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Apple has now announced its results for the just-closed Christmas shopping season. It's a middle-of-the-road quarter in almost every way. Revenues as expected - not good but not too bad. Income prior to one-time charges is as expected - not good but not too bad. Unit shipment trends up a little here, down a little there. Forward revenues as expected.

Apple is just adrift in a sea of mediocrity.

Not so bad considering how the last quarter was one of missed expectations.

iMac shipments are down slightly QoQ, although revenue held up slightly better. The disparity was explained by Fred Anderson to indicate a greater mix of high-end LCD iMac's sold with a drop in eMac sales due to education sales falling off from Q4. YoY comparisons may look favorable, but should be taken in context with the fact that Q1 '02 was the last CRT-iMac season and the low-tide of the consumer desktop segment. The trend of consumer desktop sales over the last 5 quarters has been

233k ..... 372k .... 378k ..... 318k ..... 298k
204M ... 448M ... 424M ... 372M ... 356M

So after peaking to the 370k+ level in the first 2 quarters after the introduction of the LCD-iMac and eMac, volume has decayed for 2 quarters in a row. Apple's statement of greater focus on the consumer segment can't be substantiated by the fact that the consumer desktop lines are selling at levels below what it was in 1998-2000, both on an absolute and proportional basis. In 2000/2001, Apple stated it would focus on education. We know that Apple has continued to lose market share in education and that Fred is concerned about future sales in that segment. That's not a good omen for what Apple's "focus on consumer" may mean.

iBook unit shipments have held steady, and this is the product line where the trade-off between education and consumer sales is handled well. While education purchases fell off from Q4, consumer sales from the Christmas made up for the deficit. That's much better than last year, when volume collapsed by 26% during the same period.

It shows that Apple is doing much better with its iBook message and product line up - with the $999 model being the best move of all. Given the volume was up 2% QoQ while revenue declined by 8%, the intro-level iBook had to be proportionately a larger slice of total iBook sales - contrary to Fred Anderson's claim on the popularity of the 14" iBook. If there was a greater bias toward higher-priced models, revenue should have increased.

On the PowerMac front, the wave of early-adopters for the dual 1.25Ghz model has passed and Apple suffered a drop in both volume and revenue. Like the iBook, revenue dropped off more than unit volume (16% vs. 10%), indicating a shift in buying toward lower-priced models. The product line now returns to an ASP of ~$1800 (vs. $1965 at the peak) at a lower volume.

The erosion of volume at the PowerMac level is more dramatic than the desktop lines because the pro users are more sensitive to performance gaps than consumers or education buyers. The claim by Apple that pro users are waiting for Quark is the same line repeated in past quarters about OS 10.2, Photoshop, etc.... The credibility of the claim is sorely tested by the fact the arrival of all those software didn't affect volume, but the 1.25Ghz G4 did improve revenues.

Finally, we have the PowerBook, which has recovered to a more usual level of 101k units shipped. It did so with the same symptoms as the iBook, with ASP's dropping. The ASP for the line is now at ~$2,326 compared to nearly $2,450 the previous quarter. The drop suggests cutting the price of the entry-level PowerBook was the critical factor - not the introduction of the SuperDrive.

Along those lines, the entry-price level of the new eBook (aka 12" PowerBook) at $1899 should help to boost the total unit volume of the line, while depressing the ASP further. There might be some offsetting factors with the 17" 1Ghz PowerBook, but the $500 premium for the new features (Firewire800, Airport Extreme, Bluetooh, and nVidia video] may drive customers to the 15" 1Ghz model instead.

Overall, unit shipments of up to 120k is certainly possible for the next quarter in the PowerBook segment.

------------------------

From a business perspective, Apple is doing only mediocre. There was 9% QoQ growth in Americas excluding education, even though overall sales dropped. That shortfall was covered by the significant growth in Europe, most likely due to the drop in price in the PowerBook.

So excellence in one part of the business is matched by a below-par performance in another segment, rendering the overall results... mediocre.

The Retail segment continues to operate with no rhyme or reason. In Q4, Apple recorded a "loss" of $3M and a "manufacturing profit" of $20M. This is a new term, as Apple previously referred to the same budget item as "offsetting benefit" in its 10-K.

In any case, Apple recognized a net profit of $17M on 37k units shipped during Q4.

In Q1, Apple recognized a net profit of $19M ($1M "loss" + $20M "manufacturing profit") on 47k unit shipment. 12% gain in "profit" on 27% gain in shipment.

It's not capital expense from new store openings, because Apple absorbs that directly into SG&A. So the disparity would appear to defy conventional logic. Given we don't know anything about the accounting model Fred Anderson uses to address the Retail segment, maybe it makes sense to Apple.

When it comes to net profits, Apple has stated that it met the target of $0.03/share profit before one-time charges. It's a good thing Apple didn't say the profit was reached before one-time events because it might have to count the $4M one-time gain from closing out some of its derivative instruments into the mix. That would have dropped Apple's net profit to $0.02.

