by Jacqueline Emigh
Although the iPod, iPhone and now the iPad have been grabbing the lion’s share of the limelight, Apple’s Mac PCs keep roaring along in terms of both sales and product development. In the last quarter of 2009, Apple sold $4.4 billion in desktop and laptop PCs, about the same amount sold for the entire 2003 calendar year. With the release of both the iPhone 4 and the iPad in 2010, the “halo effect” that began with the iPod seems to be shining even more brightly.
This week, Apple announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2010, with its Mac PCs turning in yet another record quarter. “We generated record quarterly sales of 3.47 million Macs, exceeding the previous record established in the most recent December quarter by 100,000,” according to Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.
Apple’s iMac desktops, low-end Mac mini desktops, and MacBook notebooks also continue to be a strong focus of internal development activity.
“We are pleased to have outgrown the global [PC] market in both the desktop and portable categories. We experienced strong double-digit Mac growth in each of our geographies, led by both the continued momentum of iMac, and the very popular MacBook Pro family,” Oppenheimer said, in a conference call with analysts this week.
“We’re thrilled that we reported our best Mac quarter ever in the same quarter that iPad sold almost 3.3 million units — and so for us it is a jaw breaker,” noted Apple COO Tim Cook, also during the call.
Mac sales also set a new record in Apple’s US education business, despite state budget constraints, according to Oppenheimer.
In May, Apple updated its entry-level MacBook with a more advanced Intel processor and up to 10 hours of battery life. As part of a big product refresh last month, Apple provided its Mac Mini with an aluminum unibody along the same lines as the one used in iMac desktops. Improvements are also anticipated for Apple’s iMacs and MacBook Pros over the months ahead.
Macs also keep gaining in PC industry market share. say major industry analyst firms. In the US alone, Apple sold almost 1.75 million Mac computers during the second quarter of this year, according to Gartner. In Gartner’s rankings, Apple wound up number four in the US PC market with a 9.8% share, up from 9.1% for the same quarter a year ago.
Still, sales of Macs are small in comparison to the overall PC space, Cook admitted. “The Mac has outgrown the market 17 straight quarters,” he contended. “However, the Mac share is still low and so there is still an enormous opportunity for the Mac to grow.”
Recent sales growth for Macs has already been “phenomenal” in places like China, Korea, Hong Kong, and Spain, according to Cook. “There are also more countries remaining.”
Cook also acknowledged that the iPad might tend to cannibalize PCs. Yet he suggested that not all of this cannibalization would take place at the expense of Macs.
“If it turns out that the iPad cannibalizes PCs that, I think, is fantastic for us because there is a lot of PCs to cannibalize,” Cook said. “It’s still a big market.”
Be sure to check out our complete coverage of everything Apple that’s happened this summer here!