April 19, 2006 5:25 PM PDT

Mac users still waiting for Intel systems

Apple Computer is still dealing with a pause in Mac sales as customers wait for new Intel-based systems, and it shipped more Intel-based Macs than PowerPC-based Macs in March after the release of the MacBook Pro, the company said Wednesday.

Mac sales grew just 4 percent in the company's second quarter as compared with the previous year, but overall revenue grew 34 percent to $4.36 billion during the quarter. That was below analyst expectations, but net income was much stronger than expected. Stronger iPod growth compared with last year helped drive overall growth as Mac sales hesitated in the midst of Apple's switch to Intel's chips, Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, said on a conference call following the company's announcement.

Apple said the "pause" in Mac sales that the company saw during the previous quarter continued. Although Apple introduced the first Intel-based Macs in January, some of the products didn't ship until February and the company has yet to update its Power Mac and iBook lines.

Some customers are waiting for the rest of Apple's product line to move to Intel chips and for more software developers to create Intel-native versions of their software, Oppenheimer said.

"As we anticipated, this pause was even more evident in the March quarter," Oppenheimer said. "Our sales teams were not discouraged from telling customers to wait for Intel-based Macs if that was the best thing for the customer."

Shipments of the MacBook Pro notebooks did not really start to pick up until March, the end of Apple's second quarter, said Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer. But after those systems began to appear, shipments of Macs based on Intel processors were greater than shipments of PowerPC-based Macs, he said.

Part of the pause could be blamed on customers waiting for Universal versions of applications that would run on both PowerPC and Intel chips, Oppenheimer said. Some applications have been ported, but other important ones, such as Adobe's Photoshop, can run only on Intel-based Macs using the Rosetta translation software, which hurts performance. A Universal version of Photoshop is not expected for some time.

Professional customers are one of the groups affected by this delay, Oppenheimer said. Home users of Photoshop might be willing to tolerate the performance slowdown, but professional users wouldn't stand for it, he said. These customers are likely waiting for Power Macs with Intel's processors, and while the executives declined to provide specific launch details, Apple is on target to complete the transition to Intel's processors by the end of the year, Cook said.

Apple sold 1.1 million Macs in the quarter, down 11 percent from the December quarter. Most PC companies see a drop in sales from the fourth quarter to the first quarter of the calendar year, following the strong holiday shopping season.

Although Apple's Boot Camp software was not introduced until after the close of the quarter, demand during the second quarter for the ability to run both Windows and Mac OS on an Intel-based Mac contributed to the launch two weeks ago, Cook said.

But Boot Camp users shouldn't count on any help from Apple if confronted with the infamous blue screen of death, Cook said. "We have no desire and no plans to sell and support Windows," he said.

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
IBM PowerPC, shipment, pause, Apple Computer, Apple Boot Camp

8 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
As a video pro .....
I will want to see FireWire 800 as well as 400 and a real delivery
system for P2 cards in the new intel laptops before I put down my
hard earned money for a new Mac. I think a lot of professional
video producers are thinking the same way! If Apple begins to think
in terms of pro needs and consumer needs they are going to make
a great deal more money! Think of the gamer's market as well.
Mac laptops could become competitive in a number of areas! think
Apple - THINK!
Posted by kfdan (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Graphic Pros Chime in
I'm right behind you Kfdan. . . Our whole studio analyzed the
advantage of updating all of our systems to the new DuoCore
Intels, but the fact is that our DC-G5 and Quad G5s seriously
outperform anything they're offering with an intel chip right
now.

Follow that up with the fact that the entire Adobe suite runs slow
on the Intels, EVERY Intel, mac or pc/ when compared to the G5
w/OSX.

Until Adobe CS3 comes as a universal binary and until they
release something that can outperform what we have in the real
world applications, (more than Mail, Safari and the handful of
universal programs available), we're going to buy Intel Minis for
a receptionist and occasionally pepper our resources when we
need "SOMETHING", and pretty much leave it at that.

I was really curious about the Intels, but I'm seeing less and less
in them the further I look, it seems to be the standing opinion
here in Hollywood... we'll wait. Give us something that'll at least
realistically keep up with our G5s. We will run an Intel and a G5
side by side in the studios - we had better see a difference. The
few Intels we have were curiosities at first, they're now net
browsing computers.

