iThings Considered

What Made Apple's Quarter Successful?

Jake Sargent - 2001.04.20

It was another Monday, and, as usual, I let my heart sink as I read that Apple's stock was down another 65 cents. I've been trying to keep optimistic about Apple's stock situation, but it has not peaking over the 20's in the last few months. Then came last Wednesday, when I was happy to see Apple up just a bit over a dollar in the morning. I continued with my daily routine and was thrilled to see Steve Jobs announce a profitable quarter that afternoon. The stock went up at least an extra point and a half; it closed at $22.79.

I write this Wednesday night, when the future of Apple, both the company and the stock, look promising. Apple is expecting more profitable quarters in the coming months, and Steve Jobs has hinted at new product announcements in the coming year. Because of this, I have set high expectations for Apple and have faith that the company will meet them.

PowerBook G4As we head into the future, it is good to know what made this past quarter such a profitable one. A number of different products and strategies contributed to its success, but I credit most of it to Mac OS X and the extremely popular PowerBook G4. Without these, Apple's 2nd quarter may have borne more resemblance to its 1st (not a pretty sight).

Mac OS X, introduced March 24th, grossed an amazing $19 million in sales in its first week alone. By now, Mac OS X sales are probably far beyond that. It is the "think different" aspect of the operating system, combined with a fun (but not too cute) interface, that makes Mac OS X such a popular piece of software. I believe that it is stuff like this that contributes to Apple's success. Products that "think different" just enough to attract attention, but not enough to make people feel like too much attention is attracted to them while using it (Blue Dalmatian iMac, anyone?).

The other product that many attribute Apple's comeback to is the PowerBook G4. Obviously, there are a number of things that contribute to the PowerBook's success, but I think the most important one is its design. Combining the size and weight of a mini-laptop, with the power and speed of a G4 processor is groundbreaking (not too mention that you don't have to lug around an external CD drive with you wherever you go, like many of the PowerBook's competitors).

Although Mac OS X and the Titanium PowerBook G4 were the most influential Mac products released this past quarter, there have been a number of other software releases and Mac revisions which have surely affected Apple's sales. These include the new iMacs (Apple has just celebrated its 5 millionth iMac sale), iDVD, iTunes, the speed bumped Power Mac G4s, and Apple's professional DVD product, DVD Studio Pro.

Apple's product line will only become more successful as the company releases revisions to its Macs this year. It's software line is sure to be booming through 2002, as Apple has plans to enhance it with even more consumer media programs similar to iTunes, iDVD, and iMovie.

My only complaints are the Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power iMacs, which I don't think say very much for the Mac community. Other than that, congrats to Apple for a profitable quarter!

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