Apple, Inc. sold more computers than all of Microsoft's Windows PC partners in December quarter

Posted:
in macOS edited March 2014
Seven years after entering the mobile computing market with iPhone, the Cupertino-based company has now reached a peak of building and selling more computers than all of Microsoft's Windows licensees put together.



As noted by leading market analyst Benedict Evans, Apple's combined production of Mac, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices peaked in the December quarter at a level slightly higher than all Windows PCs put together, or essentially equal with all PCs combined with all Windows Phone shipments.

Such sales volumes were unthinkable for Apple just a few years ago. While the company's Mac desktops and notebooks were growing significantly in the mid 2000s, they still remained in the realm of a million or two systems each year, in contrast to annual PC shipments well above 200 million.

Mac gets big by going small

In 2007, Apple began selling a new kind of Macintosh: a handheld device running the same core OS (it was even called "iPhone OS X" in the beginning) and using a mobile-optimized version of the Mac's NeXT-derived Cocoa app development frameworks. By the end of the year, Apple added iPod touch, it's first iPod based on Mac technology like the iPhone rather than a simple, imbedded OS.

Without phone features, iPod touch acted more like a general purpose computing system, attracting many users who were already committed to using their company's Blackberry or a simpler phone tied to a provider such as Verizon or NTT DoCoMo, and simply couldn't switch to an iPhone. That boosted the volumes of games and other app sales in the App Store, supporting iPhone growth and paving the way for a larger new table form factor.

In 2010, developers' enthusiasm surrounding Apple's rapidly expanding iOS platform was extended to iPad, which worked like a larger format iPod touch to broaden the reach and utility of Apple's platform that proved to be effortlessly easy to use, manage and deploy. iPad now enjoys a deployment rate above 91 percent in the enterprise, and is also

The most notable aspect of Apple's growth is that its Macs continue to maintain an premium Average Selling Price of $1300 and its iPhones remain above $650, in a PC market where Microsoft's PC makers struggle to find customers with PCs priced at an average of $311, and where Windows Phones sell at an ASP of just $301.

Apple flogs Android in profitability and premium sales

Apple's ability to surpass Microsoft's Windows sales volume via mobile growth can also be compared to Android. Like Windows, Google's Android platform (and the many variants of the software used by companies from Amazon to Chinese vendors unaffiliated with Google) is broadly used as an alternative to companies creating their own custom development platforms.

An an ingredient, Android lacks the platform strength of Windows, because Google is unable to exercise much control over its licensees, despite attempts to do so.

Google also earns very little from Android as a platform compared to Microsoft's Windows PC licensing, and essentially nothing compared to Apple's far more lucrative, hardware-driven profits from iOS. Samsung said it planned to ship 100 million higher-end Galaxy S and Note models within 2013; Apple sold 153.4 million iPhones alone in 2013.

Android's phone ASP has now dropped to $276 as the majority of "smartphones" using the system apply it in a feature phone role on extremely low end devices with no upgrade potential. Last year, Samsung said it planned to ship 100 million higher-end Galaxy S and Note models within 2013. Apple sold 153.4 million iPhones alone in 2013, without counting iPod touch, iPad mini or full size iPads.

Apple obviously earned more than Samsung in selling high end phones throughout 2013, but also earned far more (an order of magnitude more) on sales of Macs and iPads, a general computing market where Samsung fails to earn much money at all.



Add in every other Android maker's higher end phones and profit-to-volumes ratio falls even faster, as most Android licensees, including Google's own Motorola subsidiary, have been consistently losing money. Google's Motorola subsidiary reported losing $1.245 billion in 2013 alone, despite tech media predictions about how Moto X and its siblings would undercut Apple's iPhone and take over via volume sales to third world countries.

Particularly hysterical in retrospect is the August 2013 article by Steven Levy of Wired, which just months ago faithfully reiterated Google's talking points explaining how the phone would launch a new epoch of smartphones justifying the $12.5 billion price tag Google had paid for Motorola. Instead the device proved to be a dismal failure. Google is now spinning Motorola as "successful" divestiture.

Sales growth of smartphones and tablets is widely expected to slow in 2014, but Apple's high volume position in selling the most profitable smartphones, tablets, notebooks and desktop computers at ASPs that are two to four times as high as competing platforms means Apple has a lot more room to maneuver than its more poorly capitalized competitors who maintain far less user loyalty and satisfaction, and who lack the support of Apple's strong iTunes and App Store ecosystem.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 162
    Wait a minute. I thought Apple had a disappointing quarter. A terrible quarter. Oh, I forgot. That was what all the moronic hedge fund managers and stock analysts said. The idiots who make up their own numbers instead of focusing on what Apple actually achieved. Good for Apple. We shouldn't kill all the lawyers. We should kill all the analysts.
  • Reply 2 of 162
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,157member
    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.
  • Reply 3 of 162
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post



    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.

    Phones are effectively PC's, and will more and more take over their role.

     

    Anyhow, there's a big fat 'I told you so' to whoever I was arguing with on here when I predicted this day would come many years ago :) 

  • Reply 4 of 162
    saarek wrote: »
    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.
    Does your calculator from the 80s run Unix?
  • Reply 5 of 162
    Totally true… So much foresight on behalf of Apple! I remember back in December 2008 when the analysts at the shareholders meeting were asking Steve Jobs why he doesn't do a netbook and he had the famous reply that Apple doesn't know how to do a laptop under $500 that's not crap, he also said something else… He said iPod touch was Apples alternative to netbooks at that date, &nobody saw it coming but iPod touch was really the computer in 2008 and precursor to the iPad behemoth
  • Reply 6 of 162
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,719member
    saarek wrote: »
    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.

