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NPD on struggling MP3 market; MacBook tops Amazon


Apple is the only portable media player maker left unscathed by a drop in sales during this year's holidays, according to an NPD study. Also, the MacBook is crowning Amazon's bestselling computer charts as Christmas approaches.

NPD: Apple treads water while others sink in jukebox market

Apple may not be enjoying the multiples of growth it once did as its iPod business grew to its current size, but the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm may be the only one seeing growth at all in the current market, The NPD Group reports.

The overall market for portable players dipped an average of 16 percent year-over-year for the period between November 18th and December 9th, creating disappointment in a business which is used to upswings in the few weeks between American Thanksgiving and Christmas.

NPD assigns blame to a mature market where most customers are already spoken for; there are fewer newcomers and less chances for growth as a result, according to the group's analysts. Apple may also be skewing the market downwards as it expands its retail avenues to challenge previously isolated rivals and switches from expensive hard drive players to les pricey flash models.

MacBook leads Amazon charts into holidays

Last-minute orders for notebook computers from Amazon before Christmas have been been dominated by the mid-range 2.2GHz MacBook, Fortune claims.

As the morning opened, the white portable was at the top of the rankings and was joined by two additional models, the 2GHz base model at 7th place and the starting MacBook Pro in 10th.

The ranking is likely helped by ongoing rebates as high as $150, the magazine says in its blog. However, systems from HP and other Windows-based manufacturers have had to drop prices by as much as 27 percent to make the list.

Apple has been a familiar presence at the head of the general electronics category, with the 4GB iPod nano outselling Amazon's own Kindle e-book reader. The 8GB iPod nano, 16GB iPod touch, and the 80GB iPod classic are also currently in the top ten as of press time.