Analyst: Mac growth up 60 percent in February

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Apple’s recent Mac growth has been huge, growing a whopping 60 percent in February 2008 over the same month last year.

Apple’s growth numbers came from both its notebook and desktop product categories, according to data from market research firm, NPD. Apple’s notebook shipments were up 64 percent over last year. The overall market gain for February 2008 was only 20 percent.

Introduced at Macworld Expo in January, NPD gives some of the credit for increased notebook growth to the MacBook Air. Not to be left out of the equation is the pent up demand that Apple can build for its upcoming products.

“They got a 20 percent boost from the MacBook Air,” Stephen Baker, vice president of Industry Analysis at The NPD Group, told Macworld. “Apple was also able to keep up the momentum for the MacBook and MacBook Pro.”

An early boost from the MacBook Air doesn’t necessarily mean it will remain a winner in the long haul. According to Baker, the proof will be in May and June, when the notebook has been in the hands of early adopters for a while.

Apple’s desktop products did remarkably well, too. The difference between Apple’s growth and the overall market was even bigger in this category. Apple’s desktops were up 55 percent over last year compared to a decline of five percent for the overall market.

There has been some worry over the last couple of years that Apple may be focusing too much on its other devices, like the iPod and iPhone, leaving the Macintosh to fend for itself. But with the numbers showing such huge growth, it seems clear that Apple’s computer strategy is working.

Baker also gives a lot of credit to Apple’s move to the Intel chipset and the launch of its retail stores, which he says gives users the great buying experience.

“Unlike anyone else Apple is able to control the buying experience — from design to software and selling,” said Baker. “As they moved into selling to mass market, the buying experience became a very important piece for them.”

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