Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Chart of the day: A decade of Apple 'computer' sales

January 30, 2013: 9:08 AM ET

Why Apple is happy to cannibalize its own PC business

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 5.43.51 AM

Source: SplatF

FORTUNE -- At the end of a post analyzing the factors that led to a 22% drop (16%, by weekly stats) in Mac sales last quarter -- the biggest decline in 10 years -- SplatF's Dan Frommer offers the chart above. It's a graph showing what a decade of Apple's (AAPL) computer sales would look like if -- as Steve Jobs suggested -- you counted the iPad as a computer.

"When we were an agrarian nation," Jobs said in 2010, "all cars were trucks, because that's what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn't care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. … PCs are going to be like trucks. They're still going to be around, they're still going to have a lot of value, but they're going to be used by one out of X people. … I think that we're embarked on that. Is the next step the iPad? Who knows? Will it happen next year or five years from now or seven years from now? Who knows? But I think we're headed in that direction."

Jobs could have gone one step further. If PCs are trucks and tablets are cars, maybe smartphones are motorbikes.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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