How the ‘M factor’ helped Apple get its Mac mojo back

Last year in May we wrote about how it looked like Apple’s ‘breakup’ with Intel seemed to have paid off. It was then just a couple of quarters since the launch of M1 processor and Apple had posted strong revenue figures from the sales of Mac devices. Then the M1 processor was still in the infancy stage and hadn’t really taken full flight — some might argue it still hasn’t. However, in 2022 Apple pushed the M1 processors across all Mac devices and introduced really powerful variants. While the MacBook Pro, and Mac Studio are still out of reach — too expensive for ‘regular’ buyers — the M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air offer really good value. And the results are there for Apple. “The last seven Mac quarters have now been the top seven quarters ever in the history of the Mac,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with CNBC.

A report by Canalys has Apple as the number one PC maker. However, Canalys, unlike a few other research firms, includes tablets in its numbers as well. So Apple really isn’t the number one laptop/desktop maker but yes, if one includes tablets then it certainly is, as per the report by Canalys. Even then — that is without the iPad sales — the Mac numbers are really impressive. A report by Counterpoint Research suggests that Apple is the only brand to grow in the PC market. Counterpoint report reveals that sales of Mac devices went up by 8% in the first quarter of 2022. On the other hand, HP shipments declined by 16% whereas Lenovo saw a drop of 10%, as per Counterpoint research. Once again, the Mac is ‘cool’
Proper to its move from Intel to M1, the MacBook used to be really good but there were issues. For instance, the butterfly keyboard issue that cropped up with the MacBook Pro. There was an experiment with the Touch Bar. The ports were removed and left quite a few people disappointed. With the launch of M1 processors, Apple slowly started to get things right again. The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro variants got the ports back and a new industrial design. The one thing, however, about the Mac was the longevity factor and that remained unchanged.
The thing with a Mac is that it will — barring mishaps and bad luck — last you for a long time, at least longer than Windows-based PCs. The high-end premium models from the likes of Dell and HP are genuinely impressive machines and can match the MacBooks on several counts. But the M1 processor is an Apple product and that comes with its own seal of approval for many buyers. As Prabhu Ram, head, industry intelligence group, CyberMedia Research, puts it, “With the M1 chip, Macs now cater to what power users are seeking from their PCs – improved performance and better battery life.”We have tested two — out of the four — M1 processors and they do offer a lot more than the Intel-based Mac devices that are still out there. The battery life is excellent and the M1 processors hardly break any sweat for day-to-day life. The added incentive of regular OS updates to the Mac goes heavily in the favour of MacBooks. What also works in the favour of Mac devices, as per Ram, is that “where M1 plays a role is in building a strong case with its capability enhancements to appeal to PC users to embrace the Mac.”Ram further believes that Apple does not face challenges in convincing its Mac loyalists to upgrade to newer-generation Macs because of its “enduring aspirational value.”The overall PC market has been on a decline. Global PC shipments fell 4.3% YoY in Q1 2022 to reach 78.7 million units, according to Counterpoint Research Global PC tracker. Ram, however, feels that PCs will continue to be at the centre of work, learn, and play. “Over the course of the pandemic, PCs have become essential life drivers as companion devices for education or work. While the pandemic pent-up demand has been majorly satiated, we continue to see demand for PCs with enhanced performance, for use cases such as gaming or content creation, among others,” he adds.