Does iPhone User = Mac User?

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.

29 thoughts on “Does iPhone User = Mac User?

  1. Ken

    Mac user for a year, waiting for my most favorite PC software, ListPro, to be compatible with the Mac and the iPod Touch. Do not have an iPhone.

  2. Paul

    Here is the basic setup in my house:
    I am a long time user of eWallet and ListPro. I use Vista and I just purchased an iPhone so that I can finally dump my iPAQ. My wife uses Mac with a Blackberry, and she runs XP on her Mac via Parallels. However, she does not use either eWallet or ListPro (yet).

    I plan to upgrade my eWallet this coming holiday weekend so that I can use it on my new iPhone. Additionally, I plan to purchase a copy for my wife to use on her Mac (the virtualized XP portion). I’m still a bit confused by the whole FlexWallet/eWallet integration, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out this weekend. Our goal is to standardize our applications as much as we can, so that we can share our data. Once you have eWallet Desktop for the Mac, my wife will upgrade to it as she prefers to run all apps in the Mac OS.

    The downside for you at Ilium Software is that I will also be purchasing a competitor’s product, SplashShopper. I will be porting all my ListPro lists to SplashShopper so that I can use a desktop client and an iPhone application. Unfortunately, I cannot wait any longer for the iPhone version of ListPro. I would love to be part of your Alpha or Beta programs for ListPro on the iPhone. As a Software Architect, I would be happy to put the pre-release versions through some shake-out testing.

  3. Ken (a different one)

    Marc I doubt there is any correlation between OS and iPhone adoption rate. The iPhone was the first and in my estimation still is the best smart phone out there. The fact that it was developed by Apple gave it instant credibility but the OS is uses has no relation to the OS I use on my notebooks and desktops. For the record I use Windows XP and Vista on my computers and dumped a Motorola Q in favour of the iPhone.

    All that having been said I may have to obtain a Mac only because I am interested in developing an ap for the iPhone and that can only be done I understand on a Mac.

    I already use eWallet for the iPhone, you convinced me to purchase Kings Corner and I am patiently waiting for ListPro. Are you going to let us know the decision you made based on your survey?

  4. Ken (a different one)

    Clarification: The iPhone was the first and in my estimation is still the best of the Touch Screen Type smart phones out there.

  5. JB

    Hmmm, most mac users have come to except such things…

    Even though good software (like ListPro and eWallet) are held back from the platform it also means that all the rubbish software that is developed just to make a quick buck is also absent… A situation that I’m quite happy with.

    I purchased an iPhone so that it would play nice with my mac – a welcome relief after struggling in the early days of windows/pocket pc sync and then mac / windows mobile “sync”. I’ve used ListPro and eWallet for the last 10 years and would use an account on my wife’s windows machine just for syncing eWallet and ListPro when I moved to a mac a few years ago.

    I think most mac users that are passionate about the platform learn to become patient while waiting for great software solutions to transition the gap.

  6. JFA

    Its a cat and mouse game…

    Many users don’t consider “emerging platforms” because developers fail to assign the proper resources to offer their applications in those platforms. At the same time developers expect a larger platform usage before even bothering assigning resources to develop in that platform. And when they do assign, it is not in a timely manner.

    Is it up to whom to break this vicious cycle?

    In the mean time that is why Virtual Machines are a great invention… the best of many worlds, in one computer, without the wait.

  7. Dean

    I just hope you release the MAC version for eWallet before years end as we all had hoped for. You will make a ton of money off eWallet for MAC.

    Sounds like the request for a MAC version of eWallet are so overwhelming that they have rattled a few cages?

    I have three new MAC computers at home now and hate using Windows. I could go into great detail as to support that statement, however, its really the same explanation that everyone else gives for loving their MAC over their PC.

    You mention you seen a new build of eWallet for MAC, can you comment on a release date? Still before years end?

  8. vi

    Switched to Mac OS nearly a couple of years ago though still use Windows with one reason being eWallet desktop version.

    As a long time user of eWallet first on Windows Mobile and now on iPhone I am eagerly waiting for the Mac OS version. Glad to hear it is coming along well. Any idea on release date?


  9. Trevor

    My disclaimer is that I own both platforms and use both actively. I also carry both an iphone and a blackberry and before that carried various pocket pc’s. And all of the following are just my guesses as a consumer.

    There are companies out there going facing the opposite issue. I think a lot of 100% mac developers jumped on the iphone, and many times the iphone apps have a Mac OS client and no solution for the PC, or one is being worked on. I think that the purely Mac OS developers use that to their advantage because they are perceived as being part of the Mac community with a passionate userbase. I think those devs may grab a large percent of the Mac + iphone users and primarily PC developers will grab the PC market even if they have a products out at the same time.

    For a dev to capture both sides I think they would have to be a new company with a new product that releases to Mac and PC at the same time.

    The only time I was a true OS fanatic was with the Commodore Amiga. I hated the Mac OS that was out back then and my PC was too plain and boring.

    I’m just relieved that I have ewallet for my iphone

  10. Anthony

    Ken says:

    “The iPhone was the first and in my estimation is still the best of the Touch Screen Type smart phones out there.”

