Apple Inc. rolled out a new line of redesigned Mac computers on Tuesday, hoping to build up sales momentum for its biggest business heading into the all-important holiday season.
Sporting new features such as touch-based mice and edge-to- edge glass, Apple hopes to sustain the fast-growing sales of its computers. Allaying initial worries about its premium pricing, Apple's Mac business has been surging despite a recession that has pinched consumer spending.
Mac unit sales - the largest single contributor to Apple's revenue - leaped 17 per ent in the quarter, far outpacing the PC market. That helped Apple blow by Wall Street forecasts on quarterly earnings and revenue. Its shares rose 5 per cent to $198.99 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.
Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook told Reuters in an interview the company was packing more features and functions into its new iMac, MacBook and Mac Mini computers.
"You can just see that it's working with the results that we've had," he said. "We're not interested in the netbook phenomenon of cheap and crappy and people that want to return it after a day or two. That's just not who we are."
With average selling prices coming down across the PC industry as PC makers from Dell Inc. to Hewlett-Packard Co. vie for consumers' shrinking spending, some analysts had said Apple might face renewed pressure to cut prices.
It kept entry prices the same on its new Macs, although prices on higher-end configurations came down.
The most significant change came in Apple's line of iMac all-in-one desktop computers, which now feature a new edge-to-edge glass design and aluminum enclosure. The iMac starts at $1,299.
The iMac will ship with Apple's new "Magic Mouse," which features multi-touch technology such as found on the iPhone. It has no mechanical buttons, balls or scroll wheels and users can navigate using finger gestures.
New MacBook laptops are lighter at 2.13 kilograms. Mr. Cook said some features from the more expensive MacBook Pro line, such as the unibody design, will now be found on the MacBook, which starts at $1,099.
Laptops sales leaped 35 per cent last quarter and represented nearly three-quarters of the Mac sales mix.
"The key is driving that notebook adoption," said Broadpoint Amtech analyst Brian Marshall.
He said it was difficult to get worried about Mac prices after the performance Apple turned in on Monday.
The Mac mini, Apple's lowest-priced computer at $649, was also updated, with more speed, storage and memory.
"This finalizes our lineup for the holiday season," Mr. Cook said. "I feel great about our position going into it."
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