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In case you missed it, Apple recently held a product event in which the company unveiled a new 4-inch iPhone SE and a 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

During the event’s keynote speech, the firm’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing – Phil Schiller – stoked the ongoing Microsoft vs. Apple competition by claiming that a majority of new iPad Pro users were coming from Windows, before sensationally stating it was “sad” The iPhone SE Is a Huge Disappointment, Apple Thinks Old PCs Are Sad... [Tech News Digest] The iPhone SE Is a Huge Disappointment, Apple Thinks Old PCs Are Sad... [Tech News Digest] Apple surprises no one with the iPhone SE, Apple thinks owning an old PC is "sad," Spotify boasts 30 million subscribers, Microsoft considers buying back digital games, and Liam is the robot that hates iPhones. Read More that 600 million Windows PCs were more than five years old.

Needless to say, Schiller was lambasted on social media.

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Schiller was badly mistaken – 600 million old PCs isn’t “sad”, it’s both a Microsoft triumph and an unfortunate reflection of Apple’s company policies.

Here’s why…

1. Upgradable

Clearly, insulting 600 million potential customers isn’t the most sensible marketing plan in the world – especially when many of those people are already hugely skeptical of Apple’s annual-releases-with-minimal-improvements product strategy.

Schiller claimed “These [Windows users] could really benefit from an iPad Pro. When they see the features, performance, and capabilities… many of them will find it is their ultimate PC replacement.”

Except, it’s not. iPads are a terrible PC replacement Can the iPad Pro Replace Your Laptop? Can the iPad Pro Replace Your Laptop? The iPad Pro can do a lot, but can it do enough to completely replace the humble laptop? That depends. Read More for one huge reason – upgrades.

Macs already get a lot of negative press for their lack of upgradability; if you want to improve anything beyond the drive and the RAM, you’ll need to shell out more than $2,500 USD for a Mac Pro.

mac-pro

iPads (and tablets in general) are even worse. They are virtually un-upgradable; how well will your new $600 USD iPad Pro stack up against the competition in five years’ time? The answer: badly.

At the other end of the scale, Windows PCs are renowned for being almost entirely upgradable 7 Signs It's Time for You to Upgrade to Windows 10 7 Signs It's Time for You to Upgrade to Windows 10 We have given you many reasons to upgrade to Windows 10. If you're still uncertain, you should wait. For how long, you ask? Until you see the signs we've compiled for you here. Read More – especially desktops. The original price is irrelevant; you can add new hardware to any machine you please.

2. Cost

Did it not enter Schiller’s mind that the costs of buying new devices are prohibitive? Not many people are lucky enough to be able to spend $600 on a new iPad, $1,000 on a new Mac, or even $200 for a low-end Windows netbook or a Chromebook. Lots of users are thankful for having access to a computer at all.

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Secondly, a lot of these PCs presumably reside in offices. The hardware costs of upgrading several hundred employees’ machines are huge – especially when you add on the IT labor cost, the lost productivity costs, and the inevitable deluge of new software and apps that would be required.

3. Lifespan

Schiller inadvertently highlighted something wonderful about Microsoft machines; they are built to last from both a hardware and software perspective.

Windows (rightly) has its detractors, but it’s fair to say that there are no cases of exploding batteries, no instances of “stain-gate” Adobe Flash Must Die, Apple Suffers From Staingate, & More... [Tech News Digest] Adobe Flash Must Die, Apple Suffers From Staingate, & More... [Tech News Digest] Facebook bashes Flash, Apple scrubs those stains, Walmart launches Black Friday 2, Nintendo suffers a real loss, Spotify maps the world, and R5-D4 ends it all. Read More , and no bending iPhone screens Apple Patents Bendy iPhone, Android TV Replaces Google TV [Tech News Digest] Apple Patents Bendy iPhone, Android TV Replaces Google TV [Tech News Digest] Apple patents a bendy iPhone, Android TV replaces Google TV, the FBI maintains North Korea hacked Sony, David Cross looks to BitTorrent, Bill Gates drinks human waste, and a basketball referee makes the wrong call. Read More .

