back to article Post-PC world? POST-MAC WORLD more like

Depending on which analyst group you prefer to believe, Apple's Mac sales in the US during the normally robust "back to school" quarter were either bad or very, very bad. According to a report by Gartner and another by IDC, both released Wednesday, Apple was the only PC maker among the top five that suffered a decline in year-on …

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Anonymous Coward

But

If you count iPads like they normally do they do better

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Terminator

Re: But

Or just count. Period.

The headline; "Fewer Vendors have Bigger Share of Shrinking PC Market" would have been more accurate. A more Reg-esque equivalent might be; "Last 5 OEM Survivors Spread Out over Sinking PC Island".

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Peak Register

Indeed. Apple introduced the tablet form factor that is cannibalising the PC market. PC market sales have collapsed 8.6 percent. While Apple's sales of PC form factor devices have shrunk 2.3 percent. Due to the market imploding some lower end lower margin manufacturers became, this quarter, effectively a busted flush and can no longer offer deals competitive with higher brand value/quality vendors. The PC market is OS/ecosystem sticky not manufacturer sticky. User are invested in the OS they are most used to. Most users at upgrade stick with the OS they know. So some PC manufacturers have done well this quarter relative to other PC manufacturers. While Apple continues to outperform the PC market as a whole (which in this tablet age means shrinking less slowly) but not in this quarter some of the individual vendors

Anyone who understands anything about this market knows the increased relative sales of the top manufacturers isn't a change to the PC market trend. PC market vendors are in trouble even if some have this past quarter increased sales through getting much larger proportion of sales of a more rapidly shrinking pie. All that really shows is higher quality manufacturers have picked up sales because the low end manufacturers have had the always-wafer-thin solvency of their price discounting model destroyed by a shrinking market. Far from showing a healthy increase in sales for the top 5 (some credit should if course go to them) this is about the most *unhealthy* reason imaginable for a sales increase because it is evidence of the kind of seismic shifts that will occurs as the market contracts and smaller players are going bust. Of course if you are a manufacturer that can consistently take advantage of those seismic shifts (and any future such shifts) to take a relatively increased proportion of the market, well done and good luck to you.

If Apple are outperforming the PC market, which they are by a huge margin - again minus 2.3% compared to minus 8.6%), as well as benefitting from the devices that are cannibalising that market, they are in fact performing damned pretty well. How long will The Reg keep this busted Peak Apple meme going?

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Re: Peak Register

"Apple introduced the tablet form factor that is cannibalising the PC market."

If you mean that Apple introduced the particular version of a tablet computer that finally made the form factor useful and popular then I don't think anybody can disagree with you. However it is very unclear whether or not you are claiming that Apple introduced the tablet form factor period (i.e. that they invented it) - which if you are I'd have to disagree.

I'm curious as to which meaning you intended?

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Re: Peak Register

A little bit of both. No they didn't invent the tablet. No it wasn't popular due to form factor alone. But yes also it was the form factor. The iPad was very slim (compared with tablets before it) and, if this can be included in form factor, didn't require a stylus. Also 10 hour battery life, while not strictly form factor, made the chosen form factor practical so it could be used fear free, while using it, as did use of capacitative touch display and the simplicity/ease of use of a full screen OS design, which I personally would also include in a definition of form factor, though others might not. Really though I was just using the term "form factor" a little loosely to mean "introduced the tablet in a form that is cannibalising the PC market"

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Re: Peak Register

OS design in Form Factor? Really? I have to disagree.

Although you other sentiments I can mostly agree with. Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that. But Apple turned it into something more practical for the mass market.

Just please keep the OS out of form factor. A form factor can have any software (if the manufacturers would let you.)

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Re: Peak Register

"Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

If you're going to get "quibbley" about who invented the tablet, I would suggest it might be best to get sufficiently "quibbley" check your correction is indeed correct.

Apple started designing tablet computers in 1987 which they released as a commercial product known as the Newton in 1993.

It wasn't until 2000 that Microsoft released a *Palm Pilot competitor* (so not the inventor by a long shot) and not until 2001 that they released product for the tablet PC thing. I'm not even saying this as a partisan thing. I suspect Apple weren't the first as lots of people were thinking about the concept and there are plenty of earlier references to tablet computers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Peak Register

I think it's safe to say that Microsoft introduced something with a touch screen, no keyboard, bog standard windows and a pen. Call that a tablet if you want, or not. Either way, it didn't work and it didn't sell. Perhaps there's more to a tablet than the hardware alone? Apple introduced a combination of hardware and software that made a form factor useful, usable and popular. You may call that a tablet, if you want.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Peak Register

What about the dynabook? What about the Newton?

