Analysts say that the Dow is mimicking the way it acted during the Great Depression. The good news? It will have to act this way another sixteen months to reach the true dustbowls-and-Oakies nadir. More good news? For Apple, at least, whose sales have yet to be hurt, despite an industry-wide collapse in PC revenue. TBR analyst Ezra Gottheil says that Apple’s PC unit sales were up 9 percent in December. This while PC revenue overall dropped 18 percent in Q4 2008. The overall revenue loss was not due to a significant decline in unit sales but to a drop in what people spent, as the average selling price (ASP) of PCs fell 13 percent.

While other PC makers have been hit hard the last few months, Apple’s sales are doing fine, despite the fact that their systems cost more than others. Unlike competitors, Apple’s ASP actually rose in Q4, and is acting totally different than that of other PC manufacturers. This despite the fact that the average Apple sale price is four to six hundred dollars more than its competitors' prices.

“Apple’s a special case in that not only are its ASPs much higher than the others, but also they have been amazingly flat over the eight years of data that I have, while the others have showed a steady erosion,” said Gottheil.

“The differences have only gotten wider over the years.”

Apple’s brilliance is choosing its markets carefully. The Cupertino company doesn’t even have a netbook, nor does it seem like they plan on producing one, though it’s the big growth market right now. While other companies race to produce their own mp3 player, netbook, smartphone, and e-book reader, Apple stays content in the markets it’s already dominating.

Gartner analyst Van Baker sees the release of an iPhone Kindle app as proof that Apple has no desire to jump into the e-reader pool.

“The reader adds to the appeal of the iPhone platform, but it also shows that Apple clearly doesn't think that the e-book market is important,” said Baker in Computerworld.

Apple creates its own markets.

By Mark Alvarez