Pundits and analysts alike are disappointed with Apple Mac sales, claiming that iOS devices are cannibalizing the company's sales of notebooks and desktops. But how bad were last quarter's sales? Should Apple be worried?
Not so fast there. There are several factors that are worth taking into consideration before jumping to such dramatic conclusions.
Firstly, let's put the Q1 2013 sales into perspective. While sales were disappointing compared to Q1 2012, the sales still beat both the second and third quarters of 2012. Overall, it was still a very good quarter for Mac sales.
Also, take a look at Mac sales over past quarters. They've been hovering around the four million mark for about two and a half years. There have been peaks and troughs, but the overall trendline has stuck pretty close to the four million mark.
The quarter did fall a little below average—a couple of hundred thousand based on the last two years worth of sales—but Mac sales are historically erratic. Mac sales over the holidays are usually stronger than previous quarters, so in that respect the last quarter was an outlier, but again, anything over four million Mac sales is strong.
Another factor to consider is that while Apple did announce a refresh the Mac line-up in October, the new 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs didn't go on sale until the last day of November. Since Q1 2013 ended December 29, this didn't leave a lot of time for sales, and it is likely that this put a serious crimp in sales as the more tech savvy potential customers waited for the new hardware rather than buy the older model Macs.
Bottom line, it wasn't a record quarter for Mac sales, but it wasn’t terrible either.
We need a few more quarters of data before we can say that Macs are suffering the same problem as that being faced by the PC industry. And either way, if people are buying iPads in preference to Macs, it's still cash for Apple, and the company is still clearly doing very well.