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Weighing in on Apple’s New Air Ad, the State of the Mac and More

LarrysDeskIt’s been too long and, well, it’s been even longer since a great new ad for Macs has run out there… and seeing such at last, well, here we are.

Apple’s new ad promoting Mac & some ‘state’ of Mac.
Not to say Apple hasn’t had other good marketing spots, but it’s been a good bit of time since I can remember any ad promoting the Mac being aired. While I’m sure there have been spots, it’s been literally half a decade since the last ones that were truly memorable to me ran – those being the ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ series.

This new one – I think it will “stick” around for a while. I hope we see more like this… and I’d also welcome some spots with the substance of the aforementioned Mac vs. PC series. While I’m more about the hardware customization than customizing with stickers – I have to say that spot had nice energy, definitely held attention, and I really liked seeing the original, multi-color Apple logo make an appearance as well (short blip about 16-17 seconds in). In truth, I miss a lot of what Apple was when that was their official logo. Nonetheless, even if the ad was focused on the MacBook Air – it was great to see a great Mac ad on the air, and hopefully there will be more to come!

As long as we’re on the topic of what Apple is today. Interestingly enough – by one observation, Apple is on a trend for the iTunes Store to become its number one profit generator. It’s amazing that the company that personalized the PC and created computers that “people love” is now sustained by mobile devices and content with the Macs being a relative sliver. An important one, mind you, and perhaps why we’re seeing a new ad spot. Apple had surged to a market share position of over 13% of the US market in the last quarter of 2013… however, during the last 6 months – a period when the PC computer unit sales actually grew (as opposed to declining YoY for a couple prior quarters) – Apple’s share dropped to 10%. That’s huge… and looking at the last quarter ending in June, that 10% was also a decline of Apple’s share of 10.9% looking at the same period in 2013.

Pretty much since the last PowerMac G4 and G5s went away and we entered the brave new world of Intel-based Macs, I’ve been asking Apple to give us a “Max Mac mini”… something in the lower cost range – but with some basic expandability. Today that would be something with a couple drive bays – 2.5″ is fine to keep it cool and more compact… a couple PCIe 16X PCIe Slots (which truly does kick up the power support requirements)… how about two Thunderbolt ports, USB 3 ports, give us a FireWire 800 port or two (I’d argue the audience for these definitely have FireWire devices to benefit, I certainly do), and four full-size memory slots (would love eight, but four is practical) for up to 64GB of memory. Built in Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth – those are all givens of course. I think a Mac like this would sell well for a little more than the current Mac mini in base + support those that, whether they do it or not, want to have that upgradeability support for the future. Give me back a 15″ Laptop option that’s got memory slots and a 7mm SATA drive bay for that matter too. Oh – and I still get e-mails from many lamenting the lack of a 17″ Apple laptop. I know Apple has gotten giant, and the customer base for some of these things is now too small for their interest as opposed to what would have been a more important share a decade ago – but there is a customer base to be gained and maintained nonetheless.

And, one more thing… the new 2013 Mac Pro isn’t half bad – but the prior Mac Pros, especially Nehalem and Westmere 2009 to 2012 models still have years of life ahead of them. For a lot of things, the 2013 model doesn’t offer much or any actual performance gain yet… still things being optimized, especially with the video. 4K video is a different story, but for so many other things – if you already have a Mac Pro silver tower, the new Mac Pro takes a lot away (internal PCIe slots, 4 drive bays, 4 memory slots if you have 8 or 12 core) without returning much benefit just yet. It all comes down to needs and wants and I will also note that, especially for those that have a high cost of electricity, one nice benefit new 2013 Mac Pro is a significant reduction in power usage… then, some of that savings goes away with what you likely will need to add via external devices that were internal for the prior Mac Pro silver tower model. I can’t say I don’t like the new 2013… but I’d like a 2014 version more like the 2010/12 model a whole lot more. :)

