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Mac sales are surging thanks to Apple’s new M1 processor

Published Apr 12th, 2021 8:22PM EDT
M1 Mac Sales
Image: Apple Inc.

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Just when most everyone thought that the days of impressive Mac sales growth were behind us, Apple late last year unveiled its ARM-based M1 processor and, in turn, generated newfound interest in the Mac.

According to recent market research from IDC, overall PC shipments during the first quarter of 2021 were up 55% year over year. This data point is likely attributable to the fact that more people than ever before are working remotely due to COVID-19 and are investing in home workstations.

While PC sales jumped 55%, Mac sales during the first quarter of 2021 jumped by an astounding 111.5%. Specifically, IDC found that Apple sold about 6.6 million Macs from January through March, compared to about 3.3 million during the same period last year. That jump was good enough to boost Apple’s share of the PC market from 5.8% to 8%.

“There is no question when entering 2021 the backlog for PCs was extensive across business, consumer, and education,” Ryan Reith of IDC said in a press release. “The ongoing shortages in the semiconductor space only further prolong the ability for vendors to refill inventory and fulfill orders to customers.

“We believe a fundamental shift has occurred around the PC, which will result in a more positive outlook for years to follow,” Reith added. “All three segments – business, education, and consumer – are experiencing demand that we didn’t expect to happen regardless of many countries beginning their ‘opening up’ process. Component shortages will likely be a topic of conversation for the majority of 2021, but the more important question should be what PC demand will look like in 2-3 years.”

A breakdown of PC sales across specific manufacturers can be seen below. Besides Apple, other companies that saw impressive year-over-year sales growth include Acer, HP, and Lenovo.

Image source: IDC

No doubt, the impetus behind the rise in Mac sales can be attributed to the company’s blazing fast M1 processor. When Apple first introduced the M1 last November, some of the touted performance gains were so impressive that it almost seemed unreal. But when the first review units went out, it was clear that Apple had achieved something special and unprecedented with the M1.

As it stands now, the M1 is only available on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Looking ahead, though, there are reports that Apple is planning to bring the M1 to the iMac as well. In fact, data strings unearthed in a recent macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta make reference to two brand new iMac models which will likely boast new M1 processors.

And while nothing is set in stone until Apple makes an announcement, we’ll likely see updates to both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac later this year. Recall that Apple is trying to transition the entirety of its Mac lineup to M-based processors by 2022.

Incidentally, there are also rumblings that Apple’s upcoming iMacs will boast a slightly new design and will be available in a slew of colors, similar to the original iMac from the late 90s.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.