The MacValley blog


Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.


Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


Click here to email Tom

Click here for Tom's profile



To search the blog posts please use the box below

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chromebooks offer competition to the MacBookAir and other Macs

Where’s the competition for OS X coming from? By “competition” I mean the next generation of ideas as to what a consumer operating system should look like. Windows will sell more boxes of software and hardware than Apple does; but a lot of that is inertia from users sticking with what they already own.

I would suggest that the Google ChromeBook (and the Samsung/Acer/HP Chromebooks) offer a different vision of computing than Apple does. They offer minimalism with everything done over a Wi-Fi connection, from loading Web applications through the Chrome browser to printing over a Wi-Fi connection.

To quote from the Quartz article, “Samsung’s success proves that a perfectly usable laptop can be built on the innards of a tablet. And there is now a popular device category—low priced but functional ultramobiles—that Apple doesn’t make. That’s historically a signal that Apple is preparing to swoop in and make its own version. It’s exactly what happened with the iPad Mini, for example.

I would add that customers on Amazon have criticized the Samsung Chromebooks for problems in printing. If you don’t have a network printer or another computer to which the printer is attached, you will experience problems trying to print. Apple has faced similar problems with the iPad. AirPrint largely solves these problems. With me, my iPad just sees my AirPrint-enabled HP printer from the get-go. No fumbling with menus, no having to discover your printer’s URL. The printer simply appears on the iPad’s print menu and I only have to print.

The Quartz article focuses on whether Apple will stop using Intel chips for a hypothesized ultra mobile notebook and start using its own A7 chips. The article didn’t discuss whether Apple would use cloud applications, such as the upcoming iWork for iCloud in place of iWork or Office and iRadio in place of iTunes, to provide functionality. As a certified Mac pundit;I would think Apple would exploit the dickens of its own Web offerings rather than let Google Drive and Office 365 handle the office chores, with Pandora and YouTube handling the entertainment side.

Let me review the reasons why Apple would bring out its ultra mobile to compete with the $250-$300 Samsung/Acer/HP Chromebooks.


  1. Apple lets others set up the parameters of what these devices should do, then shows them how to really do it right.. In the case of the iPod in 2001, those players had flash memory for storing music and got their music from a computer via a slow parallel port or USB 1.1 connection. Apple used a very small hard drive and a Firewire 400 connection, both significant improvements over the existing state of the art in 2001.
  2. This is a successful market segment that Apple doesn’t play in yet. Yes, yes, I know that Steve Jobs said Apple wouldn’t make a cheap computer. Would Apple consider this a “cheap” computer or an “inexpensive” computer?
  3. Apple has said one thing and done another many times.


  1. Apple’s computer strategy is to put as much power as they can hold into the stylish chassis, while trying to give the notebooks as much battery life as possible. The minimum processor in Apple’s notebooks is an Intel i5. Look at the cheap Windows notebooks. They have Pentium or i3 processors or an AMD processor.
  2. Apple wants to make as much profit as possible, as opposed to having the greatest market share. If these ultra mobile light notebooks don’t generate an adequate profit, Apple won’t sell them.
  3. Apple already has a light computer in the Chromebook’s price range with the iPad mini. Pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard and it takes care of your light computing needs.
  4. Apple already has 56% of the ultra mobile market notebook market with the MacBook Air models. Why would it cannibalize its own product? Apple is not dumb.

So there it is. I believe the market has space for both the budget Chromebooks and the premium MacBook Airs. But I don’t think Apple will introduce a Chromebook equivalent in this next round of product introductions.

If you disagree, please go to the comments. And be more original than “Apple sucks!”

No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Archive