Taking this a different direction – with the exception of the MacBook Pro 13″ (last updated 2012 and likely soon to be discontinued) and the Mac mini (also last updated in 2012 and I fear the worst for the next revision that will replace it) which have some flexibility for internal drive upgrades as well as memory. The current Apple iMac 27″ and the Mac Pro which support user memory upgrades – everything else today from the MacBook Pro with Retina, to the Air, to the iMac 21.5″ have stuff like memory soldered to the motherboard (AKA non-upgradeable) or other upgrades which are challenging at best for any user servicing. While it is up to customer to be aware of such, it is more than inconvenient for anyone to buy a system for the kind of cost Apple has – not saying they aren’t worth about every penny :) – and later find out you have to buy a new one cause something as simple as more memory is needed and, ooops, it’s soldered on the motherboard and is a factory upgrade only option at the time of purchase.

We’ll see what we see… but I’ve also long noted on the computer side that this lack of upgradeability and user serviceability will eventually catch up to Apple. That you need a special kit to service and replace hard drives in iMacs of the last several years is, well, ridiculous IMHO. Changes over the years have also made it more and more difficult with each passing year to service these systems – which reduces home servicing in general + increases the cost paid to a technician for such as well. Apple has been leading the charge to turn computers into self-contained, non-upgradeable appliances and I find that unfortunate. For what we invest to have a Mac – for the kind of quality that Apple delivers with respect to how long these systems have always lasted vs. PCs, it’s disappointing and even less than green/conservational to limit the future of these systems the way they do. Thunderbolt ports help a lot – but as an external solution they never can replace the convenience of internal upgrades nor are they are solution for memory.

It’s been a dream of mine for more than eight years… but who knows, maybe we’ll see a machine that a lot out there have been asking for… even sans the PCIe slots I’d be pretty happy. Either way, the Mac computer market is still very important to Apple despite the relatively small piece it remains, and the new ad that suggests maybe they are finally be going after growing the Mac’s market share again, and with some real energy.

We need your support – if you like these products, please let your vote be heard!
The panel has spoken and OWC is proud to announce several nominations in this year’s prestigious American Business Awards! Also known as the “Stevies”, it’s the only business awards program in the United States that honors and generates public recognition of corporate and executive achievements worldwide. In past years, OWC brought home the Gold for the NuGuard KX Kinetic Energy X-Orbing Case for iPhone 5, 4/4S and for the OWC Mercury Accelsior PCI Express SSD.

Our OWC Envoy Pro EX storage solution and the NewerTech NuGuard KXs Screen Armor line are both finalists for a “New Product or Service of the Year” award.

Even better, voting has just opened in the “Stevies” popular “People’s Choice” awards, which means you can vote for your favorites too. This year, The Envoy Pro EX and the KXs Screen Armor are joined by the OWC DIY Upgrade Bundle for PlayStation 4. Yes, our focus is Apple – but we know there are a lot of you out there with PlayStation 4s and we like to have fun with such too. :)

It’s easy to vote and there are more details on the OWC blog. If you love OWC’s products:

  • Visit the “Stevies” voting page
  • Fill in the “Vote with short code” box with each product’s short code
  • Click on the “Submit” button next to the callout
  • Enter “W169M” to vote for the Envoy Pro EX
  • Enter “E513G” to vote for the KXs Screen Armor
  • Enter “H564N” to vote for the DIY Upgrade Bundle for the PS4

We’re proud of everything we do here at OWC, and it’s great to be recognized in multiple “Stevie” categories! We’d really appreciate your votes in the “People’s Choice” awards. Thank you for your Support!

Speaking of NuGuard KX
The NuGuard KX cases for the Apple iPhone and iPad are truly inspired and deliver in ways that other cases, well, don’t. They provide amazing drop protection while doing so with in a clean, one-piece, exceptionally durable design.

Built with a truly space age material which itself is made right here in the USA, this case protects your device from impacts to a level otherwise found with much more costly and far bulkier cases. On top of the great device protection, the case itself is warrantied for a Lifetime as it doesn’t have to sacrifice itself in the process of this protection.

