Apple’s iPad vs. Mac juggling act

“Apple has always publicly supported the iPad and Mac. However, that hasn’t prevented questions regarding Apple’s commitment to the two product categories from popping up,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “In recent months, Apple has shown a new level of openness when it comes to embracing both the iPad and Mac as unique and differentiated platforms for creative endeavors.”

“At launch, the iPad was like a rocket, fueled by apps and intrigue found with larger a touch screen powered by iOS. After just a few months, iPad sales surpassed Mac sales. The iPad went on to double and even triple Mac sales. In an iPad vs. Mac battle, the iPad seemed to be the clear winner,” Cybart writes. “While Apple management never publicly showed disdain for Mac, the level of attention given to the iPad in the early 2010s likely corresponded with a declining amount of time and focus dedicated to Mac. Some of the Mac decisions made around this time, like the Mac Pro’s design, later came back to haunt Apple. ”

Apple CEO Tim Cook using his iPad on Monday, March 14, 2016 in his office at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA. (Photo: Michele Asselin for TIME)
Apple CEO Tim Cook using his iPad on Monday, March 14, 2016 in his office at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA. (Photo: Michele Asselin for TIME)
“The iPad vs. Mac relationship started to change after iPad sales peaked at the end of 2013. Management’s efforts to entice iPad users to upgrade proved futile as iPad sales declined from a 75M units per year run rate to a 40M units per year sales pace. While iPad sales were in free fall, the Mac remained a steady ship, not moving far from its 20M unit sales per year pace. The Mac demonstrated a level of sales consistency that management may not have expected given iPad’s popularity,” Cybart writes. “Apple now finds itself with an iPad business that is twice the size of Mac in terms of unit sales, but smaller than the Mac when it comes to revenue.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In a nutshell, Apple mangement woke up from their blackout iPad binge and finally realized that the Mac didn’t have to die from criminal neglect in order for the iPad to thrive. Both can coexist quite nicely, thanks – as our own backpacks attest.

As usual, this guy said it best:

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular… PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. — Steve Jobs, June 1, 2010

Apple’s Mac could become No.1 in personal computer market share – July 19, 2018
Defying critics, Apple’s indomitable Mac continues to gain on PC rivals – April 12, 2017
Gartner: Apple’s worldwide Mac sales grew 4.5% in Q117 – April 11, 2017
Apple to unveil ‘iMac Pro’ later this year; rethought, modular Mac Pro and Apple pro displays in the pipeline – April 4, 2017
Mac Pro: Why did it take Apple so long to wake up? – April 4, 2017
Apple sorry for what happened with the Mac Pro over the last 3+ years – namely, nothing – April 4, 2017
Apple’s apparent antipathy towards the Mac prompts calls for macOS licensing – March 27, 2017


  1. “While iPad sales were in free fall, the Mac remained a steady ship, not moving far from its 20M unit sales per year pace. The Mac demonstrated a level of sales consistency that management may not have expected given iPad’s popularity.”

    “management may not have expected” you can say that time and time again.

    Macs are the rock and solid core of Apple. They need more love and attention then they are presently receiving.

    There is no reason the largest company in history cannot make PCs that blow ALL the competition out of the water!

    If too tall a task for present management — they need to be replaced …

  2. Like it our not, even though it’s not Apple’s main cash cow at the present time, the Mac is the center of Apple’s kingdom. EVERYTHING Apple does derives from the Mac: iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, AppleWatch.

    And Apple better NOT forget this!

    The Mac IS Apple. All the other products are sidelights, utility players, relief pitchers, stand-ins. The Mac IS Apple, and Apple is the Mac.

    Like it or not.

    I think we’d better remind Apple of this, lest they forget.

    1. I tend to agree with exceptions.

      Watching movies, videos and pictures the size shines. Going into my e-mail to type a response the keyboard is huge. Unlike my iPhone SE I get gorilla arm typing a detailed reply the keys are huge and so far apart.

      That said, to each its own …

      1. I have had two i-Pads, one dropped and it hit on a corner and died immediately.
        The second one:…………not sure where it is, somewhere in my house.

        My mobile machine is an 8 year old Macbook, its been dropped more than once, still works. I don’t do any heavy duty work on it, more for transporting and showing files to clients in person. I have an iMac for actual work.

  3. In the Steve Jobs example, I want a truck.

    And I do not want a truck with a hood that is sealed shut. I do not want a truck designed to be scrapped as obsolete in 4 years. I do not want a truck that cannot be repaired.

    That means a workstation- like the mighty Cheesegrater- that can take standard cards, memory, and has internally modular parts that allows quick repairs. A slightly more compact version of the Cheesegrater Mac Pros updated for the age of SSDs and more modern connections would be awesome.

    I own an iPad Pro- the big one, complete with the Pencil. I use it mostly when out and about during the week and on weekends at my work in a hospital and in the call room. I carry a MacBook Pro along, but rarely use it. It is mostly a backup and also for things the iPad just sucks at.

