Phones and tablets do eat into the Macintosh line, but since Apple is in a stronger position in phones and tablets, this is overall a big win for them.
    The operative words being ”a lot of”. Sure, some people will need more computing power than a tablet can offer, but won’t some of them be better served by compute servers? As far as I can see, that niche consists mainly of PC gamers (large number) and some small scale video/film production (smaller number). The bigger volume for PCs is in organisations that periodically buy new low tier hardware, such as schools giving every new student a laptop, municipalities buying hardware with three year on the spot replacement service contracts and such. There is large volume in such business, but it is also very much the PC as a commodity. Typically joined with some bulk contract for OS and apps.
    It was an interesting experiment though. In order to compete, both Microsoft and Intel had to drop their margins. And in order not to cannibalize their higher margin products they crippled the netbooks. Leading to that entire segment being lost. From a business profitability point of view that may still have been the better choice, but it illustrates how difficult it is to expand the Wintel gravy train for the giants. Their golden goose will keep laying eggs for a good long while, but growth...? Which is why everyone in the industry cheered VR on, and incidentally the rumour from Apple was that they were dodging the PC architecture altogether, and building a dedicated VR driver box, rather than having VR driven by a general purpose computer with a general purpose OS. That’s what Intel and Microsoft absolutely do not want, they want new developments to reinforce their entrenched monopolies. Whether cobbled together odds and ends from various industries driven under the umbrella of a Wintel box is ideal for the purpose is irrelevant. Another example of how the Apple approach, regardless if it is them or facebook who does it, is an ideological (or ”existential”) threat to the PC market.
     
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  15. DSoup

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    Lots of people felt the same when laptops started to become popular. They'll always be niche, they'll never replace desktops - too many compromises. The thing is high-end users, including us gamers, we're an itsy-bitsy tiny niche market who don't want to compromise and sometimes can't see how the compromises are totally acceptable for others.

    A touchscreen, or to be specific a small touchscreen isn't a good device (even supplemented by a camera and microphone) for all sorts of tasks including a lot (but not all) content creation but heavy content creators are vastly outnumbered by people consuming that content and that's where mobile devices can more than viable, but sometimes preferable. When I head into the server farm I'm not taking my MacBook Pro, Im taking the iPad because it's small and light and I can see the server status and control it from our custom app which makes the most of touch gestures and tapping to fully control a cluster, a server, a bank of CPUs in the server, or process that's crashed.

    I was very much an iPad doubter thinking it was just a bigger iPhone and whilst that wasn't far from the truth back in 2010, now I think of my iPad as a computer without all the bits I don't need right now and where having a V-shaped product (laptop) that is designed to rest on something is a minus and not a plus. Outside of the work environment, you don't need a keyboard to do shopping, banking, reading ebooks, watching TV or movies, or catching up the friends by vidconf. Then their are kids, the consumers of tomorrow. Even when a computer and TV screen as an option my neighbour's daughter, Chloe, would rather watch stuff on her tablet than on the TV which is bigger and better and right there in the room. Why? Who knows. When she does want to write something she can bang stuff out insanely quick on her tablet because that's what she's used too.

    Nobody here is predicting the 'death' of real computers but it's pretty clear what types of products are selling in greater numbers and that's likely party to do with the price, but also to do with small portable devices with great battery lives being convenient and increasingly more powerful and more capable every day.

    Apple desktops and laptops are high margin products, plenty of PC manufacturers who sell vastly more and making vastly less and only survive on volume. Dell had a operating loss of $1.7bn last quarter. And you have to remember who pays for the R&D in the PC space because it's not gamers. For about two decades advances in the PC industry have been fuelled by massive sales from Government, the military and industry because they use computers in huge quantities for office and productivity tasks. Prior to that it was only the account who had a computer - when less PCs were less sold and much more expensive - that correlation is important.

