The Apple haters might take some pleasure in the fact that it's costing the Californian company about NZ$244 million (US$175 million) to give hundreds of thousands of iPhone 4 owners and buyers free bumper cases to bypass hand-held reception issues, even though most other smartphones show similar reception drops from certain hand grips. Free cases from any of them, dya fancy? No.

Apple has just released its third fiscal quarter results. It ended the quarter with US$45.8 billion in cash (nearly 64 billion in NZ currency), up from US$41.7 billion.

I think that means Apple can afford the bumpers (I'm bad at maths).

Apple sold a record 3.47 million Macs in total, exceeding the previous record by 100,000. Worldwide Mac sales are up 18 per cent, and Mac portables up 37 per cent. But Mac desktop sales are down 12 per cent, as people increasingly turn to portables and, maybe, as people wait for a new Mac Pro.

That's logical - according to Statistics New Zealand, in 2009 over half of NZ households with the internet used laptops or handheld computers to access the 'net at home - this is five times the rate of 2006.

A quarter of internet users in 2009 used mobile phones or wireless hotspots to access the internet while they were away from home. This compared with 14 per cent of users in 2006.

And the iPad only goes on sale here on Friday 23rd July, so expect that to change.

Apple's retail revenue was up 73 per cent. Mac sales were up 38 per cent.

About half of Macs sold to customers in retail stores were to customers who never owned a Mac before. That's one helluva switch rate, people.

Seven new Apple Stores opened during Q210 including four in US; two in Australia and one in Canada. Apple now has 293 (and none in New Zealand). Average revenue per store was NZ$12.54 million.

In the next quarter, Apple will open a further 24 retail stores including the already open Paris and Shanghai stores but also stores in Madrid and Barcelona and Covent Garden, London,.

Apple Stores saw visitors of 60.5 million visitors, compared to 38.6M during the year-ago quarter, so you can see why Apple builds 'em.

Mac sales were up 40 per cent in the Americas, with revenue up 25 per cent. Mac sales are up here, too.

But what percentage of the PC market does that equate to? Figures get bandied about - I like to think Macs are now 10 per cent of the world computer market, some people hold to three per cent - which was the level in the late 1990s. Apple has grown a lot since then.

Over here, Apple is distributed by Renaissance Ltd, which supplies most NZ resellers with Macs and other Apple equipment and software, and has done for 25 years.

Renaissance now owns seven MagnumMac Apple resellers plus the StudentIT stores. Renaissance has just announced that the MagnumMac retail business has returned to profitability six months ahead of plan, reporting 17 per cent year-on-year revenue growth for the first three months of 2010.

Renaissance Group will deliver a full six-month report to the market in early August, but had originally expected the MagnumMac retail business would not return to profitable trading until the end of 2010.

According to IDC Research NZ, the local branch of the international IT&T market intelligence service, the recovery in the personal computer market has helped Apple grow its New Zealand market share in the category to more than 10 per cent for just the second time ever.

IDC polls the retail outlets and the retail channel four times a year to gather the intelligence, which is checked and verified against international IDC procedures and data.

Of the eight major PC vendors here, Apple, Asus, Toshiba and Acer saw gains in overall market share for the March quarter over the previous quarter.

The overall market grew 1.9 per cent in the quarter, and 19.4 per cent year on year.

Like Stats NZ, IDC has also noted the significant migration from desktop to portable PCs. In the March quarter, sales of portable PCs climbed 4.8 per cent over the previous quarter, while sales of desktop PCs fell 2.5 per cent. Year-on-year growth was still positive for both, but the portable category's 27.3 per cent rise is more than triple the 8.2 per cent rate for desktops.

IDC figures show Apple first hit 10 per cent market share in New Zealand in the first quarter of last year, with Apple showing strong performance in the consumer and education categories.

For the rest of the world, Apple noted strong growth noted in Asia, Europe and Japan. The iTunes Store has passed five billion App downloads and iPhone 4 demand is still unprecedented. Despite the beat-up. As Tim Cook of Apple stated: "We are selling every unit we can make currently."

US$2.17bn has been made on sales of iPad and accessories already, with iPad sales alone was about $2.1bn. Not bad for a few months on the market.

iPod market share is now over 70 per cent in North America.

So, Macs are at ten per cent of the NZ computer market. Oh my, that feels good! If you have any arguments, take them to IDC.

- Mark Webster