Apple: Back to the Mac (and the future)

Apple: Back to the Mac (and the future)

Summary: Apple's Mac business is an unappreciated juggernaut--it's delivering big time, but the pyrotechnics from the iPhone and iPod overshadow old reliable.Apple's fourth quarter report on Monday will change that equation.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware
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Apple's Mac business is an unappreciated juggernaut--it's delivering big time, but the pyrotechnics from the iPhone and iPod overshadow old reliable.

Apple's fourth quarter report on Monday will change that equation. Most earnings previews (New York Times, Tom Krazit and TheStreet.com) about Apple's September quarter note the company's big Mac sales (expected to be about 2 million units or so) and then fall into the iPhone-iPod go round. For the record, Apple is expected to report earnings of 86 cents a share on revenue a bit above $6.07 billion.

Both IDC and Gartner rate Apple as the third largest PC company. Apple trails Dell and Hewlett-Packard by an obscene margin, but topping Gateway and Toshiba isn't a small feat.

Yet nearly everyone focuses on the iPhone and iPod. So here's an ode to the Mac and a few thoughts for the future. As today's Apple, the Mac business is the pillar that makes these other businesses possible. The Mac's the reason OS X was developed. Now that operating system just happens to run the iPhone. If the Mac business to stumbled Apple's so-called halo would be seriously hurt. And if Apple can get all of those Mac users currently in college to demand workplace equivalents there's a ton of upside.

Yes folks, Apple is still a "CPU story," according to BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman. Bachman estimates that Apple will report Mac revenue of $3 billion, up 37 percent from a year ago, on shipments of 2.15 million units. The average price for a Mac is estimated to be $1,410.

For those keeping score at home Mac revenue is expected to be nearly half of Apple's total this quarter. You'll never know it by all the iPhone yapping you'll hear later. Apple's quarter will be fueled by the new iMac and back-to-school sales. Bachman expects Apple's December quarter to deliver about the same results with revenue of $3.1 billion on shipments of 2.14 million units.

However, the more interesting Mac developments will play out in upcoming years. Ask any parent and they'll tell you that Apple is a powerful brand among the younger set. Colleges are loaded with Macbooks, high schoolers all have Apple products and my 4 year old can spot the logo a mile away.

To date, none of Apple's fan base has mattered in corporate America. You use a Mac at school and get a PC when you go corporate. That's why the Mac is so important. As these kids/students get some corporate clout the Mac will be an easier sell. Can Apple's fan base open up the corporate market?

So while we're all focused on the iPhone don't forget that old Mac business. Over the long term the Mac is infinitely more important to Apple's long term health than the snazzier more press friendly businesses.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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49 comments
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  • You must have missed the news.

    Gateway was bought by Acer maing Acer the third largest computer manufacturer. Apple is fourth. Try and keep it real!
    ShadeTree
    • Still learning, you are, young shady

      Do you not know or understand the difference between "US" and "global" markets?

      Are you not aware that this is yet to show up in market surveys since this happened within the reporting quarter?

      Let's be sure to review the statistics at the end of the next quarter, shall we?

      Still such anger and fear I sense in you, young padewan...
      MarcB_z
      • Take the Acer share and add it to the Gateway share ...

        ... and even an ignoramous such as yourself should be able to see that Acer and not Apple is number 3. Your condescension and references to Star Wars speaks volumes about who the immature one is.
        ShadeTree
        • And yet

          Here you are, responding to me, once again in a thread that should be of no interest to you...

          Who is the bigger ignoramous, the ignoramous or the ignoramous who responds to him?

          I am only the mirror youngling...do not curse the mirror because the reflection is ugly.
          MarcB_z
        • How much of a share does Acer have? For that matter

          how much does GateWay have or had? What would it be combined US only of course
          since that is what we are talking about right? Also we don't yet know what Apple's
          share is do we there is speculation but unti lApple makes her announcements today
          it's sstill speculation.

          Pagan jim
          Laff
        • And Shade knows "condescension"...

          and arrogance, and gloating, and insults, and misinformation, and..., etc

          Re the recent HP WiFi problems story and "no response from HP"
          (Pavilion notebook WiFi complaints
          http://blogs.zdnet.com/Berlind/?p=853)

          Is HP your "mystery OEM employer" and the reason there is no customer satisfaction or response coming from HP is because their employees are all busy trolling and bashing in non-MS sites?

