Apple’s biggest challenge isn’t selling iPhones

The congregation of loyal iPhone users will continue to grow, which means Apple’s biggest challenge isn’t mobile – it’s Mac -- and getting Windows 7 users to switch over.

Apple, Mac, Windows, Microsoft, iPhone
Daniel Masaoka

It doesn’t matter if we buy them less often, we’re all going to continue to buy smartphones. The congregation of loyal iPhone users will continue to grow, which means Apple’s biggest challenge isn’t mobile – it’s Mac.

Wave bye-bye to Windows 7

Apple has a huge opportunity.

Over a third of all the Windows PCs on the planet are running a version of the Microsoft OS that is about to die a cold and lonely death, Windows 7. That installation is just 12 software patches away from forced retirement, after which enterprise and consumer users will be forced to upgrade, to pay Microsoft way too much money to support the old OS, or to upgrade.

  • Apple sold 18.21 million Macs in its 2018 financial year, generating around $25.484 billion in revenue.
  • There are approximately 642 million PCs in use worldwide that use Windows 7, and all of these will need to be upgraded in the next 12 months.
  • If Apple can convince just 5 percent of those users to choose to migrate to a Mac (or other Apple product), it could generate significant revenue.

Upgrading Windows doesn’t come cheap.

Consumers will be asked to cough up $140 to go from Windows 7 to Windows 10 Home, while enterprises will be required to find $200 to upgrade, or over $700 to continue to use their old OS for three years after it expires.

That’s a lot of money for nothing.

Why not get a Mac?

We know PC sales are soft. We know smartphone sales are soft. We know retailers in many countries had a disappointing holiday season.

The snag is that despite all these inconvenient truths, enterprise and consumer users will need to circle back to their rapidly diminishing credit limits and fork out for an OS upgrade if they want to keep their data safe.

They have no choice in this, as support ends in 12 months.

In normal times, we’d expect most of these millions of users to purchase a new PC or buy Windows 10, but these are not normal times.

These days people have choices: iPads, Surface, Chromebooks, and iPhones are all viable replacements for an increasing number of those old Windows PCs.

After all, it’s not as if Windows 7 can be considered a cutting-edge system, so the tasks those machines are doing can often be replaced by a mobile device, and certainly a Mac.

Apple’s big challenge is to help these migrating Windows 7 millions change.

Think different(ly)

Enterprise users already know Apple is everywhere.

Those iPhones and iPads are seeing so much more use in business, as I point out from time-to-time. What works well with an iOS device? A Mac.

Pretty soon, Macs will even begin to run iOS apps, which means enterprises will be able to build mobile apps that run reliably on both platforms. That’s one big reason Windows 7 users may want to replace their systems with an Apple platform.

Here are 7 more:

7 reasons to dump Windows 7 for Mac

1. Free OS upgrades

Apple has proved its commitment to free software upgrades and regular security patches for both macOS and iOS platforms. Windows 7 users can invest in either of these, and trust that they won’t be required to pay for a software patch ever again during the life of their Apple machine.

2. Long life

Speaking of usable life, we now know that Apple is tweaking its business plan to support its products for around five years. This means a system you buy today in 2019 is still likely to be supported and usable in 2024, though some features may not be available. That’s a five-year usable life, which should help stretch those budgets.

3. The TCO thing

Forget the myth that Apple products are expensive. They cost more initially, but that cost includes regular software patches, long usable life, and extensive software packages (Swift, iWork, Xcode, numerous accessibility features) that you’d be expected to purchase separately on some other platforms. IBM claims to save $500 in the life of a Mac in contrast to Windows systems. That initial outlay soon looks like a smart investment.

4. The ‘S’ word

Security is sexy. Apple’s platforms have proved themselves to be more secure. Security is a never-ending dance, of course, but surely it makes sense for consumer and enterprise users to prioritize security as they upgrade for a data-centric computing age? We know that two-thirds of Windows users would consider migrating to Mac on the basis of security.

Another word beginning with S?

Software – with cloud services replacing traditional applications in so many situations, it is becoming harder to find mission-critical applications you can’t access from Windows, iPhones, and Mac.

5. Migration is easy

Apple made it easy to migrate from Windows to Mac years ago. It even offers an app dor that, Windows Migration Assistant. This will transfer files, emails, contacts, and calendars from a PC running Windows 7 (or later) to a Mac. It even saves your bookmarks for you. You can also share information over your network or run a version of Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp or Parallels.

6. Microsoft will help you

The new Microsoft under the able leadership of Satya Nadella is a multi-platform firm providing cutting-edge cloud services. This business model means it matters less to Microsoft which platform you run, so long as you run a Microsoft service on that platform. This is why Microsoft reached a deal with Jamf last year under which it will help make it much easier for customers to migrate from Windows to Mac or iOS.

7. Shiny happy people

Word of mouth is often the best recommendation. The American Customer Satisfaction Index's 2018 Household Appliance and Electronics Report confirmed that Macs deliver the highest customer satisfaction scores in the industry, with iPhones and iPads also top of their class.

Think about the numbers game

I think PC market figures may make interesting reading over the next few months, particularly as Apple introduces new model Macs. 

Please follow me on Twitter, and join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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