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Analyst: Mac mini coming to Best Buy retail stores

post #1 of 22
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Apple Computer, Inc. will soon begin selling its low-cost Mac mini computers through the nation's largest consumer electronics chain, Merrill Lynch said on Monday.

In a research note released to clients, analyst Steve Milunovich said, "It appears that Best Buy is near ready to sell the Mac Mini. [...] Last week one Best Buy showed us Mac mini accessories; Mac minis are coming later."

The analyst speculates that Apple may have delayed the Best Buy roll-out until Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger could be pre-loaded on each of the minis that will be sold through the retailer.

"Buyers would not be pleased if they had to plunk down an extra $129 after their $499 Mac mini purchase," Milunovich said. He added that Tiger is close to shipping and will likely arrive by the end of April and in time to benefit Apple's third quarter earnings.

Merrill Lynch believes the presence of Mac mini at Best Buy, along with the iPod, will help provide evidence of the halo effect -- positive experiences with their iPods turning into new Mac sales. "Although we see plenty of anecdotal evidence of Mac sales benefiting from iPod success, the numbers will tell the tale," said Milunovich, who expects to see a consistent 15-20% year-over-year Mac revenue growth.

In other analysis, Merrill Lynch said that recent checks show traffic at Apple's retail stores has slowed, slightly. "For the first time we can recall since the iPod craze kicked off, store employees outnumbered customers and there was less than an hour wait for the genius bar at some of the stores we visited," Milunovich wrote. He said retailers typically see slower sales following Easter. Apple has also reportedly reduced orders for iPods to Inventec, one of its iPod manufacturers.

Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating on Apple with a price objective of $51 per share, estimating the company will earn 22 cents a share for the recently ended fiscal quarter. But the firm waved caution, saying Apple may need to post a figure north of 25 cents to satisfy investors.

"Beyond making near-term estimates, Apple must show it can build a sustainable consumer franchise," Milunovich said. "All the speculation about potential products [...] sets a high bar, but owning Apple is like having a call option on Steve Jobs' inventiveness."

Rumors that Apple would soon begin selling the Mac mini at Best Buy first appeared on the Web site MacRumors.com.

Best Buy did not return repeated inquiries for comment last week, though independent reports confirm the retailer's Canadian stores have carried the Mac mini for some time.

Update: Several tipsters are pointing out that Mac minis began showing up at Best Buy locations this weekend. Specifically, tipsters noted that Best Buy locations in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Tennessee are currently stocking the computers.
post #2 of 22
This isn't hard to believe since you can buy a Mac mini today at Best Buy in Canada.
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
The analyst speculates that Apple may have delayed the Best Buy roll-out until Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger could be pre-loaded on each of the minis that will be sold through the retailer.

well, this is intriguing. so if you were already thinking about buying tiger, and intrigued about adding a mac mini to your own computer lineup, you could kill two birds with one stone and get them bundled together. (plus, you also get ilife '05 in the mix, too).

heck, that's a pretty good deal, if you ask me.
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post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
He added that Tiger is close to shipping and will likely arrive by the end of April and in time to benefit Apple's third quarter earnings.

www.apple.com --> Refresh...refresh...refresh...

Maybe tomorrow will bring an annoucement...

Eric
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post #5 of 22
uh, is this actually news? Mac Minis have been on the Best Buy web site for awhile now (and listed as available in all of the stores in CT)
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by halse
uh, is this actually news? Mac Minis have been on the Best Buy web site for awhile now (and listed as available in all of the stores in CT)

Yes, it as been available on the web site, and yes, it has been available in Canada, but that still does not account for the huge pot of Best Buy Retail Stores around the US. So, IMO, yes, this is a significant announcement. After not seeing Macs in this chain for a while now after their pilot program, it will be important for these computers to gain ground in the common consumer retail store... in this case Best Buy. As the article says, retail stores aren't exactly kicking lately, and for the Apple to grow more market share in the desktop arena, it will need to become common purchase, instead of the traditionally high end purchase at an elite retaile store in SoHo, for example.
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post #7 of 22
yeh, I knew about this last week too. I just did not know it was news.
post #8 of 22
At the Best Buys I've been to up here, the Mac Mini is demoed at their Corporate sales counter, while there's no mention of it in the Mac area.

Not to mention the pitiful software selection there. Less than 4 titles.

This is probably helpful to those who want one and don't have a dealer in their town.

But it won't have any impact on marketshare. Best Buy just doesn't get it.
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post #9 of 22
I bought a mac mini @ the end of February in canada, this is sooooo not news. Kinda disappointing that this is such a big deal.
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post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by websnap
I bought a mac mini @ the end of February in canada, this is sooooo not news. Kinda disappointing that this is such a big deal.

It's talking about Best Buy in AMERICA.
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post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
It's talking about Best Buy in AMERICA.

What's the difference, Bestbuy IS an American company, and as such major corporate discussions such as product approval for sales are made by higher ranking executives. That high up, borders wont mean anything.
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post #12 of 22
either way, i agree that this isn't news. it's not like millions of people have been holding their money to buy a mini from best buy. it's really not gonna matter, either, cause best buy is so overrun with pc crap that nobody is gonna notice a little mini in the corner.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by websnap
What's the difference, Bestbuy IS an American company, and as such major corporate dissuasions such as product approval for sales are made by higher ranking executives. That high up, borders wont mean anything.

Borders always mean something. Exchange rates, product mix, etc. all factor into whether or not to carry a product.

Why do you think it took Apple so long to start getting a store to Canada?
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by ipodandimac
either way, i agree that this isn't news. it's not like millions of people have been holding their money to buy a mini from best buy. it's really not gonna matter, either, cause best buy is so overrun with pc crap that nobody is gonna notice a little mini in the corner.

