The end of the Mac?

“According to a published report, Mac sales are not just down, but dropping somewhat faster than the PC market as a whole,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Now this is something that hasn’t happened in a while, so could it be an area of concern? Well, maybe, but it does call for a reality check.”

“First and foremost, the published reports are based on estimates, samplings, and they do not reflect the actual sales reported by Apple. You won’t know that until the 28th of the month. The numbers also focus on U.S. sales, and an ever larger portion of Apple’s sales are overseas,” Steinberg writes. “The long and short of it is that Mac sales will likely be flat or somewhat lower, but the picture is not complete. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some reasoned speculation about what’s going on, and what Apple might do to reverse the trend.”

Steinberg writes, “Or can they reverse the trend?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Don’t worry, the Mac is doing just fine and has a long life ahead of it.

Related articles:
New MacBook Pro on sale on October 24/25, new iPads October 30/31, new Mac Pro on November 15, report claims – October 15, 2013
MacPad: 8 signs that Apple is prepping a 13-inch iPad-laptop hybrid – October 12, 2013

49 Comments

    1. The q I have is “what is the install base?”

      I have to tell you something: My Mac Pro 2005 is still going strong. I have never had a PC last more than 3 years. The last PC I had was indeed 3 years old but it had to be “upgraded” and was on its third MSI motherboard.

      And, our 2 year old dells in the office are now all decommissioned.

      So, are PC sales new users or replacements?

      My MacBook Pro is 3 years old and still going strong with no plans for replacement.

      In that time, I have had 2 IBM “work laptops” (gotta take it.. No choice)

    1. Analyst publicly talking about their past mistakes instead of just cherry picking their successful guesses?
      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  1. I love my Mac. I can’t say the same for the Windows PC I used to own. I used to love my iPad and iPhone before iOS 7, but that’s another story best left to another day (or article on MDN).

    Macs I discovered just go on and on. Just make sure you buy one that you can upgrade the internals yourself, such as RAM and SSD. Grafting an SSD into a MBP is like giving it a second or third life. If a cat has nine lives, then the MBP has at least four or five good ones that you can keep extending by updating the internals.

    I mean the speed gain with an SSD is just incredible and OS X makes using the computer so much more pleasant than Windows. I don’t mind. Apple makes the MBP like a tank so it has a long life. I don’t need to replace my MBP as often as I used to my cheap PC mainly because the MBP just goes on and on, like the song from Titanic. On and on forever with no loss in productivity, no scratches, no blemishes, no loss in love for it.

    1. You are the poster child for how Mac user confusion. You even confirm that your love affair with an expensive well built MBP is being compared to a garden variety inexpensive PC. I on the other have built custom built DELL’s with upgrades that still left me 20% short of what I would of had to pay for a MBP and everyone of them have been stellar. For the record I own a MBP 15 RD and 512/16 and at 3K it better outperform and outlast a $600.00 PC! Come on man! Apple users who are intelligent never table the type of argument that you present here without first making sure that they are comparing Apples to Apples if you get my drift. My PC laptop is a top end 18.1 Acer that rocks and is as solid as they come…. At a price.

        1. Indeed it does and does not require regular PRAM and SMC resets to free up resources and error consoles like a Mac. Windows 7 and 8 and bullet proof and extremely stable. This said, I enjoy both platforms and even like Unbuntu. My point is that Mac to to PC comparisons need to be based on units that are similarly priced and equipped. No doubt that my MBP blows the doors off my MBA and that is as expected hence when it blows the doors off my neighbours lower priced laptop this too is expected and not celebrated.

          1. Again, troll, resetting the PRAM and SMC is something I doubt any Mac user on here has had to do in years. I manage an office with DOZENS of Macs and I cannot recall the last time it was necessary to do either. I think it was about eight years ago on a PowerPC Mac. So get bent. Your FUD is old and outdated and falling on the ears of people who know you are lying.

  2. Just remember that Steve Jobs set this into motion when he declared Apple Inc. to be a “mobile device company” and called the Mac a “truck” – reap what you sow. Tim Cook could redeem himself with me and the rest of the world if he would take the stage (huge risk) and declare a new commitment to the corporate/government market that will ALWAYS, ALWAYS need and demand state-of-the-art, high octane, 12 cylinder, blazing speed, TRUCKS! They once were called Mac Pro (so far superior to anything PC that it’s ridiculous) and have now been relegate to history – unless the trash can that Phil so gallantly described as “my ass” innovation actually is what it needs to be.

    1. I am frequently in other companies’ offices. The vast majority of computers I see are old and low-end. The tasks they are being used for are VERY simple – entering and retrieving appointments, taking payments, setting up a simple client file, very basic word processing.

      I don’t think most companies need much speed or much innovation.

    2. Wrong Jay. The fact of the matter is that people don’t need to upgrade computers anywhere near as frequently as they did 5-10 years ago. Apple has actually encouraged this by offering OS X upgrades at $20 or free, depending on the version bought.

      The Mac is just fine, and believe it or not, PC sales are OK too. People just don’t need to buy a new one every 2-3 years anymore. Laptops are likely replaced more frequently (part of Apple’s mobile computing focus, Jay), but still not that often.

      Particularly when you have people buying iPads and iPods in droves.

