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Beyond The iPod

iPods get the glory, but Apple's selling more Macintosh computers than ever. While Apple will continue holding a niche of the business world, it's likely to be a growing one.

The 1.6 million Macs sold in its fourth fiscal quarter broke Apple's previous quarterly record from 2000, the company said last week.

Power Up
1.6 million
Mac computers sold,
up 30%

8.7 million
iPods sold,
up 35%

Note: Fourth fiscal quarter sales over year-ago sales.

Data: Apple

In business, Apple's only real strength is in graphics and publishing; Hewlett-Packard, by comparison, sold 9.8 million PCs last quarter. But Apple is gaining among "alpha geeks"--senior IT pros who gravitate to the Mac's Unix roots, says Robert Irlbeck, president of Evolution Networks, a systems integration and software development company.

Apple does little to court business. It won't even provide product road maps. Meanwhile, many businesses must run Windows for apps like Microsoft Project, or Web apps that depend on Internet Explorer.

Still, Apple's more business friendly than it's been in years with its move to Intel chips, and the ability to run Windows using Apple's Boot Camp software. Jonathan Hoopes, an analyst with investment bank Think Equity Partners, predicts Apple will recapture some business sales.

The wild cards are what effect those 8.7 million iPods sold last quarter have, and the rising popularity of Macs on campuses. "We're going to have a very interesting dynamic in that a lot of people, new workers in the workforce, knowledge workers, are going to demand that they work on Apple," Hoopes says.

IT departments have a way of breaking those habits. But the way Apple has changed, there are fewer reasons for them to do so.

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