Mac sales continues to boom as Windows PC buyers stay away in drove

Good news for the Mac from Apple's third quarter 2014 earnings: Mac sales were up 18 percent year over year, a new June quarter record: 4.4 million units sold. As a market, Windows PC sales are on the decline, which makes booming Mac sales even more remarkable.

The MacBook Air is driving this growth, according to Apple. The educational market in particular seems to be buying them in droves — especially K-12, where Apple's making large institutional deployments in school systems looking to outfit lightweight, durable laptops for students and teachers.

This surge in popularity for the MacBook Air didn't come out of nowhere. In late April, Apple refreshed the MacBook Air with slightly faster processors and a new lower price - the 11-inch model is now $899, and the popular 13-inch MacBook Air now costs $999.

Apple's trying to continue the MacBook Air's momentum going into the fall. The company debuted a new TV ad this week, calling the MacBook Air the notebook people love.

Apple's also seeing terrific Mac growth opportunity in China. Mac sales were up an astonishing 39 percent in China, a market where PC sales are forecast to contract by 5 percent.

Tim Cook reinforced the importance of the Mac as a part of Apple's ecosystem in his preamble during today's conference call with financial analysts to discuss the company's quarterly earnings. Cook noted new continuity features in the forthcoming OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, like being able to take an iPhone call on your Mac.

"These are features only Apple can deliver," said Cook.