FORTUNE -- For a company like Apple (AAPL) that is supposed to be a growth stock, the flattening bar graph at right might seem like a disappointment -- unless you consider the alternative, represented by the chart at left.
According to IDC's grim report Thursday, PC sales were down worldwide by 14% year over year, the worst fall-off on record and the fourth straight quarter of declines. Gartner's estimate wasn't much better: it measured a decline of 11.2%, the worst drop it's seen since 2001.
Both firms attributed the shrinkage at least in part to the disruption caused by the growing popularity of Apple's iPad and its imitators.
In that context, the estimates of Mac sales that have come in so far from 57 Apple analysts -- 34 professionals and 23 amateurs -- look quite cheery.
The median estimate -- 4.1 million Macs -- is 2% higher than the 4.017 million Apple sold in the same quarter last year.
The high estimate of 4.61 million Macs -- offered in January by J.P. Morgan's Mark Moskowitz -- would represent 14.7% growth.
The low estimate, ironically, comes from Topeka's Brian White, whose price target for Apple is a Street-high $888. He's calling for Mac sales of 3.19 million units, down 20.7% from last year.
We'll find out who is closest to the mark when Apple reports its fiscal Q2 2013 earnings on April 23.
Below: The individual analyst's estimates -- pros in blue, independents in green. Thanks once again to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.
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PC sales have stalled, but most analysts believe Mac unit sales grew 12% to 14% last quarter
FORTUNE -- According to Gartner and IDC, the worldwide personal computer market -- including both Microsoft (MSFT) Windows PCs and Apple (AAPL) Macs -- shrank by 0.1% in the June quarter, although the two research firms disagree about whether Mac sales grew or not. (See here.)
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A lesson in access journalism in the wake of the New York Times' Foxconn series
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That sentence, appearing 12 paragraphs into a 14-graph story by Brian X. Chen in Thursday's New York Times, speaks volumes about how Apple (AAPL) deals with press coverage it doesn't like.
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Averaging the Q1 2012 estimates of the six analysts with the best track records
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Fortune contributor Brent Schlender shares some of the stories and personal photographs he collected during more than two decades as Steve Jobs' chronicler and confidant.
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With OS X Lion, a new MacBook Air and a new MacBook mini
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