updated 10:05 am EDT, Mon May 8, 2006
Mac demand still solid
Demand for Apple's MacBook Pro and Intel-based Mac minis is still solid, according to UBS Investment Research. The firm believes the new 17-inch MacBook Pro and upcoming Intel-based MacBooks -- which could be announced tomorrow -- should lend support to its estimates for five percent year over year unit growth for Macs in the June quarter. UBS also touches on the digital music market and Apple's potential plans for the near future, following its monthly checks. "Our checks indicate Apple continues to dominate the MP3 market but demand continues to experience seasonality backing our estimate for units being down slightly quarter over quarter for the June quarter." The iPod-maker might initiate some planned price cuts ahead of new products in September, and UBS expects some activities around a major New York store opening later this month. [updated]
UBS estimates that consumer sales account for well over half of Apple's revenue, and while demand for MacBook Pros is still strong the company may continue to be impacted by the Intel transition on a short-term basis.
"We continue to be pleasantly surprised by our checks which indicate that there has been solid reception of the new Intel-based Mac minis. The new Mac minis appear to be off to a stronger than expected start as our checks continue to indicate units are being purchased both as media centers and low-cost entry-level Mac options."
The firm notes that demand for Mac minis is not limited to Apple stores, pointing to a CompUSA it visited which indicated that the Intel-based minis continue to see relatively solid demand there as well.
A planned price cut for iPod nanos prior to new product launches may also be in the works, to stimulate demand and account for lower NAND flash prices, according to the research firm.
Checks with retail store representatives continued to indicate that notebooks are the primary driver of overall PC growth, and this is expected to continue as a mix shift occurs away from desktops.
Sales of new Intel iMacs remain relatively solid with consumers, according to UBS, but sales continue to be slower with professionals and "prosumers," who are still waiting for the release of more high-end software applications.
"We believe momentum in Mac sales should continue in 3Q06 and continue to believe 2Q06 was the trough quarter for Mac sales."