Apple's consumer products buoyed Apple during Q3, as senior executives set the scene for future improvements in its professional sales.

iMac (including eMac) sales rose 12 per cent sequentially, with 287,000 units sold for $301 million revenues. This was down 24 per cent in unit sales year-on-year. Apple chief financial officer Fred Anderson explained the unit-sale decline reflected "a shift in the market" in favour of portable systems". The product is capturing "reasonable" marketshare in its price band, he said.

Apple's consumer portable iBook range saw a gigantic leap in sequential unit sales – 43 per cent more units were shifted in the quarter, 190,000 units in all.

Revenues on the product line also climbed 30 per cent to $196 million. The company yielded $151 million revenues on 133,000 sales in its second quarter, and $217 million on 169,000 units in Q3 2002. The decline in margins reflect Apple's aggressive approach to promoting its products in an increasingly competitive portables market.

Peripheral and "other hardware" sales accrued $285 million in the quarter, a 32 per cent rise sequentially and a 93 per cent increase year-on-year.

Apple's proportion of international sales fell slightly, from 42 per cent to 39 per cent. Anderson attributed this to "relatively weak economies in Japan and Europe", adding that Pacific Rim sales were also "impacted by the outbreak of SARS in the region".

The company expects to see LCD prices "tighten" as market demand for such products climbs, Apple also expects memory prices to increase.

Anderson expects high single-digit percentage growth in revenue and a slight increase in earnings during the company's fourth quarter.