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Apple Gaining Ground?

October 12th, 2005

There’s a new article from a publication called The Streets which claims that Apple’s retail market share shot up about 50% in the past year, from 4.3% to 6.6%. If true, that’s a significant amount. however, there are a few caveats. First, the article, linked to by many sites, has either been edited or changed–the quoted statistic no longer appears. Whether simply an error by the publication, an address mix-up, or a knowing decision to edit the article and leave out the information is not clear. I can’t find the claim made elsewhere (without quoting that changed article), so it’s up in the air. Other qualifications include the fact that this figure only quotes retail and not online sales, which would lower the number a bit, but would still represent a significant difference.

Nonetheless, there are factors that suggest that Apple’s market share is actually higher than most report. For example, Apple computers tend to last longer. If one company makes tennis shoes that are popular but wear out in a month and must be replaced, and another company makes higher-quality shoes that last for years, the former company would see more sales–but it does not mean that so many more people actually use the shoes. It just means they sell more. This is suspected with PCs and Macs, where Apple has maybe 5% of all computer sales, but more than 5% of computer users own an Apple.

Certainly Apple is still faring well with people who buy them. Customer satisfaction for Macs not only exceeds all other makers, but it exceeds all other makers by a wide margin–in both laptop and desktop models.

The current increase is seen as an iPod “halo” effect–people who buy iPods but use Windows see the high quality of the product and want to try the computers out as well. But starting next year, Apple will have a new inroad which will probably propel its sales even faster than they are increasing now. That will be the switch to Intel chips, making it possible to run not only Mac OS X, but Windows OS as well–both on a Mac, both at native speed. You can bet that there will be the ability to switch OS’s on the fly, by typing one key or another. And with that, a great many people will be perfectly willing to shell out a few hundred more bucks for a machine that has both in one. People can continue to use their old software on Windows, while at the same time get new software for the Mac OS, using both operating systems toward their strengths. It will suddenly become a lot cheaper to “switch” from PC to Mac.

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  1. ykw
    October 15th, 2005 at 11:17 | #1

    I visited an Apple store the other day and noticed that their monitors are very nice, and the lowest cost monitor is $800, when other computers stores offer more like $100 units. The Apple people are visually minded, and therefore, in the future, I think they’ll offer high end vPods w/ better monitors. They may even go to Hdtv quality, with a nice Apple premium price. Also, the batteries can only do so much, and such a vPod would need to be a bit larger to support the additional needed energy. Perhaps a micro 1″ wide viewer that attaches to glasses and is placed 2″ from the eye would help reduce battery consumption (less surface area, less light, less power). Perhaps that is the next step.

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