...But Who's Buying? (10/14/98)
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Apple's Q4 profit wasn't the only bit of good news Steve revealed in the big event; finally, we have some more data about the kinds of people who are buying the iMac, Apple's funky blue consumer system that is largely responsible for the healthy quarterly results. 278,000 of the lovable little things were sold in the first six weeks since the August 15th introduction, and Apple hired a research firm to find out who was buying them. The results are better than we expected-- and almost better than we could have hoped.

According to the study that Apple commissioned, a whopping 29.4% of people buying iMacs are first-time computer buyers. That means 3 of every 10 iMacs sold are sitting in previously computer-free homes, introducing families to the Macintosh; that could mean fantastic things for the growth of the Mac's market share. After all, it's pretty well known that Macintosh customer loyalty is incredibly strong, so these families that start with an iMac are likely to keep buying from Apple as their computer needs grow. These iMacs are like "market share seeds," and in several years, they may yield some mighty numbers. Better than that, though, is the fact that 12.5% of iMac buyers were getting their iMac to replace a Wintel PC. That shows that the door swings both ways; just as many people ditched their Macs to move to Wintel in the past few years, there are people who are crossing back over to the Mac side. And Apple can win plenty more converts if it keeps releasing compelling products and fostering Mac software development.

And it doesn't hurt that Apple's trying really hard to treat its iMac customers like first-class citizens. You may have noticed the almost alarming regularity with which Apple released software updates for the iMac-- to improve modem connections, fix printer bugs, alleviate CD-ROM vibrations, etc. Well, that tradition of looking out for the consumers now continues, as Apple announced that when Mac OS 8.5, the system software formerly known as Allegro, hits the stores in a few days, it'll cost $99-- but iMac owners can get it for $19.95. That's all iMac owners, not just the ones who bought one in the past thirty days. Good move, Apple.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 10/14/98 episode:

October 14, 1998: That black ink keeps flowing-- and flowing stronger than Wall Street expected. Meanwhile, it turns out that the iMac is snaring even more first-time computer buyers than originally thought, and Best Buy returns to the Mac fold next month, at least as far as the iMac is concerned...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1076: 365 Days of Black (10/14/98)   So by now you've almost certainly heard the good news: Apple not only posted its fourth consecutive quarterly profit and their first annual profit since 1995, but they once again blew away analysts' expectations...

  • 1078: Buying Best (10/14/98)   Of course, all the great iMac press in the world doesn't help a bit if customers who want to buy one can't find one anywhere. We're not talking so much about availability problems; Apple's done a commendable job of keeping the supply flowing...

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