Mac Sales Move Up, PCs Still on Top

Before we get bombarded with emails and angry comments, let's clear the air real quick. We're well aware that by a technical definition, a Mac is a PC (personal computer). But when we use the term, we're generally referring to Windows-based PCs (and sometimes Linux). Clear? Awesome.

That said, according to IDC's latest figures, Mac sales posted double-digit growth for the fourth quarter of 2010, while PC vendors like HP, Dell, and Acer all declined. Even so, Apple still dropped a couple of notches for the year's last quarter, falling to fifth place behind HP (No. 1), Dell (No. 2), Toshiba (No. 3), and Acer (No. 4).

Overall, there was weak demand for Macs and PCs in the fourth quarter, which the IDC attributed to "consumer fatigue."

"The U.S. market was expected to shrink year-over-year given the exploding growth experienced in the fourth quarter of 2009," IDC noted. "Growth steadily slowed throughout 2010 as weakening demand and competition from the Apple iPad constrained PC shipments."

The IDC also pointed out that 'good enough' computing experiences with existing PCs also played a role in weakened demand. Or in other words, the hardware has finally caught up, and surpassed, the software side (power users notwithstanding).