How Apple Blew Its Lead in Laptops


Ever since the Macair was released an blew the world away in January of 08′, Apple has enjoyed a huge technological lead on all of it’s competitors. It was unprecedented. In the ultra competitive world of electronics, a unique product to handily beat every competitor so badly that it embarrasses them; astonishing.

Compare a 2008 Dell with the same year Macair. Clunky piece of junk compared to a sleek piece of art! A Tesla vs a Fiat 500L.  Let’s face it. It was downright embarrassing to walk into a presentation with anything else.  At times it even seemed like an intelligence test. Why on God’s Green Earth would you burden yourself with an unreliable, ugly, heavy, laptop that crashed often, would break by dropping ever so slightly and had a battery with a shorter life span than a Japanese Prime Minister??

My how times have changed. Xiaomi just announced what I believe to be if not a Macbook killer, a true competitor at half the price. Tough as nails. Solid aluminum case. Intel i5 processor (superior to the $1,299 Macbook’s mobile processor), more memory and did I mention half the price. And a discrete video card so you can actually play games on it! USB-C charger and many other goodies yet to come out with an Apple logo on them. And Apple is still the leader….?

And to make things worse, the Xiaomi Laptop is cool. Xiami knows it and has a million ready to sell. They have Hugo Barra from Google on their team and they know they have a winner on their hands. Not a copycat. Also ran. A fast, tough, cool workhorse for half price.

Apple lost touch with laptop consumer needs
Apple lost touch with laptop consumer needs

I think this loss of market leadership can be traced to Tim Cook endless proclamations that the iPad will replace laptops. I know he’s right. Eventually. But in today’s world, with software and iPad limitations as they are (no USB for storage, no workhorse editing software, minuscule internal storage) and the statement is laughable. Really someones gotta put a gag on Tim. No more “iPads are going to replace laptops” and a lot more “I’m sorry we neglected our key users.:The graphic designers: The video editors.

He needs to get on his hands and knees and find Jesus right quick if he doesn’t want a full scale shift away from Mac. Mac OS is still great. But iTunes sucks eggs. Photos are hard to work with. Why can’t you just open the iPhone like a folder, take photos off, drag and drop photo’s on like… well like Windows.

Apple has ignored their users real needs for too long and the world has caught up. And now the things that we lived with. Gritted our teeth but eventually forgave are coming back to haunt Apple. Let’s face it. There are still a hell of a lot of things that are inconvenient on Apple Laptops and devices. And Apple better start listening. And responding.

Or maybe this is how it’s supposed to play out. Maybe the walled garden model that Apple has was bound to fail like so many people have said. Like Open Source Software. The wisdom of crowds. Maybe the days of geniuses like Steve Jobs ended with the Great One. And now Apple needs a Renaissance. An opening to developers. To the world. Maybe just maybe if Apple opens up, the pieces inside will be so valuable that developers and collaborators around the world will take them and create the next generation.

But I have my doubts. I remember walking around the Macworld Expo in Japan in 1996 when Apple was at it’s lowest point. Everyone was talking about the inevitable Apple bankruptcy. Japanese were all asking me, “why don’t Americans believe in Apple?” “Why would they let it die?” And I couldn’t say anything. In front of me I saw the true believers. Graphic designers galore ready to give it all for Apple. Even at their lowest point.

I believe these are the same users Apple has been taking for granted. Ignoring. Telling a hardcore graphics designer that he can work on an iPad? Like he’s some kind of idiot who hasn’t tried one? WTF was Tim thinking? Why didn’t someone stop him?

So the issue is multi-faceted. Competitors have caught up. Loyal users like me are fed up. And we are ready to bolt if something better comes along. And I think, for the money, this Xiaomi Laptop is just that thing. I’m buying one on August 2nd and having it shipped from China. And I haven’t had a Windows computer since the days of steam engines.

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