With the opening of Apple Retail as well as the increasing number of peripherals being sold via Apple Store, the revenue levels are starting to be distorted. With 3 out of 4 product lines showing dropping ASP, and the iMac line up ~2% in ASP, the disparity between the 27% unit increase and 37% revenue increase of Retail points to more of revenue being driven by 3rd party produts.

That inflates Apple's revenues while reducing net profit margins because a reseller typically make a small margin compared to the manufacturer. If we look at revenue coming only from Mac's, Apple only achieve a 0.54% increase in QoQ revenue, not 2%. On the YoY basis, Apple saw a 2.7% revenue increase, not 7%.

In the long term, it appears that Apple is trapped in the situation of knowing that lower prices will generate higher volume but unable to implement sweeping cuts due to profitability concerns. In a direct response to the comment that Apple has the cost structure of a $8B company despite having only $6B in revenue, Fred Anderson stated that Apple will not "mortgage its future for short-term profit maximization".

The idea being promoted is that cutting Apple's SG&A and R&D to match a lower cost structure would reduce Apple's competitve ability in the future. That's a valid stance, but I believe Fred and Steve are already mortgaging Apple's future by refusing to cut prices to grow volume.

Apple has skated on the thin edge of profitability for nearly 2 years now, losing market share slowly and steadily. By persistently refusing to take losses to establish a substantially larger base of OS X users, Apple is mortgaging its future to keep the present level of profitability.

I'm more and more convinced that Apple should take massive ($100M+/quarter) losses by flooding the market with affordable Mac hardware. If there are an additional 2 or 3 million Mac users out there, more software sales and more peripheral sales will follow. Adding new iApps won't increase the user base as surely as low prices.

If Apple loses $800M in cash over the course of 2 years but increase its user base back to 5% global market share, it would be worth it. Once users have been converted to the Mac, they have proved to be a very profitable installed base. Through the iTools/iApps program, Apple already knows what to expect when they increase prices on its user base - a subtantial portion of people will pay for what was free.

So Apple, with its massive cash reserve, could afford to sell at a loss for 2 years and then jack prices up to return to profitability. The massive losses of 1996-1997 helped to pave the way for the profits of today by establishing the user base which Apple is capitalizing on today. The stock price is already at rock bottom levels, and there was no problems with having it more than quadruple in 1999/2000 despite the fact that Apple's losses for '96-'97 nearly cancels out the profits for '99 -'00.

Apple needs to take the long term view and stop thinking "If you build it, they will come".
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So Apple, with its massive cash reserve, could afford to sell at a loss for 2 years and then jack prices up to return to profitability. The massive losses of 1996-1997 helped to pave the way for the profits of today by establishing the user base which Apple is capitalizing on today. The stock price is already at rock bottom levels, and there was no problems with having it more than quadruple in 1999/2000 despite the fact that Apple's losses for '96-'97 nearly cancels out the profits for '99 -'00.

I was with you all the way to the very end. Care to show some stats that back up that rather bold statement? Did Apple actually increase it's user-base while it was bleeding out? That is what you are claiming, isn't it?
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There might be some offsetting factors with the 17" 1Ghz PowerBook, but the $500 premium for the new features (Firewire800, Airport Extreme, Bluetooh, and nVidia video] may drive customers to the 15" 1Ghz model instead.

Ummm, do you know Apple consumers at all? Apple buyers typically don't do this. They move UP the scale.

Like "I'm not sure if the 12" or 15" is enough for me .... better get the 17" instead.

Apple users like to adopt new technologies. There is no way people are going to say "Give me the older one without Firewire 800 and 802.11g."

Apple users have historically been the early adopters, while PC users buy the old "commodity" parts.

David
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"I was with you all the way to the very end. Care to show some stats that back up that rather bold statement? Did Apple actually increase it's user-base while it was bleeding out? That is what you are claiming, isn't it?

-FoolishApple"


The fact that Apple racked up nearly $17B in sales for those 2 years should indicate somebody bought them. Even if we take into account the massive writedowns that Steve Jobs did in 1998, there was still ~$15B of Mac hardware out there sold in 1996 and 1997.

At the current rate, discounting for inflation and ASP, it would take nearly 3 years for Apple to match that.

Given the extended length of hardware replacement cycles for Mac users, compared to PC usres, it would be fair to say that many of Apple's recent customers were also customers during 1996/1997.
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Apple is just adrift in a sea of mediocrity.

Hey! You stole my word! Give it back.

I'm more and more convinced that Apple should take massive ($100M+/quarter) losses by flooding the market with affordable Mac hardware. If there are an additional 2 or 3 million Mac users out there, more software sales and more peripheral sales will follow. Adding new iApps won't increase the user base as surely as low prices.

maybe not - but it will get the loyal customers we want not people that will switch to whoever is cheapest at the moment.

