Apple: Grouper in a one-gallon fishbowl

As we reported earlier, Apple lost half of its market value last week. Its stock took a nosedive when word of weak sales got out. Not really being a stock watching type, I thought the reaction was a bit drastic, but I'm almost persuaded by this news analysis piece, which discusses why Apple may have some very fundamental problems growing Mac sales. (Sheesh, the Reality Distortion Field has suffered a serious collapse.) For once, the pointy-headed stock analysts may just have it right:
But inside Apple's profit warning lurk more serious problems, warn analysts. Although Apple has gained market share in the past two years, the company still sells a substantial number of systems to its existing customer base looking for a technology refresh. Because existing customers buy new products at a slower rate than companies churn them out, some analysts say, a slowdown was inevitable.
Beyond the occasional newbie iMac buyer, you have to think Apple is just preaching to the choir. It ain't easy to sell a 500MHz G4 Cube to somebody who bought a 400MHz G4 box last year. And selling them a dually G4 box probably won't work until you can ship it with an OS that includes dual processor support. There may be some fairly stubborn limits to how many Macs they can sell in a Pee Cee world.
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