Is Apple Giving Up On Computers?

2016 will be remembered for its tablet and smartphone devices

Tim Cook at Apple iPhone 7 Release in Palo Alto

Apple Inc.

Apple, Inc. used to be Apple Computer, Inc. But in 2007 they changed their name to remove the computer. With the most recent event on September 7, 2016, it seems that they are trying to remove the computer from their business as well their name.

As of this writing, it has been over a year and a half since the MacBook Air was refreshed, without a significant design update since 2010. And many have complained about the fact that it still does not have a Retina display. The Mac Mini hasn't been updated in two years, and the poor Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013. Yes, Apple updated the MacBook earlier this year but it's the only computer line that has gotten any update from Apple. In general, the computer divisions at Apple have gotten the short shrift.

Instead, Apple is focused on things like iPads and iPhones, EarPods and HomeKit.

Where Does This Leave Apple Computers?

Apple has been in the computer and technology business for a long time. They may not be as popular as Windows-based computers, but they have a strong fan base and a lot of loyal customers. However, their current business model is based on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad and computers are becoming more and more of a side note.

This is modeling the direction of the computer industry as well. More and more people worldwide are buying mobile devices and using them rather than computers. In fact, this article was written on an iPad.

Computers just aren't as necessary now. And Apple is recognizing that fact. They recognized this direction back in 2007 when they changed their company name, and they are reflecting that change now by not updating their computers as often as they once did.

Can Mobile Devices Really Take the Place of Apple Computers?

This article was written on an iPad, and iPads and other mobile devices can be used for many different things. But there are still a lot of things that can only be done on a computer or are easier on a large screen. This includes things like:

  • Photo Editing - Yes, there are a lot of apps on the iPad that can be used for photo editing, but the big screen of a Retina iMac is much nicer for showing large photos and zooming in for close detail work.
  • Multiple-screens - When writing on an iPad, you can open an editor in half the screen and in the other half open a research window, such as Safari. But on a Mac, you can have multiple monitors and have open several browser windows, a chat window, a calendar, and then play a Netflix movie on an iPad in the background. You don't have to switch apps — you just move your eyes to the other app that is still visible on the screen.
  • Games - There are lots of games on mobile devices. Some, like Pokémon Go, can only be played on mobile. But there are many games that can't be played on an iPad or iPhone, or if they can the experience isn't as immersive. If nothing else, an iMac screen is so much bigger than an iPad it makes even watching movies more fun.
  • Storage - Most people have a lot of files. Things like writing, digital photos, digital music, and movies, as well as other applications and games. Even the largest mobile device won't hold everything that one person owns. And if you include everything a family might have, there is no way a mobile device can store it all. You have to have a computer to access all the files. And while it is possible to store everything on ​cloud storage like Dropbox and access it through mobile devices, many people are concerned with the security of cloud-based storage.

It Might Be the End of the Personal Computer Era

A day is coming, probably sooner rather than later, when people won't use personal computers like laptops and desktops. There are people alive today who will have lived through both the beginning and the end of the personal computer era.

Everything will be stored on cloud storage devices. We will create and play games and entertainment on the devices that never leave our sides--phones, watches, VR glasses, and even EarPods.

But while personal computers may be going away, a more personal form of computing is taking their place. Mobile devices are becoming more than just a box you put in your pocket or purse. They are turning into fashion statements that never leave our bodies - watches, necklaces, and glasses. Many people already own smartwatches, necklace and wrist-based fitness trackers, VR glasses, and now the new EarPods have come on the market.

So is Apple moving away from computers? Yes, they are. But is that a bad thing? No, it's just new and different.