Two things jumped out at me in Apple’s product announcement presentation today:
- There is another energy efficiency boost in the new version of web browser Safari, this time focusing especially on movies. Better energy efficiency is especially easy to notice on a portable computer because it translates to longer battery life, but the actual energy savings add up much faster for desktop computers, which are not nearly so energy-efficient as laptops because they don’t have to be — this is one of the main reasons desktop computers may cost less than laptops. If a few million people at any given moment save a fraction of a watt, it adds up over time to reduce global energy demand. The improvements this time might be big enough to get some users to switch to Safari from Chrome or Firefox.
- The comparison of iPad sales to PC sales is telling. Apple said iPad sales for the past 12 months were greater than the combined PC sales of the 4 largest PC manufacturers. One reason this is possible is that the PC category declined year over year if Apple is excluded. PCs have become more durable, and that is the main reason unit sales are declining, but that doesn’t explain away the comparison when an iPad is about twice as durable as a PC on average. You also have to consider that more than half of PCs are sold to large businesses for office use. If you take those out, since they are used more as terminals than as computers, it seems as if the PC era is over and it is now the iPad era.