Earlier this month Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, took to the stage to deliver this year’s keynote address at the tech giant’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. The WWDC offers a venue for Apple to showcase its latest toys, and gives developers and industry professionals a chance to get a first look. Among the reveals at this year’s conference were iTunes Radio and the latest version of OSX, Mavericks. A re-imagined Mac Pro and improved MacBook Air also contributed to the new lineup while mobile users got a first glimpse at iOS 7.
Although the WWDC is certainly an exciting time for developers, it is important to keep in mind any business’ most valued asset – its customers. In order to gauge the impact of this year’s WWDC from a customer perspective, we took a look at traffic on certain pages within the Apple.com domain, measured in Unique Visitors (UVs). In the days leading up to the start of the conference the % share of UVs distributed across our observed product shop pages was dominated by Apple’s mobile platforms. The iPhone and iPad held nearly three quarters of total traffic to the observed shopping pages (27% and 45% respectively). The post-WWDC numbers showed some drastic changes, especially for the MacBook Air. Web traffic to Apple’s sleek notebook picked up significantly, moving from a 7% to a 23% share of observed shopping page.
The data from Apple’s new product landing pages told a slightly different story. Web traffic showed heavy preference to iOS 7, which had nearly half of all UVs to the new landing pages (44%). The Mac Pro and MacBook Air both had 22% shares, while iTunes Radio pulled a meager 4%.
The results of the WWDC conference were definitely positive, as Apple has once again cemented itself as the industry leader. The new MacBook Air clearly spurred pageviews post-WWDC. Although the Air’s new landing page received traffic volume only worthy of a tie for second, the product shop page for the Air post-WWDC saw its share of UVs triple. Apple’s iOS 7 takes the cake in terms of software, which is not surprising given the general industry trend toward increasing mobile presence. So why didn’t iOS 7 translate to an uptick in mobile shopping pages? This observation is likely a result of a couple of different factors. The first of which being mobile users’ ability to upgrade iOS without purchasing new hardware. Whereas, the benefits of the new MacBook Air can only be realized through the purchase of a new device, which may explain the large influx of UVs to the Air’s shopping page. Secondly, current iPhone and iPad users are generally accustomed to the seamless functionality of their version iOS, and although the update brings a redefined and visually striking user interface, it may not lead consumers to mobile device shopping pages as effectively as a materially new product.
Given the observed data, it is clear that there is an overarching trend towards mobile. Even the MacBook Air is closer to mobile end of the spectrum than other members of the Mac family, and both iPhone and iPad product pages show strong numbers before and after the WWDC. The big question for Apple is whether or not they will be able to convert new interest in their mobile operating systems, into increased sales of their mobile devices.
Sam is a data analyst intern in the Technology & Entertainment vertical at Compete. He is a rising senior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is working towards a degree in economics, with a minor is computer science. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Google+