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Headmaster

Re: "Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

You're both wrong.

The "idea" of a tablet has been around for over 120 years, since at least Elisha Gray's patent on an "electrical stylus device for capturing handwriting" in 1888, and the "first commercially available tablet-type portable computer was the GRiDPad from GRiD Systems," in 1989.

Meanwhile, the touchscreen was invented by "E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK, around 1965 - 1967."

The culmination of these two technologies into a portable touchscreen (sans stylus) device was first made available as a commercial product in 1994, with the release of the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, the world's first smartphone.

Incidentally, not only was the Apple Newton not the first portable touchscreen device (with or without a stylus), but indeed it wasn't even the first such device with handwriting recognition, the award for which actually goes to the Linus Write-Top, released in 1987, some four years before Apple even began development of the Newton, and six years before the Newton was finally released.

The first touchscreen tablet (that worked both with and without a stylus) was also not an Apple invention, but was in fact the Acorn NewsPAD, which was released on a limited basis in 1994, under a European Commission initiative.

For the next decade there followed a series of touchscreen tablets, none of which were "invented" by either Apple or Microsoft, but most of which ran Windows, and notably a multi-touch capable device by Asus, before the iPad was finally released in 2010.

Multi-touch technology itself was invented in 1982, by the University of Toronto's Input Research Group.

None of this has anything to do with either Microsoft or Apple, neither of which are "inventors", they're merely implementors and commercial exploiters of other people's technology.

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Re: "Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

Homer wins! I must remember to think before posting ;)

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Mushroom

Re: Peak Register @SuccessCase

God invented the tablet. "And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of speaking with him upon mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God" (Exodus 31:18) It's just taken us mortals a little time to copy the idea.

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Joke

Re: "Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

Actually I think you'll find the likes of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians invented the tablet with a deives with which to take handwritten not upon, well before any of those.

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Joke

Re: Peak Register @SuccessCase

But we know God wasn't invented until the middle ages

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Re: Peak Register

"PC market sales have collapsed 8.6 percent. While Apple's sales of PC form factor devices have shrunk 2.3 percent."

Which means that they have shrunk less than average - but it's still the fallacy of comparing Apple to all other PC manufacturers. So they're not doing as worse as some, but they are doing worse than others, with some even growing according to that article.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, but it also means they aren't immune to the slowed growth in PCs (Macs are PCs, after all - to claim otherwise is just marketing).

"Apple introduced the tablet form factor"

They introduced the first 10" device perhaps - but then, we should also note the first company to introduce the first 7" device, that are now doing well.

There is indeed the point that a slowed PC market for Apple doesn't matter, because they have tablets - but I would extend that to other companies too. The companies making tablets and indeed phones are those making PCs.

The whole "PC market is dying" is a load of media drama. A slowing market doesn't mean it will collapse; a growing market doesn't mean everyone will switch to it. People will buy phones, tablets - and laptops. And since companies like Samsung, Asus - as well as Apple - are making those phones, tablets as well as PCs, they'll do well.

With the increasing number of laptop/tablet hybrids, it becomes meaningless to talk about them separately anyway. Really, these are all personal computers - far from being a decline, we're today seeing an explosion in the market for personal computers, albeit not all of the same form. It's like claiming PCs are dead because fewer people are using desktops - well no, laptops are still personal computers.

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Re: Peak Register

It was the improved technology of mobile ARM processors, RAM sizes, flash storage space and so on that made it possible.

Also tablets were around and popular for years - we just called them smartphones, PDAs or portable media players (which in 2009 were devices with an OS, Internet access and apps - i.e., a tablet).

Apple were the first ones to make a 10" tablet by making a bigger smartphone rather than trying to downsize a PC (something we're only seeing become possible now, largely thanks to Intel's improvements). That's not a technological improvement (making things bigger is usually easier...), but a marketing one. They also had the benefit of vast amounts of media hype and free advertising, whilst Android tablets were ignored until 2012. And we shouldn't forget that Apple said that a tablet had to be 10" - yet now it's shown that 7-8" devices (as well as 5-6" devices come to that) have a huge market. Apple can be credited for spotting the market for 10" ARM devices, but then Samsung can be credited for realising the huge market for 5-6" phones - and who can be credited for realising the market for 7" devices? I never hear any praise for who was first to release that size of ARM tablet.