If Apple loses $800M in cash over the course of 2 years but increase its user base back to 5% global market share, it would be worth it. Once users have been converted to the Mac, they have proved to be a very profitable installed base.

Rubbish. They would expect the prices to remain low.

You can't lure them in on price, and then expect them to pay more for the same thing. Also, where does future product development come from while Apple is losing all this money?

Sounds like a dotcom business plan to me.

Apple needs to take the long term view and stop thinking "If you build it, they will come".


I thought that WAS the best long-term philosophy. Put money into continued great products that people will buy. Then you get loyal customers.

But you suggest that the "long term" approach is to sell at a loss to get a spike in short term customers?

This would come at the expense of R&D - meaning there would be nothing new to keep people interested in the Mac after the discounting is gone.

Yeah, makes real economic sense! I am certainly glad you are not running Apple. You could probably run Dell or some other mediocre company, but not a company like Apple.

David
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Apple needs to take the long term view and stop thinking "If you build it, they will come".

I thought that WAS the best long-term philosophy. Put money into continued great products that people will buy. Then you get loyal customers.

Right ON, David. Apple's future has ALWAYS been tied to outrageuosly designed and innovative products.
The rest is "accounting". ...Lee
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The fact that Apple racked up nearly $17B in sales for those 2 years should indicate somebody bought them. Even if we take into account the massive writedowns that Steve Jobs did in 1998, there was still ~$15B of Mac hardware out there sold in 1996 and 1997.

Good enough. That's what I wanted to know.

What was the ASP back then? And what about peripheral items--printers, scanners, etc.? How much of an impact does that have on units sold?
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maybe not - but it will get the loyal customers we want not people that will switch to whoever is cheapest at the moment.

I dunno many folks who went back to a pc after using a Mac.
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maybe not - but it will get the loyal customers we want not people that will switch to whoever is cheapest at the moment.

I dunno many folks who went back to a pc after using a Mac.


That's because the switchers we have had have been largely informed, and attracted to the Mac's unique virtues.

However, this new bunch of switchers would just be the unwashed masses looking for a bargain. They will be unlikely to appreciate quality at any price. They just care about saving enough money to afford a few more hits on the crack pipe.

Like I said. Not the switchers we want.

David
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So Apple, with its massive cash reserve, could afford to sell at a loss for 2 years and then jack prices up to return to profitability.

Plato90s

================

I'm in agreement with most of your post except for your conclusion here. It would be suicidal for Apple to artificially reduce prices with the intention of jacking them back up two years down the line, that process would alienate everyone, look at what happened with .mac services.

My suggestion: Apple needs to get ultra competitive with the iBook. An economy iBook that utilizes current tooling and the most economical spec possibe (10GB drive size and 500-600 mhz processor, for example).

This econo iBook could be the Apple equivalent of a PDA.

The audio out jack and iTunes gives an iBook iPod-like capability, and a decent organizer app would let it replace a Daytimer with ease.

Now if apple could just find a way to give that configuration cellular access (via USB perhaps?) and sell profitably at the bottom of the current iBook line, they would have a hit on their hands that would bring the consumer market around so fast it would make Wintel's collective heads spin.


cropsey






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This econo iBook could be the Apple equivalent of a PDA.


Wow, you are really onto something there. You've pointed out a truth that I hadn't thought much about.

Why is it that the industry always disses Apple for "slow, overpriced machines" - but then turns around and eats up PDAs for breakfast?

It doesn't get more slow, overpriced or impractical than a PDA. They are the devil's spawn, but people pay nearly as much as a fully featured computer for those things.

They are too small to be useful, and too big to be truly portable. So why get a PDA when you can get a "mini me" iBook? Make it even smaller! 10" iBook, anyone?

Anything would be better than PDAs or Microsoft's Tablet PC. people have been throwing their money away on those things. If Apple can get the iBook down to a price to compete with those glorified address books, they will sell like hot cakes never did.

David
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The fact that Apple racked up nearly $17B in sales for those 2 years should indicate somebody bought them. Even if we take into account the massive writedowns that Steve Jobs did in 1998, there was still ~$15B of Mac hardware out there sold in 1996 and 1997.


...What was the ASP back then? And what about peripheral items--printers, scanners, etc.? How much of an impact does that have on units sold?

***

I still own an Apple Color Stylwriter 2500 circa 1996 or'97. I remember that Apple was still selling Apple branded CRT displays, both a 15" and a 17" with built in speakers. And then there are all those Laserwriters. So one might want to be very carerful when using total sales figures from that period.

Also remember that these years were the peak of the worldwide economic boom, before the Asian meltdown. FWIW


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Congratulations David. This generalization confirms your place as the biggest idiot on the Motley Fool that I have encountered in my four years here.


That's funny, coming from YOU!

David
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Just to be clear;

I wonder of if this bigotry of yours extends to other segments of the human race. I wouldn't doubt it. Oops I forgot you don't believe in categories.

