updated 04:30 pm EDT, Wed October 24, 2007
Halo or not?
Apple posted record quarterly earnings and machine sales early this week, moving over two million Macs, and over $900 million in profits, and showing a growth rate of more than eight times the industry. According to eWeek, analysts and insiders at Apple are both predicting the sharp increase in Mac sales is due to the much-talked-about "halo effect" -- a term that is applied to the peripheral effects of the success of the iPod, iPhone, and the accompanying infrastructure, the iTunes Music Store.
"It is primarily [the] 'halo effect' driving the jump in Mac sales," says Van Baker, research vice president of Gartner Consulting. "Consumers come in [to the Apple stores] to buy an iPod and stop to check out the MacBook Pros while they are there."
However, opinions differ throughout the industry. Since over half of the new Mac sales in the Apple Stores were to new Mac users, analyst Tim Bajarin thinks it has more to do with the presence of another choice.
"It points to the fact that the Mac is viewed as an easier system then competitive operating systems and more and more people are feeling comfortable with the Mac for use as their own personal computer," Bajarin said.
Leopard -- Apple's upcoming operating system due on Friday -- is already set to take the field, securing double the amount of pre-orders to it's predecessor, Tiger. Despite a few setbacks, such as delaying the product release until October, interest for the update remains strong.
By keeping with tradition and offing an Up-to-Date program for users that are looking to buy around the Leopard release date, comsumers' demand for the Mac platform hasn't wavered.
The iPhone is viewed as a big player in Apple's race to gain market-share, with over a million units sold, and a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating. "TBR believes the iPhone will be a profitable product for Apple, and will introduce the Apple brand to many new customers," said Ezra Gottheil, analyst for Technology Business Research.
"Note that the 1.1 million iPhones is more than one-half the number of Macs sold in 3Q07." With the international release of the iPhone quickly approaching, Apple is on track to meet or exceed their goal of selling 10 million units by the end of 2008, according to Forrester Research analyst Charles Govin.
"We haven't asked this question of consumers so we don't actually know," Golvin told eWEEK. "My guess is that because [the] iPod and iTunes have exposed lots of Windows users to an Apple experience they find positive, in conjunction with reviews extolling the virtues of the Mac, and (to a lesser extent) the switch to Intel chips and programs like Boot Camp/VMware/Parallels that address concerns about access to Windows, consumers are indeed much more favorably inclined toward Macs than in the past."