Apple blew past Microsoft in personal computer shipments in 2015

“Last July, sales of iOS devices caught up with sales of Windows devices, making it a tight race as to who would ship the most units as 2015 wrapped up,” Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac. “Now, Asymco has shared a chart depicting the extraordinary growth of iPhone shipments and showing that in 2015, iPhone shipments overtook Windows shipments as a whole.”

“Apple shipped just over 300 [million] Macs, iPhones, and iPads in 2015, continuing its consistent yearly growth,” Miller reports. “There were 275 million Windows devices shipped in 2015, according to Asymco, down from 300 million in 2014.”

Miller reports, “Around 10 million Macs were shipped, meaning Apple shipped 290 million iOS devices.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal is now coming to fruition.

As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly waved (and continue to wave) the white flag, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail… No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft. — MacDailyNews, January 10, 2005

Apple’s “iPhone” isn’t really a phone at all. It’s really a small touchscreen Mac OS X computer, a Mac nano tablet, if you will… the main thing about the “iPhone” is that it’s really a pocket Mac. — SteveJack, MacDailyNews, January 9, 2007

SEE ALSO:
Tim Bajarin: Within three to five years, Windows will be an afterthought – November 24, 2015
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
iPhone, killer – May 13, 2015
In the last five years, Microsoft’s share of personal computing plummeted from 90% to 32% – October 10, 2013
Apple Macintosh owns 45% of PC market profits – April 16, 2013
Apple on pace to overtake Windows in platform war within two years – July 6, 2012
Apple has destroyed the Windows hegemony – July 5, 2012
By year end, both of these two OSes will be bigger than Windows – June 28, 2012
Apple’s Mac business generates more revenue than Windows – September 29, 2011

55 Comments

    1. In no way a computer? This is not clickbait nor limited to iPhones – it’s a fact that is increasingly true as people asign more and more “jobs to be done” to their smartphone (be it an iPhone or any other brand).

      Look at Asian markets – many people don’t own a PC. Their entire online life is conducted on a smartphone (particular phablet like devices such as iPhone Plus).

      It’s very interesting as well given where Microsoft was 10 years ago. Windows was indomitable, and it was assumed by many that Microsoft would win any OS battle it entered. People said the Mac lost the PC war, yet here we are – iOS devices (a fork of Mac OS X) now ship more than every Windows device combined. Very impressive, and not something that many would have predicted 10 years ago.

      1. I predicted it. The trajectory that Apple achieved under Steve Jobs was jaw-dropping.

        Many people don’t know that Apple was working on a tablet before the iPhone, but the technology was not quite there yet to meet Apple’s high standards, so the smaller device, screen and features of the original iPhone was a much better starting place, and boy oh boy, did it work! It was a natural evolution from the iPod form factor that people were already accustomed to by then (6 years since the original iPod). Had they released the iPad first, then the iPhone, it probably would’ve been a very different outcome. Competitors would’ve had a chance to bring that experience to phones before Apple did.

    2. Tell that to a 16, 18 or 20 year old In 2016 (& IN CHINA!) They DO EVERYTHING “THEY” “NEED” in their daily LIVES! (With their iPhones) “without” your CLUDGE WinTel Schlock BULLSHITE Desktop PC (Piece O CRAP!) Bug OFF! Troll. Get with the PROGRAM OR GET TFO!

      So yesterday! As my daughters would belittle your lame ass.

      Regards, .!..

      Mac Zelot since 1978

      FUD or Fiction? APPLE (AAPL) IS DOOMED!!! SELL SELL!!! SELL SELL!!! SELL SELL!!! SELL SELL!!! SELL SELL!!! SELL SELL

      1. Well, that’s convincing. Do you really think we should benchmark our quality of life based on China?

        Just because most people in the world can’t afford the Jobsian “truck” computer doesn’t mean that a portable device is a competitive means of working. Doing many/most computing tasks on a tiny screen with limited peripherals and a touchscreen interface is slower than working with a “truck”. Screen real estate alone has been proven to make users VASTLY more efficient at getting stuff done. Just because you personally don’t need computing power AND ergonomics, doesn’t mean that others don’t make their livelihoods by being more productive than the average narcissistic iPhone toter.

