updated 05:50 pm EST, Wed January 16, 2008
Analyst on Apple keynote
Apple's new MacBook Air, which CEO Steve Jobs introduced yesterday during his keynote speech at Macworld Expo, is set to fuel market share gains for the company alongside rising hardware sales driven by new iTunes content, according to one analyst. "While we estimate that ultraportables count for 15 percent of total portable computer sales, we believe the segment is the fastest growing segment in the PC market," explained Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "MacBook Air appears to be innovative enough to claim a leading position within the ultraportable market."
Munster says the MacBook Air could add significantly to the global PC market share, of which Apple currently controls 3.2 percent, according to IDC. Such gains would be additive to the broader Mac market share anticipated during 2008.
The analyst also points to a potential rise in Apple hardware sales as a result of movie rentals coming to the iTunes Store.
"The consumer's desire to enjoy content whenever and wherever is a clear trend in digital media," Munster said. "We believe that the ability to rent movies on iTunes for $2.99-$3.99 will drive significant interest in Apple's entertainment ecosystem."
Apple's ecosystem now includes its iPod, iPhone, and revamped Apple TV set top box. Mandatory integration between all Apple products ensures consumers can trust that purchasing an Apple device will allow them to view their content as expected, Munster says, and Apple customers can rest easy knowing that their devices will work with newly released content in the future.
Software updates set Apple apart
"When you buy a CE device, you get the least amount of features at the highest price on the day of purchase," the analyst said as he referred to Microsoft's Windows CE operating system commonly found on most smartphones today. "In other words, technology improves but your device does not. Apple is changing the rules of the game. With software updates that improve the devices feature set, Apple offers its customers insurance against technology obsolescence (despite its reputation for rapid product innovation)."
Several other competing companies offer similar upgrades, but Apple's iTunes software enables the company to offer upgrades more frequently and simply than its competitors, says Munster.