BusinessWeekis Alex Salkever has penned a new Byte of the Apple column that suggests things are looking up for Apple. Though titled "Will This Be the Summer of Mac?," Mr. Salkever answers his own question with a strong "Yes." Mr. Salkever says that with Quark for OS X coming, a move to IBMis PowerPC 970, a successful new online music store (the iTunes Music Store), and an uptick in online advertising that will help drive purchases from the creative markets, Apple should see an uptick in sales. From the column:
While Motorola has struggled in chips, IBM has soared. Under CEO Sam Palmisano, Big Blue has poured money into chip research and upgraded its factories. IBM says the new Apple chip will be of the 64-bit variety, which means it can process twice as much information per cycle as existing 32-bit chips. Thatis not even counting an anticipated initial speed boost in the new chipis clock cycle to well over 1.8 Ghz per second -- and likely well beyond that over the course of the year. The new chip could also prove extremely valuable for specialized IBM workstations -- and a possible means for Big Blue to compete with archrival Sun Microsystems ( SUNW ) and its 64-bit architecture. For Apple, it means a quick injection of speed and power.
Quark is signaling that it might soon release an OS X version. No guarantees and no dates, to be sure. But thereis talk of an announcement timed around MacWorld in July. A new Quark release will mean new customers for an improved PowerMac line. And the twin incentives of Quark and faster chips are far stronger than either single offering alone and could boost revenues for Jobs & Co.
The nascent, Net-driven recovery in the graphics and advertising business is another important factor. While advertising in traditional media remains lackluster, online advertising is growing at a double-digit clip. Apple owns the graphics and advertising sector. And any uptick there will likely pour cash into Appleis coffers, since many graphics companies running three-year-old hardware are itching to upgrade as soon as revenues start trending back upward.
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