    3. smartphones have a missleading name…. They should be called Pocket Computers!
      MS sells windows computers only
      Apple sells ios and osx computers
      As for Numbers
      Ios =windows
      Ios+ osx > windows

      Its a milestone.. where is the click bait ?

      1. I don’t understand your point.

        First, mobile devices, even if they are computers, are not in the same league as computers with actual file management systems. Apple fans don’t count Casio and HP calculators as computers, even though some of these handheld devices have had communications capability 25+ years ago.

        So Apple is the biggest mobile phone maker in the world today. Yippee. Tomorrow it could very well be some Chinese knockoff, who cares. I care about quality and user experience.

        Microsoft, despite being a hated entity around these parts, have been making very decent OSX software (games, Office, etc.) for decades. Office remains the de facto and most capable standard in business, like it or not. Besides, Excel started on the Mac platform!). MS, knowing it needed a competitor to prevent antitrust breakup, actually helped save Apple’s bacon more than once over the years. So I root for MS to stay healthy enough to keep supporting Apple. All you Microsoft haters, you really need to turn your attention to the real enemies and IP thieves: Google and its Asian partners.

        Next, as I recall, MDN just can’t stay consistent on whether it cares about unit sales or profit margin. Both are important for different reasons. But cheering unit sales today just undermines the long standing MDN tradition of claiming that every time Apple is trounced in market share, then they claim that market share (as measured in unit sales) doesn’t matter at all. You can’t have it both ways.

        I contend that Microsoft Windows, after 15 years of Ballmer mismanagement, is actually poised to recover since it is versatile and Apple refuses to deliver a wide array of hardware options. Instead, Apple concentrates on selling iOS devices that are profitable in the short term but actually undermine the technical chops of the company because Apple no longer creates kickass, bleeding edge Macs. iOS profitability of the phones are okay, but the real money is in apps, where Apple merely acts as middle man and does not real innovation. Long term, that’s too easy and will bite
        Apple in the ass if it gets complacent. Which Apple now is.

        Meanwhile, Nadella over in Redmond is cleaning up Ballmer’s mess. Knowing that selling rebranded Nokia phones isn’t going well, Nadella pushed for serious hardware innovation for an convertible tablet PC. Believe it or not, it’s gaining traction. And the gravy train from corporate software licensees ain’t slowing anytime soon, so Microsoft can take the time to build a better mousetrap.

        Today, Microsoft sells:
        – licenses to put Windows OS on practically any Intel-based computer
        – licenses to install Windows OS on your Mac — which as of a few years ago was found to be about 75% of Mac owners.
        – Surface machines
        – Windows Mobile phones (formerly Nokia)

        Now I know that the average rabid Apple fan thinks that Windows phone sales are zero, that Surface Machines are outsold by iPads, that no Mac owner uses Windows to run critical software, nor that there is a legion of manufacturers, businesses, and private builders creating all kinds of PCs, many of them reverted back to the super-solid Windows 7 license wherever people don’t want to run the overhead of a kludged touchscreen OS.

        And yes, both Windows 8-10 as well as iOS are rather kludged messes. Windows because of the crappy interface, and iOS because it has no file management system and highly constrained setup (no possibility to add memory, multi-user, hard to export video to displays or files to nearby legacy hardware, etc). Most people who i know who use iOS have given up on Handoff and spend their time using dropbox or email to move files. Surface users, though having a somewhat more ugly interface, at least have the ease of ports for connectivity and processor options to kick performance up a notch.

        What does Apple do today? Ugly GUIS, slow product updates, outdated Macs with stale hardware, sold at rather high prices. I wouldn’t cheer for iOS sales today, because the Mac platform under Cook’s bad leadership is dying — and Apple’s future relies on the Mac remaining healthy. Apple could have half of corporate IT spending today, but it doesn’t. Apple can’t even convince the NFL, schools, airlines, and other businesses to use its products. Why?