    Wha? Why not add iPhones? Whatever the iPad can do, the iPhone can do it as well
  • Reply 7 of 162
    One point those pushing the idea of selling less expensive and even lower PC and smart phones don't think about is the potential for existing low-end product purchasers to migrate toward more expensive products later. This is a function of both the desire for a better quality product and of increasing affluence as consumers age and earn more.

    Of course, not everyone will do that but enough will so do to enter the Apple product chain. And, when they do, history shows many will buy additional Apple products.

    There will always be new low-level consumers. And there will always be new high-end and repeat purchasers looking to remain Apple loyal.
  • Reply 8 of 162
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,393member
    Does your calculator from the 80s run Unix?

    when did iOS become certified UNIX?
  • Reply 9 of 162
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    jungmark wrote: »
    Wha? Why not add iPhones? Whatever the iPad can do, the iPhone can do it as well

    Then why make the iPad at all if it's a redundant piece of hardware?
  • Reply 10 of 162
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,105member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post



    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.




    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post





    Wha? Why not add iPhones? Whatever the iPad can do, the iPhone can do it as well

    jungmark is correct on this one. The Windows number includes worthless laptops and netbooks as well as their mobile devices that can't run anything more than what the iPhone can run. I like the comparison. To make matters worse for Microsoft, I'd like to know how many of those PCs are sitting in people's closets, store rooms, and recycling centers. Of course, Microsoft has to count all of them even if they aren't running.

  • Reply 11 of 162
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post



    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.

    An iPhone costs as much or more than most crappy low end Windows PCs.

     

    But I get your point. When the iPad came out people were complaining that it wasn't a real computer, but once they realized that people were buying them instead of a PC it sort of made sense. Calling an iPhone and an iPod Touch a computer it is bit of a stretch because people don't really buy iPhones and iPods instead of a computer.

  • Reply 12 of 162
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,105member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    Then why make the iPad at all if it's a redundant piece of hardware?

    I know you know the answer but I'll humor you. The iPad actually doesn't do everything the iPhone can do (no cellular calls, VoIP doesn't count) but it's larger and can be used in more ways than an iPhone. They both have their place.

  • Reply 13 of 162
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,105member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    An iPhone costs as much or more than most crappy low end Windows PCs.

     

    But I get your point. When the iPad came out people were complaining that it wasn't a real computer, but once they realized that people were buying them instead of a PC it sort of made sense. Calling an iPhone and an iPod Touch a computer it is bit of a stretch because people don't really buy iPhones and iPods instead of a computer.


    Your last statement isn't necessarily correct, at least not for everyone. My wife uses an iPad for just about everything she does. This leaves the Mac for me. :-) The iPad is a whole lot more of a computer than PCs of a few years ago. Just because it doesn't have a USB port or run Microsoft Office doesn't mean it isn't a computer. It's actually a very nice computer, a whole lot better than a lot of those garbage netbooks and ultra whatevers the PC crowd likes to try and say are computers.

  • Reply 14 of 162
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jfanning View Post





    when did iOS become certified UNIX?

    Darwin is certified UNIX and iOS uses the same version of Darwin as OS X

  • Reply 15 of 162

    Holy crap! Finally!

     

    I have always maintained MS/Window claims of added productivity were always tainted due to the lost productivity of d**king around with a lame OS/SW. Ugh! :)

     

    It's a crappy company that produces crappy products! 

     

    Best.

  • Reply 16 of 162
    Ip
    rob53 wrote: »
    jungmark is correct on this one. The Windows number includes worthless laptops and netbooks as well as their mobile devices that can't run anything more than what the iPhone can run. I like the comparison. To make matters worse for Microsoft, I'd like to know how many of those PCs are sitting in people's closets, store rooms, and recycling centers. Of course, Microsoft has to count all of them even if they aren't running.

    iPhones and iPods are already added:

    "As noted by leading market analyst Benedict Evans, Apple's combined production of Mac, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices peaked in the December quarter at a level slightly higher than all Windows PCs put together, or essentially equal with all PCs combined with all Windows Phone shipments."
  • Reply 17 of 162
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Darryn Lowe View Post

     
    Darwin is certified UNIX and iOS uses the same version of Darwin as OS X


     

    Perhaps similar, but it doesn't really matter because iOS is not certified UNIX.

     

    You can read the dozens of requirements here:

    http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/testing/prodstds.htm

     

    iOS doesn't conform to any of them.

     

    I'm not seeing where Darwin is certified either, just Mountain Lion and Mavericks

  • Reply 18 of 162
    saarek wrote: »
    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.

    We are talking about a form of computing that has desktop class capabilities in terms of networking , apps , graphics and audio. iOS does have all that as it's a modern day mobile device operating system :).
  • Reply 19 of 162
    Interesting, but I take issue with lumping in all Mac and iOS products to compare solely against windows PC's. Why not add in all windows phones and tablets sold?
  • Reply 20 of 162
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post



    Not sure I'm comfortable with mobile phones being placed up against traditional PC's in this data. Adding iPads & Mac's together no problem but adding in iPhones...... You might as well start adding in my calculator wrist watch from the 80's, it's able to compute after all.

    From the original article...

    "A symbolic moment, this: in Q4 2013 the number of computers* sold by Apple was larger than the number of Windows PC sold globally. If you add Windows Phone to the mix they're more or less exactly equal. "

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