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Release of Mac Pro did not help Apple to sell record amount of Macs

Although Apple Mac Pro workstations have been in short supply for over five months after the launch and customers have to wait weeks to get one, it does not look like the popularity of the new cylindrical desktop was really overhelming in Q1 2014: it did not catalyse record sales of Macs in general and it did not influence average selling price (ASP) too.

Apple on Wednesday announced its financial results for the second quarter of its fiscal 2014 (which is generally the calendar Q1). The company managed to earn record amount of revenue thanks to services and great sales of iPhone, but the results of Mac sales were a mixed bag. On the one hand, shipments of Apple Mac personal computers were up 4.65% year-over-year, whereas the PC market overall contracted by 4.4% year-over-year in the Q1 2014, which means that Apple gained market share. But on the other hand, the company sold only 4.136 million of PCs, which is below record levels a couple of years back.

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While the first calendar quarter of every year is not particularly good for PC makers in general and for Apple in particular, in Q1 2014 the company had an exclusive product that could not be affected by seasonality and which was in high demand: the Mac Pro workstation.

The new Mac Pro not only features a truly innovative cyllindrical design, but dramatically increases performance compared to previous-generation Mac Pros and brings in loads of new technologies (Thunderbolt, high-end solid-state drives, loads of memory, etc.). Apple Mac Pro customers are willing to buy the new desktops, but they have to wait for weeks or months for their desktops as Apple greatly undersupplies them.

While Apple does not provide splits of Mac sales, it does not seem that the company sold a lot of expensive Mac Pros last quarter. If it had, unit sales of Macintosh PCs would have been higher than 4.1 million (since there are loads of Mac Pro users who need an upgrade) and ASPs would have been considerably higher than $1334 per unit. Back in Q1 FY2014 Apple Mac ASP was $1322, whereas in Q2 FY2013 it was $1378. When ASPs are flat during the launch quarter of a high-end product, then it means that either the product did not have a lot of influence on the average selling prices, or there was an uptick in sales of low-end products, which is not the case for Apple. In fact, Apple even did not mention the Mac Pro as a revenue driver.

“We saw 4.1 million Macs compared to just under 4 million in the year ago quarter,” said Luca Maetri, vice president of finance and corporate controller, during a conference call with financial analysts and investors. “Thanks to strong performance from MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, Macs have now gained global market share for 31 of the last 32 quarters.”

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Apple Mac Pro consists of numerous unique/non-standard components. The latter need to be produced to order, which means that shortage of just one piece made specifically for the Mac Pro by a contract manufacturer could ruin shipments schedules for the desktop. Besides, the system is assembled in the U.S., where manufacturing capacities may be limited compared to the large fabs in China that make MacBook laptops. Since Apple cannot supply enough Mac Pros, it seems like it has supply constraints of certain parts of just cannot assemble enough of them.
Apple did not comment on the news-story.

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KitGuru Says: It looks like Apple has not managed to arrange steady supply of its Mac Pro workstation in over five months after the launch. Quite a surprise for the company, which has one of the world’s best supply chains.

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