        1. Very, very odd definition of a computer – “one with an actual file management system”.

          Further, I think you’re missing the point around market share. It absolutely should not be used to measure the success of Apple’s platforms: profit share is probably much more relevant when talking about Apple, because that is more consistent with Apple’s strategy. That, and profits are often seen as incompatible with high market share. However, when Apple’s platform already has a staggering profit share, and now is ALSO winning a market share battle with a 30 year old nemesis in personal computing – that is clearly, objectively, significant!

          “iOS profitability of the phones is okay, but the real money is in apps”. Apple’s overall gross profit margin is about 40%, or about $100 billion per year at current sales rates. A majority of this comes from phones. I’m taking a punt here but Apple therefore probably makes more gross profit from iPhone sales than the total revenue from app sales on all platforms combined. Also, the commoditisation of apps and the current trend of giving away Operating Systems for free does not lend weight to your argument that software is where the money is. The world and all our things are indeed becoming overrun by software, but it’s still software running on hardware!

          “Apple refuses to deliver a wide array of hardware options…undermines Apple’s technical chops”. Ridiculous. It is precisely because Apple is so focused that it can dedicate so many technical chops to each individual product. How would having a wide array of hardware options help its products be more “kickass and bleeding edge”? How’s Samsung going with that strategy? Worked for them in the short term (2010-2013), but not the long term. Exactly the opposite of what you’re saying.

          Clearly you’re fond of legacy technologies like user-exposed file systems, physical ports, expandable memory and Intel processors. I have no doubt that you genuinely better off in a world with these technologies. And that’s great. Good for you! For your sake I’m glad that Microsoft, HP et al still exist. But an increasingly large portion of the world’s population does not want what you want. That’s just one of the reasons why this article is significant, and not merely a ‘clickbait article’ by “rabid Apple fans”.

          1. I got a better definition for you, but first let’s start where we agree. iOS devices ARE computers.

            Now, what they are not, are personal computers. A Personal Computer:

            a) Can be owned by the individual.
            b) Is under the individual’s complete control.
            c) Can be natively programmed on the device itself, without relying on another computer to do it.

            1. Far enough, but I doubt iOS devices will ever fit your definition of a PC because of the philosophical differences between Apple and other platform vendors over how much fine grain control needs to be given to the user. It also seems to be quite a problematic definition in light of the trend towards devices of every description being reliant on the cloud (i.e. other computers).

              Perhaps this means the whole argument over the definition of a PC is irrelevant. It’s what people actually use their devices for that really matters. If smartphones and mobile devices (bringing this back to the context of the article, this typically means devices running something other than Windows) replace 95% of the jobs historically assigned to “PCs”, then it doesnt really matter what you call them.

            2. Dictionary dit com

              personal computer
              Examples Word Origin
              noun
              1.
              a compact computer that uses a microprocessor and is designed for individual use, as by a person in an office or at home or school, for such applications as word processing, data management, financial analysis, or computer games.
              Abbreviation: PC.

              According to this definition and any other i could find on the web… IPhone/snartphones fits the bill 100%.
              According to yours it does not ….

            3. I generally don’t put too much faith in technical definitions made by English majors… 🙂

              That’s more of an ‘in use’ definition, not a definition that describes the nature of the beast.

        1. All of this reminds me of the ’80s:
          Some tracking groups would say – “Laptops are not real computers. Only desktops are real computers.” and then give their own qualified opinion as to why.

          The argument to day is basically over the amount of computing a device can do, the same as it was in the 80’s. In 5 years, we will not be having this argument. It will be accepted.

          BTW, the computing power of an iPhone today hugely surpasses that of the Apple IIE, IBM PCs and others, which, IIRC surpassed the computing power of the first manned moon rocket. (I stand to be corrected if wrong.)

