Apple Might Have Sold More Macs, But…

The economy in western Europe was poor. Intel’s timing on Ivy Bridge was inconvenient. There might have been some iPad cannibalization. Even so, Apple’s year-over-year sales of Macs were up a smidgen. It might have been more.

It’s nearly August of 2012. For the entire year of 2012, we’ve had no new iMacs. No new Mac Pros. And relatively minor updates of the MacBook (Retina) and minor upgrades to the MacBook Air. That’s it.

In spite of that, Apple was able to sell four million Macs. That’s pretty good, and aside from the holiday sales, which are always very strong, a good number compared to other seasonal quarters. But one has to wonder what Apple could have done if there had been new Macs early in the quarter that were so appealing that they would kick up a storm.

According to Tim Cook today, the new Retina MBP and upgraded MBA arrived in mid June, rather late to have an effect on Q3 sales. Those post WWDC sales have been quite good, in fact.

What seems to have happened, and Shannon Cross from Cross Research nailed it during the Q3 earnings report, was that Intel’s timing for the release of the Ivy Bridge processor affected “portable” sales, as Tim Cook uses the term.

We’re not accustomed to Apple being so apologetic in this regard. It’s sobering to think that Apple’s Mac sales are gated by Intel, and from time to time, we hear rumors about Apple switching to ARM processors for the MacBooks.

Eagerly awaited was a Mac Pro with Thunderbolt. That would have been nice, but might have added only a few hundred thousand units to Apple’s 4 million sold. Besides, Mr. Cook has already suggested one in 2013. A sobering delay. But what about the Ivy Bridge iMac? It’s always just around the corner.

These are complicated issues. Apple has its product pipeline. Updates to Macs have to be significant and appealing. Adequate quantities of components must be procured. Even so, the drought of new desktop Macs for all of 2012 to date is a bit unnerving. It would be nice to see some new energy there. I’m sure it will get straightened out soon.