Ultra-Portable MacBook Air to Account for Half of Apple’s Notebook Sales According to Latest Projections

With Apple due for an update to its MacBook Air to bring its dual-core CPU to Intel’s newer Sandy Bridge processors, one Wall Street analyst expects that the refresh coupled with the release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will give Apple a boost.

Chris Whitmore of Deustche Bank believes that Apple could potentially sell up to 1.5 million MacBook Air units per quarter, splut 55% between the 11.6 model and 45% for the the larger 13.3-inch model.

While the MacBook Air helped Apple to define its ultra-portable lineup–the computing category is said to combine the best elements from Apple’s traditional line of MacBook Pros with the best-in-class Apple iPad for a mobile punch–the Air has not received a hardware refresh to bring its processors to modern Intel CPUs. Given that Samsung’s recently launched 9 Series and Asus’s newly announced UX21 ultra-portables will be shipping with the latest Intel processors, Apple is expected to release a MacBook Air refresh to stay competitive.

In the past, when asked if Apple would make netbooks, both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook replied that the company couldn’t make a $500 netbook that ‘sucked,’ indicating that the low cost of netbooks came at the price of sluggish performance. The company subsequently announced the MacBook Air in early 2008 as a $1,000+ ultra-portable computer.

If Whitmore’s predictions are true, strong sales of the MacBook Air post-refresh, whenever that may happen, would help the ultra-portable computing class represent half of Apple’s notebook business. Strong sales of the MacBook Air also shows a shift in consumer interest to mobile, as Apple is already a leader with its iPad tablet and its iPhone helped to shape the smartphone revolution. In fact, in Apple’s most recent financial earnings call, the company revealed that half of its revenues come from iPhone sales.

Via: Apple Insider

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