Apple's iMac sales jump 74% in U.S.

Even Apple couldn't have expected a sales jump this big, says analyst

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Apple has declined to answer questions about whether the 27-in. iMac delays were caused by an unacknowledged hardware glitch, but the company has issued a statement apologizing for the iMac's availability problems, and put the blame on sales. "The new iMac has been a huge hit and we are working hard to fulfill orders as quickly as possible," the company said in a statement released to several news outlets.

The Mac mini, which was also revised two months ago -- including a $999 model that operates as a cut-rate server -- has experienced a sales spike as well. "That's one of the other hidden points in the October-November data," said Baker. "We've seen some decent increases in the Mac mini, which is doing pretty well."

Baker declined to ascribe the smallest desktop Mac's sales gains to the "Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server" offering, but acknowledged that that model was the biggest difference between the line before and after the Oct. 20 refresh.

"They're making some money on that model," Baker said. "The server edition adds another product to the line."

Apple's sales for the quarter will be solidly within the company's expectations, Baker predicted, and the Cupertino, Calif. computer maker is well placed heading into the new year. "They're sitting pretty good going into 2010," Baker argued. "Macs won't look as overpriced next year, especially in the back half of the year, as they did in 2009. The price declines of Windows PCs, especially netbooks can't continue to come down 25%, like they did this year."

Apple won't release its official sales figures for the final calendar quarter of 2009 until its conference call with analysts sometime in the second half of January 2010.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter @gkeizer, send e-mail at gkeizer@ix.netcom.com or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed .

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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