How Long Can The Mac Be Apple's (AAPL) Hero?

In the last quarter,  Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone sales were not spectacular. iPod sales were a little under most estimates at 9.8 million units.

But, the Mac went wild. Unit sales hit 1.76 million up 33% compared to the same quarter a year ago, and above most Wall St. guesses. iPod sales grew only 22% between the two periods.

According to a report from IDC, Mac sales in the US hit 960,000 units in the US in Q2. That would put it at a market share level of 5.6% behind Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL).

But, the Mac can’t be counted on for this kind of growth in future quarters. It is now becoming a big enough thorn in the side of the large PC companies that they are likely to start to push back with new products. And, overseas PC companies, particularly Lenovo, are moving into the US with new products and marketing dollars.

Even if Apple sells one million iPhones in the next quarter, that is still a very small portion of overall US handset sales. And, the iPod is the dominant product in its part of the consumer electronics field. But, a market share of 6% in the personal computer industry is going to draw fire from companies that need to do well in that business to keep their shareholder happy.

That means that the sale of every new Mac is going to face a stronger and stronger headwind.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at