How many Macs did Apple sell last quarter?July 12, 2013: 6:48 AM ET
In the context of the industry's longest slowdown, the numbers could have been worse.
FORTUNE -- According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments fell 10.9% last quarter, the industry's fifth consecutive quarter of decline. According to IDC, shipments are down 11.4% year over year, capping the industry's longest slowdown ever.
The main thing that's hurting PC sales, both research firms agree, is that customers who used to buy PCs are buying tablet computers instead.
In that regard, Apple (AAPL) is better off than most of its competitors. Not only were its sales hurt less than the industry average -- off somewhere between 0.5% (IDC) and 4.3% (Gartner) in the U.S. -- but Apple still makes the world's No. 2 and No. 1 best-selling tablets: The iPad and the iPad mini.
In that context, the estimates coming in from our survey of analysts look worse than IDC's and Gartner's, but not as bad as they might.
Among the 44 we've heard from so far -- 27 Wall Street professionals and 17 amateurs -- the average estimate of Mac unit sales in fiscal Q3 2013 is 3.83 million, down 5% from the 4.02 million Apple sold in the same quarter last year.
But half a dozen analysts -- five of them pros -- think Apple's Mac sales may have actually gone up a bit year over year.
The top estimates of 4.26 million Macs was submitted by Barclay Capital's Ben Reitzes. The low, 3.4 million, came from Paul Reina, an independent analyst from the Braeburn Group.
We'll find out who was closest to the mark when Apple reports its fiscal Q3 2013 earnings on July 23.
Below: The individual analyst's estimates -- pros in blue, indies in green. Thanks as always to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.