Mac sales continue to kick the PC market's ass

Apple's report for its Q1 2015 fiscal quarter was astonishing for its iPhone numbers alone: 74.5 million units sold, its highest quarter ever. But Mac sales were also astonishing: 5.519 million units, the best Mac results for a holiday quarter ever.

To be sure, Apple's previously reported quarter — covering June through September of 2014 — was just as astonishing, if not more: The company sold 5.52 million Macs, an all-time record which it fell just short of matching for the holiday quarter. "Back to School season voted, and the Mac won," said Tim Cook at the time.

Even compared over the same quarter a year ago, though, Mac sales growth was terrific: up 14 percent year over year. Macs contributed a healthy $6.9 billion to Apple's revenue numbers for the quarter.

What's especially remarkable about this is that PC sales continue to decline: Market research firm IDC estimated that during the same period as Apple's report, PC sales contracted 3 percent.

In 34 of the last 35 quarters, Mac sales have outpaced the PC industry. As a result, Mac marketshare continues to gain on the overall PC market. It's well into the double-digit range now, after languishing for years in the 5-6 percent range.

While many PC makers fight for scraps by bringing to market the cheapest low-margin PCs they can possibly make, Apple's singing an entirely different tune: People are spending more on the Mac than they did last quarter.

People are spending more on the Mac than they did last quarter.

Even though Mac sales were essentially flat from quarter to quarter — from 5.52 to 5.519 million units — revenue from Mac sales increased by $319 million, an increase in Average Selling Price (ASP) of about $58 per Mac. Apple CFO Luca Maestri attributed at least part of this difference to this quarter's breakout star, the 5K iMac.

The 5K iMac is priced starting at $2,499, with options that can easily drive the price $1,000 or more higher. That Maestri suggests the 5K iMac is impacting Apple's Mac ASP indicates that Apple is moving quite a few of them, a good sign. But clearly the sales of other Mac models were also quite healthy; the MacBook Air remains incredibly popular at the reseller where I work in, for example.

Maestri also mentioned that Apple's inventory of Mac models is below its target range of 4-5 weeks, which suggests that demand for the Mac is a bit higher than Apple's current production capacity.

Neither Maestri nor Cook gave any indication of where the geographic hotspots are for Mac sales, nor did they give any sort of idea of what Apple has planned next. Rumors suggest that Apple's planning to introduce a new MacBook Air model that might be radically thinner than current models, with different connections as well. That's still no more than a rumor, of course.

2015 should be an interesting year for the Mac. The first half of the year will finally see new microprocessors from Intel — so-called "Broadwell" CPUs, the next generation of processor to succeed its "Haswell" line that is used throughout most of the Mac line (the Mac Pro uses a server-level Xeon processor instead). Broadwell processors are more efficient than their Haswell counterparts, with faster graphics performance.

What's more, Intel plans later this year to roll out "Skylake" processors that will add support for technology like Thunderbolt 3. Hopefully Intel won't run into the same sort of production ramp-up delays that have kept Broadwell from rolling out in bulk before now.

Some industry watchers think it's only a matter of time before Apple switches to its own chips for the Mac. It's something of a perennial rumor, to be frank, but that doesn't mean it's totally without merit. Apple's ARM processors that power the iPhone and iPad are rapidly increasing their power and complexity, and it's not hard to imagine that they'll be good enough to provide an uncompromising Mac experience before too long. But I don't think it's going to happen in 2015: The Mac's future evolution would still seem pegged to Intel's development cycle, at least for now.