    Huh? The first touch smartphone? Ken where you been living, under a rock? The iPhone is a conglomeration of many technologies that have been available on smart phones (i.e. Windows Mobile, Nokia Symbian, Blackberry) for the better part of a decade.

    The Windows Mobile (Pocket PC) platform has been touch enabled for a LONG time. There have been many third party touch interfaces for it.

    The thing Apple has been good at is advertising their products. In that respect, many newbies (such as Ken) figure that it must be the first. Simply put, they are only annoucing to the general public what power users have known (and had) for years.

    Want an iPhone killer? Check out the new lineup of Windows mobile devices. True VGA resolution (twice that of an iphone). Compatible with all the software you would ever want (including the complete Ilium lineup). Don’t like having a slider QWERTY keyboard? Get the Touch Diamond. Want a keyboard, get the Touch Pro. They are so hot and in demand that all the big carriers now have them (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T Fuze). They are not expensive either an can be had for $200 with a contract.

    I’m simply sick and tired of the iPhone hype. It was novel, its neat, but its not the Holy grail. Is it the best out there? In one word. No.

  11. Stef

    Anthony, you should not be so offensive! You are right that Apple didn’t create everything in the iPhone. They sure have built the most intuitive user interface to date, but not all the other technologies and/or capabilities available in the iPhone.

    That being said, you are not as right as you may think when you go on in your argument with your statement:

    “Want an iPhone killer? Check out the new lineup of Windows mobile devices. True VGA resolution (twice that of an iphone). Compatible with all the software you would ever want (including the complete Ilium lineup). Don’t like having a slider QWERTY keyboard? Get the Touch Diamond. Want a keyboard, get the Touch Pro.”

    The HTC offerings are tentatives to compete with the iPhone. Windows Mobile does have a lot of applications to offer, but the interface is the one most complex in a smartphone, making tons of potential new users walk away. What am I basing myself on to make such statements you might ask? Well, it turns out I am a project manager for a big firm in charge of a project where I have to evaluate all wireless handheld (smartphones, UMPC, Netbooks, etc.) available or coming to the market. I have extensively studied the subject for over a year now and Windows Mobile does suffer from some major drawbacks with regards to the user interface and the performance. Windows Mobile is really good for technically knowledgeable people, but it is not for the standard mainstream user.

    I’ll finish this comment by congratulating the guys at Ilium for their great products on all platforms! By offering solutions for all platforms, they’ll be sure to remain important players in the long run.

  12. Anthony

    Sorry Stef if I sounded offensive in my comments. I tend to be a bit rough on the edges, but my facts are sound. Windows Mobile phones this year are sporting new user interfaces that simply rock.

    No longer should anyone compare iPhone to last generation Windows Mobile. The TouchFlo3D interface on these new models simply puts the iPhone interface to shame and is very mainstream. My grandparents just picked up two of these phones and find them extremely easy to use. For any user seriously considering an iPhone they need to look at the new competition out there. The reason I post on this blog is because I had a iPhone 3G, sold it and opted for a next gen Windows Mobile device.

    Anyway, I digress with a tangent of this blog so please accept my apology for that. My 2 cents on the topic. Mac OS is nice and pretty stable these days and I’d consider running it if I did not already have such an investment in M$ products.

    Hats off to Ilium though for bridging the gap and making the products for all OS types, be they handheld or not. I wonder if an Android version on the horizon?

  13. Andre Nuse

    In the past I was a PC/PDA user and and avid user of eWallet and ListPro. I loved those programs and my wife as well and yes, I did buy the second license.
    Nearly two years ago, Vista happened and it made me look real hard. After long deliberations with my wife, we made the total switch to the more superior OSX.
    We now own an iMac, a Mac Pro, a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air. And 2 iPhones, of course. We have never looked back – goodbye M$!
    We sorely miss eWallet and Listpro on our Macs, even if we have eWallet on our iPhones. We still have to sync with the only remaining PC in the house. What a bother! We sincerely hope that the Mac application will come very soon now.

  14. Brian

    PC User at Work (actually a PC Application Developer!) BUT I use Macs at home and an Iphone on a Mac. I run Parallels & Windows on my Mac only for my eWallet software because I think eWallet is the best thats out there.
    I miss the easy syncing that Mac OS would/Could have with my iPhone & eWallet

  15. Ken (a different one)

    @ Anthony
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion as I fee I am mine.

    Rest assured I spent hours in stores examining every smart phone available to me and none of them matched my needs as well as the iPhone did.

  16. John Martinec

    iPhone and Mac user……waiting for eWallet OSX version. Hopefully soon!! Tired of booting back in to windows to sync my iPhone eWallet.

  17. Elvin Torres

    Just ordered my first Mac computer today as my desktop is on it’s way out the door. One of my hesitations in switching was the lack of a Mac Desktop client for E-Wallet. I am hoping this comes in the next few weeks, if not I may be purchasing VM Ware just to run EWallet and maybe one or 2 other Windows Apps on my new machine. Would rather give my money to the folks Ilium Soft than VM Ware. So looking forward to the new Mac release!

