Macs sales up, iPods down according to NPD Group

New sales data from the NPD Group, as shared by Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster (via Business Insider) shows that Apple’s Mac (s aapl) sales are surging on the backs of new models introduced in July. The other side of the coin is that iPod sales are in decline, but that’s nothing Apple isn’t expecting.

Apple’s new MacBook Air and Mac mini are likely driving the increase in Mac sales, which NPD says are on track to deliver between 14 and 18 percent total growth year over year. That’s based on current numbers which put Mac sales at 22 percent greater than the same quarter last year, with only one month left to go in the three-month period. NPD’s numbers are estimates based on data gathered from retailer point-of-sale systems. It’s worth noting that NPD’s estimates are often under Apple’s final official tallies, in part because they don’t necessarily account for online sources.

Double digit increases in Mac sales at a time when other PC sales seem to be flatlining seems like an endorsement of Apple’s strategy, which involves pushing the envelope of what constitutes portable computing and also moving beyond physical disc-based media. It’s a vote of confidence that stands a good chance of encouraging Apple to pursue a similar strategy along its remaining Mac line, including MacBook Pro and iMac computers.

The flip side, as mentioned, is that NPD’s data suggests iPod sales are down 16 percent year over year currently. Munster notes this is actually less of a slide than most analysts predicted going into the quarter, and it’s probably not something Apple is too concerned with. Declines in the media player line are likely attributable to record increases in iPhone and iPad sales, which will be a much more lucrative opportunity for Apple going forward anyway.

Apple’s newest Macs could lead the company to a record quarter for Mac sales, which will be a significant victory for a company whose admitted focus is more on mobile devices. If Apple’s tablet efforts can slow down the competition from PCs while not affecting the growth of their own traditional computers, that’s about as much as Cupertino can ask for.