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By John Russell

March 8, 2005 | The Mac pack is hoping the spectacular success of Apple's iPod — up 279 percent in sales and 370 percent in units last year — rubs off on Macs, whose unit sales have been somewhat flat. In fact, the sale of 4.6 million iPods helped Apple start FY2005 with its most profitable quarter ever ($295 million at the end of CY2004).

First-quarter Mac sales were also strong surpassing a million units. Last year, poor iMacs sales (down 23 percent in 2004) tempered strong PowerBook sales (up 22 percent) and modest PowerMac growth (15 percent). The recently introduced, sleeker new iMac and hot new Mac mini may reverse the trend.

One unanswered question is how well Apple will deal with its splitting personality. iPod sales have zoomed past $1 billion while Apple computers lost ground in terms of worldwide market share. If iPod sales keep soaring at the same rate — perhaps unlikely — they would surpass Apple computer sales in less than two years.

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SOURCE: APPLE SEC FILINGS (10K, 12/04; 10K, 12/03) 

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