Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been steadily destroying its own PC  business since it released the iPad in 2010. Tablet computing has long been touted as a full replacement for traditional notebooks, and that has proven true in many ways. This doesn’t mean that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can’t steal market share from Windows PC makers, while the market shrinks. The increase applies to sales in the United States.

iMac

A new report from NPD Group shows that sales of Macs in the first month of 2013 was 31% higher than in the first months of 2012. The jump in demand appears to be the result of the release of the new iMac late in 2012. There was pent up demand for a redesign in the range of desktops. Analysts like Gene Munster have argued that this is the major reason for the spike in January sales.

In its most recent earnings report, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed that it had sold just 4.1 million Macs in the last quarter of 2012. In the same quarter of 2011, the company sold 4.9 million Macs. According to Time Cook, iMac sales were down 700,000 units, accounting for the vast majority of the drop off.

That demand appears to have been carried over rather than lost. The new Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the first major redesign of the computer in years, featuring an unbelievably thin screen. Manufacturing the device was made much more difficult because of its unique engineering. That is the reason usually given for the delayed release of the computer.

If the 31% increase in the first month of the year is based on pent up demand, it might be expected that Mac sales are not actually increasing by any substantial margin in the first quarter. The segment is still under threat from cannibalization. As with the iPod, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has surely prepared itself for that eventuality.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doesn’t rely on Mac sales for its results, and the lack of a solid basis for the idea that those sales are trending up means that this report likely has no meaningful implications in the longer term.

Whatever the reason behind the spike, it’s a reason to celebrate at Cupertino. The open of 2013 has been rough for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Shares have fallen by around 15% since the fist day of the new year, and the company’s future has been questioned repeatedly. Increases in Mac sales are a positive for the company, despite the size of that segment’s value to the firm as a whole.

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