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NPD data shows Apple on track to sell record 4.3M Macs in Dec. quarter

post #1 of 21
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Apple is on pace to have yet another record breaking quarter for Mac sales, this time crossing the 4 million milestone in a three-month span for the first time ever.

New November domestic sales data from the NPD Group was released Monday, and analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray said it shows Apple on pace to sell between 4.1 million and 4.3 million Macs in the December quarter. Early estimates have found that Apple's U.S. sales are up 20 percent year-over-year for the first two months of the quarter.

Munster has predicted sales of 4.2 million Macs in the quarter, and Wall Street averages are about the same. He noted that international Mac sales are growing faster than domestic, which means Apple will likely see between 22 percent and 28 percent year-over-year growth.

Because the NPD numbers show Apple about on pace to meet expectations, Munster said he views the figures as a "neutral data point."

Munster's forecasts for the quarter released Monday are identical to those he sent out in November, when the NPD Group revealed its estimates for U.S. Mac sales in October. Apple remains on track to exceed its previous financial quarter, when it sold a record 3.89 million Macs.

This quarter marks the first with sales of the new MacBook Air, Apple's thin-and-light notebook. Munster believes Apple will sell about 500,000 MacBook Airs in the quarter, compared with 1.2 million desktop iMacs.

As for iPod sales, the analyst said the NPD domestic data shows sales slightly ahead of his estimates. The analyst has called for iPod sales to dip about 8 percent year over year.

Munster said he expects Apple to sell between 18.5 million and 19.5 million iPods in the December quarter, about on pace with Wall Street's expectations of 19 million. He also noted that international iPod sales are a greater mix overall than with Macs, resulting in a higher margin of error.

In the last quarter, Apple sold 9.05 million iPods, a decline of 11 percent from the same period a year before.
post #2 of 21
I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales. I realize that it could be due to people replacing iPods with iPhones, in which case it's not a problem. But it could also be due to people being put off by the new nano. While I can see how the new nano form factor could be appealing, it really seems more like a "shuffle" form factor. The functionality of the previous nano no longer exists in the iPod line up at the same price point as the old nano. To get the functionality of a camera and video, you have to move up to the iPod Touch which is both more expensive and a physically larger device. It seems to me that Apple chose to abandon a piece of this market. Because of the growth of the iPhone it might end up not mattering, but I really hate to see them create any opportunities for competitors.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales. I realize that it could be due to people replacing iPods with iPhones, in which case it's not a problem. But it could also be due to people being put off by the new nano.

I do love the new Nano as the iPod Shuffle Ive been wanting, but note the iPod decline started well before this new Nano arrived.
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post #4 of 21
I'm surprised they are still selling as many iPods as they are. I bought a Nano and like it... never understood the point of a cheap video camera. It might signal that Appple is after a different social media interface device. I can see it being something different than a phone...
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales.

The iPhone and iPod Touch are making the dedicated music players a bit more obsolete since most folks prefer not to have multiple gadgets.

I'm not too concerned about it for the moment. I think there will always be a market for iPods and Apple will continue selling them for the foreseeable future.

So long as people need something small and light for jogging, working-out, or even to use as a plug-in for a car stereo system (I do), Apple will continue being a major player in this market.
post #6 of 21
Good to see the Mac itself continuing to flourish amidst all the iPhone and iPad excitement.
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post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I do love the new Nano as the iPod Shuffle I’ve been wanting, but note the iPod decline started well before this new Nano arrived.

Very true -- the iPod is bound to decline as some people will definitely move to the iPhone (I know I have, for example).

But it still bugs me that the only way to watch video on an iPod is to get the Touch or the Classic. It wouldn't be a problem if the Touch cost $150, but it starts at $230. [edit -- looking more closely, the situation is even worse than I remembered -- the $230 is for a measly 8 GB and there is no 16 GB option on the Touch; so if you would have bought the 16 GB version of the old nano, you now have to either settle for the 16 GB of the new nano, which has fewer features, or pay $300 to get 32 GB on the Touch, or settle for far too little storage with 8 GB on the $230 Touch --- there is just a really noticeable gap in this product lineup]

