updated 07:47 pm EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
IDC advances theory that iPad sales are cannibalizing Macs
Although Apple still retains about 10 percent of the US PC market and remains the fourth-place manufacturer, new preliminary numbers from market analyst firms IDC and Gartner note that Apple was the only top-five PC manufacturer to post negative growth from the year-ago quarter, dropping between 1.3 and 1.7 percent (the two firms disagree on the specifics). IDC says Apple now holds an even 10 percent, while Gartner says Apple has a 10.6 percent share.
IDC numbers for calendar Q2
Both IDC and Gartner believe Apple shipped about 1.68 million Macs in the company's fiscal third quarter, which ended on June 30. This would represent a small decline from the 1.7 million Macs it shipped in the year-ago quarter. Normally the slight decline would be seen as seasonal and normal -- but in light of double-digit growth by competitors, the drop has lead IDC to the conclusion that Apple's own iPads are cannibalizing some sales of notebook computers, the company's strongest-selling line of Macs.
Following a prolonged drought of sales in the overall PC industry, analysts likewise believe the current upswing is borne of consumers finally replacing their Windows XP-era machines, at least in the US market. This follows the formal end of support for XP by Microsoft and the increasing security threat the no-longer-updated OS version represents. The worldwide PC market is still down, but not as much as many had expected. IDC says shipments are down 1.7 percent for PCs worldwide from a year-ago, while Gartner claims shipments actually grew 0.1 percent based on reports of unusual growth from HP.
Gartner numbers for calendar Q2
Overall growth in the US PC sector is said by IDC to be up 6.9 percent (Gartner sees it as up 7.4 percent). If the figures hold true following Apple's next quarterly report to analysts, it will be only the second time in a number of years that Apple's Mac growth rate has been below the industry PC and notebook average.