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Craig Seeman
Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 13, 2012 at 2:34:19 pm

Two recent articles showing how strong Mac sales are. Not just iOS devices.

http://gigaom.com/apple/macs-still-growing-while-rest-of-u-s-pc-market-stag...
Apple sold a little over 2 million Macs between October and the end of December, according to IDC. That’s 18 percent more than the roughly 1.7 million Macs the company sold during the same quarter a year ago.
The rest of the field did not fare much better in the U.S. None of the rest of the top five of the largest PC makers saw any growth at all. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Toshiba and Acer all saw declines in the number of PCs shipped last quarter.
The overall 5 percent contraction of the market since 2010 is second only to the 12 percent decline after the Y2K buildup and the dot-com bust of 2001.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9223318/Apple_enterprise_sales_of_Ma...

"The biggest disruptive force in the computer equipment market is not [the cloud], but Apple," Bartels said in a recent report. "Its rapid growth in the corporate market has been the big surprise of 2011, and it will be even more of a factor in 2012."
Bartels estimated Apple's 2011 sales to enterprises at $12 billion, split evenly between Macs and iPads.

So Apple's Mac sales are growing well when compared against the rest of the industry. Macs may be growing in the corporate enterprise market as well (although still very small compared to Windows).

Of course none of this is specific to FCPX but it does say a lot about the computer industry.



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Alan Okey
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 13, 2012 at 5:53:57 pm

I'd venture a guess that the Mac Pro does not share the same positive sales trend as the Mac laptops or the iMac. I'd bet that the Mac Pro is doing poorly compared to tower PCs from other manufacturers. I think the writing is on the wall for the Mac Pro, and I suspect Apple will drop it entirely


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Craig Seeman
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 13, 2012 at 6:04:48 pm

The MacPro is performing poorly and it's why I believe it will be replaced . . . by a potentially more powerful system that will have wider appeal.



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Richard Herd
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 13, 2012 at 6:46:09 pm

[Craig Seeman] "... by a potentially more powerful system that will have wider appeal."

That's the speculation I like...a desk top version of the iPad! Cutting video with your finger tips, no mouse, no keyboard.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 13, 2012 at 7:17:23 pm

[Richard Herd] "[Craig Seeman] "... by a potentially more powerful system that will have wider appeal."

That's the speculation I like...a desk top version of the iPad! Cutting video with your finger tips, no mouse, no keyboard.

"


That sure doesn't appeal to me. As something on the side, for a change of pace, sure. But as a replacement? Yuck.

Two years ago, when I first got an iPad, I thought "oh, wow! Here's the future." And while it still has its place in my arsenal, I now find it a bit confining, and generally prefer to use my laptop over it. I'm guessing I'm not alone in this.


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Richard Herd
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 17, 2012 at 6:49:46 pm

I'm talking about the interface.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:58:12 pm

[Richard Herd] "I'm talking about the interface."

I think that's what I'm talking about, too. But who knows?


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Mark Dobson
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 9:42:54 am

[Craig Seeman] "The MacPro is performing poorly and it's why I believe it will be replaced . . . by a potentially more powerful system that will have wider appeal.
"


Would anyone buy a MacPro at the moment? With thunderbolt yet to be added to the machine it would be like buying a car and being told that whilst it performed well you couldn't take it out on the motorway.

I'm really struggling with my 2008 Quad-Core but at the moment I've got nowhere to go as I just don't want to buy an iMac.

Want I want is both Thunderbolt, eSata and firewire but as time passes this seems less likely.


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Thomas Frank
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 10:16:26 am

Why are struggling with your 2008 Mac Pro?
No issues here with the 2008 models. You do have it packed with RAM and a good graphic card,correct?
I see this issue cross the board no matter what system Mac or PC, single to quad core Chips, it's not going be fast with only 4 GB RAM.

We will see what Apple and Tim Cook will bring us this year. Internet news articles say: Apple's new CEO is more enterprise friendlier then Steve Jobs was. But again who believes what they read on the net? I guess many or we wouldn't be talking about FCPX. lol



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Mark Dobson
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 11:53:28 am

[Thomas Frank] "Why are struggling with your 2008 Mac Pro?
No issues here with the 2008 models. You do have it packed with RAM and a good graphic card,correct?
I see this issue cross the board no matter what system Mac or PC, single to quad core Chips, it's not going be fast with only 4 GB RAM."


