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A problem that has plagued the x86-based Windows world of late is that of high power requirements. This has been especially true of systems based on current Intel processors , a fact we already covered extensively in previous articles.
During testing, our Mac mini was able to shine in this respect, drawing a mere 20 watts of power; during DVD playback, this rose to only 28 W. In contrast, the power requirements of current Intel-based PC systems is anything but reasonable - under comparable conditions, these power-hungry machines draw up to 160 W , as tests in our THG lab have shown.
Strictly speaking, the Intel system's 700% higher power draw (!!!) is not justifiable, considering today's energy costs. And users should definitely be considering the energy cost to run a computer, not just looking at the price tag on the machine. Corporate users, especially, need to think about long-term total cost of ownership (TCO).
As a company, Apple's star does seem to be rising, at least where sales and profits are concerned. The last fiscal quarter was the best in the company's entire history. Apple owes a large part of this success to its trend-setting MP3 player, the iPod, which has reached a kind of cult status, selling more than 10 million units. Now, the new year is starting off with new products, such as the Mac mini and the iPod Shuffle.
In Germany, as in most of the rest of the world, the classic PC sales strategy is simple - lure the buyer with high gigahertz numbers, tons of megaBytes and additional goodies. Yet despite the introduction of SFF (small form factor) PCs, it seems that design and the overall look still seem to be only of secondary importance. For years now, the average buyer has been fed the mantras of "high performance" and "good upgradeability." Obviously, the Mac mini has taken a completely different approach here, emphasizing compactness, style and simplicity.
Interested in a few numbers? In the fourth quarter of 2004, Apple sold 4.5 million iPod players, resulting in sales of $1.2 billion. This makes for an average price of $375 per unit - not bad at all for an MP3 player. The company's overall sales in 4Q04 totaled nearly $3.5 billion, an increase of 74% compared to the same quarter in 2003. Also, it has been able to sell more computers in the first quarter of this year: 1,046,000 units, again a 26% increase over the same period in the previous year. This resulted in profits of $1.6 billion. Apple sold 456,000 of the new iMacs alone.
However, the Powerbooks have not been doing so well - 152,000 units sold means a decline in sales by 22% compared to the first quarter of 2004. iBooks, on the other hand, have gained momentum, selling 271,000 units, an increase of 35%. The "other music products" branch, which includes the iTunes music store and iPod accessories and services, is also very lucrative, with sales totaling $177 million, a 277% increase over Q1 '04.