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Re: "Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

"Your both wrong"

No Sir, your criticism is unwarranted and you did not read my reply, if you had you will see I carefully noted I did not think Apple were the first, I was merely replying to a comment MS were first before Apple.

Additionally, you are wrong on a couple of your key dates.

"not only was the Apple Newton not the first portable touchscreen device (with or without a stylus), but indeed it wasn't even the first such device with handwriting recognition, the award for which actually goes to the Linus Write-Top, released in 1987, some four years before Apple even began development of the Newton, and six years before the Newton was finally released."

The Linus top-write was released in the same year as Apple started working on the Newton (1987), not 1993 as you stated. And they released the Newton in 1993, not six years after that.

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Re: "key dates."

I'm not sure what your "SuccessCase" is, but it's obviously not basic arithmetic or even basic English comprehension. To spell it out for you, the year the Linus Write-Top was released, 1987, plus 4 years, equals 1991, which is the year the Newton began development, not 1993. 1987 is also 6 years before 1993, the year the Newton was released, which is why I wrote "six years before", not "six years after", as you seem to believe for some unfathomable reason.

"Newton was conceived on an airplane. That’s where Michael Tchao pitched the idea to Apple’s CEO, John Sculley, in early 1991. The company would announce it the following year, and the first product in the Newton Line, the MessagePad 100 went on sale twenty years ago this week in August of 1993."

Apparently someone called Steve Sakomen had "the idea" for the Newton in 1987, if one believes the typically vague anecdotal evidence that always seem to accompany any description of Apple's history, but "an idea" is not development, and this particular "idea" was just a vague notion for a "platform", not even the specific design for an actual device. Moreover this "idea" was only just being formed at a time that another product of the same type had already entered the market, which presumably had been in development for some considerable time before that, unless you think "ideas" magically transform into products in the blink of an eye.

Apple, it seems, is very good at having other people's ideas.

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Headmaster

Re: "Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

Oh and another thing, Mr. Successful, might I suggest that, while you're off learning English, you also learn how to copy and paste, so that next time you don't make it appear that I don't know the difference between "You're" and "Your" by misquoting me?

Thanks.

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Re: "Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

"In 1987 Apple Computers started designing the hardware and operating system for a future range of touch and stylus based computers, in 1993 the first product of this research was launched as the Apple Newton. It utilised Apple's own new Newton OS, initially running on hardware manufactured by Motorola and incorporating an ARM CPU, that Apple had specifically co-developed with Acorn Computers. The operating system and platform design were later licensed to Sharp and Digital Ocean, who went on to manufacture their own variants."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablet_computer

No need to get upset, you've only got a date wrong.

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Re: "key dates."

"Apparently someone called Steve Sakomen had "the idea" for the Newton in 1987, if one believes the typically vague anecdotal evidence that always seem to accompany any description of Apple's history, but "an idea" is not development, and this particular "idea" was just a vague notion for a "platform", not even the specific design for an actual device."

You Sir rather lack the good grace to admit when you are wrong, it appears you have done some further research, discovered my date was correct and rather than admit it like a man, you're flapping about trying to hold on to your original position, and getting rude to boot.

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Re: "Apple did not invent idea of a tablet. Microsoft did that."

Think you mean check your facts before posting. Of course that's assuming you think before you do something.

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FAIL

All this whilst people are awaiting new machines. Also, the anticipated release of OSX Mavericks is hardly something which can compare to the release of Windows 8.1

As El Reg's scribbler knows only too well.

Still, reality has never got in the way of a Myslewski-inspired trollfest, has it?

Clearly, Mr M is a Trollmeister among Trollmeisters.

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Err, I think it's pretty much comparable, actually.

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"All this whilst people are awaiting new machines. Also, the anticipated release of OSX Mavericks is hardly something which can compare to the release of Windows 8.1"

How do you mean this? Do you mean that there is millions of less people awaiting Maverick than Windows 8.1? If so I agree.

I don't wait for either, but for some Windows 8.1 is like the resurrection of their holy lord (or dark prince to some).

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WTF?

Seriously?

"Clearly, Mr M is a Trollmeister among Trollmeisters."

You mean the very same Mr. M who writes articles with headlines like Apple's new iPhones dope-slap Samsung in US and Global execs name Apple 'most innovative company' – again and iOS 7 SPANKS Samsung's Android in user-experience rating? Being about as balanced as they come not all of Rik's headlines fawn over Apple but calling the articles that point out chinks in the Apple armor hardly rises to the charge of "a Myslewski-inspired trollfest". Now I don't always agree with Rik but for the most part he shoots straight and using terms like scribbler and Trollmeister only prove how fatuous globo-corp adoring children really are.

