What’s boosting Apple Computer’s Mac sales?

“According to popular consensus, the much beloved iPod has boosted Apple Computer’s Mac sales and may ultimately help the company get into phones,” Michael Kanellos reports for CNET News. But five years of PC sales data paint a far more complicated picture than conventional wisdom would have it. Did the arrival and popularity of the iPod coincide with a reversal of an ominous slide in sales of personal computers at Apple? Yes. But sales at many other PC makers grew as well.”

“In fact, industry experts say other factors, such as lower prices and new technology, may have as much to do with the slow reversal of the Mac’s fortunes as the iPod,” Kanellos reports.

“Overall, Apple shipped 52 percent more computers in 2005 than it did in 2002. And so far, 2006 is shaping up to be a banner year. In the third quarter, Apple accounted for 2.79 percent of the global market and 5.71 percent of the U.S. market,” Kanellos reports. “How much of the surge can be attributed to the iPod? That depends on your perspective. Market share in PCs has jumped. A similar “halo effect,” theoretically, could give Apple a boost if, as many expect, it pushes into phones. But the iPod isn’t the only thing goosing Mac sales.”

Full article here.
It’s a combination of things that are boosting Apple’s Mac sales, not just one thing. In random order:
• Windows insecurity, frustration
• More knowledgeable, more tech savvy consumers
• Apple’s growing network of retail stores
• Mac product placement in media
• Steve Jobs’ keynotes and special events
• Apple’s robust financial health
• ‘Switcher’ and ‘Get a Mac’ campaigns
• iPod Halo Effect
• Boot Camp, Parallels offering Windows users a more palatable way to try Mac
• Lower Mac prices, price competitiveness with comparably-featured Windows PCs
• Mac users helping spread the word: “there is a better way”
• Excellent Mac reviews
• Excellent Mac OS X and Apple software (iLife, others) reviews
• iTunes for Windows Halo Effect
• Superior design

Related articles:
Apple’s Mac market share surges, up 35-percent year-over-year as growth accelerates – November 01, 2006
Analyst: Apple has ‘real shot at dramatically expanding Macintosh market share’ – October 31, 2006
Analyst: Apple Mac gains market share, the reason why is significant – October 26, 2006
IDC: Apple Mac attained 5.8% of U.S. market share in Q3 06 – October 18, 2006
Gartner: Apple Mac grabbed 6.1% of U.S. market share in Q3 06 – October 18, 2006
Apple Q4 earnings results: $546M net profit on $4.84B revenue, sold 1.61M Macs, 8.729M iPods – October 18, 2006
Gartner: Apple Mac grabbed 4.6% U.S. market share in Q2 06 – July 19, 2006
IDC: Apple Mac attained 4.8% U.S. market share in Q2 06 – July 19, 2006


  1. Dang, MDN… you looked so hard for the UNOBVIOUS, you sort of left out the biggies:

    – superior, and incredibly cool, hardware (some sub-points could stand as their own reasons for Mac acceptance: construction, design, etc.)
    – superior technology
    – the Ive touch: superior aesthetics throughout
    – a delightful end-to-end software experience
    – killer backpack-style carry bags in the Apple Stores

    Let’s fix that list, shall we? Hmm?

  2. Gavron,

    Thanks for the new word. V. accurate description. All I’ve got to do now is work out how to pronounce it!!

    This Xmas quarter numbers are going to make an interesting read. I’m guessing 2M macs and 20M iPods. Profit will be off the charts cos Apple’s costs are going down fast.

    MW “volume” – that’s a big deal.

  3. All are legitimate reasons for Apple’s increase sales of Macs, MDN, but you ignore the counter argument for persons (mostly enterprise users) choosing Windows as their OS of choice or other manufacturers for their computers. If Apple wants to make any significant gains in these potential users, Apple will have to confront the reasons why these people still refuse to go Mac. For example, how significant is the endemic of legacy software in the PC world and the incompatibility of this legacy software with OS X? From informal discussions with IT folks, this is the biggest impediment to our organization going completely OS X. These people don’t see how switching from Windows to OS X will be advantageous in the long run much less worth the immediate time and effort.

    I was impressed with the author’s link to the history of OS X develop. In particular, the seven years of stuttering steps that preceded development of Apple’s OS X. Microsoft repeated the same mistakes developing Vista as Apple did developing OS X, but Microsoft appears not to have succeeded in developing a substantially better OS. Like Ravi Zacharias says, “The only thing worse than nostalgia is amnesia.”

  4. Back in 1999, the family bought a custom-made new computer with Win2K and unimpressed. I’d been using Windows all my life, didn’t know a thing about Macs or Amiga, etc. Win2k was a decent computing experience but that was just it; acceptable. I’d always been curious about Apple Macs as the hardware looked great and the OS always looked very clean and uncluttered but that’s all i knew about them.

    I was hearing news about a new Mac OS and on paper it sounded amazing. In 2000, i needed a computer of my own and bought my 1st iBook (tangerine!) and never looked back. What interested me was the hardware but what kept me were the OS (9 at the time), great apps (like IE which was better on the Mac at the time) and the breathing iBook sleep light. Who would have thought of making something as crazy as that. I was hooked.

  5. At MDN –
    I don’t think that Steve’s Keynote has anything to do with growing sales, as it’s usually just die-hard Mac Fans watching them.

    As I finally get my dad to convert to a Mac – the reason is simple. Macs work. You don’t have to worry about a video card not working with a software package, and a discontinued motherboard, and all those things. video, photo and other software are a lot simpler on a Mac, and they can run Windows as well, and you never have to worry about another damn Norton, or Antivirus upgrade.

  6. Also, how about…

    * Long-time Mac users upgrading their PowerPC-based Macs.

    Mac remain useable for a long time. The release of Core 2 Duo, the upcoming release of Leopard (which will probably have Intel-only features), and the conversion to Universal of the remaining key pro apps (mostly from Adobe) will accelerate this trend in 2007.

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