Apple’s Mac business recently celebrated its 30th birthday. In an era where entire products, companies and platforms seldom last more than one decade, three is exceptionally impressive. And not only is the Mac alive, despite massive industry change — it just put in its second-best year ever, with 17.1 million shipments in 2013.
But 2013 also marked the second year in a row that Mac shipments didn’t increase, after a significant growth period last decade. Annual shipments peaked in 2011, shy of 18 million, and quarterly shipments peaked two years ago, with 5.2 million in the December 2011 period.
The real story, of course, is the growth of the iPad. Apple’s “computer” business, combining the Mac and iPad, just reported its best quarter ever, passing 30 million units for the first time ever.
But it’s still worth studying the Mac on its own. Have sales truly peaked for good? All signs point to yes: The declining PC industry, the gradual shift from desktops to notebooks to tablets, and the increasing longevity of Macs, requiring less-frequent replacement cycles. It seems more likely than not that we’ve seen the one and only 5+ million-Mac-shipments quarter in its history.
That said, there’s still some wiggle room. This past quarter’s 4.8 million Mac shipments marked a surprising growth acceleration, and was within 10% of the all-time record. A repeat, combined with some special circumstances — and perhaps a dramatically compelling new MacBook Air — could potentially set a new high-water mark.
Anyway, this is mostly an academic (and nostalgic) exercise — Apple’s future success and growth probably has nothing to do with the Mac, at least not directly. Apple has long graduated from being the Mac company, at least in sales and profits. All signs still point to a slow, steady — noble? — decline.
What if Microsoft had bought BlackBerry in 2009 instead?
The story here isn’t that Microsoft didn’t see the mobile revolution coming. It just peaked way too early, and wasn’t prepared when Apple showed up with something a lot better.
AOL vs. Netflix: The Entire Internet In One Simple Chart
At the end of March, almost 2.7 million people still subscribed to AOL service, the company reported this morning. That’s about where Netflix stood at the end of 2004.
Since then, Netflix’s subscriber base has grown — 29 million at the end of March — and AOL’s has declined at a remarkably parallel rate.
Amazon’s $35 External DVD Drive Will Make You Feel Young Again
"The real reason I am writing this review … is to relay the strange but delightful experience of loading a DVD into a disc drawer for the first time in years."
Almost perfect. AOL vs. Netflix, 2002-2012.
Apple’s Semi-Soft Quarter In Charts
The SplatF 2012 Holiday Gift Guide is here!
Amazon’s amazing Kindle growth chart, 2012 edition
Which Business Is Shrinking Faster, Printers Or iPods?
Answer: It depends!
It’s A Great Time For Magazines