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Re: Ted Treen

He's a macTard with superiority complex. Anyone that disagrees with him is wrong. lol. What a gimp.

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Boffin

Re: Ted Treen

Not at all:- my (many) recent posts express approval of Surface/Windows/Android users who state that what they've opted for suits them. It's the third-form standard of poorly expressed tribal comments such as yours which I find irritating.

At one time, El Reg used to be full of detailed factual reporting, with considered rational analysis where appropriate but nowadays one feels that it's akin to buying the Daily Telegraph and finding it to be produced by the same folks who produce Viz.

Don't get me wrong - Viz can be quite entertaining, but not if it's masquerading as a serious publication.

I certainly expect something more from correspondents/journalists than juvenile playing to the gallery and sophistry.

Your whole comment - if you think about it - shows you to be steeped in that which you erroneously & unthinkingly accuse me of. I could finish, like you do, with some childish comment regarding you and your character - but I prefer not to sink to such levels.

Biblical comments concerning planks and eyes come to mind.

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@ MyBackdoor:- You might not like it, but...

...the arrival of Mavericks appears to be, on the whole, rather more eagerly awaited than an update to a new O/S which has been so widely panned by so many.

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I'm waiting for MacBook Pro updates and the new Mac Pro to come out

I also don't base my purchases on anal announcements but on tech update cycles.

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Joke

Re: I'm waiting for MacBook Pro updates and the new Mac Pro to come out

is it Anal or Annual? The ElReg readership needs to know the gory details of your upgrade policy!

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Re: I'm waiting for MacBook Pro updates and the new Mac Pro to come out

I've been waiting for the new Mac Pro for what seems like forever. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting. All I've seen is almost a Mac Mini shapped like a coke can :(

I already have a rather nice MBP for the machine that has to be compact and I don't mind that I can't upgrade it much. What I want now is a monster machine that can be upgraded to make it even more monstery.

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Products due for replacement - Haswell, bigger SSDs etc.

iMacs updated a couple of weeks ago, MacBook Pro Retina looking tired and pricy, Mac Pro replacement announced and existing product VERY old it is almost surprising that they are selling much in the last quarter. Especially as prices don't generally fall through the model life unlike most competing products so they start just about sensible for new products but look like a rip off just before replacement.

I'll be getting a new Mac (probably MacBook Pro retina) to replace my over 3 year old Core 2 Duo based MacBook Pro that is feeling quite sluggish compiling my apps and running test suites.

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Analysts and their predictions

One thing's crystal clear - their predictions won't come true. They must be holding their balls wrong.

"fourth-place Lenovo's US sales surged 24.6 per cent in the quarter" Just as well - they were 1st placed in the previous quarter, according to El Reg.

Here are some numbers for Q3 2013 profits (admittedly you can't make a direct comparison as Apple includes iOS devices, and Lenovo and Dell include enterprise sales): Lenovo - $200 million; HP Personal Systems - $228m; Dell - $204 million; Apple - $8.8 billion

Leaving techies and graphics types aside, older PCs are good enough and refresh cycles are lengthening. It's no longer a certainty that the next refresh cycle means buying every office worker a PC. In that case, Apple and Samsung are well placed to hoover up sales. Lenovo, HP and Dell will be scrabbling for the PC leavings.

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Windows

Anyone who knows enough to care about Windows 8.1 is not the sort of person who would be daunted at all by needing to upgrade to it. Hell, you might even be running RTM already.

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Or

"There's also the argument that OS X Mavericks is on the horizon, and folks are simply waiting until it is released to pop out their credit cards, and thus avoiding the – admitedly minor – hassle of upgrading. "

Or there's the case that machine obsolescence isn't as great any more. I'm still running my Macbook from 2008 happily despite Apple not allowing me to use the latest OS. Replaced the HDD with a SSD (a model you still could do that on) and it works fine. Add in the hardware cost and the post GFC environment and it's not hard to see why Apple's sales aren't growing - they are expensive and increasingly non-modifiable. My next Mac will definitely be a Hackintosh.

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I will concede that, if you include iOs devices like the iPad and iPhone, the numbers will be different. OTOH, if you include Unix run devices like my TV and DVR, the numbers would be different again.

These numbers on comparable desktop OSs are consistent with traffic numbers from multiple sources showing that Win8 has surpassed all variants of OSx combined.

It's not surprising - Apple has moved its focus. The best thing that could happen to Macs is for Apple to spin off the division.

