Quarterly Mac Shipments Slow Down Due to Lack of Hardware Updates
According to a research note recently released by Morgan Stanley, Apple’s shipment growth atrophied, falling 4% compared to the first quarter of 2011 due to a lack of new hardware. This news comes in despite the U.S. retail market improving in the month of March. Analyst Katy Huberty noted that Apple refreshed its major notebook line this time last year (typically in line with the release model the company has been following).
Since the name swap and first MacBook Pro debut in early 2006, the company has been fairly consistent in rolling out new models twice a year. A quick look back will show that the last two MacBook Pro launches were in February 2011 and then later in October 2011. The last time the company only saw one MacBook Pro refresh was in 2010 where Apple transitioned from Intel’s Core 2 Du chips to the newer Core i5 and i7 silicon. The delay in refresh was presumably due to a constrained supply of Intel’s then-new processors. Currently the delay is being pointed towards Intel for not releasing the Ivy Bridge processors yet.
Huberty is expecting faster international growth of the current and soon to be released MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines to somewhat offset the early 2012 deceleration. Previously, estimates from Morgan Stanley were looking at a 15% global Mac unit growth. According to her, the divergence between domestic and international growth has jumped from a previous 4 points to 15 points during the last quarter of 2011. "More importantly, we expect demand upside from iPhone and iPad (83% of gross profit) to more than offset any Mac downside (9% of gross profit)," Huberty wrote.
Both Apple’s iPhone and iPad have seen large adoption rates from both U.S. and international customers. J.P. Morgan is estimating that shipments could reach 28.1 million in the first quarter of 2012 (the company’s second fiscal quarter). Furthermore, the success of the third generation iPad has also boosted estimates, which now stand at 13.8 million shipments in the quarter ending in March.
We’ll have to wait and see the results which will be revealed on April 24
, when the tech giant holds its second quarter earnings call.