Apple is bigger than Microsoft

This is not a headline I ever expected to write, but the brutal truth is that Apple is bigger than Microsoft when it comes to PC hardware sales in the U.S., even using Gartner’s obfuscated statistics.

When push comes to shove

The latest market share data sees Microsoft push Windows partner Acer aside on strength of Surface sales alone. What makes that stat so weird is that while Gartner counts Surface as a PC, it fails to account for Apple’s iPad sales in the same way.

That’s incredibly odd when you consider that iPads are more powerful machines that are perfectly capable of running macOS if used with Parallels Access software. I still believe Gartner’s (and IDC’s) refusal to count iPads as PCs calls its credibility into question.

All the same, the stats do show that, in the U.S. at least, Apple is a bigger hardware vendor than Microsoft, and while PC sales (including Apple’s) aren’t all that great, that’s no huge surprise – it’s a mobile world now and a huge number of the tasks we once used PCs for are now transacted on other devices. Including iPads. But also including Apple Watch.

Apple 苏州, Suzhou, China

This won’t last

The data seems to show Mac sales falling by 7.6 percent year-on-year in the period.

We think we can explain this, in part because loads of us ran out and purchased Apple’s expensive but superb new iPhones instead (or intended to) but also because there has been a lot of expectation the company will soon bring new iPad Pros and new Mac models to market.

There had been hopes these would show in September, but now most of us now expect these this month.

Think about that:

The new iPads may have A12 processors, making them extremely powerful – more powerful than some desktops.

The new Macs (a Mac mini and a lower cost MacBook Air replacement, some say) will be more affordable and should be powerful enough for most prosumer workflows. In the mobile age, the only PC markets with long term positive outlooks are high-end markets and cheaper and dumber PC replacements.

These products will deliver the performance we want in products we can more easily afford, and (I’ll argue) will easily push Apple into third place in the U.S. PC sales charts.

If Gartner had the integrity to include iPad sales as well as Surface, I believe Apple would already be at the top of the charts – after all, it sold 11.5 million iPads worldwide in Q3 2018 and the Americas is Apple’s biggest market.

Right now, the only reason Apple isn’t among the top three PC manufacturers in the U.S. is Gartner’s refusal to count iPads as PCs – even though they are way more powerful machines than Microsoft’s Surface.

Apple is bigger than Microsoft.

I think most Apple fans should savour that thought.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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