Mac shipments shrink drastically more than PCs in Q3

Today in Apple: The incredible shrinking Mac shipments. Plus: iPhone 5C production cut, and 90% performance gain on the iPhone 5S

Mac Shipments Drop in 3rd Quarter

Mac shipments have dropped far more drastically than PC shipments in the third quarter, according to Computerworld.

Mac shipments in the U.S. during the third quarter fell at a dramatically steeper rate than that of sales of other PCs, including those powered by Microsoft's Windows, IDC said Wednesday.

According to the research firm, Apple's personal computer shipments in the United States slumped 11.2% year-over-year to 1.9 million machines. The PC business as a whole contracted just 0.2% as sales picked up more momentum than had been expected, with all four of the remaining top 5 -- HP, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba -- posting positive growth numbers for the quarter.

Apple's decline was 56 times that of the industry average.

More at Computerworld

Some of this is clearly due to cannibalization by the iPad. However, don't forget that the new Mac Pro and retina Macbook Air are due soon. I suspect many Mac users are holding off until these new models are released.

So I'd take this story with a grain of salt. It makes for a shocking headline, but I doubt it's a harbinger of the Mac's doom.

iPhone 5C Production Cut

Speaking of weak sales, it looks like Apple is cutting back on the production of the iPhone 5C.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based consumer electronics maker reportedly has slashed production of its midrange iPhone 5C smartphone amid weak sales. The 5C is virtually identical to last year's iPhone 5 except for a design change that added a plastic housing in five bright colors — green, blue, yellow, pink and white.

Chinese website C Technology on Thursday reported that Apple has cut iPhone 5C production capacity in half. It has reduced average daily production to 150,000 units from 300,000, the website reported.

More at Investor's Business Daily

As with the Mac story, there's more here than meet's the eye.

The iPhone 5C is in a bit of a tough spot since the iPhone 5S offers a 64-bit processor and fingerprint sensor. Right now the iPhone 5S is significantly better than the iPhone 5C since the two are not just separated by somewhat better hardware the way that the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 were.

If we fast forward to next year, the iPhone 5C (or whatever the name ends up being) will be this year's iPhone 5S. So it will probably have more appeal after it gets bumped up to offer 64-bit and the fingerprint sensor. Of course the iPhone 5S will also get bumped up, but the difference between the two won't be as great as it is now.

Also, the iPhone 5C serves another purpose. It attracts the attention of customers, but then when they see that only $100 or so separates the two, it becomes a very easy upsell by Apple to the iPhone 5S.

So I wouldn't worry about the production cut, I suspect that many potential iPhone 5C owners are just deciding to skip it at the last minute and go with the iPhone 5S instead. And I'm sure Apple is quite happy about that.

Frax App Sees 90% Performance on the iPhone 5S

The iPhone 5S 64-bit processor is apparently not just a "marketing gimmick." CNet is reporting that the Frax app on iPhone 5S is showing a 90% performance gain over the iPhone 5.

The app in question is Iter9's new Frax app for generating lavishly detailed fractal imagery by running mathematics calculations on both the CPU and GPU. It gets a major speed boost on the iPhone 5S, Weiss said, evident in faster rendering times for the swirling psychedelic images laboriously calculated one pixel at a time.

Frax is currently a 32-bit app, Weiss said, and it runs 50 percent faster on the A7-powered iPhone 5S compared with the A6-powered iPhone 5. And then came the second speed boost: When he compiled the first 64-bit version, Frax ran 25 percent faster than the 32-bit version on the iPhone 5S. Together, that means the 64-bit app runs nearly 90 percent faster on an iPhone 5S than the 32-bit version on the iPhone 5.

More at CNet

This shouldn't come as much of a shock to anybody who groks why Apple moved to 64-bit on the iPhone 5S. We're going to see much more of this as developers move their apps to 64-bit, and as older 32-bit devices are eventually retired by users and replaced with 64-bit ones.

It should be quite interesting to see the performance gains if the new iPads are also moved to 64-bit processors (which seems very likely at this point).

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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