With the help of its second best quarter ever, strong laptop sales, and record Mac shipments, Apple made signficant gains in the US market, achieving 4.8 percent marketshare in second calendar quarter of 2006 on year-over-year growth of 16 percent. According to market research firm IDC, Apple was the No. 4 PC vendor in terms of marketshare in US behind Dell (34.2%), HP (20.1%), and Gateway (6.5%); however, the Cupertino-based company achieved the second largest growth rate behind Gateway's 16.7 percent increase. Apple outpaced the industry's average of 6.7 percent in the US. Meanwhile, market leader Dell was only able to achieve 6.4 growth, while No. 2 HP achieved growth of more than 15 percent. Total shipments in the US were slightly ahead of forecasts.
Helped by strong sales of its laptops, Apple's retail segment helped the company achieve its second best quarterly earnings of $472 million by generating revenue of $715 million in the same quarter, representing 29 percent year-over-year growth. Apple said the strong retail performance was fueled by "very strong" MacBook and MacBook Pro sales, strong foot traffic, and the launch of its flagship Fifth Avenue Store in Manhattan. The stores generated $29 million in profit, excluding $148 million in associated manufacturing profit. Apple opened 14 stores in the quarter--ending with 155 total retail stores. With an average of 146 stores open during the quarter, the average quarterly revenue per store was $4.9 million, down slightly from year-ago quarter due to flat iPod sales; however, the company said that strong Mac sales, including availability of more Intel-based Macs, helped the segment rebound 12 percent from a soft March quarter.
Apple's music business posted another quarter of strong results, representing 45 percent of total company revenue. It increased 45 percent year-over-year, with iPod shipments increasing 32 percent to just over 8.1 million. Though consistent with the company's expectations, the numbers exceeded many estimates by analysts who believe that Apple would have a soft iPod quarter. The company said it ended the quarter with 4-6 of iPod channel inventory. Apple told investors that iPods comprise over 75 percent of all sales of MP3 players in the US, according to latest NPD numbers. iPod is also top selling MP3 player in many international markets, such as the Canada, Australia, the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan, according the latest data by NPD, GFK, and BCN.
During the company's third quarter conference call, Apple told investors that it had the best Mac unit sales in any 13-week quarter in the company's history as, which along with iPod sales, helped the company achieve $472 million in profit, the second best quarter in the company's history. Aple said that its favorable operating margin, over 13 percent, was attributable to its revenue growth, a very favorable component environment, and "solid" expense management. Macs represented 55% of total quarterly revenue, increasing 11 percent year-over-year by 12 percent unit growth. As noted in the June quarter breakdown, Mac laptop sales--both unit and revenue--were up a hefty 61 percent year-over-year and doubled in retail US marketshare (see later) while Apple's desktop sales declined as professionals held off purchase. The company said the decline was due to the shift in overall computer sales to laptops and the company's compelling laptop offerings.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Brain Cell Laptop Sleeve ($50, shown at right) from Tom Bihn, a protective case available in numerous sizes.... FileWave today announced an online video evaluation that offers an overview of how the FileWave software works to distribute as well as manage software installs, patches, and upgrades.... DEVONtechnologies today signed a partnership agreement with Mercury Software Japan, published new learning resources for its pro applications, and launched a company blog.... LiveTime today announced that Columbus Metropolitan Library has selected LiveTime Help Desk software to manage and deliver IT help desk service to its customers.... Miglia Technology today appointed Robert L. Sharp as president of Miglia USA in response to its rapid growth, and appointed Jason Walcott as Regional Sales to support global expansion.
Apple's second strongest quarterly profit of $472 million was driven by strong laptop and iPod sales, as well as a very strong showing from its retail segment. Apple in the June quarter saw a hefty 61 percent year-over-year increase in unit sales of its portables, as the company launched its consumer-based MacBook and sold the MacBook Pro for an entire quarter; however, Apple saw a decline in the sales of desktops. The company sold nearly 800,000 laptops, and only 529,000 desktops, a drop of 23 percent from the year-ago quarter. Overall, the company saw a year-over-year unit sales increase of 12 percent for Macs and 32 percent for iPod sales. Apple's retail division achieved a 50 percent increase in unit sales and nearly a 30 percent increase in revenue.
Apple today posted revenue of $4.37 billion and a net quarterly profit of $472 million, or $.54 per diluted share for its fiscal 2006 third quarter ended July 1st, 2006 -- the second highest quarterly sales and earnings for the company. The results -- which are to be discussed at 5:00 p.m. EDT via a conference call -- are just shy of analysts' estimates of $4.4 billion in revenue, but ahead of profit estimates of 44 cents. The results compare to revenue of $3.52 billion and a net profit of $320 million, or $.37 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 30.3 percent, up from 29.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 39 percent of the quarter's revenue. Apple shipped 1,327,000 Macs and 8,111,000 iPods during the quarter, representing a 12 percent growth in Macs and 32 percent growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter.
