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Estimate: Apple moved 1.1 million MacBook Airs in the fall

updated 10:50 pm EST, Sun March 6, 2011

Analyst puts 1.1m MacBook Airs in early tally

An estimate by Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this weekend suggested Apple may have had a blockbuster first quarter of sales for the redesigned MacBook Air. Asian supplier checks reportedly saw Apple ship about 1.1 million of the 11- and 13-inch systems, or 38 percent of Apple's 2.9 million portable Macs. Kuo told AppleInsider he had previously estimated 700,000 systems shipping in a prediction just two days after they had been made public.

The number would slump to 700,000 in the winter quarter ending this month, Kuo understood, but wouldn't hurt Apple's sales figures. Despite the typical post-holiday lull, the researcher had heard Apple had planned to ship a record high 4.5 million Macs, the best it would ever have managed in a quarter. A much faster new MacBook Pro was to be partly responsible by rekindling sales of Apple's most popular notebook line.

The growth could make Apple the only major computer builder to see its shipment numbers grow in the quarter, according to Kuo. Apple has usually had to fend off growth from fast-moving companies such as Toshiba and Samsung, but these are often vulnerable to the end of the holidays. Giants such as Acer were rumored to have faced an iPad effect in December as their netbook and low-end notebook shipments dropped.

The estimate didn't explain the boom other the Air being a new design, but its much lower starting price and the ultraportability of the 11-inch model have frequently been credited with the difference. Apple consciously aimed to bring some of the iPad's portability and instant responsiveness to the Mac and may have reached an audience that normally wouldn't opt for ultraportables or the Mac as a whole.

by MacNN Staff



  1. dagamer34

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Chicken or egg

    Was it successful because it was cheap or did they make it cheap to make it successful. We all know how bad the original early 2008 MacBook Air was with it's rather laughable $1799 starting price. And it's using a CPU generation that's 4 years old at this point, plus CPU speed seems to be getting lower in the base configuration!

    Hopefully Sandy Bridge will make the MBA a more powerful contender. $999 is a very good price for a laptop the size of the MBA.

  1. samirsshah

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MBA is a transition product...

    Apple users who can not or will not move to an iPad from a Mac can transition through an MBA with Lion helping the way.

    Does Apple care if it was a chicken or an egg? She has got a brilliant product and is laughing all the way to the bank.

    Industrial design matters.

  1. ASIMO

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Looking forward to Sandybridge incarnation.

    Then (likely) the 11" will be mine.

    Return of silver keys would be cherry on top. The black keys are ungainly.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Make that 1.1 million PLUS ONE

    I opted for the hot-rodded 11" MacBook Air (1.6GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) and haven't regretted it at all. The portability and weight of it trump the 13" six ways to Sunday, and for day-to-day use, the speed of the SSD completely make up for the anemic processor.

    14 seconds to the desktop from power-on? Count me in.

    Also the proud owner of an iPad (or was, as it's been sold and I'm currently awaiting full-fledged "iSheep" status as I stand in line this Friday for iPad 2), and the two go hand-in-hand for my uses.

    VPN connection and RDC to those Windows servers at work for administration? Check on both devices.

    Corporate Exchange email? Check on both.

    Microsoft Office compatibility? Again, double-check.

    Command-line access, local or remote? Checkitty-check.

    Remote Linux administration? Check-mate.

    Call them useless -- call them anemic -- call me an iSheep with the wool pulled firmly over my eyes: with both of these devices, I run circles around the "power users" who relegate themselves to a single OS and are afraid of this "walled garden" where Orwell reigns supreme. Shackle me to the walls, send me back to 1984, stick me in the pasture with the rest of the sheep -- I've never been more productive and happy being productive.

    Just to set the record straight: I administer a fleet of Windows servers that I keep humming perfectly in unison, manage a rack of Linux-based web/SQL/Shorewall servers, use Ubuntu on a quad-core at home, and every time I need to get something done, I always turn first to my Macs.

    Let the haters commence hatin'!

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    thinking hard about Air

    I need the portability of an iPad but I need some of the functions you can't get with it... never thought I'd be in the market for an Air, but the next version will probably be the one I get.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'd rather a macbook pro - that's for certain

    the macbook air, just solves a problem that isn't a problem - the weight of a laptop.

    When it comes to a tablet - I understand the weight issue. Heck I'd go one further, I understand why an old fashioned paperback book is preferable to a hardback. The paperback is just smaller and can be carried around easier. Similarly when a tablet can fit in one hand, and is light enough to hold for a half hour at a time - that's a boon.

    But, when it comes a machine that really can't be used unless you set it on the table - the table can handle any weight you throw at it.

    The macbook air, is solving a problem that isn't a problem. I'd much rather go with a macbook pro, especially in light of the recent update - they are fast, really, really fast, plus you have more options for higher rez screens

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