Well I've got 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 10GB Ram and an ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB card.

I'm now running Lion - had more problems under Snow Leopard and I like to keep up with the puck.

But are you saying that all Macs or PCs struggle with NLE work?

I'm editing full HD 1080p and everything is fine until I start manipulating the clips, colour correction, FX. transform etc. Then it get really gluey, time starts going very slowly as you wait for even simple things to happen - for example zooming in.

Maybe I should go for a 720p workflow and see what happens although anecdotal advice is to stay at full res until the final delivery which for me is Internet, DVD and conference projection.


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Thomas Frank
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 1:12:38 pm

No I am not saying that in general that computers run slow doing NLE. Well depends on the software compared to the 4 applications we have the slowest is FCP7, Premiere CS 5.5, FCPX and MC 6 I find equally.
But there is a trend that the FCPX guys are getting edit out faster the MC guys.
Anyway what I was referring to was I hear many complaining about how slow there machine is with only 4 - 6 GB.
In my book 8GB is the minimum 16GB standard for the work horses.
Adding FX and color correction will slow things down, FCPX is doing better here.

Maybe SGI needs to come back with a newer MIPS generation. They had the best OS! :)



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Craig Seeman
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 3:41:21 pm

I had an interesting "speed" experience yesterday although not related to FCPX. It was enlightening though.

I was doing a simple live stream with Livestream Procaster and Logitech C910 webcam.
I tested on
MacPro 2008 8 Core (2x4), 8 GB RAM, Radeon 5770
MacBook Pro late 2011 i7 Quad Core, 4GB RAM, Radeon 6750.

Webcam was running 720p30.
MBP CPU% 12%
MP CPU% 25%

That the MBP was using half the CPU% was impressive. That doesn't relate to NLE use directly but it really shows how far things have come. To me, that Apple hasn't announced EOL for MacPros means they are waiting to do something with the new IvyBridge processors. Whether the new box is a MacPro or a new form factor, I have to think something is coming otherwise there wouldn't be much reason to wait for Apple to kill the MacPro.



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Kevin Patrick
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 16, 2012 at 12:32:38 pm

10 GB of RAM is probably too low. When I run FCP X it always seems to be running with over 7 GB. Having t least 16 GB is preferable. I have 24 GB. With only 10 GB, you're probably running into situation when you are paging. Which you can obviously check in Activity Monitor.

Also, running FCP X and Lion can be an issue for RAM. Many people seem to have an issue with Inactive Memory with this combination. And this will cause performance issues. I see it quite a lot. It appears that people don't see it on Snow Leopard. A simple work around for this is to run the purge command in Terminal. You can also get some free apps in the App Store to do this as well. I run purge all the time, while FCP X is running, never had an issue. Open up Activity Monitor, choose the option to show the Memory usage pie chart when hidden. That way you can see your Inactive Memory status by simply showing the Dock icons. When it gets too big (like over 1-2 GB for me) run purge.


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Thomas Frank
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 14, 2012 at 8:12:22 pm

its doing poorly cause there is no update!
I think we will see one soon...



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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 13, 2012 at 6:00:35 pm

Craig,

There's a lot of unsubstantiated guesswork in there, passing for "analysis", don't you think?

While he stressed that his numbers were only estimates -- Apple does not break out sales to businesses in its earnings statements -- he defended them as "in the ballpark."

... not a particularly convincing argument.

Also there's this:

"He attributed Apple's recent high corporate sales growth rate to what he called "clandestine" acquisitions of Macs by higher-level employees -- who are sometimes reimbursed by their firms -- iPad purchases by IT departments and small businesses buying computers and tablets for both personal and business use."

That sounds to me like his big speculation is that office workers are buying laptops and sometimes getting reimbursed. That may or may not be true but I think it's important to qualify what he means by "enterprise sales".


Franz.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 14, 2012 at 6:21:00 pm

Whoa! Cutting video on an IPad. Kinda like doing graphic design with a mouse instead of a drawing tablet - it's like drawing with a potato!

