Apple came out with some spectacular
results today, which must help mitigate the pain that CEO Steve
Jobs still feels from the backdating charges
against his former employees.
The results came as a surprise to me, because nothing much new happened, Apple-wise,
this quarter. Sure, it announced the long-awaited iPhone, but hasn’t made any
money off it yet. And iPod sales have finally reached some kind of plateau,
now that everybody has one and that most of the growth in sales is coming at
the low, Shuffle, end.
But none of that mattered, it would seem, because salvation came from a most
surprising source – the Mac. Macs have been something of an afterthought
in many analysts’ minds of late, but they’re surging ahead now, and accounted
for 56% of total quarterly revenue, with sales up 36% year-on-year. More impressive
still, Mac notebook sales were up 79% year-on-year: we’ll probably have to wait
for Leopard, the new version of Apple’s operating system, before we see a big
spike in desktop sales.
There was also 79% year-on-year growth in Macs sold in Apple stores, most of
which were sold to people who’d never bought a Mac before.
If iPods have market saturation, Macs still have a minuscule market share and
could grow that substantially. Vista has generally been considered a disappointment,
and Leopard, when it does get released, might well come with all manner of clever
touch-screen technologies along the lines of those seen on the iPhone. There’s
lots of excitement surrounding the phone, of course. But I think the Mac could
turn out to be just as big a story.