Apple laptop demand slows, iPod backlog rises

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Demand for Apple laptops has begun to slow this month, according to data shown to AppleInsider. Meanwhile, demand for nearly all versions of the company's iPod digital music player appears to be unprecedented.



With a little more than two weeks left in the holiday shopping season, orders to Apple's manufacturing facilities for both consumer and professional laptops appear to be on the decline.Â*The company's US distribution partners are reporting ample supply of both the iBook G4 and PowerBook G4, and are requesting very few new orders as consumers may be prolonging their purchases in anticipation of Intel-based models early next year.



Supply of both laptop product lines appears uniform, with demand for PowerBooks dwindling slightly faster than iBooks. Sources say the demand data trends for both lines are consistent with products that have begun to approach the end of their life-cycles. This despite Apple refreshing both product lines within the last several months -- iBooks in July and PowerBooks in October.



At the same time, demand for the company's iPod digital music players appears to be "staggering," with one Apple distributing partner showing backlog of nearly 200,000 total iPods.



Of Apple's three iPod models -- the shuffle, nano and fifth-generation video iPod -- 4GB iPod nano continues to reflect the strongest demand, followed by the 30GB iPod, 60GB iPod, and 2GB iPod nano, respectively.



True to recent analyst reports, the popularity of Apple's fifth-generation video iPods appears to be on the rise. Both the 30GB and 60GB models look to be selling equally strong, and not far behind that of the 2GB and 4GB nano. This trend has caused some analysts to raise their earnings estimates for Apple's current quarter, as the iPod maker sees higher profit margins from sales of video iPods than it does from sales of the iPod nano.



According to sources, even Apple's often discounted iPod shuffle players are in tight supply this month, with one Apple distributor reflecting backlog of over 30,000 of the players. The sub-$100 512MB model remains the hotter ticket, outselling the 1GB model by an approximate 3 to 2 ratio, they say.



The Apple distributors showing large backlog of iPods are typically responsible for supplying Apple Authorized Resellers and not the company's retail or online stores. Therefore, analyzing backlog from these distributors may not paint a truly accurate picture of the current flow of iPods.



In recent weeks, analysts have reported that Apple appears to be funneling the majority of its new iPod production to its own stores, while failing to replenish resellers' diminishing supply of the players. Additionally, checks with Apple's own online store show availability of all nano and video iPod models in 1 to 2 business days, suggesting the backlog exists largely within Apple's reseller channels.



Estimates for the number of iPods Apple will ship during the three-month period ending December 31st vary amongst analysts. PiperJaffray and American Technology Research analysts are predicting the company will ship shy of 10 million units, while UBS Investment Research believes Apple will sell 11.4 million of the players.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,485member
    We see what's happening with all of the predictions of new Mactel laptops in January. I hope the slowdown isn't too severe. Other predictions say that new machines won't be out until June. Someone visited the factories, and said that there was no evidence that Mactel production had even begun.



    Who do you think is right?
  • Reply 2 of 34
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    i'm less of the opinion that the macintel rumors are the cause of the p'book slowdown, and more of the opinion that the laptops aren't all that great of an improvement over the last model for the price. the surge you saw was the backlog of people sitting on the fence waiting to give apple one more chance to upgrade the line, but now just HAVE to upgrade, regardless of what was inside.



    but i will say that the professional lines are affected by rumors much more (again, my opinion and casual observation), since it's the über-geeks who want them and also keep tabs on all the rumored new models. mom and pop iConsumer don't even know what a Macworld SF or WWDC even are.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    I think Apple should be more forward with consumers about when to expect new computers, otherwise they could end up damaging their business.



    Just my 3 cents worth.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    There is also a third option in all of this.



    Everyone is looking at the book depository, what about that guy over there on the grassy knoll.



    IBM has had a low power PowerPC chip for awhile now. IBM hasn't said much about it, Apple of course hasn't acknowledged its existance.



    Apple really badly needs to be rid of the G4 in '06.



    IBM has had plenty of time to get the chip into working condition. The G5 is still an option in play for laptops.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Apple hasn't said anything about it, because IBM hasn't said much about it. They announced "on paper" a new low power g5. When is the expected ship date? How do we even know it's in production? I think it was just a save face move by IBM in the wake of Apple disparaging them on the inadequacy of their processor roadmap.