          Just wondering :-)

          ...
          MacCanuck
          • Another personal attack with ...

            ... no contribution to the discussion at hand. Typical troll response!
            ShadeTree
          • Not so youngling Shady

            What you are referring to is technically known as an "ad hominem" attack. Not very useful, true, but it is not really a troll response per se.

            What YOU do is Trolling.

            Learn to use the language properly, young padewan and you will no longer be in the shade, but will stand tall with the oaks.
            MarcB_z
          • you talk funny

            But I like you, anyways ;)
            Khyron
          • Nice one....

            Good to see the kidz put in their place...
            cuba_pete@...
    • Every silver lining must have it's cloud I suppose...

      You MUST be killer at parties......:P

      Pagan jim
      Laff
      • He doesn't get out much....

        ;)
        MarcB_z
      • Just keeping it real!(nt)

        .
        ShadeTree
        • Truth to POWER...daddy O' PEACE OUT!

          Pagan jim
          Laff
    • News

      You missed the profit margins. What' kind of profit is Gateway making these days or
      Acer for that matter? What about Dell? Maybe you're looking at the wrong numbers.
      What would you rather have a small but substantial piece of property on the
      waterfront or a huge amount of desert acreage in the middle of nowhere?
      SquishyParts
    • reading issue

      "Both IDC and Gartner rate Apple as the third largest PC company. ...."

      prove that IDC and Gartner didn't rate Apple third .. that's 'keeping it real'. You're assertion is irrelevant.
      g_ludlow
    • Picking Nits

      If you want to pick nits, you should have written [i]Try to keep it real. Try and[/i] makes you sound like george bush.
      ghostshadow
  • No surprise Apple is behind HP and Dell

    Those two companies sell a huge majority of their systems to businesses, an area where Apple has essentially no presence.

    I would love for someone to do a study in the consumer market, not just overall PC sales. I would suspect the distance between HP, Dell and Apple would be much less obscene.
    frgough
  • Only more time will tell .

    I LOVE how APPLE got back up off the ground a few years ago , and is now
    speeding ahead with a vengeance that will topple many companies to the ground .
    Many here on ZDNET claimed that Macs are toys . That Macs are not ready for the
    corporate world . Perhaps it is the old age people in the corporate world that are
    not ready for Macs .

    "In a world without walls and fences , who needs windows and gates."

    Look folks , no hurdles to jump , no hoops to dive through . That's what APPLE is all
    about . Ease of use .

    Tada
    Intellihence
    • Actually some of us in the younger generation Know that Macs are just toys.

      They are toys. Everyone knows the security is fictional, just nobody cares to hack them. The actual computer market share for this company as 30 year veteran competitor is beyond pathetic. Clearly this company has been doing things very wrong for a very long time. If it take a glorified MP3 player to create a "halo effect" that simply reinforces the toy linkage.
      While it is true that when a Mac is operating properly it is easy to use, it is only true when everything is working flawlessly. As soon as any failure occurs, the troubleshooting and repair tools are ineffective for self diagnoses. The usual "repair path" is to cry and send it back to Apple for reconditioning.
      Apple is pretty much the last of the completely closed systems. They are exactly what they said they were going to fight back in the 80's.
      While the engineers can make the keyboard on a laptop glow (uh toy again,) they still can't install a second mouse button like every other vendor on the planet.
      In short, IMNSHO the Mac is an over priced toy that after 30 plus years of development sorely lags behind All other platforms and operating systems it is competing with but, it is pretty.
      Never confuse pretty with performance, stability, compatibility, or security.
      If you don't believe the statments I just made, do your own research and then dispute or verify. After all the industry darling status for this has-been toy company, dealing with the "faithful" and having to support the machines... I can honestly say that I hate the Mac platform, Apple corp needs to be sued for truth in advertising violations, Mac users/owners are some of the most demanding and annoying people on the planet. I wish Bill Gates never gave Apple the money to keep it propped up as the token competition.
      Apple is a company not to be taken seriously.. ever. As in the past, Apple will destroy it's own success and it's long ignored fatal flaws will be exploited again and again, because Apple does not learn from it's mistakes.
      Just my professional opinion.
      MidnightGeek