  3. I don’t know why Apple do not provide a version of OSX that can be run on anything. I’d pay good money for a one machine licence. It’s not as if Apple would lose huge sales (they already lost one…my downsize from MacPro to MacMini)

  4. There are fans who consume content and scribble about it where the iOS devices rule.

    People who create content, serious stuff, from long articles, books and music and video and 3D design need the Mac and as such you can’t get rid of what creates the content for iOS devices.

  5. I still point to the fact that the computers we buy last much longer now. To the average clerical worker a 2008 iMac is so freaking fast that he seldom has to wait on it. If he types 400 words per minute, the computer is still just sitting there twiddling its thumbs waiting on him. Consequently the urge to upgrade is no longer as strong, not even in the Mac world.

    Next, more and more of our tasks are moving to the cloud. This takes even more pressure to upgrade off the Mac owner, as long as Safari works, works fast, and can handle HTML 5, Java, JavaScript and (cough) Flash respectably quickly, no pressure to upgrade.

    There haven’t been any seriously compelling new Macs to upgrade to for a while. Many of us are waiting for the new MacPro but that won’t be a large number of people, nowhere near as large as the number of people waiting for the new iPads.

    And yes, it is getting to the point where I use my iPad more than, not just my Mac, but more than everything.

    My iPad Mini has become the center of my technology employment and media consumption entertainment. I never turn on the television anymore. Thinking of selling the thing. I pace around with the iPad reading, watching videos, etc. I only sit down with it to type lengthy documents.

    So yeah, things are changing but is the Mac dead? Not really. When I have lots of work to do, heavier work, it’s Mac all the way.

    1. Agreed, and add to that the fact that people rarely need to upgrade software, such as Office, because they are mature products and the few new features added are fluff and not necessary. Even many OS upgrades are not necessary.

  6. I would imagine that in general households that previously might have had multiple computers might only have one (or two) but have multiple tablets/iPhones instead. With people spending money on these sort of devices they might decide that they can hold off on upgrading a computer for an extra year thus slowing sales. I think it’s clear across the board, regardless of platform, that the type of technology usage is changing dramatically, old sales metrics will be largely irrelevant – much like what happened (and is still happing) with music.

    1. Thank you. This is it.

      Macs are being cannibalized by iPads, and Apple couldn’t be happier about it. Apple’s still getting the money.

      Think about it. We’ve seen report after report about how iPads are cannibalizing the PC industry. Why would Macs somehow be immune from this?

      Now, if the Mac’s sales are dropping faster than the PC market as a whole, it could be that a refresh cycle is underway in enterprise, which would prop up PC numbers. I got a slightly less crappy new Dell laptop at work this year.

      ——RM

      1. “Macs are being cannibalized by iPads, and Apple couldn’t be happier about it.”

        Indeed. There’s a business idea that a some people on MDN and a lot of so-called analysts don’t seem to know — “You can either cannibalize your products, or your competitors can do it for you.”

        1. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself has repeatedly made this very point during conference calls, in his earnest efforts to educate investors and analysts, but it continues to fall on deaf ears. Talk about a voice in the wilderness!

  7. I wonder if the drop has anything to do with Apple removing optical drives from most of their models, and not really upgrading the ones that still do have them.

    I know for alot of us here that wouldn’t be a big enough deal to not buy a Mac, but trust me, many more “normal” people still want the optical drive. There’s a lot of CDs & DVDs floating around out there, and people have always hated the idea of buying a new computer, and then having to buy a drive on top of that in order to just watch a movie or burn a disc.

    I was working at a university IT dept when the first translucent iMacs came out, and I can’t tell you how many people & depts passed on it, no matter how much they liked it otherwise & were actually looking to get rid of windows, simply beause it had no floppy drive & would cost extra to outfit with one. Even after they came with CD burners, it was still a tough sell. I could see how much Apple was missing out on sales, just for the sake of … what really? The iMac came out in 1998 or 99 I think, and floppies didn’t really disappear until USB flash drives got cheap in the mid 2000s. And Apple’s Mac sales didn’t start pacing & surpassing the industry until then.

    Could be a coincidence toward the end, but was definitely lot of lost sales in the beginning from being to far a head of where the puck was going.

    1. Floppy drives were simply an excuse. Most people were more unsure about that new-fangled USB port than missing floppy drives. Software was very quickly being moved to CD delivery, and floppy drives (and tape drives) were simply old IT guys not wanting to move to something new.

      Just think how long it would have been for USB to catch on if Apple hadn’t jumped in with both feet and made it the standard connection port. Dell would probably still be touting SCSI ports!

  8. More Apple products are in the hands of consumers, remember. If Mac sales are dropping, it is usually indicative of the general consumer market.

    For PCs, they have a stronghold in the business market, which is averse to change and slow to change.

  9. The only problem with Mac sales are the ignorance of the installed Windows base. Even if you run Windows in boot camp, the hardware [design] is superior to any low end crap Windows computer out there. OSX completely blows all other OS’s out of the water. There is still real computer work being done, but not by the masses, because the masses go to Walmart and buy crap computers. Here is to the more enlightened. I have not yet found any computer hardware “professional” that can design and build a better computer than a Mac. No other companies computers have such a high resale value either.

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