“As impressive as the iPod has been for Apple, its success has yet to transfer to the company’s PC line, which remains a high-profile also-ran. In the last quarter, Apple’s U.S. market share dropped to 3.5% from 3.6% in the same period last year, according to research firm Gartner. Worldwide, Apple’s share data are even more depressing–going from 2.2% to 2.1%,” Rachel Rosmarin writes for Forbes. “And though Apple’s shipments increased 3.1% to 570,000 computers, according to Gartner, shipments for the rest of the industry grew 13.1% in that same period, driven in part by price cuts from struggling Dell. That has to be worrisome for Jobs and his company, who have long been banking on a halo effect from the iPod to boost computer sales. Apple is now throwing in a free iPod with sales of certain laptops.”
“Five years into the iPod era, it may be time to give up on the notion that the product lines are intertwined. ‘There’s no empirical evidence to suggest that iPods make people buy computers,’ says IDC research manager David Daoud. Apple’s newest hope is that its new line of ‘Mactels,’ built around Intel chips, will give it a boost. Only half of the new Intel units were available during the most recent quarter. But don’t expect sales to shoot up soon, says Samir Bhavnani, director of research at Current Analysis, who says the company’s market share could remain flat until the end of 2006,” Rosmarin writes. “But Bhavnani predicts that Apple will begin rebounding this fall. So does Daoud, who thinks the company’s share could shoot up to 5.5% by the end of the year.”
“Apple’s Intel deal will begin to pay off late this summer, these analysts predict, spurred by back-to-school purchases. A new line of Macbooks that sell for less than $1,100 should appeal to parents and the college-bound–especially now that these same computers can run Microsoft’s Windows via Apple’s BootCamp software,” Rosmarin writes. “And a new retail test with big box chain Best Buy in California could set Apple up to introduce its wares to a new clientele… Should Apple’s share grow by the end of the year, another PC maker’s will shrink. That’s likely to be Sony, says Bhavnani. Sony’s Vaio line appeals to the same design-conscious consumer who might choose a $2,800 souped-up Apple product like the MacBook Pro, which comes with a 2.16-gigahertz Intel Core Duo processor and a 120-gigabyte hard drive.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple threw quite the monkey wrench into the iPod Halo by plopping the Intel transition into the works. Obviously, some people bought Macs because they liked their iPods; they’ve told us so. Maybe the Halo effect takes longer than we’ve given it to markedly affect Mac share? We think the iPod Halo is one component of Apple’s appeal to new users; it helps sell Macs along with all of the other reasons to Get a Mac. The fact that Apple makes a nice portable digital media player, offers a nice jukebox application and has a nice online music service (iPod+iTunes+iTunes Store=iPod Halo Effect) is hardly the premier reason to choose a Macintosh.
The fact that Apple’s shipments increased during a major transition, with entire lines of PowerPC machines being considered “dead end” by some customers while Mac applications were and are still being rewritten for the new Intel-based Macs is astounding and bodes extremely well for Apple’s future Mac sales. Back in June 2005, when Steve Jobs announced the Intel transition, very few would have predicted that Apple’s Mac market share would have the chance to hit 5.5% U.S. market share by the end of this transition year. While we’re skeptical of Best Buy selling Macs (based upon past performance, if you can call it “performance”), we do agree that things don’t look good for Sony or anyone else who targets the “high-end” with OS-limited* PCs.
*Only Apple Macintosh personal computers can run the Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux operating systems and applications at native speeds.
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