Obviously you have a very literal mind, not one that is open to the nuances of language. "Crack Pipe" is a metaphor - the crack can be anything - Everquest, booze, day trading, junk food, beanie babies.

And this has nothing to do with categories. It's just how it is. people who shop based on the lowest price alone, are basically consumption addicts. When you make a decision that way, you are ignoring a whole lot of other factors that go into making a decision. You are a slave to the Discount Kings.

Does the truth hurt After all, you want nothing more to "Be Like Mike", rather than being a real person - you want to be an imitation of one.

Mike one of the unwashed masses of crack heads.

Obviously. Not very pleasant, is it?

David
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This econo iBook could be the Apple equivalent of a PDA.

This Christmas I spent (more then the price of an iBook) on a new Palm with many goodies including a GPS receiver. If you had a Bluetooth headset and the iBook would dial... Hmmm...Lee
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David "Archie Bunker" Sheehy writes And this has nothing to do with categories. It's just how it is. people who shop based on the lowest price alone, are basically consumption addicts. When you make a decision that way, you are ignoring a whole lot of other factors that go into making a decision. You are a slave to the Discount Kings.


Why do you continue to stereotype windows users. I just spent a small fortune on a Dell Laptop. It has technology I don't think you can find on a Mac

5400 rpm drive. Anyone that buys a notebook with a 4200rpm drive is nuts. The difference is huge.
ATI 9000 Mobile Radeon video card
1 Gig 266mhz memory
But best of all is the LCD panel. It runs at 1600x1200 with much better specs than was offered just 3 months ago. It makes my Thinkpad notebook look like crap. Look for yourself.

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dhs/learnmore/learnmore_screenultrasharp_notebooks_popup_inspn.htm

So what category do I now slot into.

Be Like Mike Jordan
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Plato90s wrote: There might be some offsetting factors with the 17" 1Ghz PowerBook, but the $500 premium for the new features (Firewire800, Airport Extreme, Bluetooh, and nVidia video] may drive customers to the 15" 1Ghz model instead.

To which David responds: Ummm, do you know Apple consumers at all? Apple buyers typically don't do this. They move UP the scale.

Studies have shown that, as a general rule, most shoppers tend to buy one step below "the best" or "the biggest". (No, I can't quote you an URL. I read it, you'll have to trust me. ;-) Companies sometimes have an outrageous high-end model, because they know it tends to pull shoppers to the one they expect to sell more of, the 2nd-high-end model. And hey, if someone buys the uber-end model, well, great, the margins on that are fabulous.

So, I think Plato could be right. Just as a matter of human psychology, it would work that way.

Like "I'm not sure if the 12" or 15" is enough for me .... better get the 17" instead.

Wait, are you the same Dave who earlier wrote in http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18424488 that the 12" form factor was going to attract more buyers??

So why are they so popular then I have heard the opposite. people love the small machines. Sure, it goes against the Windoze "Bigger is better" mentality, but pretty much everything in the Mac world goes against conventional indoctrination.

Apple users like to adopt new technologies. There is no way people are going to say "Give me the older one without Firewire 800 and 802.11g."

Sure they will. I would, to save $500. Firewire 800 does nothing for me today, without Firewire 800 devices to connect to it. I just bought a DV camcorder with FW400. Think I'm going to buy another model next year for faster transfers? Think I'll ditch my Airport 802.11b base station, just so a new computer can talk faster to the base station connected to the same old cable modem?

Yes, I know you may have a home office where these technologies will help. Most don't, not now. Early adopters are outnumbered by the rest of us.

Dave, I think you're a technophile to the point where it often blinds you to economic / business realities.

And you also argue yourself into klein-bottle knots, to the point where I don't know how you yourself keep track of what your point is. --FY
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So what category do I now slot into[?]

Be Like Mike Dell

------------------

non-slot loading crack head?
][
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Why do you continue to stereotype windows users.

I don't. When did I ever mention Windows users?

I was talking about people who see price as the only consideration. they may be Linux users, Commodore 64 users, or people who don't even own a computer.

My premise is that if you only think about price, you aren't thinking.

I just spent a small fortune on a Dell Laptop. It has technology I don't think you can find on a Mac

Such as?

5400 rpm drive. Anyone that buys a notebook with a 4200rpm drive is nuts. The difference is huge.
ATI 9000 Mobile Radeon video card
1 Gig 266mhz memory
But best of all is the LCD panel. It runs at 1600x1200 with much better specs than was offered just 3 months ago. It makes my Thinkpad notebook look like crap. Look for yourself.


What about decent battery life, a good OS, Firewire 800, 802.11g networking, etc? What about the software it will/won't run?

So what category do I now slot into.

Be Like Mike Jordan


Stupid?

Go ahead and be like someone else. You are obviously a sheep, following the herd.

David
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Wait, are you the same Dave who earlier wrote in http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18424488 that the 12" form factor was going to attract more buyers??

Yes. That is moving up the scale from a 15", I believe, because it has a newer architecture.

