New Apple Store Section Allows Mac Comparisons

It can be difficult to decide which model is for you when it comes to purchasing a new Mac. Apple (s aapl) has tried to make the process a little less painful by adding a Mac comparison feature to the online Apple store.

Steve Jobs, the Magic 8-Ball, Replies to Email

A few lucky individuals sending emails to [email protected] have apparently been getting responses from the iconic CEO on a range of topics from Mac availability to iPhone OS 4.

The seeming randomness of what gets a response, and the often short, cryptic replies, seem reminiscent of the famous fortune-telling toy, not that we aren’t all hanging on every single-word reply.

The latest terse missive seen above was in response to a question those of us with iPhone and multiple email accounts have been asking for years. TUAW reports reader Julio R. asked if the “iPhone will ever have a universal mailbox just like Mail has on my Mac?”

In typically minimalist reply, Jobs responded, “Yep.” While that’s not as affirmative as “Yep – definitely,” I’ll take it. A universal inbox is easily the most obvious missing feature of Mail on the iPhone. While that might be the most satisfying response from Steve Jobs of late, it’s hardly the only one. Read More about Steve Jobs, the Magic 8-Ball, Replies to Email

Despite Growth, Apple Slips a Spot in U.S. Computer Sales Rankings

Two separate studies have been released ranking sales of computers in the U.S., and both agree that Apple (s aapl) has fallen one place compared to results from the same quarter last year. In both studies, one of which comes from research firm IDC and one of which comes from Gartner, Apple placed fourth in Q4 2008 results, and had dropped to fifth during the Q4 2009 period.

IDC found that Mac sales in the U.S. had climbed by 31 percent compared to last year, but that despite that strong growth, sales hadn’t kept up with increases in the industry at large. Cheap Windows machines helped create a banner year for the PC side of things. Gartner came up with slightly less impressive numbers for Apple during the quarter, with a growth rate of 23 percent. Read More about Despite Growth, Apple Slips a Spot in U.S. Computer Sales Rankings

Apple Hints at Mac Counterattack on Windows 7

With the release of Windows 7 (s msft) next week, senior Apple VP Phil Schiller (s aapl) is boldly asserting that it “presents a very good opportunity for us.”

That opportunity will possibly come in a series of ads contrasting Windows with OS X, at least according to Peter Burrows of BusinessWeek. The expected campaign is expected to take Windows 7 on directly, and will likely “poke fun” at the upgrade process, from backing up data and reformatting drives to reinstalling software.

“Any user that reads all those steps is probably going to freak out. If you have to go through all that, why not just buy a Mac?” says Schiller.

Read More about Apple Hints at Mac Counterattack on Windows 7

Macs Won’t Rule When It Comes to Back-to-School Buyers

google-chrome-netbookThe bespectacled, geeky PC guy from the Apple (s aapl) commercials finally has something to gloat about. Macs are not shaping up to be the top choice of students this back-to-school shopping season, as they’re opting instead for more affordable netbooks and PC laptops. According to results from an inaugural survey released today by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based consumer electronics research firm marketplace Retrevo (Disclosure: Retrevo is backed by Alloy Ventures, which also funds the Giga Omni Media network), about 34 percent of students surveyed said they planned to buy netbooks this year, while 49 percent said they were buying PC laptops. Read More about Macs Won’t Rule When It Comes to Back-to-School Buyers

For Better or Worse, Macs Dominate High-End Sales

Joe Wilcox at Betanews does some math with NPD’s June numbers and finds that Mac market share for computers costing $1,000 or more is a commanding 91 percent, up from about 66 percent a year ago.

While Apple (s aapl) sells only two models of Macs below $1,000, the MacBook and the Mac mini, according to NPD the average selling price for a personal computer was $701 in June; $515 for a Windows PC, $1,400 for a Mac. If you believe the aphorism that a business is an entity whose sole purpose is to increase shareholder equity, that’s great, but consumers, especially in difficult economic times, might like a little more for less. That truism also played out over the last few months with Apple.

Mac year-over-year retails sales declined from last November through this April, even as revenue increased. In January and February, PC unit sales were up 16.7 and 22 percent YOY, respectively, while Mac unit sales were down 5.4 and 16.7 percent. The fall in unit sales was likely the rationale for the price drop of the MacBook in late 2008, from $1,099 to $999, as well as this June’s price reduction at WWDC for the MacBook Air, 13″ MacBook Pro, and 15″ MacBook Pro. Read More about For Better or Worse, Macs Dominate High-End Sales

Mac Market Share Suffers From Netbook Envy

Depending upon which research firm you believe, preliminary estimates for Mac sales are either down or flat for the second quarter compared to last year. Either way, the netbook, or lack thereof, appears to be the problem for Apple (s aapl).

From the Associated Press, IDC analyst Bob O’Donnel notes that “people are focused on $600, $700 notebooks. Guess what Apple doesn’t have: any notebook below $999.” Looking at the numbers for the U.S., which accounts for roughly half of Mac sales, would seem to confirm the theory that netbook is surging.

Source: IDC via Yahoo! Finance

Source: IDC

Via Yahoo! Finance, IDC reports Apple’s market share for the second quarter at 7.6 percent, down from 8.5 percent last year. Still, that’s better than Dell (s dell), which is undergoing restructuring that looks a lot like demolition. In stark contrast, both Acer and Toshiba showed double-digit gains in market share due almost exclusively to netbook sales. Looking at the estimates from Gartner, the numbers are a little better for Apple. Read More about Mac Market Share Suffers From Netbook Envy