Journalistic prognostication isn’t really my thing. After all, I missed out on that “We should only have two children, honey!” thing and keep popping offspring as if I’m some kind of pod-carrying woman from the planet of spores.
Who am I to point out that Mac sales are on the decline in the post-PC era dominated by iPhones and iPads? Well, I can read the handwriting on the wall and it’s written in numbers so even I can understand the news.
There’s Down, And Double Down
Steve Jobs once said we’ve entered the post-PC era. That means the standard desktop and notebook PCs are descending, while the ascending curve is populated by smart phones and tablets.
Research firm Gartner released new numbers for worldwide and US PC shipments and the numbers are not pretty. Post-PC era, indeed.
According to the oft maligned (and usually rightly so) and overly expensive researchers at Gartner, Lenovo topped HP for the world PC shipment crown in 3Q 2012, but shipments for Dell and HP were down by double digits.
In the U.S., HP is still tops, Dell is far behind, and even further behind is Apple’s Mac line. Here are the big numbers.
HP’s US presence is down almost 20-percent, Dell just over 15-percent, and Apple is down. That’s right. Mac sales are down by over 6-percent. Obviously, tablets are not included in Gartner’s numbers.
What does that mean? The post-PC era is upon us. Apple already sells far more iPads than Macs, and Mac sales in recent years have been climbing higher (total units and market share), but may have peaked.
What happens after a peak? The long and winding road to oblivion? Probably not, but the handwriting is definitely legible. The world is moving to mobile computing. Left behind will be desktop and notebook computers. Including the Mac.
Gartner, of course, has their own way of counting, and their numbers don’t always jibe with numbers from, you know, real companies that make and sell stuff and actually have something to count at the end of the day.
Other factors are at play besides the trend toward mobile computing devices. The worldwide economy is weak, and that doesn’t portend well for more expensive desktop and notebook computers.
iPad competitors are selling smaller, less powerful tablets at close to manufacturing cost simply to drive market share and lock in customers, and keep fingers crossed for eventual profitability.
Apple will release financial information soon, so we’ll get a more accurate picture of how the Mac compares to iPad sales, and whether or not Gartner’s numbers are reflective of reality or their typical ‘reach low into the underwear and pull something out’ methodology.
The very fact that Apple sells far more iPhones and iPads than Macs should be a telling note. The future of computing is in the hand, not the lap or desktop. It may be years before iOS apps catch up to what we can do on a Mac, and my Mac is not likely to be relegated to the attic any time soon, but numbers don’t lie.