So I believe the 12" and 17" will be the hot sellers, not the 15".

So why are they so popular then I have heard the opposite. people love the small machines.

I didn't say anything about the size. I am talking about the specs. Would you buy a USB-only iMac after the Firewire equipped iMacs came out? Neither would I.

Sure they will. I would, to save $500. Firewire 800 does nothing for me today, without Firewire 800 devices to connect to it. I just bought a DV camcorder with FW400. Think I'm going to buy another model next year for faster transfers?

Sure, it doesn't do anything today - but the future is already installed. It means you don't have to waste money in the future.

Eventually your peripherals will break or need upgrading. Then you just plug them in. It doesn't make sense to buy yesterday's architecture.

there was a time when USB was useless. But thanks to people buying USB equipped Macs, it became viable. Firewire 800 devices will not be viable, unless people adopt Macs with it installed.

I think most Mac buyers will understand this "future proofing", even if they don't have an immediate need.

Think I'll ditch my Airport 802.11b base station, just so a new computer can talk faster to the base station connected to the same old cable modem?

No, not right away - but eventually you will probably replace it. When you do that, do you really want to have to buy a new machine to support it?

Anyway, the old base station works fine with the new Airport cards.

David
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But best of all is the LCD panel. It runs at 1600x1200 with much better specs than was offered just 3 months ago. It makes my Thinkpad notebook look like crap. Look for yourself.

So basically, what you are saying is that up until 3 months ago, Dell offered inferior LCD technology.

Ahem. Let's look at what Dell says:

20% brighter and a 33% improvement in contrast ratio compared to standard notebook displays, giving you richer, sharper images and more colors for viewing photos, watching DVD's and for desktop publishing.
• 80% faster response time than standard notebook displays improves your viewing of motion video such as DVD movies or video files due to less "ghosting" or "smeared" effects.


Now, what is a "standard" LCD screen they are comparing this to? Certainly not what Apple uses. Apple have always had wider-viewing-angle, and faster-response LCDs.

It seems that Dell is now merely adopting the technology Apple have been using for a couple of years.

Mac users are lucky, how we get the lastest technology first. Funny, Dell-heads were criticising Apple for caring about things other than processor speed. Now all you can do is brag about how finally Dell have realised that other issues like display quality matter too.

Newsflash - this is exactly what we have been telling you on the Dell board for the last two years. Only now do you finally get it.

David

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It's hard to find details of the laptop displays, but Apple's standalone LCD displays say:

Incredibly wide (160ye) horizontal and vertical viewing angle for maximum visibility and color performance.


Meanwhile, the Dell site says "+70, -70 degrees viewing angle.

Now, I assume that the Apple figure means it has +80 and -80 degrees of viewing angle (correct me if I'm wrong). So what's this about superior technology?

David
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So Apple, with its massive cash reserve, could afford to sell at a loss for 2 years and then jack prices up to return to profitability. The massive losses of 1996-1997 helped to pave the way for the profits of today by establishing the user base which Apple is capitalizing on today. The stock price is already at rock bottom levels, and there was no problems with having it more than quadruple in 1999/2000 despite the fact that Apple's losses for '96-'97 nearly cancels out the profits for '99 -'00.


Actually the losses were driving away customers convinced Apple was really going out of business this time. As I recall things didn't begin to turn around until after Steve became CEO and announced at Macworld SF that Apple would turn a profit, its first in a long time. However that and the iMac were too late for customers that made up their plans to ditch Mac during the heavy loss years.

d

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Actually the losses were driving away customers convinced Apple was really going out of business this time. As I recall things didn't begin to turn around until after Steve became CEO and announced at Macworld SF that Apple would turn a profit, its first in a long time. However that and the iMac were too late for customers that made up their plans to ditch Mac during the heavy loss years.


You are absolutely correct. The sentiment of a company on the ropes hurt Apple far more seriously than any deficiencies in their product range.

And it absolutely was the iMac that boosted Apple marketshare. the most successful computer in history, released in 1998. Yet Plato claims the growth happened in 1996/1997? Someone is playing some Evercrack with that conclusion.

As other have noted, 1997 was also the end of the road as far as Apple being able to compete in the commodity peripheral market. Actually, a lot of that is due to USB, which Apple implemented itself in the iMac.

Regardless of USB (which just sped the process), it was inevitible that other companies like Samsung, Sony, HP, Epson, Canon, LG, Palm etc would be able to outdo Apple when it came to offering peripherals like displays, printers, scanners and PDAs.

So much of that profit in 1996/97 was due to the specialised needs of the professional Mac market - they are able to afford Apple-branded peripherals like displays and Laser printers than meet their quality expectations.

I remember all of that changing around that time. Before, Every Mac would have it's own stable of completely Apple-branded stuff hanging off i.

Afterwards, you see more and more Macs pared with Sony or Diamond or Samsung monitors. With Epson or HP printers instead of Apple ones.