          1. The Apollo programme had the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) on every lunar mission. This computer was running on 2MHz and had the today’s equivalent of 4kb of memory. Your home coffeemaker with a built-in digital clock and timer has a far more powerful computing device than the spacecraft that automated the navigation to the moon and back in the 60s and 70s.

            Today’s iPhone 6s has more computing power than the last PowerPC PowerMac ever made (before the Inel switch). That computer had 1.Ghz G5 processor, 256MB of RAM and 80GB of hard disk space. iPhone 6S has the A9 dual-core processor running at 1.8GHz, with 2GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage space.

            1. People have shot, edited and produced movies, and wrote novels on their iPhones. They prepared reports, keynote slideshow presentations, musicians have used it as a multi-track recording studio… All of these tasks are rather difficult to execute on a tiny screen, but they can all be, and have been, done on an iPhone.

              There is a great wealth of powerful software that allows the iPhone to do many things that only desktop computers used to be able to do. The constraint, with respect to the iPhone, isn’t the processing power, RAM or storage; it is the display size. As I said, the computing power of the iPhone of today is greater than the computing power of a top-of-the-line PowerMac of ten years ago. At the time, such PowerMacs were used in Hollywood to edit movies (Cold Mountin was done on G4 and FCP).

              In most respects, iPhone is a personal computer.

            2. and hopefully, they never will. After twenty years of trying, it is safe to say that Java is a more-or-less failed attempt to deliver the holy grail of software development — write once, run everywhere. Between bugs, security holes and poor performance, it solves more-or-less nothing.

              I do understand, though, that there may be legacy systems (or people) for whom Java is the only viable solution. There aren’t many such people, and the iPhone is leaner and safer without support for them.

            3. apple cynic,
              “But it’s important to me (for instance), that’s what makes it personal. Who is anyone to judge?”

              So, this statement means that the definition is based on what is important to you. It cannot have a different meaning to others who have different important needs. Right?

              As I write this, my wife of 46 years is surfing the internet on her iPhone, and has been for the past couple of weeks. she has had the “6” since it came out. She has an i7 MBAir. She finally moved over from the Air to the “phone” as her default browsing device. But according to you, that doesn’t count because it is not “important to you”.
              ITS A COMPUTER!

            4. They had IBM’s System 360/75 (with whopping 1MB of RAM memory and DASD storage disk systems that could store some massive 38MB of data). Tape drives were used for long-term storage.

              The iPhone of today has two thousand times more RAM, and up to four thousand times more storage space.

      2. Indeed my stepson bought an iPhone and now does all his work related activity on it as a sports coach as a replacement for his old pc laptop. Not everyone can do that but if you don’t include smartphones as computers I really am not sure what logical line between them and ‘computers’ is then. Especially as any such force separation line would have to change on a nearly yearly basis. All computers have differing capabilities depending on a range of factors its that that is best to quantify rather than any forced and false attempt at creating subjective lines of exclusion which in their original attempts ludicrously even tried to exclude non Windows PC’s altogether from the equation. How things have changed and at least most are actually enlightened these days on the subject.

    4. Odd, my daughter uses her iPhone 6+ to surf the web, check email, pay bills, check her bank account, buy stuff on Ebay, search for items on Craigslist, watch movies, listen to music.

      The MacBook Pro she owns gets powered up about once a month.

      Which one is the more useful computer?

      This will only get worse for MS, and they deserve every bit of it.

      1. Given devices that are similarly ‘new’ I would suggest that ‘more useful’ is different from ‘more capable’. In the case of your daughter it appears the lower capability higher portability of the iPhone 6+ fits her usage needs better than the higher capability lower portability of the MacBook.

  1. Don’t know where Horace got the 10 million Macs figure from – more like 25 million if you look at Apple’s reports. This puts iOS and Windows pretty much level. The sentiment remains though.

    1. The key is the slope. Apple has been moving up for the same 5 years that Microsoft is moving down. Gee, wonder where those Apple users came from???? Maybe Windows.

      Then best guess next year. ???