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 12:51:12 am

Although US sales figures are important to Apple, what is happening in the rest of the world? The growth of Linux in business and private is significant. No-one buys Mac hardware to run Linux. Also sales growth figures in one quarter do not make a long term trend.


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Phil Hoppes
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 1:38:14 pm

Not to burst anyone's bubble too big but try to keep a perspective of what the high end workstation market (ie MacPro, et.al.) is to the total overall market. Just a quick Google and one can get some rough back-of-the-envelope numbers without paying a gazillion dollars to Gartner.
From the (Gartner link we see the Q4 PC Worldwide shipments at around 92million give or take. From this report we see the Q3 unit workstation volume was around 1Million units. That translates that workstations hold a whopping 1% unit market share and the overall yearly trend has been down not up. For the sake of argument let's assume that it at least stays flat.

While Apple is making substantial gains overall in the US market and the global world market, coming from a less than 5% market share years back to now around 11%, in the workstation market they are a footnote. Linux and Windows machines dominate the workstation market and while I don't have access to the numbers I would be very surprised if Apple had even close to 0.5% market share. This would translate to around 200K MacPro Units a year. Just looking at the Apple web site a base QuadCore is $2500 and a base 12Core is $5000. Split the difference and say the ASP of all MacPro's is $3500. At 200K units that's around 700M annual. Thats a big number ..... until you compare it to Apples total annual revenue of 108B. Then you see it is less than 1%. Apple currently runs around 3% R&D as a percentage of sales last time I looked. Assuming this works across the board that would translate to about 21M/yr for the MacPro group. Figure an average engineering salary around 120K/yr that roughly translates to about 175 people to support MacPro's. My first guess is this sounds actually pretty high to me having worked in the PC industry for over 20 years but lets use that number.

The real question Tim Cook and the rest of Apple management are asking themselves I'm sure is what is the opportunity cost of having those 175 engineers working on MacPro's where we could have them working on iPad's, iTV's or some other new product. When you look at just what has been done for Apple revenue because of iPad sales alone it does not take rocket science to see that there may be better product opportunities to be spending your precious R&D dollars.

I'd like nothing better than to see a new MacPro and MacPro line but the reality is, it serves a niche market that has seen continuous decline. Apple's specific market share in that market is insignificant. Apple's popular consumer desktop models get more and more powerful every year and are rapidly approaching the point that for a large portion (NOT ALL mind you) of the MacPro users a top end iMac will more than do the job they need. As reported in many journals, the profit margins on MacPros for Apple is not that great so..... I don't believe it really is a question of if MacPro's will be dropped, simply a matter of when.

Just my 2cents.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 3:49:22 pm

[Phil Hoppes] "I don't believe it really is a question of if MacPro's will be dropped, simply a matter of when. "

But don't assume there won't be a different model replacing it.
The problems with workstations are that not only are few sold, they tend to have a longer lifespan than other computers. There's demand for a higher powered computer but the MacPro doesn't have broad reach. That's why I think it'll be replaced by a more powerful computer (Ivy Bridge Xeon?) sans most PCIe and Internal HD. A lower priced computer in 8, 12, 16 core config, 2 16xPCIe slots (for GPU, etc), 1SSD, 1HD, No Optical drive, 4 Thunderbolt ports. The box's Rack Unit form will have multiple uses ranging server to modular workstation.



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Thomas Frank
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 3:58:43 pm

Interesting theory but then you saying the Mac Pro is the iPod shuffle in Apples computer line up.
So we will see new one soon. :)



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Bill Davis
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 15, 2012 at 8:22:20 pm

[Thomas Frank] "Interesting theory but then you saying the Mac Pro is the iPod shuffle in Apples computer line up.
So we will see new one soon. :)"


Don't forget - one view of the iPod shuffle is that it's merely the "gateway drug" into the Apple gestalt.

"Wow, Bobby, this thing is tiny, beautiful, and ROCKS!"

: )

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Chris Harlan
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 16, 2012 at 1:55:15 am

[Phil Hoppes] "I'd like nothing better than to see a new MacPro and MacPro line but the reality is, it serves a niche market that has seen continuous decline. Apple's specific market share in that market is insignificant. Apple's popular consumer desktop models get more and more powerful every year and are rapidly approaching the point that for a large portion (NOT ALL mind you) of the MacPro users a top end iMac will more than do the job they need. As reported in many journals, the profit margins on MacPros for Apple is not that great so..... I don't believe it really is a question of if MacPro's will be dropped, simply a matter of when.

