The iMac has held the crown of ‘best all-in-one’ for years. But recent developments by other competitor manufacturers are starting to see impacts on the numbers. Why should Apple be worried? Firstly, there are the numbers. In 2010, all-in-one computer sales were predicted to be up 68 percent, to 11.5 million units worldwide – with Apple’s new iMac losing 12 percent of its 50 percent market share. Though these figures were narrowly missed, the growing trend sees manufacturers of all-in-one PCs competing strongly with the computing giant.
It’s been pointed out that virtually no one – barring perhaps hardcore gamers, build-at-home specialists, or 3D graphics managers – needs a tower sitting under their desk when portable computing is so affordable and powerful nowadays. If a laptop just isn’t going to cut it – screen size likely being the most influential limiting factor – an all-in-one computer is likely to be the next best consumer option.
Though manufacturers have dipped their toes into the touch screen all-in-one waters, that seems to be a diminishing trend. So – what makes non-Apple all-in-ones a competitive option?
The most obvious answer is price. All-in-one computers tend to be much more affordable for the average person or family than a new iMac. But price alone is rarely a decent motivator for purchasing behavior (take that, Keynesian economists). The modern buyer is somewhat more discerning. Windows 7 has a tough time competing for blow-for-blow against OS X Mountain Lion, so what can these manufacturers offer that Apple cannot?
The big market to go for here is business. With a trend towards virtualization across the enterprise market, thin clients are becoming ever more integral to business consumers’ IT strategies. And what’s the most important aspect to a thin client? The screen.
And this is where an all-in-one – which typically has a sizeable monitor as a matter of necessity (all the components having to go behind it) – beats any other option currently on the market. They don’t need Apple’s brawn at Apple prices – a thin client can punch at the middle-weight category on the computational scale and fulfill the servile role just as well as a full-blown machine.
What is more, all-in-ones often cater very nicely to various different kinds of video input. The same cannot be said for Apple’s newer iMacs, which accept only a Thunderbolt input – extremely rare among PCs nowadays – to function as an external monitor.
Having a big-screened thin client that is easy to hook up to a mobile computing device would be a Godsend for the creative industries and across a range of other professions (including statisticians, programming, and project management, for example). The iMac’s time may be near.
Only if they are as good looking and as functional as the lenovo a720.
That is by far the best all in one I have seen from anyone.
All I need is an all in one with a quad core cpu, decent graphics, usb 3.0 and thunderbolt/firewire.