Visualizing iPad vs Mac

The iPad outsold the Mac after two quarters in the market. It’s important to understand the effect the iPad is having on PCs. Data is trickling in that potential notebook buyers are “postponing” purchases due to the iPad. The netbook market has witnessed a significant slowing which has trickled down to the performance of everybody in the value chain, from Microsoft, to PC vendors, Intel, AMD and retailers.

So naturally we need to ask how it has affected the Mac.

The following chart shows how the iPad has outsold the Mac the past quarter. The iPad was on the market for six months while the Mac has been for sale for 322 months–a shocking achievement.

But the Mac has not slowed down. It grew faster than the overall PC market (units grew at 27.3% and revenues grew at 22%) as it has grown for most of the past 18 quarters.

The performance is also highlighted in the following chart showing the history of the Mac units by quarter over nearly five years. The Mac had a slowdown during the recession but the dip in growth in the last quarter does not seem significant.

  • Ram

    great post again. For uninitiated folks like me, can u please share what software do you use to create these amazing graphs.

    • asymco

      Numbers, part of iWork, though it took some practice to get to this.

  • jecrawford

    And what will be the impact of the new 11" MBAir which is closer to the iPad in both size and weight than Apple's other laptops?

    • asymco

      In my opinion, Apple is setting up for higher growth for the Mac (maybe aiming for 50%). What may be happening is that the iPad is affecting the purchase of Netbooks or PCs which are used for very basic things, but it's not affecting the Mac because Apple has defined the Mac experience in such a way that it does not overlap that much. The differentiation between iPad and Air is not size/weight but what they're hired to do. Best example is iLife, a mac-only experience, so far.

      • Iosweekly

        Re ilife on ipad – Well we have iMovie on the iPhone 4 (might come to iPad), and the photos app in ios is similar for veiwing iPhoto 11 on Mac. No GarageBand, but plenty of dedicated third party instrument and music apps already. And we have all the iWork apps already.

        I would love iMovie on a touch screen iMac that tilts to near horizontal position as per the recent apple patent. You notice that at the keynote jobs was very specific in his explanation for no touch screen macs – he said vertically orientated screens generate too much fatigue – he didn't say anything about either a tiltable iMac being used near horizontal or a convertible MacBook that flips down to an iPad form factor.

        With lion incorporating the ios like app launcher and app switching gestures, I would not be surprised if one of the surprise features being support for touch screen iMacs and MacBooks as described above to be launched upon lions release next summer.

      • Joe_Winfield_IL

        Agree! They can now compete on price with iPad, and they can compete on features/form factor with the MBA.

        But don't you think the Netbooks were a bit of a poison pill for the PC OEMs anyway? The Netbooks necessarily dragged down the price of full-featured Notebooks. Subsequently, the now cheaper Notebooks are killing off their underpowered brethren. I think in a year or two, Apple will have to start making tougher decisions about price and margin as the ASP continues to drift lower on PC Notebooks.

      • Horace, I agree as well. I'm seeing more slow down and concern from the PC OEM's I talk to. One other interesting factor I haven't heard many people consider is the length of time notebooks and even desktops are owned without a refresh. In consumer markets we see consumers holding on to notebooks for 4 years and desktops for 5.

        It is clear that unless there is a clear and distinct reason to upgrade many modern PC's are good enough for the mainstream. Other categories that clearly do differentiate from the PC are experiencing the largest growth.

        Netbooks are non existent and have simply been moved into ultra-portable category. Tablets have replaced netbooks as the trend and the bandwagon nearly every major OEM wants to jump on.

        I don't see any iPad competition in this space for at least another 12 month's.

      • Gavin Costello

        Horace, while you may be right (an there has been little to indicate otherwise so far!), I have a suspicion the Air will likely bite away at the edges of iPad Sales, just as perhaps the iPhone 4 has done as well.
        But as I've written today I think Apple have done a great job in making room for all their products and are mainly just carving chunks out of others markets.
        How long that continues is unclear, but if Apple were clever they would never let the market settle down but instead keep being disruptive.
        The question has to be how long can they continue to innovate at this pace before it drains them?

  • 190 months? More like 322.

    • asymco

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • Niilo

    OK: 13th Consecutive Apple post. But I forgive you as this is a doozy.

    We have a big debate on our team about The Meaning of iPad. I have to present some executive entertainment on the subject on Monday. This is grist to the mill…thanks.

    • asymco

      Well, it's earnings, lots to talk about. While you entertain execs, I hope you'll mention this site. I don't know if your execs know how to use a browser, but I've heard rumors that some can.

  • JonathanU

    The second chart is phenomenal I must say. Being long AAPL, the chart like this shows precisely why the company literally is firing on all cylinders.

    I had a thought this morning about how the recession affected Apple. The only thing I have seen in the data is that Mac shipments fell (as illustrated above). However, from the data that I have seen, that was the only product that was adversely affected (to a certain extent). ie shipments on all other lines increased in 2009. Not totally sure what to deduce from that observation, but just thought it was pretty interesting nonetheless.

    • Adam

      The Mac has by far the highest ASP, it was most likely to be impacted.

  • Danthemason

    Seems all the trees in the Apple forest are in growth mode. Thank You fro the graphics

  • Iosweekly

    Its interesting, I went from using a MacBook as my primary computing device to a iPad + new 27" iMac. The MacBook has not been touched for 2 months (had to use it once to import video from an old camera with old FireWire connection).

    I have heard at least 2 other people on forums say exactly the same scenario happened to them. With the iPad, it's possible apple has reversed it's recent trend of laptops outpacing growth in desktops.

    Will this increase ASP for Mac segment if true?

    • Jim

      Thanks to Horace for the great insights.

      I'm using a Macbook Pro as my main computer. Normally I would have replaced it by now, but my iPad has been so useful and interesting to use that I just haven't got around to it yet. When I do, I plan to get an iMac. My iPad and an iMac together are about the same price as the MacBook Pro I would normally have bought, and the iMac will be more powerful and come with a larger screen. Win win.

  • guest

    I was a skeptic of the iPad first, having bought an Acer Aspire One netbook prior to the release of iPad. Within months of buying the Aspire, I had come to the realization its too underpowered, and too clumsy to work with. Yet, I waited 6 more months before buying the iPad. After having used the iPad, I put the netbook on Craigslist and sold it for 1/2 the price I paid for it. I've been so happy with the iPad and its the best mobile computer I ever had, and that includes all the PC Notebooks and the MacBook that I currently use as well. iPad is always ready when I want to use it and very responsive.

  • Next year promises many answers: iPad 2 with facetime and iLife, tilt screen iMacs, No. Carolina server farm size and function, big acquisitions like netflix and facebook!

    • CndnRschr

      Why buy Facebook? How will that encourage the central business that Apple is in? FaceBook is the leader right now in social networking but this is a potentially volatile field (ask MySpace and others). Likewise Yahoo and AOL. FaceBook is overpriced and more useful to Apple as an independent entity. Netflix value is contingent on its relationships with content providers. You think they don't have a clause voiding those contracts if acquired by other companies? Besides, the iTunes Music Store is where Netflix is moving to. Apple seems to have no interest in acquiring other distribution companies such as Amazon (also overpriced) or Chapters but is happy providing them with a portal.

  • Bobkings

    Simply great, what is so clear is continuos growing in both ítems!!

  • Ignobilitor

    Just out of curiosity, what program are you using for your charts? Looks very much like Tableau…

    • Jim

      See reply to first post (Apple's Numbers program, part of iWork suite on MacOS, also available for iPad)

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