It wasn’t that many years ago when Apple was left for dead. ‘Pray’ said a Wired magazine cover page. As much as we loved Apple and the Mac, the future wasn’t all that bright; even for a few years after Steve Jobs returned.
That was then and this is now. Apple has risen from the ashes to become the world’s most valuable company; both in riches on hand, and stock market value. Along the way, Apple, once synonymous with the Mac, became the iPhone company because that’s where the customers are. But it wasn’t always that way.
Looking Through Windows
Microsoft’s Windows remains the single most used operating system on traditional desktop and notebook personal computers. That’s not likely to change any time soon, but the industry is changing, and the PC industry in particular is not growing. Just a few years ago, Windows was the world’s most used operating system. Those days are gone, too.
Today, Google’s Android OS is the most used operating system (yes, Android uses the Linux kernel so one could said Linux finally rules, but let’s keep it simple). Does that mean Microsoft comes in a close #2 with Windows 10? Almost. Microsoft announced that Windows 10 now has half a billion active users, thanks to an aggressive upgrade program launched a couple of years ago. Microsoft’s executives saw the success Apple had with iOS, and decided it was better to copy ’em and join ’em that going the route of same old same old.
Kudos to Microsoft for devoting so much effort to move the great unwashed masses of Windows PC users into the 21st century with Windows 10. Free helps, right? 500-million is a good number after a few years work.
That’s what Apple does every year and has been doing for years. Each spring or summer Apple announces a new version of iOS, then launches it with the iPhone in late summer or early fall, and a year later about 90-percent of all iPhone and iPad users have upgraded to the latest and greatest.
That’s not a bad feat. What kind of numbers are we talking about? Oh, I don’t know. How about a billion or so? The latest estimates say Apple has about 1.1-billion active customers, of which around 100-million or so are Mac users and the rest are iPhone and iPad users; so, about a billion.
To put that in perspective, Microsoft’s Windows marketshare has declined steadily in recent years, while both Android and iOS/macOS have increased steadily. Windows is #2 to Android’s #1, but Apple isn’t that far behind either one and the numbers– especially considering Apple’s dominance as a premium brand– are substantial at more than 1-billion.
That makes Apple’s customer base– and it grows every year– substantial, made even more so as Apple’s Mac, iPhone, and iPad customers are more engaged in their devices; purchase more apps, use their devices more frequently, upgrade their devices to new OS versions more often, and generally have more disposable income and higher education than their competitors. In other words, Apple’s customers are the customers that app vendors and accessory makers want to have.
Wherever you read a headline or hear news of Apple’s impending demise or missteps that could harm the company’s future, remember the user base. It’s growing. And those customers spend more money and are more loyal that Apple’s competitors.