Apple's chip transplant boosts sales — analyst

UBS believes that Mac sales could be up nearly ten percent year-on-year by September, thanks to the move to Intel chips

Apple's move to Intel chips is paying off, according to analysis from banking group UBS.

In a research note published on Monday, UBS analyst Ben Reitzes said that retailers were reporting strong demand for all Intel-powered Apple computers, including the Mac mini.

"We continue to be pleasantly surprised by our checks which indicate that there has been solid reception of the new Intel-based Mac minis," wrote Reitzes. "The new Mac minis appear to be off to a stronger than expected start as our checks continue to indicate units are being purchased both as media centres and low-cost entry-level Mac options."

Apple introduced its first Intel-based Macs at the start of this year, and launched its Intel-powered Mac minis in late February. The company admitted last month that Mac sales had stalled slightly in its last financial quarter -- its second of the year -- while customers waited for the new models.

Reitzes is confident that the Intel machines will help Apple to grow its market share.

"While concerns regarding Mac sales were high going into Apple’s fiscal second quarter (ended March) due to the Intel transition, Apple sold about 1.1 million Macs (compared to our estimate for 979,000) representing about 4 percent growth year-over-year and a sequential decline of only 11 percent," Reitzes wrote.

"With demand for Intel-based systems realizing a full quarter of shipments in fiscal third quarter, we believe momentum in Mac sales should continue."

UBS forecast that Mac sales will grow by five percent in the three months from April to June, rising to nine percent year on year by the end of September 2006.