Report: Time Capsule sales strong, not hurting AirPort

Market research firm NPD Group reported that two of Apple’s products have hit the top of their respective categories for U.S. retail sales. Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme lead the Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Router categories, respectively.

More importantly, during Time Capsule's first month on the market, AirPort Extreme sales did not go down. In other words, the Time Capsule base station/storage combo device hasn't cannibalized sales of the AirPort Extreme so far.

“Time Capsule had a great first month,” Stephen Baker, vice president of Industry Analysis at NPD Group, told Macworld. “There was a lot of pent up demand and it did tremendous. We’ll reserve our long term judgement for a few months just to see if it has legs.”

Baker said some products that come out of the gate quickly tend to fall just as fast, after the initial demand has past. However, all indications are that Time Capsule has a bright future.

“I’m not expecting this product to peter out, but it pays to be circumspect after only one month of sales,” said Baker.

Time Capsule combines an 802.11n network access point and a hard disk drive, allowing users to perform wireless backups of their computers. The backups are all configured inside of Mac OS X using a control panel, making the management of the process pretty simple.

Apple’s AirPort 802.11n wireless router has seen some good months lately too, according to NPD research.

“For the last five or six months [AirPort Extreme] has been the number one or number two product, trading places with Linksys,” said Baker. “It’s been a strong product for [Apple].”

Baker credits Apple’s retail efforts for the rise of Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme, saying that Apple’s seamless experience for the consumer has been very beneficial.

“People focus on the iPod for its halo effect, but there is a halo around all of the products,” said Baker. “The untold story is that this stuff is just flying off the shelf in the Apple stores -- they don’t get nearly enough credit for the value proposition that the stores bring.”

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