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Unhappy

Like they did with Newton!

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Rol
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Paradise Lost

There was a point in my education where I considered I had learnt enough.

I had mastered everything I ever needed to know and was ready to take on the world.

This at the tender age of 10, which to be fair, if my world had stayed the same, wouldn't have been a problem.

and so it goes with PC's, why do I need to buy a new machine when the old one still does everything?

Ah, but your machine doesn't do everything, it can't run the latest software, or play 1080p video.

Well, no, but I couldn't give a damn for your latest bloatware, or your eyecandy, especially if it means me having to shell out money in these hard times.

Six months later I have a new machine and this is the one that gets cremated with me.

Ah, but there's 4k video, and, and, and...oh please just, just go away, I so want to be ten again and happy in my ignorance.

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Apple PC buyers are more savvy

The fact why Mac PC sales have been flat or declining is quiet simple, as was correctly argued in the article, that is, no informed Mac user is going to purchase a iMac, Mac Pro or Mac Mini knowing that they all will be upgraded to better spec's.

Given the 'Apple tax' on all their products, savvy consumers usually want the latest and the greatest, they check out rumours sites and get credit cards out once new products are launched - hence, iMac sales usually tail-off after 6 months, by which time you can purchase the 'new' machine on the Apple refurbished site at a small discount.

The same applied to laptops, thus far Apple as not upgraded the 'Pro' series to Haswell, only the Airs, as such, expect sales surge by Black November in the US in time for Xmas.

As for me, my 2011 i7 iMac will last another 12-18 months, hence, my next update will be the follow-on to Intel's Haswell chip.

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Re: Apple PC buyers are more savvy

Hmmmm from most of the Apple owners I know, most are not that savvy at all.

Most wouldnt know a Haswell from a Hazelnut. Same as most 'computer owning people'.

So I don't think that excuse holds up really.

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Re: Apple PC buyers are more savvy

Aside from the small detail that almost all computers get upgraded, the only better specs that most Mac fainbois understand are minute changes to the frames of their black horn-rimmed geek goggles.

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Re: Apple PC buyers are more savvy

Hater..

If you look properly.. These are not Geek goggles.

They are uni body aircraft grade precision milled anodised aluminium with gorilla glass lenses.

They are in fact Apple tinted DESIGNER iGlasses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple PC buyers are more savvy

"Aside from the small detail that almost all computers get upgraded..."

No, they don't. They are run into the ground, where they become landfill, replaced by whatever the spotty oik (much like yourself, except employed) at PC World is getting the most commission on.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple PC buyers are more savvy

So, do tell. How many Apple owners do you know?

How many Windows owners really know the equivalent?

Any idea what firmware is in your washing machine or car?

Actually, do your really know and UNDERSTAND?

This is silly. Most systems today are pretty decent. OS is a matter of preference and usage requirements. for serious users, the cost differences for good quality systems are not so wide, taking into account what comes as standard with each system, lifetime and so on. You get what you pay for. Silly comments about xyz "tax" or "MS$" or "freetard" are just silly and schoolboyish; is that the level of argument to which one is reduced?

Personally, after many, many years with Windows variants, Linux variants and others, for private use I prefer OSX on Apple hardware: it's just easier, faster, needs less maintenance and provides me with a good, BSD UNIX on which I can do all my normal UNIX development things, shell, Eclipse ..., even run twm just as I have done on every Linux, UNIX and even Windows (thanks to cygwin).

Anon because I like my privacy, especially in forums where some prefer to be personal instead of factual.

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Thumb Up

Re: AC - Friday 11th October 2013 12:37 GMT

A breath of fresh air:- a sensible, non-personal and non-partisan rational comment. I wish I could up vote you more than once.

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Back to School?

Unlike sneakers, jeans, or other school supplies, you don't need to keep refreshing your computer.

Also some schools supply them, or the student waits to purchase it when they get to school to capture student discount and discount on software.

So you could see a freshman hold on to his old computer until after Black Friday.

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If the figures regarding Mac sales are correct...

If the figures regarding Mac sales are correct then it would seem to mean that the whole personal computer market is shrinking and that slow sales of pcs are not to be blamed on Win 8.x.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If the figures regarding Mac sales are correct...

Well there is an operating system correlation - computers running OSX down approx 2.3%, computers running Windows down 8%.

And most likely a very high proportion of Win8 Pro machines sold to business are getting deployed with Win7 on it (just like we used to roll out XP Pro on Vista Business-licensed machines 6 years ago).

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