  18. Jeffrey

    I’m an iPhone and a Mac user. I think as people see the quality of Apple products such as the iPod and iPhone, they will look to other Apple products such as the Mac. Personally, I got sick of Vista and bought a Macbook Pro. Apple is the only computer maker that is increasing their market share right now… they must be doing something right!

    Please release eWallet Mac as soon as possible! I’m sick of booting into WinXP to sync my wallet!

  19. Tom

    As others have commented, it is now past due for a Mac iPhone eWallet (and ListPro) solution. I have been using the Windows mobile + Windows Desktop versions of eWallet for years, quite happily. I am looking to leave the Windows solution behind and be all Mac, but Ilium has not provided that avenue. I do not have easy access to a Windows WiFi setup for transfer of the multitude of passwords I’ve already accumulated in eWallet. I spoke with Ilium by phone, was supposed to have been put on a mailing list to hear of progress for the Mac Solution, have heard nothing.

    There are customers waiting, who want to support Ilium on the Mac, but are looking for alternate solutions rather than waiting for a vague possible future release. I hope Ilium can deliver. Only so long I can wait

  20. Kim Roeder

    I have been using ListPro on my palm products forever. I always have used a Mac, so had no onscreen support, but eventually got Bootcamp just so I could have the onscreen version of Listpro. I just switched to iPhone from Treo and am breathlessly awaiting your release of ListPro as I stumble along with second rate versions of list software.
    But other family members with iPhones have both platforms (although they prefer using their mac to sync their iPhones) and are happy doing so. They left their Windows Mobile phones with great delight. We also have the linux computer scientist son who works for a research group and his opinions are directly opposed to anything shiny and pretty that has too much proprietary control. He still uses a black and white Palm Pilot.
    So i suspect you are right. Of my three sons, only one is buying into the mac=new, mac=best dream and he is pragmatically running two pc’s along with his iMac. For myself, the sooner we can have ListPro for iPhone the better, and I’m used to switching over to Bootcamp to run half my software. I’ll take what I can get!

  21. John

    I already posted the fact I was a Mac and iPhone user. I went back and read your blog on this again. I am starting to worry if we will see a OSX version of eWallet. Back in the summer when you didn’t have a wallet solution ready at the launch of the app store, you were pretty vocal about the fact it would be available soon and a version for OSX ready by the end of the year. Well, we are down to weeks away and I am willing to bet there will be no OSX eWallet in 2008. After reading your blog I wonder if it will be released at all. I already moved on to another list program and I have become very comfortable using it and may not buy ListPro. Wallet sync and Quicken are the last two items keeping me tied to Windows. Once Quicken releases finacial life for Mac, eWallet will be the only thing left for me to continue using Windows.

  22. Rob Lanciault


    I am a mac user. I used to have a microsoft computer but will never again waste my money. Please try and develop a mac based version of ewallet.
    Just a suggestion, I am sure there are many Unix/linux porgrammers who would assist you just for the sake of being able to do it. Try posting an add in the Unix gorums and I am sure you will get help

  23. Dean

    Well ilium? Whats your response to all the post and the pressing question… When will the MAC version of eWallet be released?

  24. Jan Stuijfzand

    i am using listpro for years on pc and ipaq. since using iphone > 1 year desperately seeking good program as listpro. still use it on my paralllels/xp platform but definitely need a good database program for iphone. i am not convinced following this discussion that listpro for iphone will see the light. that would be a pity, but please be clear about it so i can switch to other software. will mean to copy thousands of lines/codes etc.

  25. Jim W

    I too am waiting for the Mac version of eWallet. Trying to decide if I want to buy the iPhone version now, having to enter all the data on the iPhone, or wait until the Mac version is out and do it on a full keyboard (at least I assume that is a function of the desktop version).

    But don’t let me rush you. Of course nobody wants a piece of software rushed to market. But if you’re looking for a beta tester, well, you have my email!

  26. Paul H

    My concern is nothing to do with which OS is best, which OS has a greater volume of users, how you choose to massage the figures, whatever. My concern is Ilium’s market credibility. Ilium committed to a Mac solution by year’s end. Presumably the company had the professionalism to dedicate its resources accordingly to achieve that commitment.

    This latest blog entry smells like a ‘soft’ warning that the promised Mac OS syncing solution is not anywhere near ready for the promised delivery date. This is reminiscent of the belated Windows sync update. Marketing and selling products is based on integrity and, thereby, reputation. When you sell a product based on commitments to deliver OS updates, you have a responsibility to honour those commitments in a timely manner.

    Ilium enjoyed unusually bountiful good will from many Mac/Mobile websites when eWallet was launched in the AppStore – despite many questioning the company’s actual commitment to the platform. If you think the Mac customer base is small, watch the size of the impact on sales (across all platforms) if that vocal minority feel they were deliberately misled and start generating negative publicity. A good reputation is hard won but easily lost.

    My suggestion: forget the blog entries trying to explain away the lack of progress on the Mac version. Meet your previously stated commitment using whatever resources are required.

  27. Michael Parness

    I have the iphone but am a pc user. I guess people just stick with what works for them, I can’t imagine switching to a mac but i got the iphone just because it was the first of its kind and now I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

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