I’ve seen plenty of cases – costly cases – that after one good drop are effectively done. Personally demonstrating the NuGuard KX, I’ve dropped my iPhone literally hundreds of times – with two years of this kind of abuse, the only minor scars visible on my case (no damage to iphone) are from an unplanned oops when I’d left the phone on my car roof and it flew off onto the road. :). We’ve got great videos showing the protective capabilities of these cases, including some iPad stair tosses that will make your cringe. And that’s the point. Accidents happen, and the KX protects at such a high level that such moments pass without damage to your iDevice.

And right now – the NuGuard KX is as low as $25.00 + through July 31st, we’re including a bonus Lightning Cable & the KXs Screen armor, another $34.98 in value, for no additional cost. Thousands of the NuGuard KX cases are protecting iPads and iPhones today. We want to see that become a large multiple of that, and customers like you, who consistently give these cases high ratings and tell their friends, are our best advocates. We’re going to greater extremes to see more devices protected with our amazing KX, and the current bonus items make a case that is already an amazing value, even at twice the price, into an incredible one.

If you want an incredible case at an unbelievable cost – the KX will not disappoint… and it’s got a 30-day money back guarantee in addition to that Lifetime Warranty if you decide otherwise.

Used Macs from $139 now @ OWC
A year ago we had a few… today we have dozens of used Apple Macs + iPads, too, and that selection will continue to grow. This includes Apple iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Cinema Displays, and iPad 3 as well. On the MacBook Air front – we now have 1.7GHz 13″ models from 2011 with Thunderbolt starting with ‘they’ve already been dropped’ units at $599 to units in great condition for $679.

Our entire selection currently includes used Intel Macs now from $139. Clear descriptions, good photos that show what to expect + 100% functionally tested and warrantied by OWC make it easy to buy used with confidence.

Check out OWC’s new Back to School section – great solutions and accessories that get you and your gear ready for the fall.

See more – just for readers!
Our latest OWC Blast has a great variety of featured drives, accessories, and more – just for readers! Updated weekly – the latest is online here.

Quick closing
Seeing the old Apple logo make even that split second appearance in an Apple spot, well, I really liked that. I still believe Apple is the best today, and maybe might remember more of their past to ensure the best possible future too. Either way, we’re glad to be here and it’s our mission to have the best solutions and team at OWC to make whatever has to offer even better yet. Thanks for reading and as always, the best to you and yours.

OWC Larry
the authorOWC Larry
OWC Founder & CEO
Larry O'Connor is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Illinois-based Other World Computing (OWC®). Starting as a one-man business in 1988, O'Connor has provided the leadership and vision to establish OWC as the leading provider of technology products and services today.
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  • Meh.

    Forget waiting around for Apple to actually make a product I *want*. I’ve built a Hack Pro that trounces all but the highest end (read: 6+ core) Mac Pros. And once the i7-4790k gets fully native kernel support, not even those will be able to touch my setup.

    4.6-5 GHz on air cooling? Check.

    PCIe slots? Check.

    Better cooling than even a cMP? Check.

    Enough ports and drive bays to give me all the expansion I need? Check.

    Upgradeable video card that makes my machine *not* a throwaway pile of junk two years down the road? Oh *HELLS* yes…er, CHECK.

    And it costs about 60% of what a TrashCan Pro costs, and that’s before I spend money shelling out for all the peripherals I’d need to get back my storage and expansion capabilities.

    And anything I need to get that you happen to sell still works in my rig.

    As far as I’m concerned, the only good thing Apple has left to its name is OS X. Let’s hope Jony Ives doesn’t screw that up too.

    • Hi Doug, while we’re hard at work on this, we’re not ready to make any announcements at this time. When we are ready, you’ll hear about it first on the OWC Blog. Thanks!

  • Larry, I found your comments about the potential upgrade(really) for the Mac Mini interesting. I have a late 2012 2.3 GHz i7 that I am planning to send up to you folks for an SSD upgrade around Thanksgiving. I wish they made it easier for folks to upgrade their stuff. I’d glad that OWC is around to do that!