The positive profit and revenue numbers reported by Apple yesterday are indications that the Mac market remains healthy, meaning that Mac-based businesses contemplating technology investments have less reason to question their commitment to the platform.
The positive profit and revenue numbers reported by Apple yesterday are indications that the Mac market remains healthy, meaning that Mac-based businesses contemplating technology investments have less reason to question their commitment to the platform.Ever since the economy went south, pundits have been predicting that Mac sales would suffer because people would be looking for cheap computers. The announcement of Google Chrome OS a couple of weeks ago brought another chorus of opinions that the prospect of cheap Chrome-running netbooks would force Apple to compete in the low end of the market. This, despite the fact that netbooks are already available for little more than a quarter the price of the cheapest Apple notebook. And last week, IDC "reported" (relying on estimates based on Apple's contract manufacturers) that Mac shipments fell 12.4% in this past quarter compared to the same period a year ago. Mac-using SMBs could be forgiven for wondering if they'd backed the wrong technological horse and would be stuck with a platform the rest of the world was leaving behind.
Well, they can rest easier. Apparently the doomsayers were wrong once again, as Apple reported a 4% increase in Mac sales compared to last year. It's true that the recent price drop on MacBook Pro models probably helped, but whatever the reason, it doesn't look like the Mac choice is going to turn out to be a bad one anytime soon.
This week has also seen a revival of the rumors about an imminent Mac tablet--or an extra-large iPod Touch, depending on how you look at it and which OS Apple chooses to put on such a device. Reports in a Chinese newspaper, based on information from Apple's manufacturers, are that Apple is poised release an $800 touchscreen portable with a 9.7-inch screen (the same size as Amazon's new Kindle DX) this October, in time for the holiday shopping season. The usefulness of such a device for SMBs is questionable--it'll likely be a superb Internet browser, e-mail and e-book reader, and media player, but unless it has a true keyboard and/or can connect to an external monitor, its business use may be limited to small-group presentations. But the inevitable buzz and sales potential can only strengthen the Mac ecology, an environment proving more and more conducive to SMB growth.
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