When Apple first introduced the iPad back in 2010 it was heralded as a "magical and revolutionary device" that would play a part in the "post-PC" era of devices. In the subsequent years since the launch of the iPad, many have debated whether the laptop is dead and the PC era over. That hasn’t quite happened yet. While the iPad continues to sell well even as sales decline, today’s Apple financial figures paint the clearest picture yet. Apple now earns more money from Macs than it does from iPads. Apple’s iPad business took over its MacBook business back in 2011 in terms of revenue, and has taken over its entire Mac business consistently for a number of years now. That’s starting to reverse today.
The turnaround casts doubt on the "post-PC revolution"
Apple made $5.6 billion in revenue from its Mac sales in the most recent quarter, and $5.4 billion in iPad revenue. At the same time, Apple sold 12.6 million iPads in the recent quarter vs. 4.5 million Macs. The surprise revenue turnaround casts some doubt on Apple’s "post-PC revolution" with the iPad. Apple’s iPad sales have been decreasing consistently in recent quarters, and Apple doesn’t have an answer to counter the trend. Rumors of an iPad Pro with a stylus have surfaced over the past year, but Apple has only chosen to refresh its line with very few improvements. A decrease in iPad sales is likely related to consumers not refreshing tablets as much, a lack of big improvements to the iPad, and the fact that smartphones are still revolutionizing the industry more than tablets.
Apple CEO Tim Cook famously rejoiced at iPad sales beating rival manufacturer’s PC sales, at the peak of iPad popularity. It’s no longer beating Apple’s own PC sales revenue, and without a major change to the iPad this could be a trend that continues. Despite this, Apple is seeing impressive growth on the Mac side. A 10 percent increase year-over-year in Mac sales has helped push revenues past the iPad level, and Apple has been consistently bucking the trend of a PC market in decline. Perhaps that's exactly why the new 12-inch MacBook exists. As for Cook, he still believes in the iPad. "It is what it is. It will play out, and at some point it will stabilize," Cook told analysts when asked about the lackluster iPad sales. "I am not sure precisely when, but I’m pretty confident it will."