Samsung has begun mass producing smaller NAND flash memory chips with an 8GB storage capacity that could further reduce the size numerous gadgets, including Apple's future iPod models. Samsung has shrunk the size of its 8GB NAND flash chips by one-quarter from older designs while increasing chip capacity, according to IDG News Service. Apple is expected to release new iPod models in the near future, though numerous reports suggest that the updated devices will not launch until October or later. The suspected delay has resulted in a negative impact on the NAND flash market, corresponding to an average 10 percent sequential drop for mainstream density NAND flash chips, according to another report.
Infiniteline today released an update to NetMap, its hardware and software manager tool. NetMap provides network administrators with a visual overview of network devices as well as access source data for software licenses, system versions, and login information. The update features new interface improvements, the ability to move groups of connected network items, and enables administrators to choose between both the Standard (Imperial) and Metric systems. NetMap 1.2 also addresses several minor bugs, and provides improvements to international language localizations. Single-user licenses are priced at $50, and require Mac OS X 10.0 or later.
The iPod accessory market is booming, according to one report, despite looming predictions by analysts that Apple will reveal lower than expected sales of iPods for its September quarter. The Cupertino-based company today will report its financial results via a conference call at 5:00 p.m. EDT, which will be freely available as a webcast via QuickTime. The iPod accessory market is estimated by some to total roughly $1 billion, fueled by "necessary" products such as protective cases, as well as consumers' desire to personalize their players, according to BusinessWeek. Apple offers its own iPod accessories at its various retail locations as well as its online store, and recently experienced unusually high demand for its own as well as third party accessories, which it also sells via its online storefront.
Olive Media Products today released new versions of its Musica music server and Opus music centers. Musica offers 160GB and 250GB storage capacities, holding up to 65,000 MP3s for playback. Opus professional is available in 400GB, 500GB, and 750GB capacities holding up to 2,100 CDs with lossless quality. All Olive music servers are designed to run completely silent without a fan, while the Opus uses a frame concept with eight individual bearings to cancel out the natural vibration and resulting hum of the hard drive. "Music plays an important role in most of our lives, and our taste and preference evolve over time," said Robert Altmann, vice president of Olive Media. "At a certain point in our life our digital music library will exceed the available space, and the necessity to erase music to make room for new acquisitions can put us in a serious dilemma." Olive's Musica is available for $1,100 (160GB) and $1,500 (250GB). The Opus is priced at $3,000 (400GB), $3,500 (500GB), and $4,000 (750GB).
Marketcircle has released Daylite 3.1, an update to its task management utility. Daylite is designed to help users manage their projects and day-to-day scheduling. The application features the ability to create calendars, support for Palm and BlackBerry devices, contact management, and large project management. Version 3.1 offers new customizable contextual menus, improved user notifications, and 'live reporting' which allows users to print exactly what they currently have on their screen. The update also brings enhanced custom list reports alongside updated smart lists capabilities. Daylite requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later running on a 1GHz G4-, G5-, or Intel-based Mac. Each user license costs $150; a free trial is available online.
CinemaNow is catering to consumers looking for download-to-own movies with the ability to burn the titles onto DVDs, which could compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store if the company launches a full-length feature film offering. The service currently excludes first-run films, providing roughly 100 older movies from Walt Disney, NBC Universal, EagleVision, Lionsgate, Sony, and the Sundance Channel, according to Forbes.com. Industry observers suspect that Apple may be working with movie studios to offer full-length feature films via its iTunes Music Store, adding to its current collection of short films and TV shows. Amazon in mid-July joined Microsoft as another company rumored to be working on a movie download service, and is said to be meeting with industry executives as well as major studios, according to another report.
An avid Apple fan has launched Designed in California, a new reference site for Apple products. The site features hundreds of Apple product descriptions and timelines for all current offerings, as well as several discontinued Apple product lines. The database stretches back to 1997 product releases, spanning up to the Cupertino-based company's most recent announcements, including the 13-inch widescreen Intel-based MacBook. Visitors can compare any Apple products released since 1997, and the site supports searching by traits -- such as the number of processors or the monitor connection type.
