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Mac sales jump 19% when compared to terrible Q4 2012

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 29, 2014
Mac sales jumped 19% in the fourth quarter of 2013 over the year before, the first uptick in more than a year, Apple said Monday.

The ASP, or average selling price, of the Mac jumped last quarter, Apple's sales and revenue date revealed, climbing 7.5% to $1,322 from the previous quarter, although still down from the same period the year before. ASPs are an indicator of the mix of models sold, with a higher ASP implying that customers steered toward higher-priced Macs.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, pointed to stronger sales of the iMac and MacBook Pro lines as likely reasons for the ASP increase. "The Retina MacBook Pro is a very attractive product," Gottheil said, not only because of its high-resolution screen, but also because Apple narrowed the price gap between the popular 13-in. MacBook Pro and the same-sized MacBook Air, which lacks a Retina display, to $200 in October, making the former more attractive as an impulse upgrade.

Unlike in past earnings calls, Apple CEO Time Cook was not asked about cannibalization, the idea that some portion of iPad sales have come at the expense of lost Mac sales. In fact, the Wall Street analysts didn't ask a single question about the Mac line during the earnings call.

That may be as good a clue as any that Wall Street, if not Apple, sees the Mac as a minor part of the company's business. That was certainly the case: In 2013's fourth quarter, Mac sales generated just 11% of the company's total revenue, the second-lowest percentage ever.

For all intents and purposes, Apple is a smartphone company first (56% of all revenue) and a tablet company second (20%). The Mac comes in a distant third, producing just $2 billion more in revenue than the bucket Apple identifies as iTunes, services and software, which also grew by 19% year-over-year.

But from everything Apple has said, it has no intention of downplaying the Mac. Oppenheimer touted the December release of the cylindrical Mac Pro in his prepared remarks Monday, and in interviews with Macworld, a sister publication to Computerworld, on the 30th anniversary of the Mac's debut. Other executives, meanwhile, maintained that the Mac will live on and will not end up in a shotgun marriage with the iPad to create the kind of 2-in-1 or hybrid designs Windows OEMs are experimenting with.


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