How will the iPad influence Apple’s future Mac strategy?

Within just a few months the iPad has become the fastest selling consumer electronic device (not counting phones) of all time.  As the iPad outsells the Mac it cannot fail to have a huge impact on Apple’s Mac and OS X strategy.  What will that impact be?

The first thing to have in mind is that Apple has always had a long term strategy.  Steve Jobs and company are not just playing it by ear, as most technology companies seem to do these days, continuously trying to one up the competition in basic product specs.    What this means is that the impact of the iPad on the Mac and how these two related product lines interact will have been mapped out long ago.  That is not to say that even Apple has not been taken by surprise by just how fast the iPad is being adopted all around.

This unexpected and unprecedented rate of adoption for the iPad must caused Apple’s future plans to move into overdrive in order to make the most of the moment as interest in the iPad seems to have driven up interest in the Mac lineup as well.  Contrary to what many expected the iPad doesn’t seem to be hurting sales of Macs, though it seems evident that it is having a serious impact on sales of lower cost notebooks and netbooks.

Apple’s market position has always been that of a premium manufacturer.  The fact that Apple holds a slice of over 90% of the market for notebooks over $1000 in the United States doesn’t just mean that they make expensive computers.  It means that nine out of ten people who are looking for a good computer and can afford to pay over $1000 for it, will choose Apple.

The iPad has been drawing more and more attention.  Curiosity about the new device and how it works will be driving more and more people into an Apple store over the next year or so.  This added people traffic and general interest will probably  help Apple continue to increase Mac sales above the market average.

Going forward the integration of the iPad, Mac and Apple TV lines should continue at an accelerated pace which should push combined sales up.  I will not be surprised to see more features appearing on both versions of Apple’s OS  which are geared towards interoperability.  AirPlay, the system that lets you stream videos from your iOS devices to your Apple TV and Air Print that lets you print to printers connected to a Mac are prime examples of this kind of features.

This week, as the first details of Apple’s next Mac OS are made available we shall see if any other influences from the fast sales of iOS devices is noticeable.

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