Actually I do not think people are holding out to buy a mini but when they see the minis stacked in a pile they will probably pick one up for. Americans like to spend weekends spending money on all kinds of stuff at Bestbuy. Americans spend like 15K a year buying consumer electronics. a 499 Mini is just another new gadget.
post #15 of 22
(Personal attack deleted - JL)
post #16 of 22
Regarding Best Buy and Apple products...

I have gone to Best Buy in Tampa two times in the last 2 years to check out mp3 players. The first time I went, I asked to see their iPods, which were hidden away in a tiny locked cabinet at knee level-impossible to see. All the other mp3 players were out hanging freely on the aisle, albeit still in packages. The salesguy asked me why did I want to view an iPod, when I could buy a Creative Nomad which "had better features".

Last week, I returned to check out the latest players. This time, the iPods were given equal open access visibility with the other players in a demo bar. But none of the players had music in them or headphones. A customer came up and requested a Rio Carbon. He then asked the salesguy to compare it to the iPod, as if to reinforce his purchase decision. To my surprise, the salesguy stated "I don't like iPods" and went on to list some reasons, like poor batteries that were expensive to replace, and problems customers had trying to return defective iPods. He then went on to promote the Napster To Go service.

In my admittedly anecdotal experience, it seems that the Best Buy sales staff has a bias against Apple products, and tries to steer the customer away from them. I don't see that changing even if they stock Macs.
post #17 of 22
Yes, I see general stores everywhere have a bias against Apple products. They have grown-up in recent times being taught to love Windows machines, and that Macs are slow, so at the same time they now do not trust Apple iPods. It is very strange.
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post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Borders always mean something. Exchange rates, product mix, etc. all factor into whether or not to carry a product.

Why do you think it took Apple so long to start getting a store to Canada?

Actually Bestbuy Waited to open in canada because it already had stores here, called Futureshop. And actually, when Futureshop was alone in canada without sister-store competition with bestbuy, futureshop actually carried macs (iMacs, G4 iMacs, eMac and iBooks), which they dropped when Bestbuy opened here keeping only iPod and accessories (which has it's own isle end cap by the way, you can't miss it) as the only apple products they carry.

A few months after they opened, Bestbuy carried everything Apple, including software, with a working demos of both 'books eMac, G5 iMac, and G5 tower on display. I bought my wife's iBook there almost eight months ago w/airport card and office|mac 2004 with no effort. I then bought my Mac Mini six months after that with some calling around, but that was due to the rarity of the item. In the last year Bestbuy has become my favorite place to by macs. Sure the staff is still mildly retarded as to anything Mac, but they recognize me as "one of the Mac guys" and ask me questions that other customers ask them, so A) the sales people are starting to learn and, B) More customers are starting to ask and, more importantly, buy. We don't have any Apple stores, so this makes sense. A major chain is carrying the entire mac line (minus xserve) in canada and is being rewarded for it, with my money.

Good for them.
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post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Apple3.14

In my admittedly anecdotal experience, it seems that the Best Buy sales staff has a bias against Apple products, and tries to steer the customer away from them. I don't see that changing even if they stock Macs.

It is probably related to spiffs, many companies give spiffs(extra money, but not commision) to certain items, I hear the same about compusa, the sales people push more apple stuff because they get more spiffs/commision, best buy, doesnt have commision, but they probably still have spiffs. and apple I dont think usually if ever, offers those.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Apple3.14

I have gone to Best Buy in Tampa two times in the last 2 years to check out mp3 players. The first time I went, I asked to see their iPods, which were hidden away in a tiny locked cabinet at knee level-impossible to see. All the other mp3 players were out hanging freely on the aisle, albeit still in packages. The salesguy asked me why did I want to view an iPod, when I could buy a Creative Nomad which "had better features".

That has been fixed, most if not all bet buy stores have what I consider to be the best mp3 player displays around, all the modles are laid out to see and use, like cell phones or PDAs, it is so telling seeing a rio next ro a mini...

(footnote. I dont like best buy for other reasons like bait and switch mail in rebait scams)
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post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by websnap
Actually Bestbuy Waited to open in canada because it already had stores here, called Futureshop.

I meant why did APPLE take so long to open a Canadian store. I had always thought that they would have done so much earlier.

I'm not familliar with the Futureshops. What do they do differently from the parent ship?
post #22 of 22
Quote:
[iOriginally posted by melgross [/i]
I meant why did APPLE take so long to open a Canadian store. I had always thought that they would have done so much earlier.

I'm not familliar with the Futureshops. What do they do differently from the parent ship?

Canada is a hard market to figure out from the outside. There is a lot of online shopping and quite a bit cross-border shopping in cities near the us border. Toronto makes sense for the first location, being a metropolis of a few million and a massive design center, plenty of creatives will keep that and future Apple stores busy.

Futureshop is a store identical to Bestbuy, other than that futureshop works on commission. Futureshop has been around in canada for about 20 years, Bestbuy bought it out in the early 90's. After Futureshop became the biggest and most predominant name in electronics in canada sales started to dip due to the large corporate image (people knew Bestbuy owned it). Bestbuy (the chain) opened in 2002, i think, to create the illusion of a larger than it's self (read: American) chain competition, hoping allegiances or curiosity would bolster sales while never needing to fear that money is going elsewhere. People may stay with Futureshop because it's "Canadian", yet others may go the bestbuy because it's new and different.

Today they market it with/against each other each carry 90% of the exact same merchandise with some individual chain exclusives. The bestbuy chain happens to carry the full apple line. Both carry iPod and accessories.
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