Lack of Hardware Updates Leading to Lighter-Than-Expected Quarterly Mac Sales
Previously-released data from NPD on U.S. Mac sales for January and February have demonstrated relatively anemic year-over-year growth, with January sales tracking only 1% above the previous January's performance and February sales coming in 4% higher. Still, analysts have suggested that ongoing growth in international markets could compensate for stagnation in the U.S. market as consumers continue to wait for product updates. Consequently, analysts have generally been holding firm on their predictions of 15-20% Mac unit growth on a worldwide year-over-year basis for the full quarter.
Some analysts had also held out hope that Apple could sneak in at least one update to its Mac lineup before the end of the quarter to provide a spark for Mac sales, but with the first group of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors not launching until the end of the month, Apple was unable to update its main Mac models within the first three months of the year.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty is out with a new research note today incorporating NPD's data on U.S. Mac sales for March, and as might be expected given the lack of hardware updates, Apple continues to fall short of analyst expectations, with Mac shipments down 4% year-over-year for the first calendar quarter.
Huberty continues to believe that international growth will offset at least some of the flat performance in U.S. sales for the quarter, although she appears somewhat pessimistic that it will be able to reach her 15% growth target on a global basis. Nevertheless, Huberty seems optimistic that booming iPhone and iPad sales will make up for any shortfall on the Mac side due to the balance of profits among the segments.
Although the US retail market improved in March, Apple shipment growth decelerated as the company faced much tougher Y/Y comparisons due to a notebook refresh this time last year. US retail data suggest Apple shipments fell 4% Y/Y in C1Q12 compared to our estimate of 15% global Mac unit growth. We expect faster international growth to offset some of the deceleration in the US. In fact, the divergence between international and US growth has accelerated from about four points in prior quarters to 15 points in C4Q11. More importantly, we expect demand upside from iPhone and iPad (83% of gross profit) to more than offset any Mac downside (9% of gross profit).
On a broader basis, the PC market is seeing even more substantial declines in sales, with U.S. PC sales tracking for declines of 10-15% year-over-year for the quarter. That performance is, however, better than Huberty had been modeling for, and major PC manufacturers such as HP and Dell could see some upside if their final results fall in line with data released so far.
Top Rated Comments
We have been holding off on making any new Mac purchases until new ones are released. Already waiting to purchase 1 new iMac and 1 new mini. Both are due for a refresh.
I know many of my clients have held off on upgrading because they don't like Lion.
Which is sad because, Apple is so close to having a really fantastic operating system. Unfortunately, a few easily fixed issues are blocking wider acceptance.
Versions - Great Idea, implementation needs refinement
Versions needs to provide users with an option to change default behavior for specific apps. Versions can be useful in Pages or Numbers but it can be a real irritant in Preview. An option to change Versions default behavior for a specific app could be placed inside of Get Info. My clients and I would love to have the ability to turn off versions for several apps.
Restore Save As along with Save A Version - Save As did two things easily, new name, new location. The new system of Duplicate, Save A Version and Export is not as easy or useful as Save As. Windows switchers in particular are irate over the loss of Save As.
Resume Good Idea, implementation needs refinement
Resume needs to provide users with an option to change default behavior for specific apps. Resume can be useful in Safari but it can be a real irritant in Preview or Quicktime. An option to change Resume's default behavior for a specific app could be placed inside of Get Info. Clients will be satisfied with the ability to turn off Resume. (What if payroll was the last document open)?
Automatic Application Termination - modify implementation
Automatic Termination needs an option to change system wide default behavior. Automatic Application Termination might be useful for some users but it can be a real irritant for experienced users. Clients frequently open up programs such as Grab and Preview and switch to them as necessary via the dock or command tab. These programs frequently don't have an open window, however, they are used for a minute or two several times an hour.
When the application automatically terminates without user permission, it is the same to the user as an application crash!
Please See http://vimeo.com/34711608
Reopen Windows Next Time
Option in System Preferences to eliminate reopen windows next time. (Reduce the frustration of having to recheck this option each time the computer is restarted). It would be nice if Mountain Lion would allow users to permanently set preferences so the question never appeared.
Initially, my clients and I thought this feature was going to be great. However, we have discovered that we work with a lot of files that we don't always want to save. PDF files, experimental photo modifications, trial letters etc. We really don't want all of these extra files cluttering up our computers. AutoSave needs to provide users with an option to change the default behavior for specific apps. AutoSave can be useful in Pages or Numbers but it can be a real irritant in Preview. An option to change AutoSave default behavior for a specific app could be placed inside of Get Info. Clients will be satisfied with the ability to control AutoSave.
Restore option for colored icons in finder sidebar - Colored icons really help in providing tech support to clients.
Restore the option at the bottom of the finder window to show number of files selected and the Space available on the hard disk.
Restore Quick Look zoom in on pdfs
Columns that resize properly in Kind View"
Optional restoration of scroll arrows
This is a major issue when the computer requires small steady input - photo and video editing, spreadsheets, databases etc.
Please see https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3252617?start=0&tstart=0
Mouse Speed & Acceleration
Need an option to set both mouse pointer speed and acceleration curve. (Most frequent complaint I receive from former Windows users).
Green Zoom Button Behavior
Option in System Preferences to set Green Zoom button to Window Maximize - (Window fills screen except for Dock). As it stands now it is up to each developer how this function works therefore the behavior is very inconsistent.
Second most frequent complaint I receive from Windows switchers.
"I have looked at the iMac carefully, as my kids have one at home. Even though I'd like to switch to Apple, I find two issues with the Mac unacceptable for my purposes .
The inability to fully maximize a program is irritating, as I am used to doing that regularly. Also the cursor movements with the mouse are too jerky. Unfortunately these 2 features will force me to continue down the Microsoft OS path."