Forty years ago this week, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) turned the world on its head with the introduction of the Macintosh — the first ever personal computer.
Investors once placed outsized importance on Mac sales figures and growth rates, but as it increasingly becomes a smaller percentage of the company’s overall revenue base, Apple is attempting to somewhat shift the narrative.
In 2000, the Mac accounted for 86% of Apple’s revenue. Since then, the company has introduced a number of other products, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad. In fiscal 2023, the Mac accounted for just 7.7% of company revenue, dwarfed by the iPhone at 52.2%.
Mac sales have grown more than four times over the past two decades (accounting for $29.4B in annual revenue last year), while total company sales have surged nearly 50 times during the same period.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mac hit new records as employees worked from home and updated their computers. With the pandemic in the rear view mirror, Apple’s Mac-related fortunes have tumbled. In the past three quarters, Mac year-over-year revenue has declined 31.3% 7.3% and 33.8%, respectively.
The Mac has become less important from a revenue standpoint than Apple’s Wearables, Home and Accessories segment, as evidenced by recent quarterly trends.
(Credit: Seeking Alpha)
The Mac lineup has changed drastically in 40 years, as it now includes six models in varying configurations as Apple tries to reverse the recent downslide.
Apple unveiled several new Macs at a surprise event in October, including new versions of the MacBook Pro with M3 processors and a refreshed iMac desktop.
Apple also announced updated Macs in January 2023.
Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri said on its most recent earnings call that Mac sales should accelerate from the September quarter, due in part to new products and a broader rebound in the PC industry, as evidenced by recent results from Dell (DELL) and HP (HPQ).
Chief Executive Tim Cook also touted the Mac’s importance both in the present and to the company’s future.
“We’re continuing to innovate at a tremendous pace,” Cook said on the call, noting nearly two out of three college students now use a Mac.
Customer satisfaction for the Mac continues to remain high, especially in the US, where it’s at 83%, tied with Samsung (OTCPK:SSNLF), according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And with the company continuing to push the boundaries for its Apple Silicon processors, the Mac is still a huge part of Apple’s future, senior vice president of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak said recently.
“The Mac is the foundation of Apple… and today 40 years later it remains a critical part of our business,” Joswiak said in an interview with The Verge. “The Mac will always be part of Apple. It’s a product that runs deep within the company, and defines who we are.”
(This is part one of a two-part series looking at Apple’s past and future.)