US Mac sales rose 31 percent year-over-year during the month of January, according to new data from the NPD Group. Looking at the data, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggests
that the figure likely stems from Apple satisfying demand for the refreshed iMac seen during the December quarter. During that period, Mac sales were down 17 percent, something Apple blamed on being unable to produce iMacs quickly enough.
CEO Tim Cook has warned that iMac supplies could stay limited
for some time. 2012 models are believed to be especially difficult to make, owing to a unique screen lamination technique.
Munster predicts that sales for the whole of the current quarter will end up down 5 percent year-over-year to 3.8 million. He notes that the NPD data only represents US business, and not international sales, which have become increasingly important to Apple's bottom line. It is however "still early" in the quarter, he adds.
The analyst also mentions that iPod sales were up 3 percent year-over-year in the US last month, but that he nevertheless expects quarterly numbers to drop 17 percent. Even if iPod sales did turn out surprisingly good, they would add less than 1 percent upside to Apple's overall performance, he says.