1998 was a great year, because it marked Apple's re-entrance into consumer computing. In 1996, Apple was the exclusive domain of professional musicians and graphic artists.

Today, the consumer market is becoming even more vital than the Pro market. This explains why the Pros are being ignored ;)

Most of the Apple customers today would have been won or re-won in the post iMac/G3 era. In the original PPC era, it was strictly Machead loyalists.

David
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Be Like Mike Jordan


If you want to be like Mike Jordan, shouldn't you sell your Dell and get a Mac and an iPod? That's what Mike uses.

Shouldn't you also be athletic and attractive, and have a pro sports career? i think being like Mike Dell is probably the best you can hope for... and nobody wants that.

David
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I was talking about people who see price as the only consideration. they may be Linux users, Commodore 64 users, or people who don't even own a computer.

My premise is that if you only think about price, you aren't thinking.


But there is no denying that price is a large factor. I was a Mac user, and I still say that Apple's products are superior to the Wintel camp. But Apple has taken the position that if you want a Mac, you'll pay their prices.

I'm not a power user, but I'm no newbie either. I considered a Mac when I was looking to upgrade about a year ago. I can no longer justify the extra cash just to make sure that there is an Apple logo on the machine.

I bought a PC with Windows XP for $400 brand new with a 17" monitor and a Lexmark Z23 printer included. It has performed just as well as my old Mac, and XP is a rather welcome version of Windows.... much better than the previous releases that were garbage. Apple has no inexpensive option for those who just write a few emails and browse the web a bit.

If Apple produced an inexpensive, entry-level Mac that had the basics, no frills, and could hover in the $600 range, it would attract many people who, like me, prefer Apple products, but won't pay 1500 or 1000 dollars when there is a 400 dollar option that will serve just fine.

Jim
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FIRST OF ALL I HAVE TO SAY THAT I'M A LONG TIME APPLE ('77), THEN MAC SINCE '84, USER. ALSO A "LONG TIME" SHAREHOLDER !

NOW, to Jim's post:

I bought a PC with Windows XP for $400 brand new with a 17" monitor and a Lexmark Z23 printer included.

Does it have the name "DELL" on it ? A friend of ours got a hell of a similar "online deal" with them recently ? Unfortunately, the ones that my wife bought our sons' families, late last year, were not at that low price level BUT they included several "upgrades" bringing the cost up to $700 +. I had looked at the "entry level" Mac but the Dell had good "specs", and, altho' our sons were brought up on Macs (and Grandchildren too) they ALL now use PCs / Win '98SE to XP, at work and school.

It has performed just as well as my old Mac, and XP is a rather welcome version of Windows.... much better than the previous releases that were garbage.

Our "Desktop" PC is a Dell 4550 with XP Pro and TOTALLY agree with you..
Many "sites" that my wife (and I, on occasion)use are "Mac inaccessible", PARTICULARLY financial.

XP Pro is probably the best PC OS ever. Also agree about the "garbage factor" !

Apple has no inexpensive option for those who just write a few emails and browse the web a bit.

That is EXACTLY what the majority of "home users" want and why the PC is used by about 96% + of computer users ! !

silco

(Who STILL won't do without his "old" G4TiPB).
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I bought a PC with Windows XP for $400 brand new with a 17" monitor and a Lexmark Z23 printer included. It has performed just as well as my old Mac, and XP is a rather welcome version of Windows.... much better than the previous releases that were garbage. Apple has no inexpensive option for those who just write a few emails and browse the web a bit.


But they do ... the CRT iMac is what, $799 or something? Sure, it could be cheaper, but it's much better than any PC in that price range.

David
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But they do ... the CRT iMac is what, $799 or something? Sure, it could be cheaper, but it's much better than any PC in that price range.

An $800 Mac without a printer hardly competes with the entry PCs that include WinXP, a printer, and, in some cases, free scanners or digital cameras, for about $500-$600.

I would be willing to spend a little more on a Mac, because I know Apple spends more on R&D than most PC companies. But Apple will have to compete for my business like everyone else. An $800 entry-level Mac without a printer or other gadgets is simply not good enough to attract people to the Macintosh platform.

Jim
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I would be willing to spend a little more on a Mac, because I know Apple spends more on R&D than most PC companies. But Apple will have to compete for my business like everyone else. An $800 entry-level Mac without a printer or other gadgets is simply not good enough to attract people to the Macintosh platform.


iMovie.

Beats any of the pathetic "add-ons" they will sell you at Best Buy. There is no substitute for good software.

I'd like to see you edit video on one of those cheap PCs! What's the point of having a digital camera, printer, or video camera if the software sucks?

David
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An $800 Mac without a printer hardly competes with the entry PCs that include WinXP, a printer, and, in some cases, free scanners or digital cameras, for about $500-$600.

I would be willing to spend a little more on a Mac, because I know Apple spends more on R&D than most PC companies. But Apple will have to compete for my business like everyone else. An $800 entry-level Mac without a printer or other gadgets is simply not good enough to attract people to the Macintosh platform.


