To connect a Mac to the internet requires Wi-Fi. Most Macs do not even have a wired Ethernet connection. That Wi-Fi can be a local network or connected to an iPhone’s HotSpot. On the other hand, iPads have an option for always on cellular data.
Why not the Mac?
Qualcomm and Microsoft have announced a mobile Windows 10 notebook platform running an Arm-based Snapdragon 835 mobile CPU. That brings an always on, always connected function to lightweight, battery-sipping Windows notebooks.
Why not the Mac?
HP, Lenovo, and Asus are the manufacturers creating these new laptops that include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. The first devices are similar to 2-in-1 tablet / laptops we’ve seen with Intel-based processors in them, but they differ primarily because of the version of Windows 10 and Qualcomm processor that’s powering them.
As usual, Apple seems to walk to the beat of a different drum. Mac sales continue along record levels while the entire Windows 10 PC market struggles. The only segment of that market to show growth is the touchscreen hybrid devices. What is Apple’s incentive to change the Mac?
Noise and sales.
Apple’s vocal Mac customer base– and slow sales of the highly criticized Mac Pro– prompted the company to announce the iMac Pro and a future modular Mac Pro to replace the end-of-life model currently available online and at Apple Stores.
ARM-based Windows 10 powered notebooks are underpowered by Intel Inside standards, yet Apple still sells a Mac mini with 4th generation Intel CPUs while 8th generation chips are shipped on newer Windows and Microsoft devices.
Here’s what Apple needs to help grow the Mac line from the bottom up.
First, an always on, always connected, entry-level, ARM-based Mac would be the start. Intel could supply the LTE cellular modems, Apple would provide their own A-series CPUs. A touchscreen would be a plus, of course, but not a requirement because Apple’s own iPad line seems to be on the sales upswing and thanks to a $269 iPad next year will continue to grow.
Second, a price that is competitive with comparable Windows-based notebook-tablet hybrids and mid-range Chromebooks. Mac sales may be on a steady upward trajectory but are getting killed in the education space and that loss is not made up by more iPad sales.
Price? I’m thinking $799 to start, $899 with an always-on LTE cellular data model. This would be an entry-level Mac and would not run Boot Camp or Windows (caveat here is whether or not Apple would allow ARM-based Windows and Linux on their own CPUs installed in the Mac).
If Apple can sell an iPad for $349 and an iPad Pro with Wi-Fi and LTE cellular for $779, why not an entry-level Mac for $799?
It’s time, Apple.