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苹果的Mac电脑迎来了35岁生日

Don Reisinger 2019年01月28日

1984年1月24日,苹果公司发布了第一台Macintosh电脑。它是计算机史上最重要的电脑之一。

白色背景中的苹果Macintosh 128k电脑。该产品于1984年1月24日发布,它也是第一台量产的Mac电脑。图片来源:Getty Images

1984年1月24日,苹果公司发布了第一台Macintosh电脑。它是计算机史上最重要的电脑之一,也是第一台带有图形用户界面(GUI)的大众市场电脑。它采用了屏幕一体机设计,并且自带鼠标——这两个功能现在几乎已经是标配了,但在当时还远远没有普及。

在接下来的许多年里,Mac系列电脑都是苹果产品线中的中流砥柱。

然而35年后,很多事情都已经改变了。Mac电脑依然畅销,每年都能创造几十亿美元的收入。但在苹果公司的产品线里,Mac已经不像过去那么举足轻重了。

最近十多年,iPhone才是苹果最重要的产品,它将公司的收入和利润推向了新的高度。而包含苹果应用商店(App Store)和苹果音乐(Apple Music)在内的苹果服务部门,则已经成为仅次于iPhone的苹果第二大业务部门。Mac虽然排名第三,但业务规模远远落后,增长也陷入了停滞。

过去几个财年,Mac的销售额基本上是一潭死水。比如2014财年,Mac的销售额为241亿美元,次年增长到255亿美元,2016年则下降到228亿美元,2017年又回升至259亿美元。2018财年,Mac的销售额又下滑到255亿美元。就连年销量也是差强人意。2015财年,苹果每年还能卖出2060万台Mac,但去年的销量就只有1820万台了。

对于一个年收入达到250亿美元级别的业务部门,我们以乎也没有理由对它评头论足。而且我们也应该意识到,计算机业务不同于手机和软件业务,消费者并没有经常升级的迫切需求。这几年的趋势也表明,苹果要想让Mac实现销量的跃升,显然不是一件容易的事情。

Mac销量不景气,一是受行业大气候的影响——比如很多人买了移动设备后就不需要购买电脑了,此外低价产品的竞争也给Mac的销量造成了冲击。二是因为苹果公司的一些"自残"的做法。

比如最近几年,苹果搞出了一款备受吐槽的"蝴蝶键盘"设备,遭到了广泛差评。苹果还想通过触控条功能将Mac触屏化,但这个创新也反响平平。另外,Mac系列真正的爆款产品(比如MacBook Pro等)很少有设计上的显著改进,导致很多消费者不愿意花几千美元买一台跟老款看起来几乎一模一样的电脑。(更别说像Mac Mini和Mac Pro等型号要等好久才能迎来一次升级。)

所以说,现在的现实是,Mac的重要程度已经排在了iPhone业务、服务业务和苹果的很多其他项目后面。经典的Mac品牌也因此遭受了不小的打击。

展望2019年,我们仍然不知道苹果对Mac系列产品有何计划,只知道今年苹果会推出一款新的Mac Pro电脑。有些型号的Mac产品或许也会迎来更新。

在35岁生日这年,Mac电脑能有什么突破性的成就吗?从目前掌握的情况看,结合苹果最近的表现,似乎没什么可能。这实在太不幸了。(yabo88ios)

译者:朴成奎

On January 24,1984,Apple unveiled the first ever Macintosh computer.The machine,one of the most important computers ever released,was the first mass-market computer to ship with the graphical user interface (GUI) and came with a built-in screen and mouse—two features we take for granted today but weren't ubiquitous at the time.

The Macintosh,or Mac,as it became known,helped to drive Apple's business for years.

But 35 years later,things have changed.The Macs are still around,of course,and they still generate billions in revenue.But they don't seem to carry the same weight at Apple as they once did.

For more than a decade,the iPhone has been Apple's most important division,driving the company to new heights in revenue and profits.And in recent years,Apple's Services division,which includes sales from Apple's App Store,Apple Music,and others,has become the company's second-largest business unit behind iPhone.The Mac is a distant—and stagnant—third.

Over its last several fiscal years,Mac sales have been largely static.In Apple's 2014 fiscal year,for instance,Apple's Mac sales stood at $24.1 billion.They grew to $25.5 billion the next year,dropped to $22.8 billion in 2016,and climbed back to $25.9 billion in 2017.Apple's last fiscal year,Mac sales stood at $25.5 billion.Even unit sales each year have been stagnant,standing at 18.2 million last year—down from 20.6 million in Apple's 2015 fiscal year.

Criticizing a division that makes $25 billion a year can be difficult.And it's important to realize that the computer business is different from iPhones and Services,where people are willing to buy refreshes more often.But the trends over time suggest Apple is having some trouble jumpstarting the Mac.

Industry-wide trends,like people turning to mobile devices instead of computers,and competition from lower-priced options,are affecting Apple's Mac sales.But the company is also hurting itself.

In just the last couple of years,Apple has been taken to task for a flawed "butterfly keyboard" design that was nearly universally disliked.The company's Touch Bar was supposed to bring touchscreens to the Mac,but it largely fell flat.And with few design upgrades to Apple's most popular computers,including the MacBook Pro,some folks are loath to spend thousands on a machine that looks nearly identical to their previous model.(And don't even get me started on the long wait for Mac Mini and Mac Pro updates.)

The truth is,business realities make the Mac less important than the iPhone,Services,and other projects Apple is working on.And unfortunately,the iconic Mac brand has suffered because of it.

As we look ahead to 2019,there's no telling what Apple has planned for Macs.We do know that the company will be showcasing a new Mac Pro this year,and some updates to some of its devices seem likely.

But will we have another groundbreaking Mac achievement at 35 years of age?Given what we know right now—and Apple's recent track record—it seems unlikely.And that's unfortunate.

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