TOTALLY agree Jim. BUT also, as I wrote in my previous post on this subject, the PC is making inroads to the Mac on other fronts.

When my wife made the offers to buy the new computers for our family (all "brought up" on Macs and they will still use these "older machines") altho' the CRT iMac was offered not one person wanted it ! !

1) Our sons, and their wives, use PCs at work and sometimes bring "work projects" home to finish off. (Our younger son has worked for the American subsidiary of a major Japanese Company - - right now in a Senior Management position - - for the last 10 years. The decision was made, quite recently, TO REPLACE ALL PCs in H.O. (S. Cal.) and in the field (laptops) with the same brand and the Mac was strongly considered, along with the various Japanese computers the Company had always used. Surprisingly, the Mac was actually a "contender" in the finals and it was a huge surprise to EVERYBODY when Dell was the total "winner". First time, amongst anybody we know, that a major Japanese Company has "gone outside Japan" for a major computer equipment replacement).

Our son wanted a Mac, he used to "drool" over my G4TiPB !

2) Our eldest son has also ALWAYS been a PC user at work and a Mac user at home. He was recently promoted to a high level position in the large U.S. Industrial Company, that had contacted him thru' a "Executive Headhunter", and will now spend approx. 6 months / year travelling from S. Cal to the Far East (he left for China yesterday for 2-3 weeks). Dell again, desktops / servers in the Office and he has a Company provided Dell laptop that he always takes with him.

3) Our Grandchildren have really never used anything but Macs. They live in an area that schools are extremely well "computer equipped" with both Macs and PCs of varying OSs. (Mac OS9 + / PCs Win '98 / 98SE / Me).

HOWEVER, the School District has made the decision to "standardize" and, in School Year '03 / '04, all computers will be Windows - - XP is the favorite but the actual "version" has yet to be decided.

Apple (Mac) was not even considered, which is a great shame IMO.

silco
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iMovie.

Beats any of the pathetic "add-ons" they will sell you at Best Buy. There is no substitute for good software.


Hang on a sec. The competition to iMovie doesn't need to be purchased, it's a free download.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/moviemaker/downloads/moviemaker2.asp

I'd like to see a proper comparative review of the two rather than assume who wins. Perhaps the reviewers are waiting for the new iMovie version that will be out soon in order to compare new with new.

Regards,
Archie.
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I'd like to see a proper comparative review of the two rather than assume who wins. Perhaps the reviewers are waiting for the new iMovie version that will be out soon in order to compare new with new.

Do you ever sleep or work?

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,830646,00.asp
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Thanks for that, but as I say I'd like to see a proper comparative review.

Do you ever sleep or work?

Right now I've got the flu, and seem to be sleeping more during the day than at night.

Regards,
Archie.
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I'd like to see a proper comparative review of the two rather than assume who wins. Perhaps the reviewers are waiting for the new iMovie version that will be out soon in order to compare new with new.


LOL. Do you really think Microsoft are capable of writing decent movie editing software They can't even write a web browser. The last version absolutely sucks, so i don't think you should hold your breath.

If you are lucky, this new version might even support output to DV tape ... snicker.

David
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MM2 can't encode into mpeg-2 format, but you can output DV files, which most DVD-authoring programs accept. You can also output in Windows Media 9 format, but not QuickTime or RealVideo.


Bzzzt! Failure! So much for that theory that the new version would come anywhere near iMovie.

David
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How much more do you need to know to compare? That review was pretty succinct and to the point.

Microsoft are still trying to wrestle creative control away from the user. They loc you into Windows media, but most critically, it doesn't allow export to tape. This is a critical feature. It can barely be considered a video editing package if you can't do this.

I'm sorry, but they are on completely different levels.

Typical iMovie review in a nutshell:

This application is a joy to use. I have never had so much fun, and I never thought I could do this so easily. In one fell swoop, Apple have turned video editing into a complicated task for professionals, into an easily accessible hobby for everyone.

The Windows Movie Maker 2 review in a nutshell:

It doesn't suck as much as the first version.


Remember, Apple invented Firewire, introduced the first real consumer editing and DVD authoring system, and almost single-handedly drove sales of Firewire equipped DV cameras.

Also, what do you do once you have finished with Moviemaker? Microsoft doesn't offer the same integration with DVD authoring tools and web publishing that Apple does with iDVD and .mac.

If you think you may ever be interested in digital video, iMovie alone is worth the price of a Mac, in the hours/frustration saved and enjoyment gained. And you know that Apple will be the first with the next big thing in this market, so:

The future is already installed.

But if you only want to browse the web, then get a Windows machine. A Mac is probably wasted on that. Question is - why would you want to restrict yourself like that? Everyone eventually wants to do more on their machine - so you have opportunities you don't with a simple web browsing machine.

David
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That's because the switchers we have had have been largely informed, and attracted to the Mac's unique virtues.

