Apple Mac Sales Up 58 Percent, Thanks to iPad, iPhone

Apple Mac sales jumped 58 percent in the last quarter. While analysts have suggested that iPads will cannibalize notebook sales, they're having the opposite effect on desktops.

iPad growth? Sure. But perhaps more surprising is news that Apple desktops are also riding high.

On Oct. 18, Apple posted its first-ever quarterly revenues in excess of $20 billion, which were partly attributable to sales of its industry-birthing iPad and the iPhone 4. While there has been much talk of the iPad - and the tablet competitors set to arrive as a result of it - cutting into mobile PC sales, the device has had the opposite effect on desktops.

During the third quarter, Mac desktop sales rose by a stunning 58 percent.

"What we're seeing is that the iPad is cannibalizing notebook sales - and Steve Jobs confirmed that - but it may have driven desktop sales," Technology Business Research (TBR) Analyst Ezra Gottheil told eWEEK.

"There's a halo effect," Gottheil added. "If you have an Apple product" - such as an iPad or iPhone "you're likely to wander into an Apple store, and there are all of these lovely PCs to play with."

Consumers who've become accustomed to the Apple experience with an iPhone or iPad are proving to want to extend that to their full PC experience. In research conducted by TBR, consumers said the two places they most used their iPads were the bedroom and the living room and what they did was email and surf the Web. Basically, when they weren't at their desks, the iPad met all their needs.

Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall similarly reported Oct. 19, in a report encouraging investors to "take a more -holistic' approach to Apple," that "customers typically migrate up the -SKU stack' and buy higher-priced items with higher associated gross margins."

ABI Research, in an Oct. 15 report, found not even tablets but the promise of tablets - such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab - to be slowing netbook sales. Gartner Analyst Mikako Kitagawa similarly reported Oct. 13 that, while tablets don't replace primary PCs, media tablets have led "consumers and channels to take a -wait and see' approach to buying a new [PC]."

Still, Gottheil adds that Apple's notebook sales were up nearly 17 percent during the quarter. "That's probably up more than consumer notebooks in the markets that Apple addresses," said Gottheil. "It's definitely growing faster than its competitors in the U.S."

During Apple's earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that during the September quarter, Apple set new all time records for Mac, iPhone and iPad sales. "We set a new quarterly record with sales of almost 3.9 million Macs, exceeding the previous record established in the June quarter by over 400,000," said Oppenheimer. Which represents a 27 percent year over year growth.

"It works out for Apple in a number of ways," said TBR's Gottheil. "Despite Apple aggressively pricing the iPads, the prices on the lower-priced Macs and MacBooks aren't way up there like they used to be."