It’s fascinating how quickly the landscape can shift in tech. Not too long ago, it seemed that everyone was heralding the dawn of a new tablet age. Encouraged and perhaps blinded by the early success of the iPad, many people a few years ago were quick to predict that the Mac would inevitably become something of a footnote. Sure, people would still use the Mac for more intensive work tasks, the argument, went, but day-to-day computing would be carried out by tablets like the venerable iPad.
It may have been a compelling argument at the time, but the reality is playing out much differently. Flash forward to 2015 and iPad sales are still plummeting. Meanwhile, Apple last quarter set a new Q4 sales record with the Mac, having sold 5.7 million units over the past three months.
All the more impressive is that Apple over the past 12 months set a new Mac sales record, having sold 20.6 million machines over the last fiscal year.
For whatever reason, the masses have spoken and they’re simply not interested in saying goodbye to the Mac anytime soon. And Apple, to its credit, remains as invested in the Mac as ever. In the past year alone, Apple has released a brand the following new Mac products: a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a new MacBook Air, an updated 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Force Touch trackpad, a Retina 5K 27-inch iMac, a hyper-portable 12-inch MacBook, and new 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K display. So even though Tim Cook loves to say that there’s still a lot of room for innovation in the tablet space, don’t forget that Apple continues to innovate on its Mac lineup at a rapid clip.
Apple has been able to maintain Mac sales growth in the face of continued struggles by the PC industry overall: Researcher IDC recently pegged the business as down 11% for the September quarter, while rival Gartner tapped the contraction at 8%. Global personal computer shipments have contracted for 15 straight quarters, or nearly four full years, according to both IDC and Gartner.
Revenue from Mac sales reached almost $6.9 billion, representing 13.4% of Apple’s total of $51.5 billion; that’s the largest slice of revenue for the almost-overlooked line in a year.
So while people like to make a big fuss about the PC being a dying product, the Mac seems to be thriving. Perhaps the “post-PC” world that Tim Cook loves referencing is still a ways off.
As we highlighted earlier in the week, iPad sales are down 20% year over year, with the iPad Pro arguably positioned as Apple’s last real chance to inject some life into the company’s slumping product line.
The following chart courtesy of Quartz is quite telling.