“As Microsoft has been cast in the role of Goliath in the personal computing wars, Macintosh has been playing David. And right now the stone in its slingshot is music. Not only is the iPod the top digital music player in the field, but earlier this year Apple’s iTunes Music Store became the first legitimate music downloading service viewed as a success in the business, with one million songs downloaded (at 99 cents each) in its first week. The figure is impressive considering that less than 1 percent of the country’s home computers are Macintoshs that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store,” reports Neil Strauss for The New York Times here.
“less than 1 percent of the country’s home computers are Macintoshs that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store?” Okay, let’s look at some facts:
– “Apple currently has 7 million active Mac OS X users,” Apple CFO Fred Anderson, September 3, 2003. (Attribution MacNN)
– iTunes 4 with the iTunes Music Store requires: Mac OS X version 10.1.5 according to Apple.
Let’s be severe and say that only 5 million of the 7 million active Mac OS X users are using Mac OS X 10.1.5 or greater (even though Anderson stated that of the 7 million, “a substantial number are using Jaguar” which is Mac OS X 10.2 or greater). 1 percent = 5 million, so is Strauss reporting that there are 500 million “home computers” in the U.S.? According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the United States, projected to 9/6/2003 at 10:32 PM EDT is 292 million people.
Is Strauss saying that, on average, every single person in the United States of America (including newborns, toddlers, the elderly, etc.) owns 1.7 home computers? Does Strauss have data to back up his claim that “less than 1 percent of the country’s home computers are Macintoshes that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store?” Or is The New York Times’ Strauss just making up that percentage?
UPDATE 9/7, 9:04 AM EDT: It is true, MacDailyNews erred here, forgetting that Anderson’s stated “7 million active Mac OS X users” would be spread around the globe; but still concentrated in the U.S. Still, even with some error-correction, is Strauss’ “less than 1 percent” correct? The last U.S. Census information states, as “Seahawk” pointed out below, that “54 million households, or 51 percent, had one or more computers in the home in August 2000 – source. It is now three years later, during which we endured quite a stagnant period for personal computer sales worldwide and in the U.S.
We still have no idea if Strauss has data that backs up his claim, but he should have explained how he arrived at the quote of “less than 1 percent.” From the data we have and estimates we all can make for ourselves, “less than 1 percent of the country’s home computers are Macintoshes that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store” still seems too low to us. The New York Times writer does not include a source or sources; we believe he should have, instead of just throwing it out there as fact. Does anyone have better data? If so, please let us know below.