updated 02:40 pm EDT, Mon August 22, 2011
Short-term boost attributed to Lion, new Macs
US Mac sales were up about 26 percent year-over-year in July, according to new NPD data. The figure is being highlighted by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who argues that it puts Apple on track to meet consensus predictions of 4.5 million units for the entire September quarter. "We believe Mac sales benefited from the 7/20 launch of OS X Lion along with refreshed MacBook Airs and Mac minis," according to Munster.
He cautions though that August and September 2011 Mac sales are less likely to compare so well against the same months in 2010, when sales were up 29 and 20 percent year-over-year, respectively. July 2010 rose a comparatively modest 14 percent. The sales benefits of Lion and updated Macs "will fade throughout the September  quarter," Munster observes.
The analyst's own estimates call for between 4.4 and 4.6 million Macs during the quarter. Despite growth rates potentially being slower than in 2010, Munster notes that even 4.4 million Macs would represent a quarterly record for Apple.
Also spotted in the July NPD numbers were iPod sales, down 15 percent. Munster comments that this is still good news, since he had been modeling for a 24 percent drop. Quarterly sales are expected to slot somewhere between 7.2 and 7.7 million units. The iPod has been on a long-term decline as people flock to multipurpose devices, namely the iPhone and the iPad, and to smartphones and tablets in general.