Apple Computer Inc. is getting a large amount of customer interest in its new iPod Shuffle music player and is upbeat about the upcoming holiday sales season, a top executive said on Wednesday.
The $79 Shuffle is the latest in Apple’s revolutionary line of iPods, which has given the company 75 percent of the U.S. market for digital music players and revitalized Apple’s stock price since its introduction little more than five years ago.
“Response to it has been tremendous,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of worldwide product marketing, in a telephone interview, referring to the new Shuffle, which started shipping late last month. “We’re really excited about the holiday period.”
Schiller, who reports to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, did not give any figures detailing the interest the company is getting in the new Shuffle, or make any forecasts on actual sales of products.
The maker of the Macintosh computer also said a new line of MacBook notebook computers will use Intel Corp.’s Core 2 Duo processors, making them up to 25 percent faster than the previous generation.
Apple announced the new consumer computers ahead of the holiday season, with prices starting at $1,099. Last month, the computer maker said its MacBook Pro line of laptops would use Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors, which can zip through photos, edit movies and multitask faster than their predecessors.
Since January, Apple has moved its entire computer product line to chips made by Intel from its old line of processors, the PowerPC chip that it had used for years. Intel’s new Core 2 Duo chip is the latest in its range of dual core chips, which are faster and more energy-efficient.
“We’re bringing the Intel Core 2 Duo across the MacBook line at the same price as the previous Core Duo line,” Schiller said. “Over just a few weeks we’ve rolled it all out.”
The MacBook, which replaces the iBook notebook PC, which was one of Apple’s best sellers last holiday season, comes in either white or black colors.
Apple last month posted a 27 percent increase in its fourth-quarter profit as strong sales of iPods allayed concerns growth was slowing and Mac shipments set a record.
Apple said it sold nearly 1 million notebook Macs in the quarter, an increase of 56 percent from a year-ago, boosted by purchases among students at schools and universities.
Schiller cited data from market research firm NPD Group as of the end of September that gave Apple more than 10 percent of the U.S. retail market for notebook computers.
Shares of Apple rose $1.44, or 1.8 percent, to $81.95 in afternoon Nasdaq trade. So far this year, the stock is up nearly 14 percent.
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