Apple might argue that Windows machines slow to a crawl after a few years due to all their bloatware, but it’s not a problem that Macs are immune 4 Signs It's Time To Replace Your Mac 4 Signs It's Time To Replace Your Mac It's generally pretty obvious when it's time to replace your computer, but just in case you're unsure here four signs that it might be time for a trip to the Apple Store. Read More from either. Whichever operating system you use, disciplined maintenance and management 8 PC Maintenance Mistakes That Kill Your Hardware Lifespan 8 PC Maintenance Mistakes That Kill Your Hardware Lifespan PC maintenance isn't rocket science, but you could be making a handful of mistakes that are actually harming your hardware. Read More will keep it running smoothly for a long time.

In the worst case, both operating systems can be revitalized by a clean install How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media Regardless of how you arrived at Windows 10, there's a way to create your own installation media. Sooner or later you might need it. Let us show you how to be prepared. Read More , a process that is simple to complete on Windows and OS X.

The bottom line is that if properly cared for, a mid-range PC bought today will still be more than adequate for most users in five years from now. That’s not sad, that’s a credit to Microsoft.

4. Sales

Why are there 600 million Windows PCs that are more than five years old and not 600 million Macs that are more than five years old?

Mainly because the Windows operating system (in all its forms) has hugely outsold Apple’s OS X since the 1980s.

In Statista’s graphic below, you can see how comprehensive this domination has been.

windows-mac-sales

In the most recent figures available (from December 2015), Windows controlled 84.65 percent of the market. OS X controlled a mere 9.84 percent. What did Schiller expect, therefore? Once again, it’s largely a triumph for Microsoft.

Highlighting these figures is not meant to be an attack on Apple; they have never been aiming for mass-market penetration, instead preferring to dominate the luxury end of the spectrum. That’s a perfectly reasonable strategy that has mostly worked well for them.

However, they clearly want some of Microsoft’s legacy business 10 Intriguing Ideas to Help Apple Find Its Mojo 10 Intriguing Ideas to Help Apple Find Its Mojo Apple has built its business by innovating, and it's in danger of losing its reputation as being the company that goes where others fear to tread. Tim Cook and co. need fresh ideas. Read More – why else would Schiller specifically pitch the iPad Pro to Windows users?

5. Refurbished Macs

As touched on earlier, Macs are expensive. An iMac will set you back at least $1,099 USD, while their cheapest laptop (the 11-inch 128GB MacBook Air) is $899 USD on the official store.

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No wonder, therefore, that refurbished Macs do a roaring trade. The demand for refurbished Macs is so high that they enjoy their own dedicated section on the Apple website.

They are normally considerably cheaper How to Buy Refurbished Mac Laptops and Save Money How to Buy Refurbished Mac Laptops and Save Money Apple's natural stranglehold on the Mac market means discounts on their hardware aren't frequent. That said, you can get a Mac for less — you just need to know where to look. Read More than their brand-new counterparts, but by definition, they are also considerably older.

mac-refurb

In fact, at the time of writing, there were two 2012 edition MacBooks for sale on the store’s front page. In 15 months, they will celebrate their fifth birthday. The logic follows that lots of people who bought refurbished MacBooks at some point in the past are now using machines that are more than five years old.

What is “sad”, Mr. Schiller, is that your company insists on charging such an exorbitant amount for new computers that lots of people simply cannot afford them, and are instead forced to dip into the second-hand market Buying A Refurbished Mac? Here’s What You Need To Know Buying A Refurbished Mac? Here’s What You Need To Know No one wants to lay down a wad of cash for a dinged-up, battered second-hand computer - here’s what you need to know on your search for a pristine, but affordable, refurb. Read More . What’s even worse, is that by calling Microsoft owners with old PCs sad, you’ve by extension called people with old Macs (that you sold to them) sad as well.

What Was Schiller Thinking?

We’ve given you five very clear reasons why Phil Schiller was crazy to criticize old Windows PCs. It makes Apple users look spoilt, makes Apple the company look elitist, and puts off anyone who was considering making the switch.

Enough about what we think though, what do you think?

Was Schiller out of his mind or was his quote justified? Do you have an old PC? What haven’t you upgraded? Perhaps you have an old Mac – if so, how did you interpret his comments?

You can let us know your thoughts, feedback, and opinions in the comments box below.

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