I suppose it could be that Apple has research showing that nobody actually watched video (or used the camera) on the previous nano (seems pretty unlikely), or maybe a large portion of the people who would have bought the old nano traded up to an iPod Touch (perhaps), which would certainly be a win for Apple. But still, my hunch is that Apple walked away from a few hundred thousand iPod nano sales per quarter that have not been translated into Touch/iPhone trade-ups. There's no way to really know whether this is true... it's just a hunch.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales. I realize that it could be due to people replacing iPods with iPhones, in which case it's not a problem. But it could also be due to people being put off by the new nano. While I can see how the new nano form factor could be appealing, it really seems more like a "shuffle" form factor. The functionality of the previous nano no longer exists in the iPod line up at the same price point as the old nano. To get the functionality of a camera and video, you have to move up to the iPod Touch which is both more expensive and a physically larger device. It seems to me that Apple chose to abandon a piece of this market. Because of the growth of the iPhone it might end up not mattering, but I really hate to see them create any opportunities for competitors.

Personally, I am not worried about declining iPod sales.

Since Apple is not losing marketshare (by percentage) in MP3 player sales, the evidence is just pointing to a shrinking market. This is significant because the world's population is actually growing. The number of people using standalone music players is much fewer than before.

On the iPod touch, you can use streaming music services in addition to the media you have on the device. It also enables two things that kids really like: texting and Facebook.

Also, there has been/will be plenty of opportunity for competition. Most of Apple's music player competition works on price. You can get a standalone music player from other companies much cheaper than the Apple products, yet it does not appear that a price advantage is working to the favor of Apple's competitors.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales. I realize that it could be due to people replacing iPods with iPhones,

iPod decline was/is inevitable, which is why Apple decided to enter the smart phone business. It was obvious four years ago that people would begin replacing dedicated devices with multi-purpose devices and this movement would centralize around smart phones. While everyone else concentrated on the phone aspect, Apple focused on creating a new true mobile platform.

So, I wouldn't worry about declining iPod sales, as Apple has more than made up for it by offsetting those "lost" sales with other products.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Very true -- the iPod is bound to decline as some people will definitely move to the iPhone (I know I have, for example).

But it still bugs me that the only way to watch video on an iPod is to get the Touch or the Classic. It wouldn't be a problem if the Touch cost $150, but it starts at $230. [edit -- looking more closely, the situation is even worse than I remembered -- the $230 is for a measly 8 GB and there is no 16 GB option on the Touch; so if you would have bought the 16 GB version of the old nano, you now have to either settle for the 16 GB of the new nano, which has fewer features, or pay $300 to get 32 GB on the Touch, or settle for far too little storage with 8 GB on the $230 Touch --- there is just a really noticeable gap in this product lineup]

I suppose it could be that Apple has research showing that nobody actually watched video (or used the camera) on the previous nano (seems pretty unlikely), or maybe a large portion of the people who would have bought the old nano traded up to an iPod Touch (perhaps), which would certainly be a win for Apple. But still, my hunch is that Apple walked away from a few hundred thousand iPod nano sales per quarter that have not been translated into Touch/iPhone trade-ups. There's no way to really know whether this is true... it's just a hunch.

It could also be that because people are going to get a phone no matter what, and because those phones after contract cost between $99 and $299, they're taking the place of lower cost iPods, and so Apple is dropping the way they function.

As long as the slide in sales affects the lower priced items, I'm not going to worry about it. iPod Touch sales seem to be going up each year at a good pace, and so income from iPod sales has actually been going up as sales numbers go down.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales ....

Not to worry. The market for standalone mp3 players has matured and a a result the market has been shrinking for a few years now. Apple has maintained its dominance of that shrinking market well.
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post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales.

I compare the decline in iPod sales with the recently reported sales decline in dedicated GPS devices (TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, etc.) Smart phones duplicate both the MP3 player and GPS functions so its quite logical to see the reduced sales for the dedicated devices.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I do worry a little (as an apple shareholder) about the declining iPod sales. I realize that it could be due to people replacing iPods with iPhones, in which case it's not a problem. But it could also be due to people being put off by the new nano. While I can see how the new nano form factor could be appealing, it really seems more like a "shuffle" form factor. The functionality of the previous nano no longer exists in the iPod line up at the same price point as the old nano. To get the functionality of a camera and video, you have to move up to the iPod Touch which is both more expensive and a physically larger device. It seems to me that Apple chose to abandon a piece of this market. Because of the growth of the iPhone it might end up not mattering, but I really hate to see them create any opportunities for competitors.