    But when I am at home I want my desktop Mac and a nice big display. I am sitting in front of a nice 32″ UHD H-P Pavilion with a backlit Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard and an Apple Trackpad. Sound is from a nice set of Focals with their own DA converter taking audio via USB. To the right is an 88 key M-Audio MIDI Controller complete with pedal and a nice Canon Scanner. An Apogee Jam guitar input sits at the ready for my guitars. A ProBox with 4 internal HDs gives me great local storage of my media library. A Pioneer BluRay/DVD/CD Burner handles any media on a disc. A Plugable USB Docking station allows quick connections of HDs. A nice set of Bowers and Wilkins Headphones is available. A USB Plantronics headset with mike is ready to be attached any time I need and not connected when I do not. There is an Eye TV HD that can record HD video via the analog hole in cable and other boxes. Make MKV SW allows backup copies of my BluRay Discs. The boot disc is a USB 3 connected SSD and the internal is used as a backup mirrored image of the SSD. There is also a copy of Windows 10 Professional running on Parallels Desktop. The wireless eero network connects my desktop to a wireless Brother Laser, the other Macs, local iOS devices and my Apple TV.

    You simply cannot do on any iOS device what I can easily do on my desktop. No MacBook Pro display can touch the expanse of a 32″ display. No iOS device can simultaneously do all the things even a lowly Mac mini can do simultaneously- much less a Mac Pro with Xeon CPUs.

    I love the convenience of the iPad Pro when on the go, but on it’s best day it pays in comparison to a good desktop Macintosh.

    1. The problem is that the hipster kids just assume that all of the content that you and I produce just appears magically out of “the cloud”.

      And they conform to the hipster rules for how you must look when carrying their iPads from coffee shop to coffee shop, secretly hoping they will get picked to be in an Apple ad. Which of course will only be advertising an iPad.

      Their world view is validated.

  4. The ipad to the Mac is like a bent limp dick is to good sex. You can wave it around and say how wonderful it is but productivity aint going on with the wimpy thin client.

  5. The Mac is NOT seeing love from Pipeline. Where is the new Mac Pro? Nowhere. What happened to the new MacBook Pro? Overheating and unexplained crashes. Where is the new Mac Mini? Nowhere.

    Pipeline does not care about the Mac. Pipeline has nothing but disdain for the Mac. And it shows. All the time.

    Pipeline has proven that he can’t or won’t develop the Mac further. This is now clear for all to see. Pipeline does not care about the Mac.

    For the sake of the future of the Macintosh, Pipeline MUST go.

    1. Just FYI, it’s not just Pipeline, it’s Apple. As a whole. They could replace Pipeline tomorrow and the fate of the Mac wouldn’t change. There’s no one in Apple (if you know anyone there, just ping them, this isn’t NDA information) that’s focused on doing anything more than basic “keep the lights on” work for the Mac. What’s the biggest innovation for Macs recently? Adding iOS chips to them.THAT should tell you a lot.

      1. “Just FYI, it’s not just Pipeline, it’s Apple. As a whole. They could replace Pipeline tomorrow and the fate of the Mac wouldn’t change.“

        Do you work for Apple? You make these proclamations all the time as FACT. They are NOT, try OPINIONS. To back up your HATRED for the Mac. It got old from you a long time ago …

        1. Go to this website:

          And please point out, for all of us, all of the executives that are PUSHING HARD for the Mac to be Apple’s #1 priority again. You know, the ones that would still be in place, even AFTER Pipeline is gone, that would drive the new leader to bring the Mac back to it’s former glory. Also, since I’m basing my statement on the FACT that this group of people has shown no interest in the Mac for the last several years, I’d expect you to show where anyone that HAS shown interest in the Mac.

          Realistically, you’d have to get rid of a LOT more than one person to make a big change in Apple. That’s not only FACT, it’s common sense 🙂

          1. I’m not going to wade through dozens of executive profiles to see if they support the Mac. THEY SHOULD! The foundation CORE of Apple. If they don’t, guess Clueless Cook brainwashing worked …

  6. Time will tell what Apple does with the Mac.

    I need a new Mac to replace my aging iMac. A few years ago I gave it a burst of new life by attaching an SSD drive to it and booting and running software from the SSD drive rather than the Mac’s sloooowwwww…… HD. But, that will only go so far.

    I delay buying a new Mac until I see Apple making a commitment to keep the Mac going, and I don’t just mean some $5000+ pro machine. I mean a solid line of good Macs at various price points. For now, Apple can keep its current line of iMacs and I will keep my money.

    Time will tell, but I can’t wait forever to replace the iMac. And there is no law that says I have to stick with Apple/Mac/iOS etc. etc. etc.

    1. I am in the exact same holding pattern.

      The too thin just released MBP fell short of expectations, at a premium price that is way too high, if you compare to pro PCs.

      More interested in the upcoming Mac Pro and giving Apple until 2019. If they fall short again, it is adios …

    2. Why not just get a used Mac? You don’t need the performance of today’s Mac’s (or you’d have bought one already). Get a good preowned systems while there’s still decent quantity. After the disappointment of the 2019 Mac Pro, ALL older systems are going to sell out and/or fetch higher prices than now.

  7. The frustrating part is that there’s no need for Apple to be dumping the Mac like this. It’s still making money. There can be quality Macs AND whatever other devices they want.

    But no, we get no Mac Pro, and the new MacBook Pro’s are a sad joke. No ports, overheating, bad keyboards, emojii bar…

    They just don’t get it.

    There’s a reason I use this posting name here. Tim Cook IS Steve Ballmer. And Apple is going to languish until they find a Satya Nadella. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

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