The Mac: Not Dead Yet By A Long Shot

Along with the 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads sales metrics in Apple’s financials report this week — respectively quarterly records — was news that the company sold 4.8 million Macs during the last fiscal quarter, which was 17 percent higher sales than the 4.1 million Mac units sold in the same quarter a year ago, and not far off Apple’s the all-time record for Mac sales of 5.2 million set in the fiscal 2012 first quarter.

That’s pretty impressive considering the otherwise dismal outlook for the PC market in general, with most categories of Windows PC machines having been stuck in flat to negative growth and year-over-year contraction for many quarters now. Especially considering Apple’s premium pricing in a tough economy. It’s a strong contradiction of developing conventional wistom that the Mac is a dying product, destined to go the way of the iPod, while smartphones, phablets and tablets rule the IT hardware world. Apple Daily report’s Dennis Sellers observes that iPad cannibalization notwithstanding, Mac sales have gained market share for 30 of the past 31 quarters.

Apple doesn’t provide a model-by-model sales breakdown but sales of its MacBook notebook lines are presumed to represent the lion’s share of Mac system sales volume, even though the least expensive Apple laptop is the $999.00 base 11.6-inch MacBook Air, while you can buy larger, nominally better-equipped, Windows PC notebooks for hundreds of dollars less.

Motley Fool’s Ashraf Eassa notes that “one of the big problems in notebooks is that at the low end, the systems are often compromised. How often do you see at a typical retail store a $349 notebook that advertises 3.5 hours of battery life, is fairly heavy, has slow mechanical storage, and – worst of all – a ton of “bloatware” pre-loaded? Consumers have continued to vote against these systems with their wallets and have instead chosen to purchase tablets that offer significantly better user experiences.”

Or they buy MacBooks instead, paying more but appreciating the value of solid engineering, quality constructon, typically long service life, and not least the worry-free, ‘just works” superiority of OS X.

What can I say? I just purchased another new Mac – a 13-inch MacBook Air – a vote of confidence in the Mac’s future. iPads and iPhones are great, but neither is up to the measure of a Mac when it comes to power, versatility, and efficiency when you need to get some serious work done.

My friend John Martellaro over at The Mac Observer has a theory as to why Windows PC boxes continue to languish duemto the mobile device onslaught, while the Mac maintains a pretty consistent growth trend. John says:

“The reason PC sales are down so drastically is because Windows-based PCs were just too much of a headache to manage by the average person compared to the typical user tasks: email, browsing, shopping, reading, banking etc. So cannibalization is kicking in Big Time in the PC world where an iPad solves 95 percent of most people’s problems.”

Meanwhile, OS X remains a stable, relatively hassle-free platform that is a pleasure to use, rquires very little maintenance atrention, with version upgrades now free as well.

Here’s to another 30 years of Macintosh computing.

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