Half Empty or Half Full? (5/20/99)
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Is this the end of a Good Thing™? Ever since the iMac burst upon the scene last August and left a Bondi blue blur on the retail computer sales reports, Apple's cute 'n' round little powerhouse has consistently held its own by remaining somewhere in the top five of best-selling systems. But that winning streak just came to a halt with the release of the April sales figures, according to PC Data; a CNET article notes that Bondi Blue iMacs ranked seventh on the April list, while the fruit-flavored models clocked in at number eleven.

But don't start writing that suicide note just yet-- whether this is a trend or a hiccup remains to be seen. Stephen Baker, a PC Data analyst, explains the iMac's dip in relative unit volume sales performance by pointing to Apple's fourth iMac overhaul, which replaced the 266 MHz G3 processor that powered the original fruit-flavored models with a speedier 333 MHz one. "There are always issues when you switch over. It's tough," says he. Other factors, though, such as the fact that the iMac costs hundreds of dollars more than each of last month's top five systems, must figure into the equation. Competition at the low end of the price range is getting pretty fierce; iMac customers get a lot for their $1199, but plenty of customers are perfectly willing to sacrifice style and ease of use to save a few bucks, whether through ignorance or sheer thrift. We hope Apple has some plan to counter this trend, and we really hope it doesn't involve building crappier systems and selling them for less money.

On the bright side, though, there's lots of good news for Apple in that PC Data report, too. MacChat lists the best ones; for one thing, Apple's doing a hell of a lot better than they were a year ago. Unit sales "more than doubled" when compared to sales in April of last year, which is especially encouraging since the overall PC market only grew 20.6% in the same time period; that should translate into higher installed-base market share over time. Apple overall is still the number three computer manufacturer when it comes to retail sales, trailing Compaq and Hewlett-Packard-- not too shabby. And in addition to unit growth, the average selling price of Apple's systems increased to $1369 last month, from $1306 in March-- so every system Apple sells is bringing in more revenue, while Compaq and HP are watching their average selling price decline. See? Plenty of happiness and light there. Now put down the noose and enjoy a nice beverage.


 
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


 

The above scene was taken from the 5/20/99 episode:

May 20, 1999: QuickTime 4 is pretty darn popular for software that's not even really out yet. Meanwhile, the iMac slides out of the top five for April, even though Apple's doing lots better than they were a year ago, and now you can use your Mac to look for alien life-- but don't overlook the obvious clues...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1547: Catching On Quick (5/20/99)   How 'bout that QuickTime 4? Officially, it's still not even finished-- the version available for download is still a public beta. But that fact hasn't stopped plenty of interested media mavens from installing the pre-release software and having a blast...

  • 1549: Right Under Your Nose (5/20/99)   It's definitely time to address an issue that many faithful viewers have raised time and time again over the course of the past couple of weeks, and it goes a little something like this: "Why hasn't AtAT mentioned the SETI@home project, now that a Macintosh client is available?...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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