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Wednesday, February 01, 2006, 11:40 am PT (02:40 pm ET)

Demand for PowerPC Macs slump, iPods video sales strong

Slowing demand for Apple's PowerPC-based Macintosh computers appears to confirm the overall industry consensus: a significant majority of the company's customer base is withholding purchases of Mac models that have yet to be updated with Intel processors.

According to reseller channel data seen by AppleInsider, Apple's PowerPC-based Mac inventory levels are declining, but the demand for the older systems appears to be declining even faster. Meanwhile, sales of Apple's iPod digital music players have also slowed slightly from the unprecedented levels seen during the holiday shopping season, but overall appear healthy given the expected seasonal decline during the current quarter.

PowerPC Macs

Based on the data, demand for Apple's PowerPC iBooks, Mac minis and Power Macs has steadily declined over the last four weeks. Of the three product lines, demand for the Mac mini appears to have slumped the least and remains inline with supply. Inventory of Power Macs and iBooks appear to be exceeding demand.

Along with the decline in demand for Power Macs, data also shows declining customer interest in Apple's line of HD Cinema Displays. Sources have indicated that the company is working on a revision to its display offerings that will surface later this year, around the time Apple debuts its first Intel-based Power Macs. Whether the company will decide to discount the current Cinema Displays ahead of new models will likely depend on inventory levels at that time.

Last week, Apple officially discontinued its 17-inch PowerPC iMac in the United States (though it continues to sell remnant inventory to individual customers through its online store.) A $200 price reduction on the 20-inch model followed days later. In the coming weeks, Apple's PowerPC-based PowerBooks should follow similar trends as the company begins shipping the first MacBook Pro orders. Existing inventory of PowerPC PowerBooks appears to be lean, according to sources.

As previously reported, Apple is seeing strong consumer sales of its new Intel-based iMac Core Duo and MacBook Pro.

iPods

Looking at iPod demand, it appears that it will be only a matter of weeks before Apple will revamp its iPod shuffle product line with new models. Demand for the 1GB shuffle is far exceeding supply and it seems that production of the player has halted (or slowed tremendously). At the same time, there appears to be declining interest in the 512MB model, with supply lingering well above demand.

Sales of Apple's iPod nano players have also begun to trailed off in recent weeks, with both the 2GB and 4GB models approaching a supply and demand balance, according to the data. However, orders to Apple's manufacturing facilities for the 4GB model appear to have remained consistent with levels seen during the holidays.

Perhaps the biggest, and most documented, surprise has been the performance Apple's fifth-generation iPod video players post holiday. Sales of both the 30GB and 60GB models remain strong entering into February, as consumers are likely seeing the added value in the player's larger storage capacity and video playback capabilities. Of the two models, data reveals that demand for the high-end 60GB model is the strongest, with orders to Apple's manufacturing facilities declining only slightly from the levels witnessed late last year.