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Surging Mac From Apple
Apple\'s tremendous Mac sales in Q314 were a surprise -- however, 2015 could be a bigger surprise.

Terrific iPhone sales that Apple announced in Q314 as part of its quarterly earnings were impressive, but the best-ever Mac sales? Especially considering the PC market shrank overall, the Mac results were indeed a surprise.

The Apple Mac replaced the iPads to move up to number two, behind iPhones, in Apple\'s revenue chain. However, the iPad sales slid some 12% compared with 2013, but Apple still sold over 12 million tablets during the quarter, a number that exceeds the quarterly PC sales of all but the top two vendors in the world (Lenovo and HP).

Apple realized its record Mac sales despite not really participating in the Windows XP upgrade craziness that benefited many Windows OEMs. Clearly, it was a fantastic quarter for Macs.

The question is are rising Mac sales related to sliding iPad sales? Here are some thoughts and comments associated with Apple\'s record-setting Mac sales.

1. Many believe that Apple simply outperformed the rest of the PC industry. Analysts indicate the overall PC industry shrank slightly in Q314 which makes Apple\'s 20+% jump in units sold all the more impressive.

Smaller PC makers represented most of the industry\'s quarterly losses, with the top five PC vendors increasing shipments vs. a year-ago. However, Apple\'s 20+% increase was nearly twice that of any competitor.

Additionally, the top Windows PC vendors improved only compared to last year\'s poor sales benchmarks. Apple, on the other hand, delivered its best Mac numbers against any historical comparison.

Further, most businesses garnered much of their PC growth with Windows XP\'s end-of-life deadline creating an increase in demand for Windows 7 PCs. However, Windows 8 and 8.1 PCs continue to post relatively poor sales.

Apple\'s computers still cost more than $1,200 on average. Macs have traditionally been more profitable than PCs and if Mac sales volume continues to climb in 2015, Apple will lead the PC industry in profit by a significant margin.

Apple claims its PC market share is higher than it\'s been since 1995. Analysts estimate that Apple was the fifth largest PC vendor during the quarter, with a bit more than 6% market share. However, analysts missed Mac sales estimates by several hundred thousand units,

2. Mac sales essentially validate a strong Apple\'s product strategy. Apple released its starte-of-the-art 5K iMac, but other 2014 refreshes have been much more modest based on Intel\'s manufacturing problems and delay of next-generation processors.

The Mac updates seem uninspiring, but Apple wisely cut prices when it announced this year\'s refreshed models, thus giving customers more power for less money compared to last year\'s offerings. The company also introduced a lower-cost iMac.

With the new prices, Macs\' average selling price dropped by approximately $50. compared to the previous quarter. The tactic led to a 25% quarter-over-quarter increase in sales. For Apple, a loss of $50 per sale must seem pretty small considering the volume tradeoff and dominant position it has created in the high-profit PC market.

3. Apple\'s momentum will more than likely probably continue. 2015 could be even bigger. Apple will continue to enjoy the increases associated with its new pricing strategy throughout the holidays. In the first half of 2015, the company will likely introduce its long-rumored MacBook Air with Retina Display. Strong sales are anticipated. MacBook Pros are also due for a more substantial refresh.

Retina-level versions of Apple\'s smaller iMac will likely arrive late next year. The Mac Pro, meanwhile, will probably get an upgrade as well.

Windows will remain a major enterprise force for a variety of reasons, but Macs have become more common in the enterprise over time. In recent surveys of business technology professionals, over 30% of respondents indicated their organizations support OS X. Windows PCs still outnumber Macs in many of these environments, but with Windows 10 still many months away, the conditions might be right for Macs to expand even more.

4. Apple doesn\'t figure to release any touchscreen Macs in 2015.

Windows OEMs continue to embrace touch-enabled PCs, but Apple has remained resistant to the concept. Don\'t expect that to change. However, everyone knows that Apple has experimented with touchscreen Macs, but so far the execs feel it just wasn\'t any good enough. Apple execs have frequently argued that touchscreens are awkward for desktop use and that PC gesture input is best left to trackpads.

However, what Apple likes today isn\'t always what Apple likes tomorrow. Steve Jobs often bashed both large phones and small tablets, but Apple now makes both. Apple is expected to release the so-called iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch screen sometime in 2015.