Innovation is the reason Apple products are flying off the shelves while other computer makers see sales stagnate, Charles Haddad writes in his latest
Byte of the Apple column for BusinessWeek . In fact, the company has four “hot” products: the iBook, the iMac, the titanium PowerBook and the iPod MP3 player.
“The numbers are breathtaking, given Apple’s 4 percent market share in computers,” Haddad writes. “In second-quarter results, Apple said it has shipped 57,000 iPods and 220,000 iMacs. At the end of the quarter, the company was producing 10,000 machines a day. A day! The new flat-screen iMac is so hot that, to meet demand, Apple had to air freight iMacs from its Asian plants to stores. That’s not a good thing, given the expense. But it’s a problem Hewlett-Packard or Gateway wished it had right now. PC sales have been as stagnant as a weed-choked drainage pond, though recent price increases indicate the market may be looking up a little.”
Wintel systems may dominate the market, but they’re “bland,” he adds. In some ways they’re victims of their own success, having become household appliances, “little different from the toasters and televisions consumers tend to keep around for years,” Haddad expounds.
“Macs users, by and large, are different animals,” he adds. “They tend to be restless and demanding, expecting computer use to be enjoyable, even if they’re just pounding out an angry e-mail to the boss. They’re forever on the lookout for something new and better in a computer. That’s why they’ll upgrade en masse if Apple releases a significant new product –no matter how depressed the economy.”
The columnist thinks that folks like this, like us, will always be a minority and that Apple will never dominate the computer market.
“But there are now enough of these picky users — some 25 million worldwide — to make a very nice business for one company,” Haddad says. “Apple has cornered that market.”