Apple VP: "We Have Significant Momentum with the Mac"

Apple blew past analyst expectations with its first quarter US$7.1 billion in revenue, and although the iPod took the spotlight, strong Mac sales played a significant part in contributing to the companyis bottom line. Apple vice president and CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, underscored that by commenting "My view is that we have significant momentum on the Mac" during the quarterly conference call with analysts and investors.

The Macis growth rate has been three times the rest of the market, and this marks the eighth quarter out of the last nine that Mac sales grew faster than the rest of the market. Those sales were up 28 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

New Mac buyer numbers are up, too. About half of all new Mac purchases are going to first time buyers, indicating a renewed interest in Appleis computing platform. The number of potential buyers planning on purchasing a Mac is also up from 17 percent to 28 percent, according to the latest Student Monitor data.

The momentum for Mac sales is likely to remain strong moving into the rest of the year. Mac OS X 10.5, or Leopard, is due in the next few weeks, and should drive additional interest in Mac sales.

iPod sales, which also were up significantly for the quarter, are helping to turn more potential buyers on to the Mac. The company reported over 21 million iPods sold, driven in large part by the redesigned second generation iPod shuffle. Many of those sales came from Appleis own brick-and-mortar retail stores, which in turn exposed a significant number of potential "switchers" to the Macintosh platform.

Apple executives are projecting that the company will open an additional 35 to 40 retail stores in calendar year 2007, adding to the 170 stores that are already open. Seven of those stores are likely to open during the March quarter, adding even more locations for potential buyers to test and buy Macs.

Despite speculation that Apple is forsaking the Macintosh in favor of consumer electronic devices like the iPod and now the iPhone, it looks like the company is still committed to its computers and Mac OS X. Mac sales made up about 43 percent of Appleis quarterly revenue - a significant percentage even considering the popularity of the iPod - which is not a number the company is likely to brush aside.

Apple stock is currently trading at $94.25, down 0.70 (0.74%).

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