Today we're learning that Gartner is forecasting that this is the year that shipment of devices running Apple's iOS and macOS will outnumber those running Windows. Who saw that possibility on the horizon when Steve Jobs returned to Apple back in 1996? I'll tell you who, no one. But if this news actually materializes, it would have been the crown that Steve Jobs would have smiled about. Beating that loud mouth Ballmer and copycat Gates would have made his day thinking back to the humble beginnings of Apple's first iMac.
Patently Apple covered the Gartner report on January 4 under the byline "Gartner Sees 2017 as a Stagnating Year for the Tech Sector." There was no official word from Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, about Apple devices with their respective OSs possibly overtaking Windows 10 devices. So we're left having to believe that Atwal's added commentary, exclusive to Computerworld, actually took place.
Computerworld notes in their report that "In 2017, Apple's combination of iOS and macOS -- the former on iPhones and iPads, the latter on Macs -- will take second place from Windows on the devices shipped during the year. The gap between the two will widen in 2018 and 2019, with Apple ahead of Microsoft both years.
According to Gartner, which provided Computerworld with its latest device shipment forecast broken out by operating system, in 2016 Windows powered about 260 million devices of the 2.3 billion shipped during the year. Windows accounted for approximately 11.2% of the total devices, which overwhelmingly ran Google's Android. You could read about how Atwal arrives at his forecast here.
As much as I want to see that happen for the sake of a historical upset, I'm not sure it's going to be as easy as Atwal sees it. In December Patently Apple posted a report titled "Microsoft to Announce Qualcomm Snapdragon based Tablets and PCs with Built-In Cellular Capabilities on Thursday." Maybe I'm off base here, but with Huawei and Lenovo coming on board to promote Windows 10 on 2-in-1's along with new models from Samsung and Xiaomi to name just a few, I think the Windows meter is going to take a generous swing to the upside in 2017.
On the flip side, new Macs and iPads are going to debut in first half of 2017 and Apple may have more than just the anniversary iPhone up their sleeve for the September event to push iOS to all new highs. So both camps may have surprises to make this epic battle a lot of fun to stay on top of this year. For the history books, make your prediction below in the comments section and when we find out who won the battle next year we'll see who got it right.
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