“Ahead of what’s almost certain to be a dismal holiday season, this story takes on special meaning for Apple (AAPL). The bear market is poised to maul PC sales during the most important time of year, when about half of all annual sales happen. Investors clearly expect things to get ugly -– before Monday’s market rally, they had slashed Apple’s market value to half its year-ago level on fears that the credit crisis will ruin Apple’s Christmas,” Jon Fortt writes for Fortune.
“But here’s the thing investors may be missing: Apple doesn’t have to outrun a bear market. It just has to outrun PC makers like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL). And with a new line of laptops set to debut Tuesday, CEO Steve Jobs will argue that he’s already lacing up his running shoes,” Fortt writes.
“Can Apple really rescue its holiday season? The idea may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Even in bad years, consumers still buy computers; they just buy fewer of them. In the horrible fourth quarter of 2000, for example, consumer PC sales dropped 3 percent – painful, but not disastrous,” Fortt writes. “This year, consumers seem likely to be excited about laptops that are thin and lightweight yet affordable.”
Fortt writes, “If thin and beautiful is in, that’s good news for Apple. Rumor has it that, thanks to new manufacturing methods, the latest crop of MacBook laptops will sport a smoother look practically unmarred by screws and seams. And analysts expect Apple will lower prices in a nod to tough economic times – entry-level MacBooks will cost as little as $800 or $900, nearly 20 percent less than the current prices.”
Full article here.