Apple Might Have Sold More Macs, But…

| Editorial

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.

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other side

Those who remember “Macintosh. And Apple II, too.” should be able to recognize “iOS. And Mac, too.”.


Those who remember ?Macintosh. And Apple II, too.? should be able to recognize ?iOS. And Mac, too.?.

Yes, but there are other differences.  Hopefully people have learned from the past.

Did one need an Apple II in order to program a Mac?  I’m sure there was some business software that ran on Apple II only, and so for a while the Apple II would have been more capable than the Mac.  But in the case of iOS and Mac, iOS cannot eclipse Mac until it can be used as a development machine.  Yet iOS is meant to be a different kind of device that does not aim to completely replace all features of a Mac.  This is the most critical difference that I see.  It means the Mac may diminish in importance but cannot be ignored without taking iOS down with it. 

Can this change? Yes.  It would take another paradigm shift in how mobile computers are used.  Ideas that have been floated around include docking with monitors and keyboards, using Google Glasses-like HUDs, synching all documents in the cloud, accessing remote computing power, etc.  We’ll see what happens.

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