Apple Increased Mac Sales For the First Time Since 2012

For the first time in two years, Apple has seen an increase in sales of its Mac computers. Not just an increase; a nearly 20 percent jump over a year ago. That's... kind of nuts?

If you're following today's earnings news, you're probably paying more attention to the record-setting revenue ($57.6 billion) and quarterly gigundo profit ($13.1 billion) the company hauled in. Or maybe you're focused on the fact that its iPhone sales of 51 million iPhone didn't match Wall Street's lofty expectations. But the most interesting number in the report is the return of the Mac, a division that's spent the last couple of years in steady decline.

In fact, the last time Apple managed to improve year-over-year Mac sales—October of 2012—it was a mere one percent increase. The quarter before that, an anemic two percent. And ever since, a downward slope that showed no real reason to course correct. The overall PC market fell seven percent in 2013. And yet!

It makes the most sense to point to the Mac Pro as the line's white knight, as it got its first refresh in years and years and looks a bit like a trash can. But remember, too, that the retina MacBook Pro got a significant price cut in the last quarter. And that Windows 8 has, fairly or not, been met with less than open arms by PC enthusiasts.

In fact, that might be the real story behind the Mac's revival. It's not so much that iPad sales haven't cannibalized Mac sales as badly as one might have thought; it's that Mac sales are chewing up sections of the market—the professionals, the disaffected Windows users—that haven't been as ripe for the taking until just now.