50 Comments
  • Apple is really, really doomed...
  • ..so sayeth the mac loonies. Persecution complex is to the door on your left. As for the article, the author may want to mention that every other major PC manufacturer also clobbered the PC market (Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo). It appears Toshiba and a bunch of no-names are fading away. "In 34 of the last 35 quarters, Mac sales have outpaced the PC industry. As a result, Mac marketshare continues to gain on the overall PC market. It's well into the double-digit range now, after languishing for years in the 5-6 percent range.". only in the US. WW share is still languishing in the single digits.
  • Windows Phones have been outpacing growth percentages of the iPhone for a few quarters too. That's it. Apple is doomed. Microsoft has won. All hail Windows Phone.
  • I have never seen anybody with a Windows Phone Sent from the iMore App
  • Nope, sorry, according to Peter, success of a product is measured by the growth percentage. The iPhone has already lost /s
  • Microsoft phone? Do they still make them? Naaaa, nobody can be that stupid to still buy one of those phones. Sent from the iMore App
  • Do you even know anything about that phone? Just because it's Microsoft doesn't mean it sucks. At least it doesn't get viruses and doesn't have an inordinnate amount of junk apps. Posted via iMore App
  • I know one guy who has one, and he's looking to switch to something else, probably a 6 Plus.
  • Growth is acceleration, so anything that goes from small to less small shows high acceleration. Sadly, the Windows Phone analogy isn't apt because the phone market in general is still exploding while the PC market is not.
  • That's not quite accurate, Rene. The 2in1 category has exploded (estimates put it at around 176 million per year) and is dominated entirely by Windows machines. While it may still be the same OS, the type of machine is different. Funny enough, as tablet/laptop hybrid sales have exploded, iPad sales have shrunk every quarter by double digits...
  • How many PC's were sold in the same time frame that Apple sold 5.52 million Macs?
  • Id like to know also. Most likely more PCs were sold. But the point is who is on the up-slide (Apple) and who is on the down-slide (PCs). Sent from the iMore App
  • 83 million, which puts Apple at an astonishing.... 6% market share. That is of course, if you include IDC and not Gartner, which said that sales of the PC increased (both have said that they expect positive PC growth next year). Even then, I find the very notion that "growth" is somehow relevant when you have such low market share to be laughable. I mean, by Peter's own logic, since the iPhone only increased by 25% YoY while Windows Phone sales increased 28% YoY, that MUST mean that Windows Phone is taking over. I expect Peter's guest post on Windows Central about "how Windows Phone is kicking the iPhone's ass" tomorrow morning.
  • Actually, iPhone sales increased an enormous 41% last quarter, not 25%.
  • Don't know about the entire quarter but last I check, about 83 million for the months of November and December
  • Thanks for the replies guys, I suspected it was around 80 million. I guess that's why Peter never put the comparative numbers in the article. Typical Apple fanboyism,
  • However, Apple has been the largest PC manufacturer in the world for most recent quarters as Canalys has regularly reported. With 27 million iPads and Macs sold last quarter, Apple beat Lenovo (second largest after Apple) who only sold 16.8 million PCs last quarter. And yes, even Microsoft (and many other commentators) class the iPad as a PC.
  • Ms don't say ipad is a pc since it's not. They are calling it tablet.
  • In an interview with Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer said that iPad is only “a different form factor PC” and analysts like Canalys and Barrons all likewise categorize the iPad as a PC. The trouble with not counting the iPad as a PC is that you are then faced with trying to invent all sorts of silly reasons why a device with the same size screen as many laptops and NetBooks, that does all the tasks that most people use PCs for and which is very obviously competing in the same market (ie vast numbers of users are buying iPads instead of laptops or NetBooks) is not a PC. Here is just a sampling of the sorts of apps available for the iPad: spreadsheets, databases, word processing, desktop publishing, video editing, music sequencing and editing, games, email, web browsing, remote server admin, 3D modeling, mapping, etc etc. No, the iPad is indeed a PC and Apple is now the biggest PC manufacturer in the world with a third of all PCs sold now being an Apple.
  • IDC does not agree with you, or rather, a very outdated response from Ballmer http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25372415 "PCs include Desktops, Portables, Ultraslim Notebooks, Chromebooks, and Workstations and do not include handhelds, x86 Servers and Tablets (i.e. iPad, or Tablets with detachable keyboards running either Windows or Android)"
