updated 09:30 am EDT, Wed October 24, 2007
High Leopard forecasts
Apple has seriously underestimated the earnings potential of Leopard, say several analysts. Discussing the results of the latest financial quarter, Apple COO Tim Cook has predicted $140 million in OS sales between Friday's Leopard launch and the end of the year; Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research, however, proposes an estimate of $157 million, with another $50 million in the two following quarters. This is based purely on a consideration of the expanded Mac OS installed base compared to that for Mac OS Tiger, which launched in April 2005.
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster is even more optimistic than Gottheil, proposing that Leopard will add no less than $240 million before 2008, as a result of a differing installed base figure of 23 million, combined with a Tiger-like uptake of 15 percent. Apple itself only suggests a base of 21 million.
Chris Swenson of the research firm NPD Group has declined to suggest exact predictions, but notes that every Mac OS upgrade has sold better than the previous edition, and in the case of Tiger, its sales volume was running 30 percent higher than Panther within two months, and twice as high as Jaguar. Whether Leopard will be a success is dependent on whether Apple can replicate Tiger's combination of promotion, training and support, Swenson argues. This may be helped by Apple's expanded retail presence, now at 197 stores. "Apple's retail stores helped drive sales from a customer education perspective with Tiger," Swenson says. "The customer education efforts in the stores [were] a primary reason for the success of Tiger."