Despite reporting a first quarter jump in profits of 41%, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer admitted Wednesday that some customers are delaying purchases of Macs until the arrival of new Intel-based Macs built into professional systems, larger MacBook Pro laptops and consumer-level iBook replacements.
In an interview with the Dow Jones news service, Mr. Oppenheimer said there is evidence some customers are delaying their purchases of new Macintosh computers until the rest of the Intel line reaches the market. Other buyers, he said, are waiting for key software applications to come out for the Intel machines from companies such as Adobe Systems.
Mr. Oppenheimer made a point of stressing this issue during a conference call with analysts Wednesday covering Appleis March quarter financial results. In both his opening comments for the call and in response to questions from analysts, Mr. Oppenheimer said that Apple was seeing a "pause in demand" for Macs while customers wait for Intel-based machines.
That pause will be most evident in demand for professional desktop Macs, as potential customers wait for both the hardware and for Adobe to release Universal Binary versions of its graphic applications that will run natively on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macintosh systems.
As part of this pause in demand, Apple executives told analysts that its retail employees are not attempting to discourage customers from waiting for an Intel system.
"As Intel-based Macs arrived in the stores," said Mr. Oppenheimer, "we stopped carrying the comparable PowerPC models, and as you may have seen, our retail sales teams were not discouraged from telling customers to wait for Intel-based Macs if that was the best thing for the customer."
Mr. Oppenheimer gave no specific evidence of how Apple knows consumers are holding off purchases and he refused to give additional details on when more Intel-based Macs will be released. Adobe has admitted it could be until early to mid 2007 before key Adobe software products are available in optimized form for Intel-ready Macs.