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Apple grows Mac sales by 18 percent on the back of the MacBook Air

Gregg Keizer | July 24, 2014
Sells 4.4 million Macs in the face of continued declines in the PC industry overall; sets June quarter sales record.

All three analysts pointed out the price cuts Apple instituted in April on the MacBook Air line. Apple dropped prices of the four stock models by $100, and for the first time offered a sub-$900 Air, selling the 11-in. notebook equipped with 128GB of storage space for $899 to consumers, $849 to college students and parents of students.

"The MacBook Air is a more attractive choice with those price cuts, and it's a pretty robust notebook," said Gottheil.

The ASP, or average selling price, of the Mac line decreased 7% quarter-over-quarter, falling from $1,344 to $1,255, the difference almost equal to the $100 price cut on the MacBook Air. The June quarter's ASP was down 4% year-over-year.

When graphed over a six-year stretch, however, the Mac's ASP looks very stable, showing that Apple has been able to sustain growth while not abandoning its premium brand strategy and engaging in deeply disruptive price wars.

The quarter was the second consecutive that Apple set sales records, and was the third straight that showed year-over-year gains. Apple's sales contraction lasted four quarters -- Q4 2012 through Q3 2013 -- a much shorter length of time than the market overall, which by IDC's estimate has had a nine-quarter run of declines.

Even so, the Mac continued to be a bit player on the personal computer scene. If IDC's June quarter estimate of 74.4 million personal computers was accurate, the Mac accounted for just 5.3% of the total.

Nearly all the rest shipped last quarter were powered by Windows. Microsoft also conducted its June quarter earnings call today, and reported revenue of $23.4 billion, an 18% increase, the growth fueled by strong sales of cloud-based products and services to enterprises.

Apple reported $37.4 billion in revenue, 5% more than the same quarter in 2013 and a record for the company in the April-June period. Cook called out the Mac and iPhone, as well as the iTunes ecosystem, as the drivers for the quarter.

Comparing the two companies is difficult, as they have such divergent business models. But Baker took a stab at it, albeit in a narrowly-focused fashion.

Microsoft made a mistake, Baker said, in comparing its hybrid tablet/notebook Surface Pro 3 to a MacBook Air when the Redmond, Wash. company unveiled its latest 2-in-1 in May. "The MacBook Air is a very, very good product, and it kicks the Surface Pro 3's butt," Baker said.

Mac ASPs
The Mac's ASP (average selling price) dropped by 4% year-over-year, but in the big picture, Apple has stuck to its to high-end niche with remarkably stable prices. (Data: Apple.)


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