Apple to get back to basics, possibly Mac with FaceTime

Amid all of the hoopla around the Apple’s iPhone, iPad and the once a year debut of new iPods, it’s easy to forget that the Mac is a key cog in the company’s performance.

On Oct. 20, two days after Apple’s earnings, the company will hold a “Back to the Mac” powwow. Given the title it’s safe to assume there are some revamped Macs on the horizon.

It’s about time. Perhaps I’m too old school, but it’s a bit galling that the trusty Mac has been so forgotten. In Wall Street reports you have to scroll through iPhone and iPad talk—with the mentions of Apple TV and iPods—to maybe get to a footnote about the Mac.

Is that anyway to treat Macs, which are expected to ship 13.5 million units for the year ending Sept. 30? And these Macs have an average selling price of $1,323, according to Jefferies & Co. Apple made no mention of the Mac OS at its developer’s powwow a few months ago, but appears to be hinting at OS X Lion. And aside from a revamped Mini, Mac users haven’t had much to fawn over. Instead, the Mac has taken a back seat to the iPad, which is now being dubbed the Mac for the masses.

Well enough of that. Give us some Mac love dammit!

So what will we see? Analysts seem to be betting that a FaceTime enabled iMac is around the corner.

Indeed, Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes has been beating the Apple FaceTime drum. To Reitzes, FaceTime is Apple’s killer app that can propel the company’s entire line-up.

Reitzes said in a research note:

We project Apple will sell almost 63mm FaceTime capable devices by the end of FY11. In FY12, we see that figure jumping to an installed base of over 150mm, which could prove conservative if FaceTime is put in all iPads & Macs. It seems Apple has the complete package to make FaceTime grow into a multiplier for its device sales through vertical integration.

Sounds interesting. Perhaps it’s time to meet the Mac as video conferencing unit.

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