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Its not like Microsoft isn't still in with a chance. They made a great hedge bet by buying Xamarin in 2016. And Xamarin is today the largest cross platform development tool out there.
If Microsoft launches Windows Mobile again, most Xamarin adopters will have an edge, because their app will be ready for Windows with a simple recompile. And that also means, many more developers would be jumping ship to Xamarin, to avoid the heart ache and complexity of working on 3 platforms.
But for that to happen, Microsoft has to change its DNA. The way they price Xamarin, has hindered its growth. Commerical usage of any decent scale, requires a paid professional Visual Studio license. And that doesn't give you things like the Profiler, and other critical tools - which need Enterprise. At a time when all other competing platforms are free.
Microsoft will wait till Google'e Flutter gains critical mass and momentum, and then realize what they need to do - by which time it will be too late! Exactly what happened with Office 365 and Google Docs!
There was a time when Microsoft knew the "Developer Developer Deverloper" mantra best - but clearly they are still living in the previous century!
Apple doesn’t need to do much to shift, because of work that was done over 10 years back. LLVM and CLANG are the foundations of pretty much every single piece of software running on the Mac for over 10 years now. So all anyone has to do, is to simply recompile their apps from Xcode - and it should work perfectly fine on literally any processor platform you want.
that being said, I believe there is a reason Apple introduced the MacBook once again into the lineup. This will likely be a trail balloon that will be switched to ARM first.
also, for the typical user, almost all the software running on a Mac already comes from the AppStore, and probably is all built by Apple. Which means the shift can be enforced with some AppStore guidelines - all apps submitted after X date must include ARM targets.
The environment today is quite different from when Apple made the last switch, to Intel. And it’s going to be a lot easier to switch this time around.
also, the primary reason for the switch is going to be cost and power savings - which means lower battery capacity and hence lower cost. Apple will either jack up its margins or use the lower prices to increase market share. Either way, this is a strategy that makes a lot of sense for Apple, and only an idiot wouldn’t see it coming.
at the real high end also, I think Intel’s days are numbered. ARM is pretty much there already, and can already be run way faster than on battery powered devices, if wired power is available.
Apple has always played the game of being pricey, that if you don’t want to pay up, they don’t need you as a customer, etc.
That works very well in the early stages of a product cycle, when there is lot of scope for differentiation using innovation, lot of scope for new must have features, etc.
However, when the market starts approaching maturity, when older products and competitor products start hitting “good enough” levels, Apple is late to see the writing on the wall. They resort to hubris, and customer unfriendly techniques to increase Average Selling Price, and to increase margins.
At some point, even the most loyalist fans of Apple start noticing that there is little justification for buying the latest Apple product, paying a ridiculous price, and then having to deal with the compromises Apple forces on you.
These compromises could be in many ways. A Buggy Bluetooth Audio implementation, combined with removing the Headphone jack and replacing with Lightning. Pathetic battery life. Poor quality cables and rip off replacement cables. Soldered hardware that isn’t user replaceable. All of this is ignored when the going is good - but suddenly all these customer unfriendly ways hit them from all angles, the moment Apple starts skidding.
And the result is visible for all to see.
Create the iPad Pro, but don't include the Apple Pencil - and even better, sell it for a ridiculous $99. Consumer friendly, indeed. Remove the 3.5mm Audio port, and convert it to lightning. Excellent way to force customers to buy MFI third party audio products. Apple wins in many ways, customer loses every possible way. For long time, phablets were too unwieldy, didn't make sense - but today, if you want the latest technology, nothing smaller than 5.8". Very customer friendly. And if those large phones bend, you are handling them wrong. Compromise on the battery to an extent where battery capacity and quality truly suck - but best response by the company is to throttle its OS, to make devices slower. Very customer friendly. By mistake Apple launched a model of the Mac Mini that was below $500 - but soon ensured that all components were soldered, not user replaceable - so if you want to upgrade, you pay Apple's ridiculous prices. Very customer friendly. And now, the cheapest Mac Mini is $700 - and still soldered parts! Apple would be the best example of a company that nickel-and-dime's its customers - except that its not nickels and dimes - its $20 minimum for anything and everything.