Print 20 comment(s) - last by AnnihilatorX.. on Oct 20 at 5:03 AM

Company is back swinging after a brief slump

After a brief slump that saw iPhone growth slowing and Mac computer sales actually declining, Apple is back to its old self.  All the signs are there -- a new iPhone, new Macs, new "Get a Mac" commercials trashing Windows, and at the company helm, none other than its cofounder, Steve Jobs.  Now with share prices at near record highs, many wonder if even Apple beating expectations will be good enough to sate hungry shareholders.

Mac sales, Apple's single largest revenue source, are expected to recover substantially for Apple's Q4 of its fiscal year.  With new iPods, the iPod sales slide is also expected to slow slightly.  However, some fear that iPhone growth is slowing and the numbers won't be enough to satisfy investors.

Last year Apple sold 6.9 million iPhones during this quarter, amid the recession.  This year's estimates predict sales of 7.5 million phones (taking the average of analyst figures).  Some are concerned by Apple's announcement in September that it had sold 30 million iPhones to date.  This could indicate that it had only sold 3.5 million iPhones by September, too slow a pace to reach its targets.  And while Apple is reaching into foreign markets like China, there are reports that it is having trouble handling demand in these foreign locales.

Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst states, "The driver is if the iPhone keeps selling well.  Mac is a huge part of the company and I think it's going to get better next year, so while there may be some risk in the iPhone sales for the quarter, people will take some solace in that the Mac sales are pretty strong."

With investment analysts sick of being embarrassed by bloggers posting higher estimates for Apple, many analysts began to raise their estimates in September.  Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi writes in a recent research note, "Expectations for Q4 are high going into FY Q4, and we would not be looking to make a big bet on the quarter."

Rounding out analyst predictions, they expect a revenue of $9.2B USD, up 17 percent from a year before.  They expect 7 percent growth for Macs, at 2.8 million Macs.  IPod sales are expected to be down slightly -- 5 to 10 percent.

With IBM and Google also beating estimates, though, Apple won't be the only one in the club if it manages its usual surprise.  Thus, how investors take the news largely relies on exactly how big the surprise is -- for example in Google's case, it greatly beat estimates and its stock rose.

Apple does have one potential ace-in-the-hole.  It is rumored that it will be releasing a tablet PC sometime next year.  While no official confirmation has come from Apple, a wealth of information and pictures leaking onto the web seem to indicate that something is coming.

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Good luck to Apple
By 3minence on 10/19/2009 9:52:06 AM , Rating: 4
I hope Apple does very well. I hope it shoots past all analysts expectations and becomes a serious threat to Microsoft. I wish this for two reasons:

1. Competition is always good for the consumer. It drives innovation and keeps prices low.

2. It would be nice to see all the virus, malware, and Trojan writes start giving Mac some love. Then we'll see how much Apple likes being in Microsoft's shoes.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By invidious on 10/19/2009 10:38:25 AM , Rating: 5
I would rather live in a world of a Microsoft monopoly than in a world where Apple is rewarded for using scare tactics and false advertising to trick people who dont know any better into spending double the price just to get a fruit stamp on their computer.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By amanojaku on 10/19/2009 10:51:15 AM , Rating: 2
I would prefer to avoid monopolies altogether. Even monopolies that form naturally (one company is good and honest while its competitors suck) become corrupt or lazy without competition.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By 67STANG on 10/19/2009 10:57:58 AM , Rating: 3
If people are foolish enough to pay twice as much for a fruit stamp on their computer, that's their own fault. Uneducated consumers have been making poor decisions way before Apple was around.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By sebmel on 10/19/2009 5:31:30 PM , Rating: 1
"If people are foolish enough to pay twice as much for a fruit stamp on their computer, that's their own fault. Uneducated consumers have been making poor decisions way before Apple was around."

Actually the research clearly shows the reverse: Apple customers are on average better educated and better paid than PC users.

