FORTUNE -- Needham's Charlie Wolf has been following Apple (AAPL) long enough to still care what's happening to the Mac,* and on Tuesday he took a crack at explaining why the company's most venerable product line (it turns 30 in January) seems to have, as he puts it, "fallen back to earth."
Beginning in 2005, and for 26 quarters in a row, Mac sales outgrew the industry -- nearly coinciding with a 7.5-year stretch in which Apple's share of the worldwide PC market increased from 2.1% to 5.3% (152%) and its revenue share rose from 3.2% to 11.9% (272%).
That streak ended abruptly in January, when Apple couldn't deliver the newest iMacs in sufficient quantities to meet demand. Mac sales fell 22.1% in a quarter in which the broader market fell 6.6%.
Wolf is less concerned with that one-time event -- which Tim Cook admitted was a screw-up and which appears in the attached chart as a sharp V at calendar Q4 2012 -- as he is with what happened for several quarters before and after.
The Mac is still outpacing the industry, but just barely and only because its sales are falling more slowly than everybody else's.
Why PC sales growth has collapsed is no mystery. The market is largely saturated and most of the money for new purchases is being funneled into smartphones and tablets.
Harder to explain is why the Mac, which used to outgrow the industry by 20% to 30%, is now shrinking at nearly the same rate.
Wolf confesses that he has no "ready explanation," but he does offer a couple of theories:
*For the record, the Mac generated $21.5 billion in revenue for Apple in fiscal 2013, 13% of the company's total sales and more than the total revenue of 368 of the companies in the Fortune 500.
According to Asymco's Horace Dediu, whom Wolf quotes, the Mac's share of PC profits was 45% in March, almost equal to the profit share of all Windows PC companies combined.
One in four U.S. iPad owners tell NPD it's their first Apple product
FORTUNE -- It used to be the iPod that got Americans started down the road to dependency. Now, according to a new NPD survey, their first Apple (AAPL) product is more likely to be an iPhone or, increasingly, an iPad.
To quote the NPD press release:
"While over 70 percent of long-standing Apple owners began their relationship with the brand by way MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 26, 2012 8:59 AM ET
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