updated 10:41 pm EDT, Mon October 21, 2013
Worldwide softening of PC sales also hurting Macs; iPods down 36 percent
Based on data from NPD (but with a caveat), investment analysts Piper Jaffray has maintained its "overweight" rating on AAPL and reports in a note to investors that it is "comfortable" with its original estimate of a decline in Mac sales year-over-year of around five percent, though it acknowledges that NPD is estimating seven percent. Apple's fiscal year ended on September 30, and it will report the results of that quarter on October 28.
Analyst Gene Munster from the firm expects that the decline -- which is still softer than the rest of the PC industry -- may get some "tailwind" from the recent MacBook Air update in June, since the majority of Apple's computer sales come from notebooks. He mentions that while there may be some "modest updates" to the Mac line at Tuesday's event -- referring to the expected MacBook Pro update and new Mac Pro debut -- "we continue to expect Mac to continue to be a smaller part of the overall business."
"We expect investor focus to remain on iPhone sales numbers for the December quarter and new products including iPads, a television, a larger screen iPhone and a watch over the next 12 months," Munster wrote in his note to investors. He also said that despite relying on NPD data to reinforce his earlier predictions, "based on the differences between NPD data and Apple reported Mac sales over the past few quarters, we note it is becoming more difficult to draw conclusions from NPD data ... although recently NPD has over-reported the growth rate." Munster provided a table to show the difference between NPD estimates and actual Apple results (seen below).
Finally, he noted that iPod data from NPD and his own findings agree that iPod sales are likely to be down 36 percent year-over-year as the product's market continues to mature and decay due to the iPod largely being usurped by the iPhone. Munster said that iPod sales are likely to be down only 20 percent compared to the previous quarter, however, and that their impact on Apple's overall revenue will be minimal given that market's shrinking size.