It is getting harder and harder to find any flaws in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) businesses. The company’s shares trade at $190, very near their all-time high. Analysts expect record results from the company for the calendar fourth quarter as holiday shoppers drive better-than-usual sales of iPods, Macs, and iPhones.
comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) released data that shows touchscreen smartphone sales up 159% from August 2008 to August 2009 when units sold hit 23.8 million. The growth was much greater than that for the total smartphone category which was up 63% in the US for the same period to 33.8 million units.
Apple had the lion’s share of the mobile touchscreen market–33%. Two models from LG has nearly 16% and the Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) Pre and RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberry storm each had about 8% of total unit sales for the three months that ended in August.
The news has pertinence beyond the touchscreen smartphone sector. PC makers are experimenting with touchscreens and HP (NYSE:HPQ) has been fairly aggressive entering the market. Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 7 was designed to run well with touchscreens, a sign that the software company believes a very large portion of PC use is heading in that direction over the next year or two.
The touchscreen data would also confirm Apple’s likely launch of a tablet device which would be a flat piece of hardware with a 10 inch display. Many analysts believe that the tablet will run like a large iPhone and will be the key to Apple’s push toward what it hopes will be dominance in online video and e-books. Apple’s tablet product may do more to move touchscreen PCs forward than anything that HP has put into the market or is likely to in 2010.
The keyboard may be going the way of the buggy whip.
Douglas A. McIntyre