Over the past few days I’ve seen a lot of anger, bitterness, and rage directed towards Apple, especially on the subject of the Mac, and specifically the absence of new hardware at the WWDC 2018 keynote.
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Let’s put on one side for a moment the fact that WWDC 2018 is not the venue for hardware. WWDC is, as the name suggests, a developer conference (OK, you might be forgiven for overlooking this, especially given how during the keynote developers were expected to cheer at basic things like captions being added to the tvOS screensavers). Yes, Apple has used this venue to showcase new hardware, but when it does that there’s equally forceful criticism from those who think hardware announcements take away from the developer focus, and turn the keynote into a gauche sales pitch.
But there’s something a lot bigger and more fundamental that Mac users need to realize and absorb, and that’s the fact that the Mac isn’t a huge part of Apple’s business.
Putting the Mac business into perspective, looking at Apple as a computer vendor, the company ships about five to six million Macs a quarter. Not bad, but it’s vital to put this into a wider context. The figure is a little more than Asus or Acer can manage, but only about half that Dell pushes out in the same time period, and only a third of what Lenovo or HP manage to ship.
Compare this to the tens of millions of iPhones Apple sells every quarter. Even iPad sales, which are considered pretty soggy, are around twice that of Macs, and the revenue gap between the two products is pretty close.
We can also break it down in terms of customer base. Mac users represent about 10 percent of Apple’s user base.
Yes, 10 percent.
And the laptop and desktop market seems a lot more fickle and price-conscious than the smartphone market.
Now, having said all this, I don’t think Apple is going to pull the rug from under Mac users and get out of the business any time soon. It would be pretty brash to close the door on a business that brings in several billion in revenue and has a double-digit user base. But I also think that the days of Apple pandering to this market are over. In fact, I’d say that as we move towards 2020, Apple is more focused on growing its services and accessories businesses than it is in selling more Macs.
Yes, AirPods, HomePods, and pushing apps and movies is a higher priority.