BMO analyst Keith Bachman believes lower pricing and the consumer mistrust of Windows Vista is fueling sales of Apple's Mac computers:
Mr. Bachman predicts that Apple will announce shipments of 2.4 to 2.5 million Macs over the three-month period. If his prediction holds true, it would represent another strong gain of 39 percent over last year. The industry as a whole saw growth over last year -- 12.2 percent on average -- but the estimate would place Apple's growth at 3.2 times the industry average.
A variety of factors have influenced the strong sales, he says. One major factor is pricing. A payment of $1,300 will get you a 2.4GHz MacBook, only a hair more than the average $1,292 paid for a 13-inch notebook. Typically the MacBook is faster, according to Mr. Bachman, than this average notebook as well. At other price levels and configuration he says Apple trades storage for speed, but manages to attract certain customers.
Traditionally, Apple's prices have been much higher that comparable PCs. However, Apple has been more aggressive with its pricing of late, thanks in part to its adoption of more affordable Intel processors.
Unsurprisingly, the other major cause for the adoption according to Mr. Bachman is consumer mistrust of Windows Vista. While Vista has struggled greatly in the business sector, consumer adoption has been kinder to it. However, according to Mr. Bachman, there is still a strong public perception that Vista is substandard in bugs and performance and that Apple computers are less problematic, simpler, and more secure.
"Thus far, user satisfaction ratings for Vista have been weak, and startup times for Vista have been known to be much slower than the Mac OS X," he says. "Thus, more than 50% of recent customers buying Macs in Apple retail stores are first-time buyers."
While Mr. Bachman may well be correct, one small irony is that most security experts consider Apple to be the inferior of the two OS's in terms of security. Nonetheless, Microsoft suffers from an image problem in which many people mistakenly believe it to be less secure, thanks in part to clever marketing campaigns from Apple.