To me, that is a VERY low station.

We'll wait until they work out the generation 1 bugs. Give us the
power we need to perform. Get the software up to speed so
we're not shooting ourselves in the foot every time we boot up
our critical design and video apps. Give us Firewire 800 (Apple
essentially invented it for our market, GIVE IT TO US!).

If I wanted to run Windows XP for the design market, I'd buy a
Dell Precision Workstation. Like all the lemmings, I ran out to try
out Boot Camp. . . but the fun is over. . . that was cute, but you
didn't follow it up with anything so far.

Give us some more power.
Posted by wysiwyg22 (41 comments )
Link Flag
My hopes for the 17" Macbook
My wish list for the 17" Macbook is:

Top mobile chipset from ATI or NVIDIA (7800 Go level)
Pro level video chipset available as option (Quadro etc.)
Firewire 800
Switchable drive bay (for hi-def formats or extra battery)
Next-gen wireless for better than G speeds

I hope Intel's upcoming products are as strong as recent benchmarks seem to indicate...that should boost Apple's fortunes as well.
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
Waiting for more models
As the owner of a 12" Powerbook that I find to be the perfect size for travel, use on airplanes, etc, I'm waiting to see what Apple may have in store. I know all the speculation is that they will drop this size but who knows?
Also I think people are waiting a generation for more bugs to be worked out, and better battery life that should come with newer processors. Core chips were supposed to use much less power but here we are with the same short batter life, something is wrong with this picture.
Posted by ggore (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
As Usual, I and Many Others, Will Wait ...
for the bugs to be worked out of v 1.0 of the Intel Macs (the magnetic power connector that apparently has a flambe option is "interesting", to say the least). We will buy them when those bugs are fixed, and/or the prices on the systems drop as they're being cleared out to make room for the v 2.x products. At least Apple has finally figured out how to no longer have to worry about keeping up with initial demand - by pricing their products so high that only the most rabid of Mac Faithful will buy them (especially ironic, since now virtually every part in an Intel Mac is built in the same factories as PC parts, with production in the tens of millions of units per year). Fortunately, I've had my rabies shots, so I'm not foaming at the mouth while buying the new stuff (although I do have to admit that I am drooling). However, there's no danger that I'll be shorting out any Mac Book Pros anytime soon, since there aren't any on display in any of the stores beyond Apple's, even here in SillyCon Valley.

By the time I get around to getting an Intel Mac, all of the apps will have been ported to x86 native code, and quad core processors will have been available for years. In the meantime, I might invest the price of a MacBook Pro in a share of Apple's stock, in the hope that, like Steve Jobs, they'll give me my own corporate jet.

All the Best,
Joe Blow
Posted by Joe Blow (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Glad I bought the Quad!
Personally, I am very happy that I purchased the G5 Quad's I use
in my studio. I hear a lot of negativity about Apple these days
and the lack of Pro Towers, etc.

This blows me away: Folks making these statements seem to me
to be disconnected from the realities I see with our Quads --
they are AMAZINGLY impressive and fast boxes.

If you need a fast, multitasking capable Mac that Destroys real-
life production demands unlike any other, there is no reason to
wait. The Quads are for real. Don't believe the lack-luster press
-- a journalist with a stop watch makes a poor tester in regards
to real life production demands.

All our software runs NOW, and fast. PCI-E cards are being
updated regularly. Surely the Intel towers will have their issues:
our production realities cannot accomodate downtime issues
sure to arise.

Again, if you need power now -- Get a quad.

Best Machine ever built by Apple. Hands Down.

DJO
Posted by dansterpower (2511 comments )
Link Flag
Oh yeah
give me a break with that title! if that is called "still waiting"!! then what about the infamous new windows! Oh yeah I see, nobody is waiting for that anymore!
Posted by Shauheen (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Missing the point...
I think you've missed the point. People are still buying plenty of
copies of Windows XP and systems with it installed. Since Vista
is really not so major a change, the software made after Vista's
release will most likely work just the same on XP.

On the Mac side, however, people have more to worry about.
With the different processor types and overall system redesigns,
the changes are much larger. They will affect the performance
of software much more. As such, they are waiting rather than
buying Intel based Macs, many some of which are already
available - unlike Windows Vista.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.