However, this new bunch of switchers would just be the unwashed masses looking for a bargain. They will be unlikely to appreciate quality at any price. They just care about saving enough money to afford a few more hits on the crack pipe.

Like I said. Not the switchers we want.


Your disdain for PC users is affecting your judgement. Just because someone doesn't use a Mac does not mean they are poor, illiterate, crack addicts. If Apple shares your disdain for the masses, then I say they deserve nothing less than a quick ticket to oblivion. Pray that they are wise enough to realize this.

If someone looks at the Mac, sees the price, and then ends up buying a PC, that doesn't make them stupid. The fact of the matter is that these are difficult economic times and that people will buy what they can afford.

Don't bother bringing up your tired argument about resale value, or attempt to claim a PC has a higher TCO. If someone only has X dollars, then no matter how good a computer (be it a Mac or a PC) is, if it costs (X + N) dollars where N is greater than 0, they're not going to buy it.

As for people switching from Macs to PCs. I would have to say most of the people who still use Macs are either rabidly loyal, or in a field where Apple still has strength. The consumer masses on the other hand will never be rabidly loyal to any one company.

Consumers adjust their purchasing habits to reflect where is the greater perceived value. PERIOD. A company can either adapt to the market by providing greater perceived value, or they can die. Ranting about the "stupidity" of the average consumer won't change anything. The reality is that they must either cope or die. They have no other options.

Dave
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What! You *DARE* to suggest that their might be competition for iMovie!!! What are you some kind of Windows Zealot!!!!

Dave

PS: :p
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LOL. Do you really think Microsoft are capable of writing decent movie editing software They can't even write a web browser. The last version absolutely sucks, so i don't think you should hold your breath.

If you are lucky, this new version might even support output to DV tape ... snicker.


That might be, or it might not be. But I'd rather wait for a proper comparative review than base my view on beavis and buthead fanboy material like that.

Regards,
Archie.
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Your disdain for PC users is affecting your judgement. Just because someone doesn't use a Mac does not mean they are poor, illiterate, crack addicts. If Apple shares your disdain for the masses, then I say they deserve nothing less than a quick ticket to oblivion. Pray that they are wise enough to realize this.

VERY well put Dave.

As for people switching from Macs to PCs. I would have to say most of the people who still use Macs are either rabidly loyal . . .

This was EXACTLY my point in the earlier posts on this thread. I wouldn't use the word "rabidly" (sounds a little "pestilence / animalistic" to me), how about "very enthusiastic", but we're ALL sad to see more and more PCs in ours, and our friends houses. I know that "our Macs" (both here and in S. Cal.)will be used, they're all upgraded to the n'th degree, for a long time but there's no denying the fact that the PC has been dominating the market for many years and Apple's share is still, and will be, a shrinking market.

Particularly with the increasing lack of sales to Education Authorities, where are "the next generation" of Mac Users to come from ?

silco

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But I'd rather wait for a proper comparative review than base my view on beavis and buthead fanboy material like that.

Good old Archie, you'll NEVER change will you - - "beavis and buthead fanboy material" indeed ! !

Hoped that your evident enthusiasm for your new Mac would have helped to have made FRIENDS on this mostly friendly Board but I see you "alienating" people just as you've been doing for a long time on the MSFT Board.

P-Boxed you before, this time is the last ! !

silco
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Your disdain for PC users is affecting your judgement. Just because someone doesn't use a Mac does not mean they are poor, illiterate, crack addicts. If Apple shares your disdain for the masses, then I say they deserve nothing less than a quick ticket to oblivion. Pray that they are wise enough to realize this.


Why is it that no-one seems able to read?

I never made the "crack heads" comment about Windows users. I made it about consumers who only care about price when they do their rabid consuming.

Basically, if money is all you think about, it is like crack. That's all. I did not mean they are literally drug addicts. Sheesh.

Consumers adjust their purchasing habits to reflect where is the greater perceived value. PERIOD. A company can either adapt to the market by providing greater perceived value, or they can die. Ranting about the "stupidity" of the average consumer won't change anything. The reality is that they must either cope or die. They have no other options.


So, how does this conflict with my view. What I am saying is that Macs ARE better value. It's just that people don't perceive it.

It's not the prices that need to change, but the perception.

People waste a lot of money on cheap PCs. In most cases, they don't even need one, and it doesn't even do what they want it to do.

Now, if you have money - what should you spend it on - something useful, or a Windows PC?

If people really are that poor, then we shouldn't have a computer industry. Having toys should be the last thing we need. If things are really that bad, it's time to start investing in soup kitchens.

The price difference between Macs and PCs isn't very much. If you can't afford that difference, you can't afford a computer. Look for a second hand one donated to a charity or something.

Having a new PC or Mac is not an essential purchase for anyone. This is what I mean by the 'crack head' comment. If people are so poor they need to buy one of these "cheap computers" (that are actually expensive to run), they have a lot better things to be spending their money on than computer games.

David
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