Though the personal computer slump is starting “to weigh heavily” on Apple, the eMac could come to the rescue, Charles Haddad opines in his latest
Byte of the Apple column
Though Apple is doing better than most computer companies in the current economy, the “PC recession is starting to catch up” with them as schools slash spending, demand slows for the flat panel iMac and business info-tech spending remains sluggish, the columnist writes.
“With prices rising for components such as flat-panel screens and chips, some analysts are starting to raise warning flags about Apple’s performance in the quarter that closes at the end of this month,” Haddad says. “Are things as bad as they look at first glance? Yes and no. Demand is indeed leveling out for the flat-panel iMac, but the slowdown is at least partly seasonal. Sales classically taper off as school lets out and then begin recovering in the fall when class resumes. That’s followed by the holiday buying season. Apple is intentionally building inventory of iMacs to avoid shortages during its busiest seasons in fall and winter.”
Still, if Apple is increasingly vulnerable to hard times, it has also never been better prepared, the columnist opines. Part of that is because you can get an inexpensive Mac, whether in the form of the old form iMac or the new eMac. Haddad likes the idea that the computer, formerly for education markets only, is now available to all consumers.
“The consumer eMac is highly competitive with budget PCs,” he says. “It has twice the hard-drive capacity and a sharper screen than the comparable Gateway 500SE, which now sells for $999. Such price-competitiveness is Apple’s recognition that ‘the $1,000 price range is a big part of the market’.”