APPLE'S POLICY of charging high prices for mediocre spec but nice design has proved as successful in the recession as we said it would be.
IDC has confirmed that Apple's belief users will pay what it tells them to pay even if they can't afford to put food on the table has backfired.
The beancounters said that Apple, which the market researcher lists as the fifth-largest computer maker in the United States, saw Mac shipments fall 12.4 per cent from the same period a year ago to 1.2 million units. Apple's market share fell nearly one per cent to just 7.6 per cent.
All PC makers have shipped fewer computers in the first and second quarters than during the rest of the year, which typically has higher sales because of the back-to-school and holiday seasons.
Although Apple knocked a hundred bucks off the price of its PC range, it did nothing other than hold fast to its religious belief that users would still want its expensive toys.
As a result it has been hammered like every other high-end PC maker during the recession. Most of the market won't dream of buying a PC that costs more than $800 and Apple's least expensive notebook lists at $999.
Users have been buying low-cost PCs, most of them notebooks or smaller netbooks, a market in which Apple arrogantly has refused to play.
Acer, a leading low-cost computer maker, saw a 23.7 per cent increase in shipments in the second quarter worldwide and a 51 per cent rise in the United States, according to IDC.
The figures could be a lot worse too. Apple, unlike every other manufacturer, keeps its numbers secret and IDC has had to have a guess. That's why its figures are a bit different from Gartner's, which show Apple's shipments rising 2.5 per cent while losing some market share.
Fortunately for Apple it does not have to change its policy much. It has huge cash reserves and can adopt a Slartibartfast approach to economic problems and sleep until the recession ends and people can afford its expensive gear again. µ