  • And yet IDC includes ChromeBooks as PCs! Of course IDC excludes tablets like the iPad. They are infamous for under-reporting Mac sales quarter after quarter and retrospectively changing previous year's figures to keep Apple out of their top 5 rankings until it was impossible to continue the lie any longer. For example, last year IDC reported Mac numbers that were more than 10 percent lower than Apple's actual Mac sales, and cited growth of just 8.9 percent (versus Apple's actual Mac growth of 21 percent). IDC also infamously reported that Samsung had sold 2.5 million tablets worldwide in Q3 2012 only to have court-ordered figures from Samsung demonstrate they had only sold a miniscule 37,000 tablets in the USA. Note that the USA at the time was the nation with by far the largest number of active Android and iOS devices in the world (greater than the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th nations put together). As such, I would place no trust whatsoever in IDC's legitimacy when it comes to reporting on Apple products.
  • IDC doesn't exclude tablets "like an iPad", it excludes ALL tablets from PC sales. Besides, Peter used IDC numbers in this very article, which is why I referenced them.
  • That is my point Dos101. Including ChromeBooks but excluding tablets makes no sense unless you're desperate to minimise Apple's enormous impact on the PC industry. ps. Even Gartner consistently pegs Mac market share significantly higher than IDC every quarter.
  • iPads aren't PC and there is a lot more choices for PC manufactures. Technically, a Windows PC is a PC is a PC so you should be comparing Macs to the PC market as a whole. Saying Apple sold more Macs than Lenovo sold PC's is just a way of spinning the numbers to look positive. From that perspective if Macs are doing so great, Windows Phone must be doing amazing, they sold twice as many phones last quarter than Apple sold Macs. It's all on how you want to put a spin on things. Even Apples 75 Million iPhones....amazing number but if you break it down, how many went to repeat customers vs increasing market share.
  • "Technically, a Windows PC is a PC" So why does IDC count ChromeBooks and Macs which don't run Windows but not count iPads? "iPads aren't PC" Unjustified statement. IDC used to count tablets as PCs until the iPad came out showing just how desperate IDC are to not report that Apple is the number one PC manufacturer.
  • When tablets first hit the market there was a lot of hype about how they could "replace your computer". That was just hype and people tried to classify them as PC's. People realized they can't. Regardless, Ipads are not PC's besides if you really want to count them as a PC than Apple's computer market is dying as tablets (including ipads) have been selling fewer and fewer each year.
  • Incorrect. Apple sold 21.4 million iPads last quarter at an ASP of around $450. In comparison, the number of PCs (as IDC defines them) sold at an ASP of around $540 in the same timeframe was only 84 million and has been falling ever since the iPad was released. To not see that the "PC Market" has been negatively impacted by tablets is to be blind. The tablet market is just maturing at this point as the initial flood of tablets filled existing demand and is now settling down into the longer term tablet replacement cycle.
  • Q4: "iPad sales continued to slump, falling 18%"
    Q1: "iPads, down 22 per cent from a year earlier"
  • Your point? As I said, the tablet market is just settling down as it matures and transitions to a longer life-cycle closer to that of PCs rather than smartphones. 21.4 million iPads sold last quarter is still vastly greater than the number of PCs sold by any manufacturer in the world.
  • The market isn't settling down, it's decreasing. It doesn't take much more than a little bit of time and some intelligence to research why. It seems the only point I'm making now is how stupid Apple users can be.
  • No need for insults. With A longer life cycle than phones, sensible people understand that the massive growth in iPad sales (far faster ramp-up than even the iPhone) would of course eventually slow down and the settle down at a lower replacement level once the huge initial demand was fulfilled. What that level will be we don't know, but while Apple is still selling vastly more iPads than any PC manufacturer and as Mac sales growth continues to outpace the PC market for 35 out of the last 36 quarters, to say Appke's computer market is dying is the height of lunacy.
  • I didn't insult you and I didn't single out Apple. I said Tablets... I just stated facts...and I'm sorry if you take it as an insult but you are making yourself look stupid with your delusional fanboy responses. Like I said, doesn't take much time and a little intelligence to understand why tablets are slowing down. It's more likely that we'll see hybrids replacing them, We'll probably see more devices like a Microsoft Surface (hybrids). Don't be surprised if you see such a device from Apple and even more from other manufacture in the future to push the market ahead. BTW, your growth numbers are also FbFU