    But the large reliable PC buying markets are beginning to experiment with today's technology options and if they switch, and some already have, advancement in the PC platform will necessarily slow or become relatively more expensive. I work in a sensitive area of Government and if you told me just three years ago that I would be using a) a Mac (hahaha) and iDevice (lulz) for my job I'd have thought you crazy. But you know what? That's what I've been using for more than a year now. I'm on my second Mac (first an 13" MacBook Air, now a MacBook Pro) and iPhone - naturally with some extra Government security on top. But others people who just bought a Windows PC - because what the hell else are you going to buy - see other people getting shit done using a tablet with bespoke software and they ask questions. I meet with plenty of people from commercial aerospace an defence companies and many of them no longer carry a Wintel laptop but in iPad or just a smart phone. I haven't seen a BlackBerry in years, even a modern-Android powered one.

    When the world's biggest PC buying users reduce the number of PCs they buy, it will have a consequence for power-PC users like gamers. It won't happen overnight but it is happening.. :yep2:
     
    #115 DSoup, Aug 11, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  16. tongue_of_colicab

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    It's been a long coming. Apart from the reasons mentioned above, there isnt really much of a need to buy new pc hardware for a lot of people either.

    The PC platform has kind of reached it's perfect form a couple of years ago. Of course there will always be users in need for more power, but for most users even 4 or 5 year old hardware is probably more than enough.

    People don't buy new hardware because there simply is no need. Almost everything is good enough.

    I bought my i7 4770 with 16gb ram more than 4 years ago and for gaming I'd pretty much only have to update the gpu. There isn't a whole lot to gain from a new CPU or doubling ram. Even less if you take costs in consideration.

    You're already seeing this in the tablet market too btw. Aren't apple and Samsung releasing new models every other year these days?

    Smartphone market will go the same way. It won't be long before even low end models are good enough and the pricing on the high end is just getting ridiculous.
     
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  17. MfA

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    The keyboard isn't what makes the laptop superior, it's the battery in the keyboard section ... or to be more specific, its weight. I suspect tablets are going to lead to lots of problems down the line. The ergonomics for tablets are terrible even compared to laptops and the moment you add a keyboard you're tied to a tabletop because it's top heavy.

    There are only a handful of things a tablet does better than a modern 13" laptop, which includes none of the things you mentioned. They are okay for recipes in the kitchen and for quickly sliding it across a desk for cooperative work. But vegging on the couch is infinitely better with a small cool laptop.
     
  18. DSoup

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    If you need a keyboard then a laptop is generally better but if you don't then it's unnecessary physical adjunct. The ease with which you can rotate a tablet to consume content in portrait (like eBooks/comics/magazines) or landscape (video/presentations) is more flexible as is the flexibility it gives app UI designers to present information differently in portrait/landscape orientations.

    The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who produce guidelines for employers for people who use "Display Screen Equipment" have considered tablets and are content the existing 1992 guidance, originally written for desktop PCs and laptops, is sufficient to cover tablet usage. I.e no, more risk using a tablet than a computer. The risks of poor posture is driven from the risk of prolonged use which is a greater risk with a fixed workstation computer because they are comfortably usable from a more limited ranged of postures.

    I'd be interested in what handful of things you think a tablet is better for apart from recipes. All the things I mentioned are personal opinion so you disagreeing doesn't change them. I have 27" iMac, 12" MacBook and 10.1" iPad Pro and if I'm relaxing them I'm almost certainly grabbing the iPad. It's lighter, easier to manipulate and does not require me to make a flattish space to put it on.

    Out of curiosity, what tablet do you use and how much do you use it?
     
  19. MfA

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    Posture is the least of a tablet's problems, it's the continuous strain. My stomach and thighs support a laptop without any tendon/muscle being in tension, weight is irrelevant. In pure consumer mode on the couch there is simply no comparison, fully relaxed versus continuous strain on fingers and wrist. We'll see what the future will hold, but I suspect the HSE is woefully wrong.

    There's a nexus 10 and an ipad air floating around, I don't use them if I can avoid it.
     
  20. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I guess we're sitting at very different angles. I've never laid down and put a laptop on my stomach and holding an iPad isn't any strain. I'm 6'2" and keep fit but I'm not heavily muscled. :nope:
     

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