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The narrative is that Chromebooks are disrupting Windows PCs.  Forbes: “Here’s why Microsoft is worried about Google Chromebooks.” The Verge: “The Chromebook is just a better device.” WSJ: “Google’s winning over some businesses.” The Street: “Why Google’s Chromebook is better than Windows, Mac and Android.”

Let’s run with the assumption that Chromebooks are doing well and compete with laptop PCs. Advocates claim non-tech savvy consumers choose Chromebooks for generally three reasons: 1) simplicity, 2) low maintenance and 3) easy usage in its fast start-up times. I disagree. People with low computing needs don’t buy Chromebooks because they are a better experience; they buy them because of PRICE.

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A story made the rounds a few days ago about Microsoft battling Chromebooks with two cheap Windows PCs. It’s good that Microsoft is taking Chromebooks seriously. It should. It’s a device people with low computing needs might deem good enough. It’s a capable device for mail, web browsing and light office work; and for most people, that’s all they ever need. All for $200 to $350.

But you know what else is excellent for low computing needs? Tablets, which have already been eating into the PC market for years for precisely that reason. If Chromebooks didn’t exist today, I suspect more tablets would have been sold in its place instead of Ultrabooks.

The only thing Chromebooks share with laptops is a keyboard. When your grandparents’ old creaky laptop dies, will you buy them a $200 Chromebook or a $24 keyboard to pair with the $500 iPad they already know how to use?

A few days ago at the Code Conference, Apple’s Internet Software and Services chief Eddy Cue proclaimed that “Later this year, we’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.”  And he said it without hyperbole.

What a bold statement.  Those 25 years would include industry-shifting products like the iPod, iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

There’s two ways to interpret that statement.  The first is that Eddy was being literal — they are going to release better but really just incremental updates to existing products.  Technically, the newest versions could be the best products Apple has ever made.

But we’re all thinking the second — that there will be at least one new industry-shifting product announced by the end of this year.

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I’m watching WWDC right now with Apple on my mind. Apple has built some amazing devices and a sterling reputation. It’s mostly deserved, but there are exceptions and unfortunately my start-up is living one of them.

In the last three years, we’ve purchased two iMacs and four MacBook Pros. Guess how many of them had device-breaking hardware failures?

One iMac, which thankfully occurred early enough that we got it exchanged.

Two of the four MacBook Pros. One just died today, thus this post, and the third is apparently on its last legs.

That’s 3 out of 6 Apple computers.

That’s a 50% failure rate.

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