updated 09:55 am EST, Tue January 17, 2012
Soft sales may be compensated for by iPhone
Updated US sales estimates from the NPD Group hint that Apple sold about 4.9 million Macs worldwide during the December quarter, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Data is now in for all three months, showing US sales up 12 percent year-over-year. The 4.9 million figure is, however, a lowered forecast on Munster's part -- 300,000 units below a previous target, even if that would still mean global growth of 18 percent.
The issue may not be any poor performance on Apple's part so much as a comparison with the same quarter in 2010, when Apple first launched redesigned MacBook Airs. The 6 percent addition to NPD data is also consistent with the September quarter, when worldwide growth was 26 percent, while NPD numbers rose 20 percent.
If Mac sales do prove somewhat disappointing, Munster argues that they'll be compensated for by iPhone sales. The analyst has raised his iPhone forecast for the December 2011 quarter by 600,000 units, pegging it at 30.6 million. The NPD data is thought to have no bearing on how iPhone or iPad sales will do.
iPod sales, though, are continuing to slide, down 16 percent in the US. Munster predicts that the quarter's overall tally will be 16 million units. That is nevertheless better than market consensus, currently 15.5 million. iPod sales have been on the decline for several years now, thanks to people preferring multi-purpose devices like smartphones to dedicated media players.