In its first year, the Mac sold just 372,000 units. PC clones were reaching two million units, or six times the amount of sales of the Mac. And things got worse from there, climbing to a vertiginous 60x by 2004.
Now, though, according to everybody’s favorite Apple analyst and Christopher Walken soundalike Horace Dediu, the gap has dropped to just 2:1 – if you count iOS in with OS X.
The numbers are startling, and Dediu’s graphs are as ever a fantastic visualization of the data. Since the peak year for Microsoft – 2004 – Mac and then iOS sales have outpaced the PC to reverse Microsoft’s seemingly unsurmountable lead.
Counting just Mac sales, PCs still outsell OS X by 19x. But add in the iPad and iPhone and the number drops to just 2x, and with iPad and iPhone sales still growing like a cancer, it can’t be long before Apple is in the lead.
Is it fair to count iOS devices here? Hell, yes. The iPhone and iPad are legitimate computers – I’m writing this article on an iPad – and already outsell Apple’s own Macs. If you don’t think it’s fair, why don’t we add in Microsoft’s own phones and tablets, the Windows 7 phones and the Surface.
Wait. It makes no difference. The Surface is still a concept design which nobody has used, and Windows phones are hardly worth bothering with, sales-wise.
Of course, the Windows-installed base is still strong, and will surely remain dominant for years to come. But it’s sales that matter. Just ask RIM.