updated 01:36 am EDT, Wed August 21, 2013
Total Mac percentage of Apple revenue to drop to 11 percent next year
A new report from industry analyst NPD has predicted that Mac sales will see a small year-over-year decline in sales again, mostly (and somewhat ironically) due to the industry-wise cannibalization of traditional PCs by the iPad. While still likely to beat the industry average rate of decline, Apple had until last quarter been able to continue growing Mac demand thanks to a greater emphasis on notebook sales. Apple missed expectations for Mac sales last quarter, but may have a chance to reverse its fortunes in its fiscal first quarter this winter.
While the company and the media's focus on new products tend to center around the iPhone and iPad lines, Apple's Macs are likely to see some updates in the fall -- though probably too late to avoid the predicted calendar Q3 drop in overall Mac sales. The company is likely to offer refreshed, Haswell processor-sporting MacBook Pros that will feature greatly increased battery life -- along with a redesigned Mac Pro that has a lot of pent-up demand, and possibly a slightly improved iMac model. This alongside expected high sales of the forthcoming OS X Mavericks (10.9) should provide a shot in the arm, though whether it is enough to combat the industry-wide malaise in PC sales is yet to be seen.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has told clients that Apple saw flat growth in its Mac business in July, but noted that while international sales of Macs were up, the domestic sales were down 12 percent in the previous quarter. The two trends almost cancelled each other out, but Apple reported selling 200,000 fewer Macs (for a total of 380,000) in calendar Q2 than it had the year before (4 million). Current estimates from Munster for the third quarter show Apple selling 4.65 million Macs by September 30 -- a notable rise from the previous quarter, but well short of the 4.9 million it sold in calendar Q3 a year ago.
On top of the bad news for the Mac in the near-term, Munster believes the Mac will only account for 11 percent of Apple's revenues in 2014, and only nine percent by 2015. The company's dedicated music player line, the iPod, is expected to fare even worse: Munster believes that North American sales of the iPod will be down 20 percent or more year-over-year as consumers increasingly rely on the iPhone or iPad to serve the functions the iPod used to handle. New, longer-range Bluetooth 4.0 headsets that are forthcoming to market may further erode iPod sales.