"Those who surf the Web using a Mac tend to be better educated and make more money than their PC-using counterparts, according to a report from Nielsen/NetRatings.
The study also said Mac users tend to be more Web savvy, with more than half having been online for at least five years. And the Mac faithful are 58 percent more likely than the overall online population to build their own Web page and also slightly more likely to buy goods online, according to the report.
"With above-average household income and education levels, the Mac population presents a very attractive target for marketers, both online and offline," the research group said."

Remember Ballmer's quip recently at a meeting with financial advisers on noticing that Macs substantially outnumbered PCs in the room?

Steve Ballmer:
"We have low share, by the way, in the investor audience. I can see the Apple logos versus the PC logos. So we have more work to do, more work to do. Our share is lower in this audience than the average audience. Don’t hide it. I’ve already counted them. I have been doing that since we started talking."

Incidentally the research also shows higher vocabulary for Mac users.

Paul Murphy writes for LinuxInsider:
"[Ratings for Mac users were] significantly higher than those given Slashdot's contributors, and thus better than those given text from the PC sites, but the vocabulary was larger too. Without collapsing words to their root forms, but after removing punctuation (including capitalization) and numbers, the Macintouch stuff had 870 unique words to only 517 for the combined PC sites. Overall, the results are pretty clear: Mac users might not actually be smarter than PC users, but they certainly use better English and a larger vocabulary to express more complex thinking."

RE: Good luck to Apple
By PrinceGaz on 10/19/2009 7:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Given the significantly higher price of Apple Macs compared with similar spec PCs, it would be expected that the majority of people who buy them are those who can afford to spend more than the average consumer on a computer, and therefore the better educated who are in higher earning jobs. No surprise there.

That doesn't make Macs better than PCs, it only means that Macs are purchased more by people with a lot of money to spend and are willing to pay extra for a brand that is perceived by some as better (whether it is actually better is irrelevant here). Obviouslly the vast majority of people with less money to spend will have to buy a PC as it is the only affordable option for them.

The Mac is generally seen as a premium product and comes with a premium price. The fact that it is no better than a PC when it comes to what it can do doesn't matter to those people who pay the extra for a Mac. They bought the Mac because it is a status symbol, something they can show off in public.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By michael2k on 10/19/2009 2:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a trick if it is true, though. Until Apple gets significant market share it is still less vulnerable to viruses and malware.

Likewise, considering that only 30% of people run Vista the ads are clearly targeted towards people running XP or older systems; given that reality (over 60%) the market is still vulnerable to blue screens, viruses, malware, etc.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By sprockkets on 10/19/2009 7:18:57 PM , Rating: 1
If you used FireFox to post that, then you are a hyprocrite.

If you are using IE6, you are not, and I apologize. And no, IE7 or IE8 doesn't count.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By AnnihilatorX on 10/20/2009 5:03:43 AM , Rating: 2
Since when Firefox uses scare tactics and false advertisement?

RE: Good luck to Apple
By Reclaimer77 on 10/19/2009 2:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
This is stupid because in order for Apple to be "competition" for Microsoft, they HAVE to allow their operating system to run on PC's. Something they will never allow to happen.

Microsoft does not make PC/OS combos. And even Windows runs on Apples, just not vice/versa.

Trying Microsoft requires an investment of maybe 100 or so bucks. Trying Apple requires no less than 1,000 dollars, and usually quite a bit more. It's hard to foster competition when the cost of entry is so much steeper from one brand to the other.

RE: Good luck to Apple
By sebmel on 10/19/2009 5:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
No, it isn't stupid in the slightest.

You can buy a PC or a Mac and use either to write text, browse, watch films, listen to music, store photos, draw, paint, design, email, blog, host a database, make web sites, play games or make music.

The two options compete on virtually every level for customers as there exists the ability to do virtually all the same things on both platforms. Any disappointed customer can swap platforms as easily as sell up and buying a competing product.