Just my 2cents."


Well, this may happen, but I think it would be a bad idea for Apple since they have their own operating system. I should think it would be important for them to have high-end computing, even if they have to sell Mac Pros--or whatever replaces them--at a loss. The OS needs "trucks," and without them will erode.


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Neil Sadwelkar
Apple's Mac sales - MacPro replacement
on Jan 16, 2012 at 5:05:33 am

I think there is likely to be one more MacPro. The reason it's long overdue is that the current top of the line i7 iMac is so fast and featured that a MacPro would make sense only if it is faster and more featured than the existing iMac.

And that will happen only when newer chipsets and CPUs are available in volume.

There is also a likelihood that the MacPro in its current form could be discontinued. So, maybe, the 'new MacPro' will be like a larger Mac Mini. 1-2 PCIe slots, TBolt ports, onboard GPU etc. Sort of, like an iMac without a screen but with PCIe slots.

Another reason there will be a new MacPro or MacPro replacement is because developers who write apps and drivers for the Mac, need a Pro machine to work on. Something that can interface with large amounts of storage. And scientific labs and universities use Macs with a variety of add-ons in the shape of PCIe cards. And, of course, the broadcast and film industry needs a Pro machine with capture cards. The iMac is not any of these.

Yet another pointer to a Pro desktop machine, is the new TBolt display. Which does not work with the current MacPro. It makes sense with a (future) system that can use it.

Since this is an FCP X forum, it can also be argued that since FCP X, the flagship editing system from Apple does not support any PCIe card, there is no more need for a system that supports PCIe cards. So just like Apple abandoned the floppy, ADB ports, optical drives and other such legacy devices, they may be on the way to abandon a system that uses PCIe.

-----------------------------------
Neil Sadwelkar
neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
twitter: fcpguru
FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
Mumbai India


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kim krause
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:59:57 am

rolls royce is a niche market, but i wouldn't mind driving around in one. what is everyone so down on a specialty product? not everyone needs a high end tower for their work. the reason most p.c's are sold as towers is because they are cheap and people have different uses for them so want to kit them out differently. not every pc tower sold is being used for editing or high end work. people just like to have a tower machine even for gaming. macs towers on the other hand are designed for high end work and represent a smaller (niche) market. put it in simpler terms: if 100 pcs are towers probably only about 30 are used for high end video work. out of 100 mac pros you will probably find around 80 of them being used for high end work. don't be fooled by the numbers, it's the percentages that tell the story. also remember that very soon in the next few years many of those pc towers will be outdated and replaced with laptops or netbooks. apple already has a clear lead in this area! then we will see a much different story.


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 16, 2012 at 6:16:13 pm

[Phil Hoppes] "Apple currently runs around 3% R&D as a percentage of sales last time I looked. Assuming this works across the board that would translate to about 21M/yr for the MacPro group."

I wouldn't expect the R&D on the Mac Pro to be more than a fraction of the R&D of iOS, OS X, iPhones, iPads, or MacBooks. If anything, the Mac Pro requires the least R&D of any Apple product. It is largely Intel guts and the industrial design hasn't been touched in half a decade, and even then it was a revision of the G5 case.

[Phil Hoppes] "Figure an average engineering salary around 120K/yr that roughly translates to about 175 people to support MacPro's. My first guess is this sounds actually pretty high to me having worked in the PC industry for over 20 years but lets use that number. "

Even if we allow that your figuring of the Mac Pro R&D budget is in the ballpark, there is a lot more cost involved in R&D than salaries. There is prototyping, materials, etc. Regardless, there is no way there are 175 engineers dedicated to the Mac Pro. Or probably any Mac for that matter.

[Phil Hoppes] "The real question Tim Cook and the rest of Apple management are asking themselves I'm sure is what is the opportunity cost of having those 175 engineers working on MacPro's where we could have them working on iPad's, iTV's or some other new product. When you look at just what has been done for Apple revenue because of iPad sales alone it does not take rocket science to see that there may be better product opportunities to be spending your precious R&D dollars."

