updated 11:50 am EDT, Wed July 27, 2011
Wait may have temporarily cooled sales
Updated MacBook Airs should be a major driver of Mac sales in the second half of the year, says Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes. "For the September quarter, we estimate Mac unit sales to grow 18% y/y [year-over-year], which may be conservative given anticipation for the MacBook Air," he writes in a new memo. The Air has proven especially popular since its 2010 overhaul, which included an 11-inch option starting at $999, equivalent in price to the now-defunct white plastic MacBook.
"Also," continues Reitzes, "we believe that there was a modest pause of demand ahead of Lion, which consequently should release at least some incremental sales in the upcoming quarters in our opinion." Because Lion comes pre-installed on new Macs, many people may have waited several weeks or longer to buy a new computer, particularly as hardware updates were rumored at the same time. Lion was ushered in by both new Airs and Mac minis.
Apple has now updated most of its Macs to run on Intel's Sandy Bridge platform. The one line yet to see a 2011 update is the Mac Pro, despite the system representing the peak of Apple hardware. It is now also the company's only enterprise-level server option following the discontinuation of the Xserve in January.