updated 11:40 am EDT, Thu June 16, 2011
JPMorgan sees MacBook Air as key device
Apple may be selling enough MacBook Airs to make it a cornerstone of its computer business, JPMorgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said in a research note Thursday. Based on an understanding that first quarter sales of the ultraportable were sequentially up 2.9 percent to 432,000 where Macs as a whole were down 10.5 percent, he expected Apple to move as many as 700,000 of the notebooks each quarter in the near future. He had already seen it making $2.2 billion in revenue for Apple but now saw it topping $3 billion or more.
As a result of the success, Apple is expected to get a lot of imitators, Moskowitz said. Many would chase the Air because they saw it as epitomizing the features that tablets did well and which they couldn't manage with their own tablets. The use of an SSD makes them both much faster to start up and use than most notebooks but also makes them lighter and thinner.
While the shipment figures aren't likely to be confirmed by Apple, the predictions of similar systems have already been coming true. Intel has formally enshrined the ultrabook concept of a very thin, fast-starting notebook with long battery life with criteria effectively based around the MacBook Air. The new ASUS UX21 is widely considered an attempt to clone the core of the Mac's experience.
Sales of the Air may get a swift kick in the next few weeks, as an update is rumored to be arriving by late June or July. New models would jump to low-voltage Core i5 and i7 processors and get a corresponding leap in real-world performance over the current Core 2 Duos.