Asymco analyst Horace Dediu says this is the year that Apple devices outnumber Windows, although that comes with a big qualifier. He's comparing all Apple device sales -- meaning Macs, iPhones and iPads -- to Windows PCs, and while comparing all of Apple's product line to just a segment of the Windows market may not seem fair, it does illustrate the growing popularity of the Cupertino company's kit among consumers.
Based on Mr. Dediu's figures, Apple's Mac, iPhone and iPad marketshare has been on the rise and last year Windows PC numbers were only 1.18 times higher in comparison.
"In 2013 there were 18.8 times more Windows PCs sold than Macs. This is a reduction in the Windows advantage from about 19.8x in 2012," Mr. Dediu said. "This decline is mostly due to the more rapid decline in Windows PC shipments relative to the more modest decline in Mac unit shipments."
The boost the iPhone and iPad bring to Apple's overall marketshare is a big part of the company's overall increase in Mr. Dediu's charts. That said, the numbers show the Mac is trending up and has staying power.
"But the bigger story is how Apple's mobile platform has nearly reached the sales volume of Windows," he said. "In 2013 there were only 1.18 more Windows PCs than Apple devices sold. Odds are that in 2014 they will be at parity."
For the Apple to Windows comparison to be more fair, Mr. Dediu should've included Windows smartphone and tablet sales in his charts. Those numbers, however, may have been so insignificant that they wouldn't have changed the results.
Part of the reason for the shift towards Apple overall versus Windows PCs comes from consumers deciding to make buying decisions that aren't based on what platform they're expected to use at work. "In the 1980s and 1990s computing platform decisions were made first by companies then by developers and later by individuals who took their cues from what standards were already established," he said.
Now that trend has changed because individuals are making buying decisions about the mobile devices they use and aren't interested in business and government buying patterns. Mr. Dediu said, "The fundamental shift is therefore in the quantity of decision makers and the quality of those decisions."
Even with the ongoing rise in Apple device sales, don't expect Microsoft to crumble any time soon. What the numbers show is that Apple continues to gain popularity with consumers across its product line. Windows isn't going away, but neither is the Mac, or the iPhone.