    Apple's moving to Intel and thats it. There is never going to be any g5 or ppc variant in the next powerbook incarnation. The sooner we start the transition to intel the better. Apple must put the fire under developers to start building universal binaries, and the quickest way to do that is start shipping intel machines. Count on intel powerbooks for MWSF!
  • Reply 6 of 34
    I think people are expecting not only a new processor, but a completely refreshed design, and more features (iSight built in). I know I am.



    unrelated: the ads by google underneath this article say: "Video Nano - 30GB

    Nano with music and video playback low prices, free shipping

    Amazon.com"



    what's with that? maybe it's a sign
  • Reply 7 of 34
    While I think the Intel Macs play a part in it, I think most people tend to buy laptops for themselves unless it's back to school time. People are now too busy buying holiday gifts to think about buying their own laptop.



    If people are buying a compauter for the family, it would be a mini or a G5 versus a G5 desktop and I believe that sales will reflect that. Companies or corporate buying will tail off as people who have budgets to spend have made their decision and the year is pretty much over with.



    Now is the time to buy ipods, ipod accessories or more ipods :-)
  • Reply 8 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,485member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by TenoBell

    There is also a third option in all of this.



    Everyone is looking at the book depository, what about that guy over there on the grassy knoll.



    IBM has had a low power PowerPC chip for awhile now. IBM hasn't said much about it, Apple of course hasn't acknowledged its existance.



    Apple really badly needs to be rid of the G4 in '06.



    IBM has had plenty of time to get the chip into working condition. The G5 is still an option in play for laptops.




    There would have to be a complete redesign of the machine. If Apple planned for that months ago, maybe they had a design going. But it's certainly too late now. With the last rev, I think Apple showed that they weren't going to do anything. They were waiting for the still vaporware 7448 that everyone was so wild about two months ago. Remember - 2.0GHz!! Ugh. Nonsense.



    And the dual core 600's. Also nonsense. Even if they ever do come out, which is becoming less likely every day with Freescale stating that they were happy to move away from the desktop. It uses a completely different memory bus. No way.



    The G4 will be gone in '06, have no doubt about that. The G5, maybe. we'll see in January.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    I have heard rumours from a usually reliable source that Apple won't be launching Intel laptops until the middle of 2006, and not in January as some previous rumours have said.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    chris vchris v Posts: 460member
    Has anybody actually considered the engineering involved in getting an iSight into a Powerbook lid? I'm thinking it's either make the whole lid too fat, or cause a really unsightly lump at the top. I hope they don't compromise the elegance of the design in order to cram more stuff in the things.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Robin Hood

    I have heard rumours from a usually reliable source that Apple won't be launching Intel laptops until the middle of 2006, and not in January as some previous rumours have said.



    *Everyone* has 'reliable sources'. My reliable source says Apple employees will be doing a cancan dance out on the 1 Infinite Loop campus front yard Dec 15th.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    Slowing laptop sales up to christmas isnt good... iPod supply is bad leading up to christmas isnt good either.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by chris v

    Has anybody actually considered the engineering involved in getting an iSight into a Powerbook lid? I'm thinking it's either make the whole lid too fat, or cause a really unsightly lump at the top. I hope they don't compromise the elegance of the design in order to cram more stuff in the things.



    dude, if they can fit a 2 megapixel camera with 4x zoom into a housing the thickness of a motorola razr v3 (edit: make that HALF the thickness of the razr... since it's just in the lid), they can put an isight into the powerbook lid.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,485member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Robin Hood

    I have heard rumours from a usually reliable source that Apple won't be launching Intel laptops until the middle of 2006, and not in January as some previous rumours have said.



    Your "reliable source" got his information from the same places we did. It's been out on the web for days.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,485member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by chris v

    Has anybody actually considered the engineering involved in getting an iSight into a Powerbook lid? I'm thinking it's either make the whole lid too fat, or cause a really unsightly lump at the top. I hope they don't compromise the elegance of the design in order to cram more stuff in the things.



    We had a really long, somewhat contentious, thread about that.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Pretty much all any one can ever do is throw out wild speculation about what Apple is going to do. Because often Apple does something different from the wild speculation.



    There is an urgency in getting the G4 off of the entire Macintosh line. That can either be done with Intel or a new G5. I've also read reports that indicate there is no evidence of Intel laptops in production. Its difficult to know if this is true or not but that leaves the PowerPC 970FX.



    Quote:

    The new low-power PowerPC 970FX chip will consume 13 watts of power when running at 1.4GHz and 16 watts of power running at 1.6GHz, under typical operating conditions.



    The new 970FX chips would allow Apple to design a G5-based notebook that would probably outperform the company's current crop of G4-based iBooks and PowerBooks.



