Apple: Mac sales still strong, some "interesting ideas" for netbooks

Summary:Well, we now know why Apple dropped the word "computer" from its name and it doesn't have anything to do with HDTVs. In a conference call last night to discuss its quarterly results, Apple said it sold nearly 6.

Well, we now know why Apple dropped the word "computer" from its name and it doesn't have anything to do with HDTVs. In a conference call last night to discuss its quarterly results, Apple said it sold nearly 6.9 million iPhone 3Gs during the quarter. The company spreads that revenue out over the two-year contract, but if it were to book the sales all at once, iPhone 3G sales would've represented nearly 40% of Apple's total revenues for the quarter.

Still Mac sales remain strong and continue to grow at a faster rate than the overall PC industry. Apple shipped more than 2.6 million Macs, an increase of 21% over the same period a year ago. Mac sales might've been even better if it weren't for two factors. Apple said it saw a big dip in large orders from education K-12 as state and local governments started to feel the squeeze from the slowing economy. And toward the end of the quarter notebook sales--more than two-thirds of total Mac sales--slowed down as customers waited for the new MacBooks, which were announced on October 14.

Of course Apple did not announce the rumored $800 MacBook (though they did get the entry-level model down to $1,000) and there's been a lot of discussion of whether sales of pricier MacBooks and MacBook Pros will hold up in a worsening economy. On the call, CEO Steve Jobs said customers might put off purchasing a new Mac for a while, but they were unlikely to abandon Apple altogether, and the company still has plenty of room to grow its market share in both cell phones and computers (more than 50% of the Mac sales in Apple stores are customer who've never owned a Mac). Apple also heads into the holiday quarter with a strong product lineup and a big cash cushion. "We are not economists," Steve Jobs said on the call. "We may get buffeted around by the waves a bit, but we'll be fine."

But Jobs also dropped the strongest hints yet that if the demand for low-cost laptops, and in particular netbooks, continues to grow, Apple will jump into this market. "The netbook is a nascent category and, best as I can tell, not a lot have been sold," Jobs said. "But we'll wait and see how that category evolves and we've got some pretty interesting ideas if it does evolve."

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Hardware

About

John Morris is a former executive editor at CNET Networks and senior editor at PC Magazine. He now works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are... Full Bio

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