  • So calling someone stupid is not an insult? Okaaay. I suppose "delusional fanboy responses" is not an insult either? I'm sorry you evidently can't hold an adult conversation. "We'll probably see more devices like a Microsoft Surface (hybrids)." Heh, considering the Surface RT, Surface Pro 1 and 2 were complete multi-billion dollar market failures and Microsoft only sold around 1 million Surface Pro 3s last quarter compared to Apple's 21.4 million iPads, I think you need to lay off the wish fulfilment. So what growth numbers do you have a beef with exactly? Would that be the 1 Billion iOS devices sold to date or perhaps the 74 million iPhones sold last quarter (up 41% from the year before) or the quarter of a Billion iOS devices sold last year?
  • I think you misunderstand me, see if I called you stupid and you weren't that would be an insult. Wow, I know people say Apple users aren't the most intelligent bunch but if I didn't read you're posts with my own eyes, I'd never believe anyone could be such a complete and utter moron!
  • That's disappointing shoey5, it is obvious you are incapable of engaging in a civilised conversation and are only intent in proving the truism that the ultimate refuge of those who can't field a cogent argument is invective and bile. If you actually have a logical and factual rebuttal of any of the facts I have provided, please feel free to share. Otherwise have a nice day.
  • Because you can't argue with an idiot. I've said many times that all it takes is a little time and "SOME" intelligence to research why. What am I supposed to do if you seem lack the latter?
  • <shoey5> EXACTLY!! Nobody can argue with you because you ARE an idi0t. You seem to lack everything except childish, retarded, 3rd grade bully type responses. Proving exactly what you said, that we can't argue with you....
  • I'm guessing you suffered (or still suffer) from being bullied because that's the only thing that could explain this comment.
  • > Hopefully Intel won't run into the same sort of production ramp-up delays that have kept Broadwell from rolling out in bulk before now. They won't. They already have samples of Skylake demo'ed several months ago. The main reason Broadwell got delayed a couple of times is because it's Intel's first trip into the 14nm node size (what they call 'tick'). They have to shutdown parts of their fabs, upgrade it and get it to work well while increasing the yield rate. Skylake will not change anything to the 14nm process, thus, they'll have a much easier time this time around by focusing on a new design or iteration, which they called a 'tock'. The question isn't what kind of delays we'll see but how will Intel roll out the CPUs. Basically, are they going to start with desktop CPUs or mobile CPUs? If mobile CPUs, are they starting with the low-powered ones, like Core M that they did for Broadwell or start with the ones that Apple will benefit from.
  • Good Sent from the iMore App
  • Laughable.. Thanks Peter... Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • This article is sincerely laughable. Hahahaha
  • I build my own PCs as do a lot of my family and some friends. Do they take this into account? Sent from the iMore App
  • So do I and no, they don't.
  • While I own and use a Mac everyday and truly love it, this article is nothing more than click bait fanboyism. Way to go Peter the battle is over, people are busting down the doors to buy 2500.00 plus Mac's. I expect more from iMore. Think I'll go out today and help the doomed PC market and buy an HP Laptop to save them, geez.
  • Apple should be happy about their Mac numbers, but any honest blog post like this should mention the year long decline in iPad sales. What up with that?
  • Well this may be the last article I read on iMore. I love my Apple products, but this article and another article the other day by Rene are just over the top Apple fan boy trolling. It's really a shame they've stooped this low..
  • I'd like to see web usage stats, like what is the percentage of OS X vs Windows vs The Rest.
  • I am surprised by this article as I would visit BGR for sensationalist type article. Keep iMore.com professional. To Say its kicking A## isnt quality journalism that I come to imore.com for. Cult of Mac, Mac Rumors and others fill that role adquetly and I decided to come to iMore b/c I thought it was different. As a consumer that transferring over to more apple products...I need quality news sources for accurate information. Omitting key information is misleading and borders on deception. If I say my beloved "Cleveland Browns kicked New England Patriots Butts" last week its assumed that they outscored them the entire game....not that they gained more yards or their time of possession was greater and etc. The only scoreboard that counts is the final score...WRT to sales...its not growth %. Omitting overall sales comparison is self serving (and imore.com has the right) to advance an agenda but you wont be viewed as being a quality news source for Apple products. See BGR as an example
  • Sigh.