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Apple tops hardware sites in May traffic

New iPhone buzz helps Apple's Web site draw more visitors in May than that of any other computer hardware manufacturer, with 55.7 million unique viewers, according to Nielsen.

iPhone fever was hot in May, at least based on the number of people who frequented Apple's Web site.

The Mac maker's last month hosted 55.7 million unique visitors, more than the site of any other computer hardware manufacturer, according to a report released on Monday by Nielsen Online. The number of visitors was more than double that of second-ranked Hewlett-Packard, which drew in 21.9 million people.

May visitors to Apple's Web site spent an average of an hour and 14 minutes on it, perhaps in anticipation of the pending release of the new iPhone 3GS, Nielsen said.

Traffic to Dell's site came in third place, with 16.8 million unique visits in May. Overall, Web site visits to hardware manufacturers followed by Nielsen grew 22 percent year over year, from 57.3 million in May 2008 to 70.1 million last month.

Buzz about Apple was also in full swing among bloggers in May. Blog mentions of the iPhone 3GS shot up 1,226 percent on June 8, the day the new phone was announced, from the prior week. Blog talk dipped after that but then doubled on June 19, when the 3GS hit the shelves.