Tired of waiting for Apple to upgrade the Mac mini to Haswell? Make your own …

hac

If you’ve decided you’ve waited long enough for Apple to update the Mac mini with a Haswell processor, you can always create a Hac mini.

A user posting on the Hacintosh site tonymacx86.com has documented his successful squeezing of an Intel DH61AG motherboard with i3-3225 CPU (55w TDP), 4GB Ram, 128GB mSATA SSD, half mini PCIe Wifi and an external Dell laptop power supply into a 2010 Mac mini case …  Read more

Gartner and IDC see Apple’s share of declining US PC market grow to 12.5-percent to 13.6-percent

Both IDC and Gartner are out with their reports for PC shipments in the third quarter today. While Apple is not in the top five vendors for worldwide shipments, estimates from the two firms place Apple’s share of the United States market at 12.5-percent to 13.6-percent.

According to IDC’s numbers (above), Apple captured 12.5-percent of U.S. PC shipments in the third quarter. This is up from 11.8-percent in the same quarter last year. Apple faced a year-over-year unit decline of 7 percent, but market leaders HP and Dell posted shipment declines of 18.8-percent and 16 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, shipments for the U.S. market in total were down 12.4-percent.

In comparison, the same numbers from Gartner have the total market decline at 13.8-percent. Apple hit 13.6-percent of the U.S. market, where as it had a 12.5-percent estimate for Q3 2011. Estimates from both firms put Apple’s market position firmly behind HP and Dell, despite IDC estimating fourth-place Lenovo’s growth at over 9 percent for the quarter:

Four of the top 5 vendors in the U.S. market experienced shipment declines. HP maintained the No. 1 position in the U.S. market despite a shipment decline of 19.3 percent (see Table 2). Lenovo was the only vendor among the top 5 to increase shipments. Both Acer and Toshiba shipments declined significantly due to the tough environment in the consumer market. Apple expected to have a PC shipment decline due to softness in the public market, but the company faced a slowdown in the consumer market.

NPD: Apple grabs almost a fifth of all holiday consumer electronics sales, Apple Stores second only to Best Buy and Walmart in revenue

Apple’s $46.33 billion dollar holiday quarter and the 73+ million shipped Macs and iOS devices are clear standouts in the newest NPD research note exposing Apple as the only brand to have grown sales in the all-important holiday quarter. The same cannot be said for rivals Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Sony, and Dell, which all experienced missteps in holiday-quarter gadget sales. Five consumer electronics categories (PCs, TVs, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones and video game hardware) drove nearly 60 percent of all sales in 2011. Apple’s share of total revenue across these five important categories rose 36 percent year-over-year, according to NPD.

As a result, Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple TVs and the company’s other consumer electronics gear accounted for 19 percent of all sales dollars. That is almost twice as much as No. 2 Hewlett-Packard. HP’s, Samsung’s, Sony’s and Dell’s sales dipped 3 percent, 6 percent, 21 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Apple Retail was No. 3 in terms of revenue, right after No. 1 Best Buy and second-ranked Walmart. Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place to round out the top five—a repeat of 2010.

By the way, did you notice which two consumer electronics categories lack a dedicated Apple offering?

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Apple is the only PC brand making progress in Europe (and that’s without iPad)

Research firm Gartner just released its estimates for PC shipments in the Western Europe region during the holiday quarter, and only Apple and Asus made any meaningful progress, with Apple recording the strongest gains in France and the United Kingdom.

While the Mac maker remained absent from the Top 5 rankings in Western Europe and Germany, it was a sole first-tier PC brand to grow sales in the United Kingdom during the holiday quarter. Specifically, Apple’s Mac business in the country grew 17.2 percent, enough to rank fourth with a 9.1 percent market share.

Everyone else’s business shrunk: Hewlett-Packard (No. 1) was down 27 percent, Dell (No. 4) declined by a whopping 32.2-percent, Toshiba (No. 3) fell 5.4-percent and Acer (No. 5) was by far the biggest loser with a 62.4-percent year-over-year decline. The same story is in France where Apple placed No. 5 by growing 15.3-percent for an 8.2-percent market share. Only Asus (No. 2) grew slightly faster than Apple at 17.4-percent, while shipments of PC desktops and notebooks from HP, Acer, and Dell plummeted.

