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MacBook launch: Will the new PCs cure Apple’s Achilles heel in India?

business Updated: Oct 27, 2016 17:42 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Anirban Ghoshal
Hindustan Times
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Apple shipped 4.4 million PCs worldwide in the second quarter of 2016, compared to 4.8 million in the second quarter of 2015 -- a drop of 8.3%. MacBook shipments were down too, from 2.1 million to 1.9 million.

Apple CEO Tim Cook seems to have taken up the challenge to turn India into its most profitable market outside the US and many would believe him as he revealed that iPhone sales have gone up by 50% in 2016 compared to last year.

But can Apple do the same with its new range of MacBooks? According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report, Apple has just seen a noticeable drop in shipments of its Mac range, a dip that is likely to be related to the long wait for the Pro update.

Apple shipped 4.4 million PCs worldwide in the second quarter of 2016, compared to 4.8 million in the second quarter of 2015 -- a drop of 8.3%. MacBook shipments were down too, from 2.1 million to 1.9 million.

Read more: Second leak: Apple MacBook Pro images with OLED touchbar leaked

And that isn’t just down to market forces. Other companies in the top five for US and worldwide PC shipments all posted better year-on-year comparisons, and HP, Dell, Lenovo and Acer all saw double-digit growth in the US shipments except for Lenovo which saw a small dip in worldwide shipments.

While HP, Dell and Asus all showed growth of over 4% in terms of shipments, Apple showed a decline of 8.3%. In terms of market share, Lenovo leads the segment with 21.2% followed by HP, Dell, Asus and Apple.

“In India, Apple has just 3.5% market share when it comes to laptops,” an industry source said. “The launch of new MacBooks will not affect the India market because of two reasons: Firstly, Apple is a more consumer product so Microsoft already has the advantage over it in the enterprise segment along with the fact that India is a Windows ecosystem market and secondly, the price of the new MacBooks will be a major deterrent,” the source added.

The source was hinting at the new Surface book and Surface Studio launch announcements made by Microsoft on Wednesday.

Read more: How and where to watch Apple’s MacBook launch event?

However, Tarun Pathak, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, says that Apple should focus more on the enterprise side to ramp up business in India. “Apple has just 2% of the entire PC market in India and in order to ramp up its business it needs to focus on the enterprise side of business,” he said adding that it will face stiff competition from Microsoft.

“In terms of global shipments, the acceptance of the product matters a lot and we will have to wait and see what kind of new changes are there in the product to make it acceptable to the market,” another industry expert said adding that the company was expected to launch the new notebooks with new USB ports and a new OLED bar instead of the function keys.

“There are also concerns that the latest iPhones also don’t come with USB Type-C cables which can be a problem for latest iPhone users,” he explained.

Apple is yet to comment on the issue.

But, Manish Yadav, associate research manager, IDC India believes that Apple products are making a comeback in India.

Read more: Cook thinks India is the next China, bets on 4G penetration for boosting iPhone sales

“India is a growing market for high-end lifestyle devices, where most of the Apple products are positioned. Apple’s customer base is growing and most of its customers are loyal, hence we anticipate the new MacBook will generate excitement among experience-centric consumers and revive Apple’s market share,” he said. He further said MacBooks were also seeing traction in enterprises due to superior user experience, secured environment and seamless connectivity.