    G5 Powerbook and iBook would solve a number of issues. This would bring a much needed refresh to the entire laptop line up. The major Apple pro and consumer line would be all G5 and ready for 64 bit. Leopard should be a fully 64 bit OS if all computers sold in 2006 were prepared to fully use its features that would put Apple ahead of the game. On a note of morale Apple can hush those who point and laugh.



    I'm sure people will look at 1.4 Ghz and 1.6Ghz and say that isn't much better than the G4. But in reality a G5 would have improved processing ability and a wider I/O bus than the G4. Which in all would increase performance.



    Quote:

    Apple hasn't said anything about it, because IBM hasn't said much about it. They announced "on paper" a new low power g5. When is the expected ship date? How do we even know it's in production?



    IBM announced the low power 970FX the same time it announced the 970MP, which is the dual core processor now in the Power Mac. I doubt IBM would announce both and only manufacture one.



    Apple of course will never confirm or deny its use of any chip until it is prepared to announce a shipping machine.



    Quote:

    There would have to be a complete redesign of the machine. If Apple planned for that months ago, maybe they had a design going. But it's certainly too late now.



    Apple would have to completely redesign the machine whether it was Intel or the G5. Its the same case either way.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,485member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by TenoBell

    [B]Pretty much all any one can ever do is throw out wild speculation about what Apple is going to do. Because often Apple does something different from the wild speculation.



    There is an urgency in getting the G4 off of the entire Macintosh line. That can either be done with Intel or a new G5. I've also read reports that indicate there is no evidence of Intel laptops in production. Its difficult to know if this is true or not but that leaves the PowerPC 970FX.



    Cernainly.





    Quote:

    G5 Powerbook and iBook would solve a number of issues. This would bring a much needed refresh to the entire laptop line up. The major Apple pro and consumer line would be all G5 and ready for 64 bit. Leopard should be a fully 64 bit OS if all computers sold in 2006 were prepared to fully use its features that would put Apple ahead of the game. On a note of morale Apple can hush those who point and laugh.



    I'm sure people will look at 1.4 Ghz and 1.6Ghz and say that isn't much better than the G4. But in reality a G5 would have improved processing ability and a wider I/O bus than the G4. Which in all would increase performance.







    IBM announced the low power 970FX the same time it announced the 970MP, which is the dual core processor now in the Power Mac. I doubt IBM would announce both and only manufacture one.



    Apple of course will never confirm or deny its use of any chip until it is prepared to announce a shipping machine.







    Apple would have to completely redesign the machine whether it was Intel or the G5. Its the same case either way.



    Well, now we run into problems. There have been discussions about whether the G5 FX at 1.4 or even 1.6 would give enough of a bump to performance to make it worthwhile. I'm not sure it is.



    If you look at the charts that MacWorld produced for its evaluations, you will notice a disturbing trend. A 2.5GHz G5 machine isn't much faster than a 1.25GHz G4 Mini MHz for MHz. A Mini scores 100 but the G5 might score 250 for the processor test. So it's only gaining from the increased speed.



    The vastly higher memory bus helps, but not much.



    A 1.6GHz G5 chip might have about the same scores as the 1.67GHz G4! The main advantage of the G5's has been that MHz lift.



    So even if there was some improvement, I can'r see it being enough to matter. Chances are that the 7448, if it evercame out, would be even better with it's 1MB L2 as opposed to the 512 KB of the FX low power.



    In addition, Merom will be out in 6 to eight months. I doubt that Apple would want to have a completely redesigned machine out for such a short time.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    What about Intel iMacs? There have been rumors of dual G5 iMacs or Intel iMacs as early as January. I do not know whether to hold off or go for a new iMac G5 now.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    If I recall correctly Freescale still has an agreement with Apple that will last a year or two and it's for delivery of G4 chips. Apple is going to have to do something with those chips and hopefully it will be a dual core.



    I can see a dual core G4 in the PB even if the Mac mini and iBook go Intel as the first Mactels - assuming that the dual core G4 outperforms the initial Intels. This would give Apple and Intel time to work on the Meron chips for both the PM and PB.



    Without a G4 in the line Apple would probably have to pay out a significant cancellation fee to Freescale, which they probably won't do.



    There is also the potential for Apple running dual lines (G4 and Intel) for a while - just like they did when they introduced the G5 PM. Lots of people still needed the G4 PM and, until major software (Adobe, MS, studio equipment companies, etc.) come out with Mactel versions the G4 and G5 lines will still be viable.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally posted by therapist

    what abut intel Imacs? there have been rumors of duel G5 Imacs or intel imacs as early as january. I do not no weather to hold of or go for a new imac g5 now?





    That's what I was wondering. I like the new G5 iMac, but I'd like to see an Intel one first.
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