Home ShawThing Apple slags off at old PCs – not PC

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Apple may have had its moment of glory (well 60 minutes) at its launch today but Phil Schiller, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, was simply rude and insulting about the opposition products – not good form, nor very PC (politically correct).

To paraphrase:

Schiller said that most iPad Pro users came from Windows PC.

Fact: there are no such statistics – this is pure marketing pap fed to Apple aficionados but hey, it was paying for the launch, so perhaps a little latitude was allowed.

Schiller said that "Windows PCs were originally conceived of before there was an Internet, before there was social media, before there was app stores, and this is an amazing statistic: There are over 600 million PCs in use today that are over five years old. "This is really sad. It really is."

Fact: The fact that there are 600 million PC’s over five years old is testament to (a) the OEM market embracing Windows and helping it to sell around 1 billion real computing devices, and (b) Microsoft providing such a good operating system platform and a certain commitment to ‘old metal’ to help keep devices alive.

Fact: Sad or otherwise, most cannot all afford uber expensive Macs, iPads, iPhones or Apple devices and replace them as frequently as Apple would like.

Fact: The Apple I, II, II Plus, IIGS, III, Lisa, XL, Macintosh, Macintosh II, LC, Power Macintosh, Newton, Quadra, Centris, Performa, Workgroup Server, and early iMacs were around pre-internet. If you take Schillers cut off of five years (say 2011) we need to add in MacBooks, XServers, Powerbook/G3/G4/G5, iBook, eMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, and even early iPhone and iPad.

Fact: OSX Lion and later completely abandoned PowerPC-based products and only work on Intel-based models.

I would like to see (a) if there were 600 million Apple computers made and (b) how many of those over five years are still in daily use.

Fact: iOS 9 only supports back to the iPhone 5 and iPad 2. To quote Evad3rs “If you have an iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad Mini, or iPad 2 or 3 you can install iOS 9, but you must understand that it's not very good!”

Fact: EveryMac says, “The slowest device compatible with iOS 9 is the iPhone 4S - and it is even slower running iOS 9 than it is running iOS 8 ... It doesn't support more advanced operating system features like predictive Siri, third-party Spotlight search, public transit directions within Apple Maps, and more.” It goes on to say that many of the iOS 9 features like slide over, multitasking, picture in picture, split view, and more are in fact, only compatible with the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad Pro and presumably future iPad models introduced before the next version of the iOS. However, for those with an iPhone 4s, iPad 2, iPad 3rd Gen, original iPad mini, or iPod touch 5th Gen, if speed is important stick with an earlier version of the iOS.”

When Microsoft announce relatively benign feature depreciations for old metal Windows Phone 8.x (and it made none of the handsets) to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, it was howled down. Where is the outrage against Apple?

So Schiller let’s get a little more fact checking going.

Fact: According to Statista the global average age of a PC (to be accurate a desktop Windows/x86 PC) in 2015 climbed to 5.6 years. It has hovered around five years for the last decade. In fact enterprise use and many taxation regimens demand a five year replacement cycle.

In wealthier countries like the US and Western Europe, the average is 4.9 years and in Asia/Pacific its 5.3 years.

In ‘poorer’ countries:

             Latin America – it is 9.8 years – down from 10.7 years in 2010.

             Eastern Europe it is 7.5 years – down from 9.6 years in 2010

             The Middle East and Africa is 6 years - down from 6.2 in 2010

Mobile devices such as notebooks are a little shorter at 4.1 years. That is understandable as they get moved around.

It is a testament to the reference designs from Intel, industry standards, upgradeability via PCI slots, USB standards, vast array of spare parts and makers, and the legacy operating system support provided by Microsoft and OEMs that such amazing ‘value’ can be extracted from old metal. It is also a testament to the owners who don’t have hang-ups about having the latest, shiny, fashionable metal – as long as it works.

By the way, the oldest PC to run Windows 10 so far is a Dell Dimension E510 circa 2006 (not a conclusive fact but the best I can find). The owner says it runs super-smooth and is surprisingly responsive.

The real issue with older metal is drivers. Before I published this article I installed Windows 10, 32-bit on the oldest PC I could locate - an ASUS motherboard, 2GB RAM, GeForce 730, based ‘white-box’ that started life as an XP box circa 2003, upgraded to Win 7 in 2008, and it is now great as a Windows 10 multi-media PC. Bang for buck!

Fact: NetMarketshare advises that operating system make up (see pie chart below) is roughly 90% Windows and 6% OS X.

Windows 10 released in July 2015 is at 12.82% and is now ahead of XP (11.24%) that runs perfectly well on ‘old metal.’ Windows 7 is at 52.34% which is mainly in corporate use (a) not due for upgrade yet as it was current from mid-2009 and (b) let’s face it Windows 8.x was not a success with a combined market share of 12.26%

Now we get to the crux – Apple basically forces its users to update OS X and iOS operating systems because it has a closed shop - commonly called a walled garden. It is to be congratulated for reducing fragmentation and providing a consistent user experience. But when Microsoft tries to update for free all Windows 7 and 8.x devices – and remember it’s not compulsory, and it did not make [much of] the hardware – it gets howled down for essentially the same tactics that Apple uses.

By the way, Android also has an ‘open’ policy supporting hundreds of OEMs and thousands of models and has around 83% plus market share. Apple’s iOS is about 14%. Apple makes more profit than all Android makers combined.

When you consider the facts – legacy support, reference designs, and terrific value from keeping old metal alive then Schillers comments may well apply to him - "This is really sad. It really is."

These facts naturally go against the grain of those that must have a shiny new Apple every couple of years and are apparently prepared to pay a premium to make it the world’s most profitable company. What would happen to Apple’s profits if everyone tried to use its products for five years or more?

Fact: Schiller - it was a cheap shot. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. We expect more from erudite people. Or do you subscribe to the marketing adage that if you throw enough mud some sticks?

Fact – well not really: Shiller’s sister Diller, also shared a similar first name.

Comedian Phyllis Diller once said, “You know you are old if they have discontinued your blood type.” She also said, “Aim high and you won’t shoot your foot off.”

Now let’s apply those wonderful sayings to Apple.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!


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