I don't worry about this too much, but it does raise the point that the consumer electronics market is fickle. Hot one day, not so much the next. It could happen in any of the markets where Apple is currently doing well.
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post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I don't worry about this too much, but it does raise the point that the consumer electronics market is fickle. Hot one day, not so much the next. It could happen in any of the markets where Apple is currently doing well.

I am not worried either. Yes the CE market is fickle, but Apple seems to be especially in tune with what the next trend will be -- and agile enough (and gutsy enough) to address the trend to maximum advantage. Not too early... Not to late!

Maybe the next big thing will be a frisbeePod, a hulaHoopla... After watching that Band play XMAS carols on the iDevices, maybe an iBand mobile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9XNf...layer_embedded


Edit: On a more serious note, maybe Apple could use a special edition iPad to fulfill the promise of OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) with OiPC.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Laptop_per_Child
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post #15 of 21
[QUOTE=Blastdoor;1768046]I do worry

oh, and you are worrying about the ipod.. what about those mac sales? wasn't that what this was about until you went off and got all teary about ipods?

besides that, you are totally missing what is happening with listening and entertainment devices and multiple function devices in general.. you are focused on features of one player that is now also a wrist watch for heavens sakes. Dick Tracey in the making!! Or was it superman? it was so long ago now i forget. Well i an ecstatic !!

over 4 million macs is awesome!
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I don't worry about this too much, but it does raise the point that the consumer electronics market is fickle. Hot one day, not so much the next. It could happen in any of the markets where Apple is currently doing well.

I'm not sure that it's really so fickle. I think what people sometimes perceive as fickleness in the consumer electronics market is really a lack of consistency in the quality of products produced by some companies. A lot of companies are one-hit-wonders that stumble across a good product that sells well for a while, but then their next product isn't as good. Take the Motorola Razr -- its decline isn't a sign of the "fickleness" of consumers; it's a sign that competitors came out with better products that Motorola can't match.

Apple has had a decade of uninterrupted success not because consumers became less fickle but because Apple has consistently made great products.

I'm not "too" worried about the iPod situation... I do think that a large part of it is because of people moving to iPhones. But I also think that Apple has left a gap in the product lineup that they would be better off if they hadn't left open.
post #17 of 21
Back when the Air was new, who would have predicted it to become one of the most mainstream models?

Im glad. And to think I feared theyd cancel it! At this point I have no intention of owning any other laptop but an Air ever again. (And all I have is a lowly first-gen! At least I got a great discount on it.)
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I am not worried either. Yes the CE market is fickle, but Apple seems to be especially in tune with what the next trend will be -- and agile enough (and gutsy enough) to address the trend to maximum advantage. Not too early... Not to late!

Maybe, but each act gets tougher to follow. Each successive guess at what consumers will want requires a more pronounced success than the one before it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm not sure that it's really so fickle. I think what people sometimes perceive as fickleness in the consumer electronics market is really a lack of consistency in the quality of products produced by some companies. A lot of companies are one-hit-wonders that stumble across a good product that sells well for a while, but then their next product isn't as good. Take the Motorola Razr -- its decline isn't a sign of the "fickleness" of consumers; it's a sign that competitors came out with better products that Motorola can't match.

Apple has had a decade of uninterrupted success not because consumers became less fickle but because Apple has consistently made great products.

I'm not "too" worried about the iPod situation... I do think that a large part of it is because of people moving to iPhones. But I also think that Apple has left a gap in the product lineup that they would be better off if they hadn't left open.

Apple's declining sales of the iPod aren't a function of a lack of consistency, it's a function of consumers moving on. Fortunately for Apple they are in one of the places where consumers are moving, but there's certainly no guarantee that they can continue to repeat this positioning.
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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Good to see the Mac itself continuing to flourish amidst all the iPhone and iPad excitement.

Amen. Not so long ago, pre iPod, SJ would try to and did put a positive spin on quarterly Mac sales in the low hundreds of thousands. FastForward, now Mac sales are measured by the million and anything below estimates of 4.3 million units for this quarter will have the naysayers out in force.

What does it take to earn respect?
post #20 of 21
Gene Munsters comments and sales estimates should be taken with a grain of salt as his track record leaves alot to be desired.
No question Apple is going to sell a record number of PC's in this quarter.
post #21 of 21
It's a lot of computers. It should be possible to make a reasonable profit on the Mac App Store.
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