How we do all this will never be the same

In a new ad for the iPad Apple once again makes the case that the tablet is a good substitute for a PC in a number of use cases (and permits some new ones.)

We’ll never stop sharing our memories. Or getting lost in a good book. We’ll always cook dinner and cheer for our favorite team. We’ll still go to meetings, make home movies, and learn new things. But how we do all this will never be the same.

This belief that the iPad “cannibalizes” the PC is a powerful concept. The growth of the PC has certainly been affected. But has the Mac’s growth also been affected?

Tim Cook seems to think so. In the earnings call he said:

In terms of cannibalization, we do believe that some customers chose to purchase an iPad instead of the new Mac during the quarter, but we also believe that even more customers chose to purchase an iPad over Windows PC. And as I’ve said before, there’s a lot more of the Windows PC business to cannibalize than the Mac.

If we look at the behavior of Mac vs. iPad, the following chart may be useful:

First off, we can observe that since introduction, iPad has always sold more units than the Mac. Now it’s selling more than twice as many units and the revenue from those units is higher than those of the Mac. The other line to look at is the growth (y/y). During the time that the iPad has been shipping, the Mac growth has been declining.

Yes, it’s still growing at five times the rate of the PC market (and 7.5 times the rate of Windows only PCs), but the iPad phenomenon is indeed affecting the Mac.

With the launch of Lion, Apple is clearly showing that there is dramatic improvement potential in traditional personal computing. But increasingly the improvements are “borrowed” from touch interfaces. Clearly, as the ad implies, computing will never be the same again.