Saturday, May 01, 2021, 11:05 Mac: Hardware

The Mac's Comeback - Stagnation Turned into Impressive Upturn

After the introduction of the iPad 11 years ago, Apple's forecasts suggested that they no longer really believed in the great future of conventional computers. Not just for desktop computers (2003 was already the "Year of the Notebook" for Apple), but also for portable devices. When Steve Jobs argued that the "Post-PC Era" and iCloud put the Mac on a par with other devices, this had been a clear demotion and meant that he no longer believed the Mac had any particular growth potential. Being one device among many termianted the special position of the product category, which Apple had led as a flagship for a very long time. Many already saw the end of the Mac coming, because Apple seemed to devote much more energy to the iPhone and initially also to the iPad.

Since 2011: low growth/stagnation.
However, it is now known that the Mac has not been weakened in favor of other devices. While sales stagnated for years, there was no sign of a downturn. Even though the majority of the company's revenue came from the iPhone, the Mac did much better than it did in those days when Apple was completely Mac-centric. However, the Mac was not expected to make a significant leap upwards, and it was considered a success if Apple's computer division bucked the industry trend and did not lose sales.


Quarterly sales by financial quarter (Statista)

M1 Macs + Corona = High Growth
The big upswing could then be observed in the last few months. The switch from Intel to in-house chips was a clear commitment to traditional computing, never mind that it makes the iPhone and Mac much more related than they used to be. However, the M1 switch was more than just the easiest path for Apple, given they had already developed the chips anyway. Instead, the industry was amazed of the level of performance even passively cooled notebooks could achieve. The media coverage was praiseful to euphoric - and the latest quarterly figures once again show the immense growth of the Mac division. Even if the Corona pandemic contributed greatly to this - after all, other manufacturers can also be happy about increases - the record value now achieved is a clear indication of successful development.

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Criticism of Mac neglect has fallen silent.
From 5.35 billion dollars in sales a year ago, it has now gone up to 9.1 billion dollars. Apple pointed this out more than once at the quarterly conference - but also didn't forget to mention that any comparison with the first quarter of 2020 seems particularly favorable because of the situation at the time. The Mac world is still waiting for the ARM switch of the MacBook Pro 16" as well as the large iMac and Mac Pro, but voices regarding a possible Mac neglect have largely fallen silent. Hardly anyone still accuses Apple of only caring about the iPhone, but not the Mac. Even Apple itself was probably surprised how much the classic computer division should flourish once again - ten years ago, no one from Apple's management would probably have bet on it. One more comparative figure: 9.1 billion dollars in just one quarter are 50 percent more than what Apple made in 2004 – and we are talking about the entire company.

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