By damianrobertjones on 10/19/2009 9:49:56 AM , Rating: 2
Slightly off topic, but I've noticed a lot of Mac Mini's on ebay lately over here in the UK and they are obviously the G4 versions due to the inability to upgrade to apples latest OSX release. Shame. Shame that Apple also screw older customers but looking here, it's a common thing:

Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" - Support for some early G3 computers such as "beige" Power Macs and "WallStreet" PowerBooks was discontinued

Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" - As with Panther, certain older machines were no longer supported; Tiger requires a Mac with a built-in FireWire port.[

Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard" - however, support for the G3 processor was dropped and the G4 processor required a minimum clock speed of 867 MHz

Mac OS X v10.6 "Snow Leopard" - Snow Leopard supports only machines with Intel CPUs, and drops default support for applications built only for the PowerPC architecture

How can Mac owners stand being done over and over again?

RE: Hmmmm
By DarkElfa on 10/19/2009 10:24:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I hope the Apple fans enjoy this while they can, cause as soon as Steve croaks, Apple is dead as a doornail.

RE: Hmmmm
By cyriene on 10/19/2009 1:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
Apple loved to babble on about how Vista would not work well on older machines.
This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
My G4 will no longer get Apple love.
The difference is MS will continue to support XP for more years for my older machine.

RE: Hmmmm
By sebmel on 10/19/2009 5:50:27 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly how have you been screwed?

Apple decided to built 64bit processing into the OS and you don't have a 64bit processor!

Luckily for you your second hand Mac is worth a lot more than it would have been were it a PC. So you can sell it on eBay and upgrade to a Mac mini with a 64 bit processor.

And wouldn't you know your luck... there are very likely to be new ones out tomorrow.

As for being screwed, there is no upgrade path between 64 and 32 bit versions of Windows. As we speak there are people buying redundant 32 bit versions of Windows 7. All their software will have to be repurchased when finally the Windows market adopts 64 bit tech.

And as for Apple? The OS seamlessly handles 32 bit and 64 bit programs negating the need to upgrade. It even runs old IBM PPC CPU based programs with Rosetta installed. Oh, and it will run Linux programs too, recompiled or using X11. And it can natively run Windows for you... and Linux... and BeOS... and Unix... limited support indeed!

RE: Hmmmm
By sprockkets on 10/19/2009 7:26:13 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize how old the G3 processors are? The G4 was last sold 4+ years ago.

Contrast that with Microsoft who couldn't even get NT4 to work right with Alpha and x86 at the same time. That lasted only one generation.

Try getting $300 for a 4 year old PC; that's about what people can command for a G4 mini. It shows that they clearly have value for those who don't care about Snow Leopard.

look at a chart
By MadMan007 on 10/19/2009 10:22:40 AM , Rating: 2
The reason there's 'weak investor response' is obvious. Apple is, or was - we'll see how things go with profit-taking selloff, basically priced to perform miracles at this point rather than just perform really well like they have been. Thus even great numbers seem disappointing in the short term.

RE: look at a chart
By sebmel on 10/19/2009 5:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
"The reason there's 'weak investor response'"

What weak response? Apple's share price has been up between 6% and 14% in out of hours trading. That is substantially more growth in 1 hour than Microsoft have achieved in the last 10 years.

Over the last 10 years, ADJUSTED FOR SPLITS, Microsoft is down roughly 50%. Add in inflation and their performance has been even more pitiful.

Desperate Apple Wives
By R3T4rd on 10/19/2009 9:47:58 AM , Rating: 1
Sounds like Apple is getting desperate. Could it be because of Win7? or MS's PC Hunter Commercials? or could it be, people are starting to see through Apples smoke screen of Apple Tax and iron fist reign? Or People are just tired of Apples lies? I don't know either.

RE: Desperate Apple Wives
By sebmel on 10/19/2009 6:03:57 PM , Rating: 2
"Sounds like Apple is getting desperate."

What exactly caused that idea to spring into your head? Was it the 17% growth of Macs during a severe world recession? Or their record profit?

Apple posted revenue of $9.87 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.67 billion, or $1.82 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. […]

Apple sold 3.05 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing a 17 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 10.2 million iPods during the quarter, representing an eight percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter, representing seven percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

More Macs and more iPhones than in any previous quarter in history. In a worldwide recession. With the Christmas/holiday quarter still to come.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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