VARs: Dip in Mac Sales on the HorizonBy Scott Ferguson | Print
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Mac VARs say sales are down 5 to 10 percent this quarter form the previous quarter.
After two quarters of solid growth for Apple's Mac line, this quarter could see a "slight" downturn in Mac sales, although resellers of the company's products remain more optimistic than current Wall Street estimates, according to a March 20 report.
In the last half of 2006, Apple managed to ship about 1.6 million Macs during each quarter. Estimates from Wall Street are calling for a decline of about 10 percent when the current quarter comes to a close at the end of March.
Apple is expected to release its quarterly numbers on April 25.
However, Gene Munster, an analyst with Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray, surveyed 20 Apple resellers and found that they are expecting slightly different numbers at the end of the quarter.
According to Munster's report, 85 percent of those surveyed believed Mac sales would decline between 5 and 10 percent during the quarter, while the remaining 15 percent thought sales would be flat in a quarter-to-quarter comparison.
"We believe, therefore, Street estimates are achievable and may be slightly conservative," Munster wrote in his note to investors.
Like Hewlett-Packard and Dell, the majority of Apple resellers reported that notebooks are driving sales, while desktops are falling behind. Of those surveyed, 65 percent found that MacBooks are selling better than other Mac products.
In his report, Munster does not offer a specific reason for this quarterly decline in Mac sales. Those resellers surveyed found that the release of Apple's new Mac OS 10.5, dubbed Leopard, has not had a significant impact on customers' buying habits.
However, the resellers re-enforced the idea that Apple's professional base of customers may be waiting on the release of Adobe's Photoshop CS3 before they purchase new Macs.
Munster's report claims Adobe will announce the full version of CS3 in the next week and it will start to ship by April. His report also estimates that Leopard will ship by mid-April.
Apple resellersMunster defines them as traditional Apple specialty resellers who are more independent than the current Apple Retail Storesalso expect that Apple TV will have little impact on overall sales during the next two quarters.
"Ultimately, most Apple specialist stores are optimistic about the long-term prospects for Apple TV, but are aware that it may take some time for the product to find itself in the headlights of the average consumer," Munster wrote.
In the meantime, the Web site Apple Insider reported that Apple, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., will begin a redesign of the iMac.
On Tuesday, the site reported that Apple will use Intel's Core 2 Duo processors as part of a "slimmer and sleeker" iMac offering.
Apple itself is starting to gear up for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which starts June 11 in San Francisco. According to a company executive, the agenda for this year's WWDC will focus on enticing Windows developers to work more with Macs.
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