Apple’s relative notebook market share continues to explode while Windows-based laptops, well, people just don’t care about them any more, or so it seems.

eWeek reports that while, "Windows laptops are losing lustre, Mac laptops are making surprising gains." (Not that surprising, eWeek – they’re clearly superior machines). In essence the news is that MacBooks and MacBook Pros accounted for 20 per cent of notebooks sold across US retail stores, which is nice. Even more interesting, Apple’s notebooks took a substantial chunk of the market when measured in dollars. What does that mean? It means for every $3 spent on a laptop in the US, Apple took $1 while the various partners in the world’s dominant OS ecosystem shared $2 between them. Wonder which business model makes the most sense?

 

Apple’s we guess, as the analysis continues: "Notebooks are the PC growth category, according to both Gartner and IDC. Portable shipments will reach 148.2 million units this year, according to IDC. Worldwide year-over-year growth rate is expected to be 37.2 percent and a staggering 44.7 percent outside the United States. Microsoft and its partners should dread Apple’s shocking gains in such an important computing category."

The report says this vindicates Apple’s pricing strategy. And given the strong rumours currently circulating which suggest the company plans to lower prices and deploy its own sub-books in the near future, it’s pretty clear Apple could clean-up in the months ahead – even if computer sales slow down, consumers will buy the best computer they can afford – and for one-in-five US laptop shoppers, the best one is a Mac. This market’s Apple’s to win.

Anyway, speaking of winning, Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner yesterday cut Apple’s future estimates and stock price to reflect the tumultous economic melt-down we’re all hoping just goes away, but tipped investors off that Apple’s remains a solid stock to buy that will excel against competing firms. "We believe this will represent outperformance versus most consumer PC, consumer electronics and handset competitors thanks to the superior design, ease-of-use, utility and reliability of Apple’s products," he said.

The analyst isn’t sure speculation on cheaper laptops is correct, but does think Apple will introduce new model laptops in the next two to three weeks.

Meanwhile, while Apple offers everything that’s different – a secure operating system in OS X, fluid access to key CE devices including iPod, iPhone and iTunes, built-in applications for imaging, video, music creation and more, and a series of applications most all of which win regular praise for usability, consumers looking to the PC world are presented with bland homogenised solutions, which to all intents and purposes are exactly the same.

Apple has transformed its minority market share into a major market advantage. Now only do its products work, not only are they attractive, but they do things Windows machines just can’t – and do many of the things they can do a whole lot better.

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