Is the post-PC PC a Mac?

PC sales are declining - despite the end-of-XP support bump - while Mac sales were up 18 percent in Q2 and 21 percent in Q3 of 2014. Why isn't the Mac declining along with Windows PCs?

The decline of PC sales generally — even including Mac sales — is clearly due to the rise of Android and iOS devices. Five years ago a PC (or Mac) was required to surf the web, trade photos, shop and get email.

Millions of people don't need a full blown OS and the management headaches that entails. Nor do they want or need faster CPUs, snazzier GUIs, or massive local storage.

They want convenience, low maintenance, go anywhere usability, and reasonable cost. For millions a smartphone or a tablet is all the computer they need.

The digirati

Five years ago the big difference between PC and Macs was price: Apple didn't make low-end machines. The lowest cost Windows notebook was less than half the price of the cheapest Mac notebook.

Today, those price-constrained buyers are buying mobile devices. Since Macs never appealed to that audience, their sales haven't been affected. That's obvious.

But why are Mac sales growing? Three reasons:

  • BYOD. As corporate IT has been forced to support more devices, it isn't as easy to ban Macs. If iOS and Android are supported, why not Mac OS?
  • Investment protection. With Apple's control of the hardware and software, they've been adding value faster than PCs. CPU speed increases have slowed, so other features — such as Continuity and Handoff — make older Macs seem like new machines.
  • Price parity. The knock on Macs for years was price. But today when you compare prices on equivalent configurations, especially Ultrabooks, it's clear that similar specs have similar prices.

The Storage Bits take

The PC is becoming a premium product for a premium market. 10 years ago the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was dominated by the PC. Today, mobile dominates.

Which means that PCs aren't central in consumer's lives. They're tools for the digirati, not appliances for the masses.

For years at industry conferences I've noticed that Mac penetration is higher among professionals than among the general population. What we're seeing today is more professionals buying Macs, even to run Windows. 

Comments welcome, of course. If you've recently switched from PC to Mac — or the reverse — why?

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