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Mac Planet: It's a numbers game for Apple

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I'm often criticised for not giving 'reliable' numbers for Apple sales.

That's because, largely, they're simply not available. I do, however, believe that Macs run at about 11-12 per cent of the NZ PC market at, least, and that, roughly averaging all the countries in the world where Apple computers are sold, the figure is probably just over 10 per cent.

Mac haters like to factor in all those countries - well, almost whole continents - where Macs aren't really sold, like vast parts of Asia, Africa and India. If you do, the figure may be more like the one they wish for: around three per cent. But even that's a guess, so if you have better sources, do tell.

Trouble for you is, no matter what figure is correct, you don't like Apple selling anything, so it's a bit tough for you. Boo hoo. And what I find amusing is that some of the same people who chant 'Apple has no market share!' also tell me it's a monopoly.

Hello, you don't get to have it both ways. 'No market share' is mutually exclusive to 'monopoly': "the exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service". That's what the Oxford Dictionary of English describes it as, anyway, and I bow to its authority.

So Apple supplies the only iPads, yes, but there are other tablets, just as there are also loads of PCs out there; the shops are stuffed full of 'em.

So if Apple has a monopoly on iPads and Apple Macs, Braun has a monopoly on the Braun 3770 electric razor like Sunbeam has the monopoly on the KE9200SR kettle ... Yeah, it doesn't wash.

Anyway, some figures for some things are released, you'll be pleased (or not) to know, and I have collected some.

Let's start with some competitors. According to a presentation given by Andy Rubin in July 2010, Google expected to sell 10 million Android tablets a year in 2011 and 2012, to capture up to one third of the entire tablet market.

Google apparently used a Morgan Stanley estimate that the entire tablet market would be 46 million units in 2012 ...

But it's April 2012, and Apple has already sold over 67 million iPads.

Competitors are making inroads. Apple ended the last period's fourth quarter with 57 per cent of the global tablet market - it was 64 percent in the third quarter, says PC Mag.

That fourth quarter saw the release of the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook tablets. According to iSuppli, Amazon sold approximately 3.9 million Fire tablets during the quarter, while Barnes & Noble moved 1.9 million Nook tablets, for 14 per cent and 7 per cent of the market respectively. So it seems dedicated reader devices are doing well, whereas more general tablety things aren't. If they're not iPads anyway.

Samsung sold about 2.1 million of its Galaxy Tab tablets during the quarter and 6 million over the entire year. But Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads in the fourth quarter of the previous financial year (we just entered the third quarter for this year), which was an increase of 4.3 million over the third quarter.

Apple's second-quarter figures are quoted here:

I didn't make this up, it's IDC's figure, which had higher than iSuppli's for the Kindle Fire, which runs an Android OS, at 4.7 million units.

But while Amazon and Barnes & Noble took some tablet market share, iSuppli said that Apple didn't really lose out to either retailer, but to its own iPhone 4S: Apple shipped 37 million iPhones in the fourth quarter.

The more worrying aspect for other companies might be that around a quarter of iPad users have never owned Apple products. Where do you think they're going to put their tech dollars after good iPad experiences?

Anyway, while Apple's total percentage of tablet share is being nibbled at, it's made great progress in one area formerly resistant to Apple. Business.

The iPad as a platform accounted for 97.3% of all business tablet activations, according to mobile management and security vendor Good. This report is available as a PDF.

Good says all Apple iOS devices combined accounted for 79.9% of all device activations in business - a slight increase over the previous quarter. This includes the iPhone 4S at 37 per cent of the business activations. Broken out on a per-device basis, the iPhone 4S was most popular, and the five most frequently used devices were all iPhone or iPad models. After that came the Motorola Droid and Samsung Galaxy S II. All that choice ...

Remember HTC? It used to be a real player in the cell and smartphone markets. Around the time Apple announced its latest record-breaking quarter, HTC announced a huge 70% drop in profits (down to US$151.5 million) during the three-month period.

Chief Executive of the Taiwanese company, Peter Chou, specifically blamed the iPhone 4S for the company's poor financial results during an analyst briefing. Chou remained confident the company had better times ahead, but admitted that there's no chance it will see a return to the times it took 50% of its revenue from the US.

But hey, it's working on a Facebook phone.

Apple's Tim Cook reckons the coming third quarter won't be so grand for Apple, though. The second quarter was so good because Apple met demand for new iPads, as Apple did with the preceding 4S, almost immediately, so later pent-up sales demand has already levelled out compared to previous product phases.

Here are some more numbers: NDP reckons 33 per cent of US homes contain at least one Apple device.

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 114,235,996 households in the US. NPD found that, on average, homes with Apple products tend to have 2.4 Apple devices and 69 per cent include an iPod. Most Apple owning households aren't all-Apple - 58 per cent include a PC and 30 per cent include a non-Apple smartphone.

Even in my own house, we have many non-Apple devices. There's the toaster, the TV, the stereo...

And finally, what about online app sales? Apple launched the Mac App Store with over 1000 apps back in January of 2011. Apple now controls the largest and most vibrant PC software storefront in the world.

After 15 months, the Mac App Store now vends over 10,000 apps (the iOS App Store has in excess of 500,000 titles).

Apple announced the Mac App Store had passed 100,000 million downloads last December. Its success has led to other companies, like Microsoft, to look at similar strategies.

Both models have not been copied by other firms, though. I say this sincerely, since I have been informed by commenters that only Apple copies.

You have probably noticed that most smartphones and tablets look nothing like Apple's at all.

That's because nobody has copied Apple on anything.

Ever.

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