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Mac usage is growing rapidly, but iOS still outpaces it by about 10 times

Digital Trends

Apple may have let slip the number of Mac users during its legal battle with Epic. Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, revealed on the stand that the Mac’s active user base is just one-tenth the size of the iOS install base, according to Mark Gurman‘s Twitter coverage of the trial for Bloomberg.

For comparison, when Apple launched its Apple TV+ video streaming service in late 2019, Oprah Winfrey revealed that iOS was installed on a billion devices, though the famed television personality did not give a specific breakdown.

“They’re in a billion pockets, y’all. A billion pockets,” Winfrey had said on stage at the time during Apple’s TV+ launch keynote. Winfrey did not specify if that figure includes iPad users as well.

However, if we use Winfrey’s suggested billion device tally as a baseline, then there should be approximately 100 million active Mac users. Apple’s aggressive push of its own M1 silicon on recent devices like the iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini should help that number grow. During the first quarter of 2021, the overall PC market, which counts desktops and laptops, grew 55.2% year-over-year, according to IDC numbers, while Gartner conservatively reported a growth rate of 32%.

Gartner had reported that during the first quarter of the year, Apple commanded an 8% market share of PC shipments, up by 48.6% from the same quarter of 2020. Apple shipped 5,572,700 units during the quarter. IDC‘s more aggressive estimates placed Apple on a 111.5% growth rate for the same quarter, year-over-year. Fueling Apple’s strong growth is the company’s transition to its own silicon and away from Intel processors. These numbers do not account for the completely redesigned iMac, which only recently started shipping.

Apple’s growth amid a market constrained by semiconductor shortages during the global health pandemic is remarkable. And given that Apple isn’t quite finished with its transition away from Intel, we expect the company to continue to drive strong demand for new Macs. Apple is also rumored to be working on design overhauls for future versions of its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, and a more compact version of the Mac Pro with an even stronger M-series processor under the hood is hotly anticipated.

We will likely hear more about the state of the Mac and Apple’s product line next month at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. In the past few years, Apple have been bringing some features from iOS to the Mac while at the same time porting some MacOS designs to the iPhone and iPad. The company, however, has been steadfast in keeping the iPad and the Mac separate, so fans won’t see a touchscreen Mac any time soon.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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