In brief: MacNN has posted a new video podcast featuring an interview with Julian Miller, creator of iChat AV modification ChatFX.... Krische onLine is offering a look at the heat dissipation of Apple's new MacBook compared to a Dell latitude D620 laptop.... Adobe has released a new beta of Lightroom for Windows, following its Mac-only beta release.... WiebeTech announced price reductions of up to $300 on 250GB and 500GB storage solutions.... Bruji software, creators of DVDpedia and Bookpedia, have announced a design contest to create a new Bruji website, and will award prizes in eight various categories.
Computrace has announced a Mac-compatible version of its LoJack for Laptops tracking software, designed to help track down stolen laptops. The application detects that theft has taken place and transmits it's location to a server whenever a connection to the internet is available. When the LoJack central system is alerted that the laptop is stolen, law enforcement officers are informed as to the latest location of the laptop. LoJack requires a Mac OS X 10.3 or later, a Web browser such as Safari or Firefox, and an internet connection. A single year license is priced at $50, and users must pay on a yearly (or up to four years per payment) basis to maintain service.
Sales of Apple's iPod video and iPod nano in the Taiwan market have fallen to below 20,000 units per month since May of this year, according to one report. Local retail channels attribute the drop in sales to fierce competition from new MP3 players from Samsung and SanDisk. Monthly sales of iPods in the Taiwan market totaled 25,000-35,000 units during a shortage, topping out at 45,000-50,000 units, according to DigiTimes. Samsung and SanDisk have since launched their new portable media players which offer more functionality than Apple's own iPod, even as unbranded and less popular MP3 player manufacturers lowered prices during the last quarter to combat Apple's dominance in the market, ultimately resulting in decreased sales of iPods in the region.
MaxUpgrades has unveiled maxSleeves II, a new impact-resistant carrying sleeve for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro. The maxSleeve II features synthetic leather construction with foam padded side panels designed to absorb shock. The sleeve is engineered to cover the entire notebook, and features a zipper top to secure the laptop within. MaxSleeves II ship in three sizes designed for the 17-inch MacBook Pro or PowerBook ($40), the 15-inch MacBook Pro or PowerBook ($37), and the 13-inch MacBook ($35).
Other World Computing (OWC) today began shipping its new OWC two-channel SATA Controller Card, offering SATA and eSATA ports via a PCI or PCI-X 32-bit expansion slot. Users can connect up to two internal SATA drives, two eSATA external drives, or one internal and external SATA drive simultaneously. The card features full Serial ATA 1.0a specification compliance; off-loading of data I/O handling from CPU via Bus Mastering; data protection via complete 32-bit CRC error checking for all bits transmitted (command, data, and status); and separate device timing for dual independent data channels allowing automatic identification as well as configuration of drive types. The card is priced at $50, and is designed to work with Power Mac G3 (Blue & White), G5, or G5 systems equipped with a free PCI or PCI-X expansion slot.
H2O Audio today began shipping its H2O Audio for iPod shuffle waterproof housing, an adventure sport and outdoor recreation accessory for Apple's smallest iPod model. The H20 Audio for iPod shuffle offers waterproof and impact-resistant protection against outdoor conditions or recreational environments, enabling users to submerge the iPod up to a maximum depth of 10 feet. An easy-access control pad allows users to control the iPod within the case, while the device remains compatible with standard headphones. H20 Audio for iPod shuffle also works with H20 Audio waterproof headphones to listen to music entirely submerged, and includes an armband for $40.
PGP Corporation has announced a public beta of PGP Desktop 9.5 Pro, its security management application designed for both corporate and home use that encrypts local and outbound data. This beta release features support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary and new whole-disk encryption for non-boot hard drives--with support for multiple users and compatibility with the Windows version encryption. Also included in this beta is dynamically resizable virtual disks, messanging policy enhancements, detail status and control messages via notifier, full S/MIME support, FIPS 140-2 support, and international character set encoding improvements. PCP Desktop 9.5 pro requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later; the beta aversion will expire October 31, 2006.
Miraizon has announced Cinematize 2 Pro, the professional edition of its DVD re-editing tool. This newly added product features everything found in Cinematize 2 alongside the ability to use any piece of an existing DVD as source material for a new DVD project. Cinematize 2 Pro is compatible with QuickTime, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, PowerPoint, Keynote, iTunes, and iPods. Cinematize 2 Pro has the ability to extract video from DVD-VR recorded discs, extract all audio channels from multi-channel tracks, and decode subtitles from images or movies. Support for menu extraction has also improved in the 'Pro' release with the new ability to extract buttons, background images, motion menus, and audio tracks separately. Cinematize 2 Pro will be available later this summer for $150 (Box) or $130 (Download) as a Universal Binary (System requirements were not available).
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE