There is a perception out there that iPhone users are Mac users. Now before I say more, let me make it clear right now that this is NOT a “Which OS is best?” article. From a business perspective, the quality of the OS doesn’t matter to me as much as how many users of a particular OS are out there, and whether they will buy our software. I PREFER a high-quality OS because of the cool stuff we can do with it, but in the end its about which OS will pay the bills.
O.K., Disclaimer complete!
I’m still looking for a solid study on this, but from everything I’ve seen so far (based largely on our own sales information) it just isn’t true that iPhone User = Mac User. I think part of the reason for this is that according to one estimate, the total number of Mac users in the world (adjusting for recent increases in market share) is around 22,750,000. This doesn’t adjust down for the number of these Macs that are sitting on desks in computer labs of schools. So the number is probably lower. We’ll go with it though.
The total number of iPhones expected to be sold by end of this year is at least 14,000,000. This doesn’t account for the fact that a lot of the 3G sales were 1st gen users replacing their old phones. Still, like the 22m number, we’ll go with it.
So, what is a reasonable estimate for the number of Mac users who are buying iPhones? 20%? I’m betting this is high, based on what I know about smartphone ownership in general, but let’s go with this as a conservative number. I say conservative because 20% is 2 to 3 times the marketshare (depending on the estimate you use) of Mac in the computing market. So with 20% adoption rate I’m suggesting that Mac users are 3X more likely to buy an iPhone than a Windows user.
So, even at 20% adoption rate among Mac owners, this means that only 4.5 million of the 14 million iPhone users have Macs. That means that twice as many iPhone users have PCs. Throw in the fact that we also have a VERY big Windows Mobile market, and you can see why Windows has to be our first priority. To put it simply, Windows iPhone users are (at the moment) still where the money is.
At the same time, we absolutely see the value of Mac as a platform for our products. (I just saw a new build of eWallet for Mac the other day and it’s really coming along.) The reality though is that Mac isn’t a “core” platform yet. It falls into the “emerging” category. Of course as you all know, we don’t ignore emerging markets. Where you go, we go. It’s just that most folks aren’t there yet.
I hope that this article will help folks who say “Seriously, dude. Why on Earth do you have an iPhone version but no Mac version?” to better understand the numbers behind our decision making process.