We can look to the Xserve for guidance here. We know from statements following its EOL that the Xserve was considered to small to matter and Gartner figured sales of about 40,000 units annually. So is the Mac Pro in the same boat? The Mac Pro must have a much broader market than the Xserve ever had, but that doesn't mean it isn't still too small to succeed.

Right?

Maybe not.

What if the plan all along was to consolidate the Mac Pro and the Xserve? What if Craig's guess at the Mac Pro's replacement (which I fully concur with) is that consolidated product? A workstation/server hybrid box that can go in a rack but is sold as a mini tower would be just that thing. We could be wrong, but it is certainly a plausible theory.

Intel is due to finally ship the Xeon E5-26XX chips this quarter. Stay tuned.

Best,
Andy


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Phil Hoppes
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:49:03 pm

[Andrew Richards] "Even if we allow that your figuring of the Mac Pro R&D budget is in the ballpark, there is a lot more cost involved in R&D than salaries. There is prototyping, materials, etc. Regardless, there is no way there are 175 engineers dedicated to the Mac Pro. Or probably any Mac for that matter.
"


I was simply trying to apply some credence to what MacPro sales probably are and what it takes to support them. Personally, I'd be very surprised if Apple breaks 200K Units/Yr. And, no.. I don't think it takes near 175 people to support, again I was ballparking some numbers based upon my work in the PC industry. For Apple sans chip development, making test boards, etc. is peanuts compared to salary. Doing IC development is HUGH in expense. That is what I use to do. You need to drop about 5 to 10 million in just software to get a small group of designers going and then proto and development cost are through the roof. MacPro's don't require that. Apple uses Intel Chip sets and off the shelf IC's. I would agree with you that I'd be floored if they used more that 20-30 people tops that could be considered "dedicated" MacPro R&D and Support staff.

That being said, I think its a lot of poppycock that some think Apple "Needs" to support the high end workstation market for some status or another ridiculous reason. Apple is a public corporation. Tim Cook's job is to maximize shareholder value. Some products are produced as they are strategic and enable significant sales of other products. When I made uControllers my company use to sell development systems too. They were marginally profitable but they were necessary to sell the uControllers, thus they had strategic value. One could make an argument that MacPro's and ProApps were symbiotic and sales of one fostered sales of the other and in the days of FCP6 and FCP7 that was most certainly true. Now, with i7 Quad core iMacs and FCPX I personally believe that the symbiotic relationship to a MacPro is darn near non-existent. There is an ever decreasing number of very high end pro users that require a box with slots and an every growing number of high end pro users that are finding they don't need it or won't for very long. I just believe personally that the curve that plots the market demand for such hardware is a curve that is pointing down. The synergy that once existed between other companion products within the Apple line is no longer there.

All that being said, they may spin it one last time. Hell, look at FCP Server. They flailed with that for years, finally released it and then killed it. A new MacPro may be around the corner but I for one certainly would not bet my business on it. If I truly needed a box with slots, I look else where or, if I really wanted to stay on a Mac platform, then I'd look to see how I could get my work done on products that have an upward development curve, not one with one foot in the grave.

That's just MHO.


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Pierre Jasmin
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 17, 2012 at 1:15:19 am

Mac Pro:

All said, nothing would prevent Apple to license mac osx to a company like HP (who have asked Apple since the days of the Alpha workstation to do that) IF they don't want to do it themselves (if they don't need the distraction). The worst that would happen is increase mac osx penetration and make more money.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 17, 2012 at 2:04:03 am

Unlike Microsoft, Apple doesn't make money selling operating systems. Lion at $29, like other Apple software, sells computers.



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Frank Gothmann
Re: Apple's strong Mac sales
on Jan 17, 2012 at 11:20:19 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Unlike Microsoft, Apple doesn't make money selling operating systems. Lion at $29, like other Apple software, sells computers."

How does that work? When you buy a new Mac you get Lion with it.
But, on the whole, I agree with you: Apple sells subsidised software to eventually move hardware. Which is exactly why several annoying factors come into play: such as disregard for backwards compatibility and team play. Not all of that is inovation by any means.


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