Halo effect helps Apple sell 4 million Macs in Q3

Numbers held down by 13 percent year-over-year decline in desktops due to ongoing shift toward portable computers.


Update, 2:24 PT Apple, enjoying the halo effect of selling iPhones, iPads, and iPods, said that it sold 4 million Macs during the company's third quarter, up 2 percent over the year-ago quarter.

That was in line with estimates. Before Apple's announcement, brokerage BGC Partners estimated that Apple would sell 4 million units in the quarter, partly because of an influx of first-time buyers. Apple had earlier gone on record noting that new users account for one out of two Macintosh computers sold in Apple stores.

However, the broader industry shift toward portable computers also affected Apple. In the quarter, Mac sales were up 2 percent overall, but the division's revenues actually fell 3 percent from the same period a year earlier. That's because Apple sold 13 percent fewer desktops than a year earlier. By contrast, Mac portable sales rose 8 percent.

Apple had a tough comparison with the year-ago quarter, when it set a company record by selling 3.47 million Macs.

  • Apple shipped 1.2 million desktops and 2.8 million Mac portables.
  • Desktops accounted for $1.6 billion in revenue.
  • Portables accounted for $3.5 billion in revenue.

About half of the Macs sold in Apple stores were to customers new to Apple, the company's CFO Peter Oppenheimer said on the earnings call Tuesday afternoon. Another interesting tidbit: Apple sold 791,000 Macs in the stores during the quarter.

Looking ahead to sales estimates for the current quarter, Oppenheimer said that Apple expected to register "a sequential increase."

The only Mac that Apple upgraded in the quarter was the iMac. Apple introduced new versions of the all-in-one desktop with Thunderbolt I/O technology and faster Intel processors in May.

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