    2. It just so happens, that just before I clicked on this article, I had been perusing Apple’s Financial report for fiscal 2015, which ended September 2015. They sold exactly 20,587,000 Macintosh computers in fiscal 2015 according to the 10K they filed for that year, for a total revenue of $25,471,000,000. Applying the company wide margin of 40.1%, that translates into an operating profit of $10,213,871,000 for fiscal 2015 from Macs alone, which, in my humble opinion, is nothing to sneeze at. Horace made a boo-boo.

  2. WOW. What a statistic. Just WOW.
    I see a shimmer on the horizon.
    Could The Dark Age of Computing be ending? (^_^)

    Maybe after we solve this memory management mess we have in software coding. I hope the answer is… Swift!

      1. Windows copied Mac OS and Android copied iOS. I think that’s incontrovertible. That alone makes Apple the Industry Leader.

        Yes, there are quibbles about antecedents. But let’s be real: only when Apple made a move, did the rest of the market move.

    1. Respectfully Derek, though I think MS deserves to have their gonads handed to them, the Dark Age of Computing is when the individual loses control over their device. That, above ‘the experience’ is the biggest danger.

      1. I relate. Immediately I think of the fear robots and ‘AI’ programming. Computers are tools to serve we humans. If ‘the individual loses control over their device’ then someone went extreme and lost track of the point of tools as well as the spirit of collaboration that is required within human systems.

        IOW: An excellent thought I hadn’t considered.

      2. Look around.

        MS, Apple, Adobe, Google, etc are all pushing the Cloud — that is, rental computing, to the masses. Now that kids are conditioned to spend enormous sums on their monthly subscriptions to everything, we are seeing the power of the average computing device plummet. I am sorry, but just because Chromebooks and iPads outsell MacBook Pros does not mean that these thin clients are more productive at intensive computing tasks OR even non-intensive computing tasks.

        I lived through the horrible era of mainframe computing and it sucked. The PC gives the individual user freedom. But the giving the end user control of his machine is just not the corporate way, and Apple is right in the thick of it. Cook wants you to rent iCloud, Apple Music, Match, to have a cellular and/or a server rental payment for each iOS device, and use an Apple TV to manage another half dozen subscriptions on top of that. Sorry, but to me that is a horribly overcomplicated vision of the future.

        I am with Steve Jobs on this: people want to own their hardware, and their software, and their music. The only reasons they don’t are 1. if they’re too poor, or 2. if corporations refuse to allow people to buy, or 3. if they’re too lazy to take control of their own digital lives.

  3. A somewhat unbiased opinion as I don’t own a smart phone (by choice). I do own two iMacs and an iPad. When I’m out and about I see people with iPhones and Android handhelds. I’ve never ever ever seen a Windows phone. The only time I ever seen a Windows phone is on the TV show “Arrow”.

    Now why do I watch this show if so many of the actors just can’t act?

  4. One more thing: Every single one of those devices that Apple sold retails for at least $600, and the average price for all Apple computing devices is significantly higher.

    In Windows world, vast majority of devices retail for below that $600 threshold. Perhaps no more than 10% of all MS devices was sold for more than $600 each. And Microsoft’s share of that retail price is fairly low; in some cases less than $30 per device.

    It doesn’t really matter if these devices are phones, tablets, laptops or desktops. Apple sells them for over $600, and gets to keep at least $200 (and for pricier ones, much more); OEMs sell their devices for $400, get to keep less than $80, $50 of which they have to fork over to MS.

    It should be no surprise that Apple is the largest market-cap in the world.

  5. The key stat for me is how quickly windows PC sales are dropping. Look at the graph and it is going down quite linearly. In 2020 it could be less than 200M. By 2025 it could be 50% of it’s peak.

    1. I don’t know about you but I usually buy a replacement laptop every 5+ years. Compared to how fast iOS devices are upgraded I don’t find it odd that PC sales are seen to be dropping in relation. Does anyone have long term data showing refresh cycles?

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