iBook outsells rivals at retail

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Computer Inc.'s new consumer portable notebook computer, the iBook, was the top-selling portable in U.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Computer Inc.'s new consumer portable notebook computer, the iBook, was the top-selling portable in U.S. retail markets during October, according to PC Data, a market research firm.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) launched the iBook -- a notebook with some of the similar innovative design features as its popular iMac -- at the MacWorld Expo in July. The iBook comes in two colors, blueberry and tangerine, similar to the iMac's fruit colors.

PC Data said the blueberry model of the iBook was the top seller in October, narrowly passing other consumer notebooks such as the Presario by Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ), Toshiba Corp.'s Satellite and IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) ThinkPad notebook series.

Supply vs. demand
"iBook is the first portable designed expressly for consumers and students," said Steve Jobs, interim chief executive of Apple, in a statement. "Customer response has been incredible and we are working hard to meet the tremendous demand."

Apple was not initially able to meet all the demand for the new iBooks because of the Taiwan earthquake in September, which disrupted operations at two contract manufacturers that make its PowerBooks and iBooks.


'Customer response has been incredible and we are working hard to meet the tremendous demand.'
-- Steve Jobs, interim chief executive of Apple.

"There is pent-up demand and people are interested in buying it," said Stephen Baker, an analyst at PC Data in Reston, Va., adding that the iBook did not surpass its competitors by a big jump. He declined to give any specifics on unit shipments.

"There are opportunities for Compaq and Toshiba to pass them in terms of best selling SKU," Baker said, using an industry acronym to refer to stock-keeping units for inventory purposes. But he said the iBook's sales momentum into the big holiday selling season was very strong.

Baker also said the blueberry model of the iBook outsold the tangerine model by about six to one.

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