If you include the iPad, Apple easily beats its rivals to the PC punch across the board.

More notes and charts are after the break.


Shipments of notebook and desktop PCs in the United Kingdom. Source: Gartner, February 2012

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Gartner: No one in the world uses more semiconductors than Apple

With the growing sales of Apple’s mobile devices and the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones (analysts projected 30+ million iPhones for today’s holiday quarter earnings call), it is no surprise that the Mac-maker is rising up the chip-purchasing ladder. According to research firm Gartner, Apple is now the world’s largest buyer of silicon parts, spending an astounding $17 billion on semiconductors in 2011 and accounting for a 5.7 percent share of total silicon buying.

That’s a 34.6 percent increase over 2010— enough to jump two spots ahead of rivals Samsung and the world’s leading computer maker Hewlett-Packard (soon to be displaced by Apple). Apple’s rise stems of strong sales of iPads, iPhones and its popular MacBook Air ultra-portable notebook family. Samsung ranked second with $16.7 billion worth of semiconductors in 2011, a 5.5 percent share. Computer makers Hewlett-Packard and Dell and cell phone giant Nokia round up the list of top five chip buyers with $16.7 billion, $9.8 billion and $9 billion worth of silicon parts, respectively.

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Apple to take global “portable computers” share for the remainder of 2011

The eye-popping chart above (via Fortune) shows Apple is on course to take control of global market share for portable computers (laptops, notebooks, and tablets) in the second quarter of 2011 – but that’s only as some analysts switch to accounting iPads as computers. Deutshe Bank’s Chris Whitmore, author of the chart, describes his findings:

Within the computing market, we see significant opportunity for Apple to take meaningful share in the second half as the Microsoft / PC ecosystem is relatively stagnant, lacking meaningful new offerings.

Many will be quick to point out the spike is due to taking iPad sales into consideration, a device that many analysts debate shouldn’t be considered as a competitor to notebooks and other portable PCs. However, Apple is steadily gaining ground on Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft even without the iPad. Whitmore explains:

On the other hand, Apple will be competing with an upgraded Mac OS, new MacBook Airs (and other forthcoming Macs) and a new iPad iOS. Within the Tablet market, the iPad remains the Gold Standard as competitors struggle for mindshare and traction (note HP’s price cuts on the TouchPad). Meanwhile, competing PC manufacturers have suggested Ultrabooks won’t ramp in material volumes until 2012 due to challenges driving price points meaningfully below Apple’s Air. As such, Apple appears particularly well positioned for more share gains heading into the back-to- school and holiday selling season.

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Dell's new 'thinnest' laptop isn't even as thin as the 2.5-year old MacBook Pro

We were expecting a MacBook Air-like device.  It turns out Dell’s new product, dubbed “Thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet” isn’t thinner than the 15-inch MacBook Pro I gave up a year ago for an Air.  That’s the same one that came out with the Unibody manufacturing process in October 2008.

Dell’s 15-inch XPS 15z is .97 inches thick compared to the MacBook PRo’s .95 inches.  It does weigh in at slightly less than the MacBook Pro (which is due for an update soon as well).

Update: Engadget has a comparison gallery:

All of that being said, the XPS 15Z  looks like a solid, loaded Sandy Bridge package for just $1000 – except the Windows OS of course.  Imagery and video below: Read more

Microsoft to announce slates to take on the iPad at CES

(I checked the date.  It says today.)  The NYTimes says that Microsoft is going to announce some iPad competin’ Slates at CES:

Next month, at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft will present a slew of new slates that it hopes will offer some competition to the Apple iPad, which has quickly become the leader in this market.

According to people familiar with Microsoft’s plans, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, is expected to  announce a number of these devices when he takes the stage at C.E.S., showcasing devices built by Samsung and Dell, among a number of other manufacturing partners.

This apparently has been an anual event since 2000. Read more